Friday, July 15, 2016

When Payment is a Pain in the ***


Y'know how you say we're always looking for something to worry about... My question relates to something you wrote as part of your most recent Query Shark (#281) comments: I hope you have a US bank account cause otherwise getting you paid is a pain in the asterisk.

Does this mean non-US authors need a US bank account? I'm guessing it can be done, because I'm sure Gary Corby isn't writing for the sole reason of keeping Colin happy. But the nervous woodland creature inside me does wonder if causing an agent pain in their asterix would be grounds for rejection?

We pay our international clients via wire transfer.
The problem is that it costs them money to get a transfer, plus we bill them for the cost our bank charges us to make the transfer.

And then there's the fun of getting a taxpayer number which even foreign nationals need to get paid here.  It's not a simple process.

However.

I don't use any of that as a measure of whether I will sign someone. In fact if you write as well as Gary Corby, I will pursue you to sign you!

Bottom line: do not worry about this.





49 comments:

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Whew, another thing I can cross off my worry list along with how to pay my Belgium and Bulgarian Book dues.
Life is easy.
Have a nice day.

Although regarding the news lately...some days ain't 'NICE' at all.
Prayers again.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I won't be a pain to pay. Now to try and write as well as Gary Corby so Colin will gush over me and the shark will pursue me. Now coffee.

Susan said...

This is something I actually know a little about!

I worked in foreign exchange for close to ten years, so I can attest that it's probably easier and less costly to hold a US account, especially if you're able to visit the US (do non-US clients visit the US?). It's true that international wires are the most secure way to send payments (never cash, and checks take a long time to pay on because they have to go through both the foreign and domestic financial systems). But they're still a pain in the asterisk, and the banks usually take a chunk of change due to fees and a percentage off the exchange rate. Because they can.

Man, I loved that work--not the charging people fees, to be sure, or the politics of corporate culture, but helping people get their money where it needed to go or exchanging currency for people so they could travel. That last part was exciting. I just hope someday all this knowledge becomes useful again--preferably as I sip cocktails from my ocean hut in Bora Bora ;)

Janet--loved the flashback post. That goes to show that anything can happen in a matter of time.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Ha! And I thought that was the only reason Gary Corby wrote. Because Colin enjoys his books.

And that story about the search for Gary Corby! I had not been to that part of the Shark's archives. I wanna see Gary's query letter. Or is it already up and I need to dive into the archives a bit deeper?

I have a non-fic published by a U.K. small press. They used to mail checks to me in U.S. dollars. Then they quit doing money transfers. But I couldn't get my act together so the publisher kept my royalties until the amount reached 100 pounds then they mailed a check to me, again, in U.S. dollars. But since my most recent trip there, with face-to-face transactions completed with them and banks, they direct deposit.

Colin Smith said...

The story Janet linked is PRICELESS. Every nervous woodland creature should read it, and anyone who's on the fence about whether they should query Janet. Oh that I should write so well that agents pursue me!

My Mum uses PayPal to send money to me (for kids birthdays, etc). That may not be adequate for a business use, e.g., paying royalties to foreign writers, but it works for us! :)

Back in 2008, before Janet knew me, she had a dream that a young, talented, aspiring writer in NC will want to read a good mystery by an Australian writer. That was Donna Everhart, of course. She also dreamed that some former British word scratcher in the NC Coastal Plain will also want some great Aussie mysteries. And hence Janet pursued Mr. Corby... ;)

Seriously, I enjoy a lot of books, but there are few I rave about, which is why I might seem like a bit of a one-note with Gary's novels. Sorry if that annoys some folks, but I love what I love. I'll try to be more restrained, though. :D

DLM said...

Colin, you might not want to swear restraint on proclamation of your Corby fandom. My sense from our Queen has been that she's good with it. Indeed, curbing your enthusiasm could be bad for your health!

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Colin: What Diane wrote.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin Don't you dare curb your enthusiasm. It is part of your charm and adds to the draw of the Reef.

Timothy Lowe said...

That's an amazing story. "A dead man fell from the sky" is such a striking opening line it's no wonder she wanted to read more. Now, so do I.

Cheryl said...

Bonus, I actually have a US tax number! That is, if they don't expire once your residency does.

do non-US clients visit the US?

Those of us who live on the world's longest undefended border do.

Colin Smith said...

What EM said made me think of...

Inigo Montoya: Probably he means no harm.
Fezzik: He's really very short on charm.


You guys! Thanks... :D

Dena Pawling said...


This is nice to know, in case I'm ever in the position of transferring all of my assets to a Swiss bank account...................

Craig F said...

Quit picking at it or it will bleed again.

It is true that the devil is in the details. Take a deep breath and put that devil in the right details. Those details are in the flat spots of your manuscript so quit distracting yourself.

If you advance is big enough you will not need to worry about this. You will be able to hire someone to take care of it for you. Even if you advance is huge you will not be able to affect the exchange rate. Put your worries in the right place, your writing.

John Davis Frain said...

This is great. Yesterday, we were encouraged to ignore people. Today, "Do not worry about this."

I'm starting to think the important thing is the writing part. Or, more accurately, the rewriting part.

Colin Smith said...

John: Yup. Ignore people. Don't worry. Just write. That's how writers used to get by in the old days, you know, before Twitter. :)

Janet Reid said...

Off topic but info you'll want: I've heard back from all of our regular blog commenters who are in France. They are safe, as are their friends and loved ones.

DLM said...

Janet, thank you for letting us know.

So many prayers to say these days. So much feeling otherwise impotent on too many fronts. I'm going to my mom's to help with Verizon cable stuff today. Sometimes, that's the best thing you can do.

Colin Smith said...

Thank you, Janet. Funny (in a good way), but when I heard about what happened in Nice, I immediately thought of our blog friends in France. I'm glad you're all safe.

Maggie McT said...

We use xe.com to transfer money from AU to IRL, cheapest method we've found so far and quick. Think it's also poss to open business a/c with them. It's way cheaper than wire transfers for us ..but maybe diff from USA? I have no xe.com affiliation by the way!!

Karen McCoy said...

Colin! EM!

"No more rhymes now, I mean it!"

"Anybody want a peanut?"

I'll see myself out...

Maggie McT said...

Sorry guys. Just saw the later comments re Nice. There are no words.

Panda in Chief said...

Oh the things there are to worry about! I think I'll wait to worry about how the money arrives until my book is sold.

Thanks for letting us know that our blogger/commenter friends in France are safe. The downside to having so many friends online and around the world is we have so many more hostages to fate. While we might be dismayed at the speed that hate can travel around the world via the internet, we can also be comforted that love spreads just as fast.

Totally off topic: today is the 3rd birthday of the first panda twins born (and surviving) in the US, at Zoo Atlanta. Happy birthday, Meihems!

Karen McCoy said...

Glad to know our blog friends in France are all right. What happened in Nice was so horrific.

Adib Khorram said...

The Saga of the Search for Gary Corby was news to me, as well—and an exciting trip back in time. So weird to see the blog with a bunch of strangers commenting—except of course for the stalwart Julie Weathers!

The Sleepy One said...

Colin, you mentioned Paypal, and going down that rabbit hole is more fun than editing so I started thinking. One potential issue using Paypal is that--at least in the USA--it's not FDIC-insured even though it basically operates as a bank. So there's a different level of risk using it.

Plus sending Paypal payments to some countries can be a pain. For example, I had an extended vacation a few years ago, and stayed on Boracay Island (The Philippines) and in a surf camp in Bali. I tried to pay with Paypal for both. Paypal wouldn't let either transaction go through due to fraud concerns. I ended up doing a wire transfer to the place in Bali which was a hassle because the owner shared part of her name with someone on the terror watch list, so I had additional paperwork.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Thanks Janet for friend and writter updates in France. My first thoughts were of them.

Janice L. Grinyer said...

Thank you for the prompt update, JR.

As soon as I heard, like Carolynnw/2Ns, I immediately thought of the Reiders there.

The world hurts today.

Sherry Howard said...

So good to know that our friends in France are safe! Another travesty. And, when Colin said that the link in JR's post is a must read, he meant be sure to read it until the very end! What a great story, but what a wonderful punch line!

Colin Smith said...

Sherry: Yes--the story starts with Janet's post, but continues through the comments. Which is a great story device, btw... :)

Joseph Snoe said...

To my surprise I learned earlier this year my well-established publisher does not offer direct bank deposit for royalties. Checks only. (I live in Alabama, which is, once again, a part of the United States).

Joseph Snoe said...

A chuckle on coincidences, or life reflects art one more time (or is it the other way):

I’m reading a Sandra Brown novel called “Envy” (I’m on page 62 so no spoiler alert needed). The novel starts as a small publisher reads a Prologue submitted directly to her. No transmittal letter or other contact information—Just this at the end:

P.M.E.
St. Anne Island, Georgia

The publisher decides to track the writer down (I assume she finds him).

I checked out the Goodread reviews—mainly five stars and tons of praise— then there’s a two star review that includes these two sentences:

“The plot needs a lot of work, because I don't have enough suspension of disbelief to buy the story past the first fifty pages. A successful and extremely busy New York publisher is going to drop everything to hunt down an author who didn't bother to leave contact information?”

Donnaeve said...

Joe Snoe - if only that reviewer knew!

The Hunt For Gary Corby - sounds like a great title.

I noticed the date stamp on that saga - 2008. I was still slaving away at Nortel. I wasn't following blogs. I didn't even HAVE a blog. DIXIE DUPREE was a pile of crap with a fatal flaw. It's like a flashback in time, reading those comments. I always purposefully look for folks I "know." There were only a couple names I recognized out there. Kitty, and Julie W. Most of us who hang out and about at The Reef today were either lurkers - or hadn't landed here yet.

It seems strange to me, but I'm having one of those thoughtful kind of days where stuff like this makes me feel a little melancholy. It makes me wonder -where are those folks now? I've wondered about this before...so here I go again.



Colin Smith said...

Donna: Likewise. Is Sha'el still out there, lurking? Her blog is still active, though I don't see links to books.

If I recall, in 2008 I had returned to writing fiction after about a 25 year hiatus, but I wasn't thinking about publication. I don't know if I had written my 300,000 word epic yet, or was working on it. I really like that story. I'll have to return to it one day. Maybe edit it. Maybe... ;)

Kate Larkindale said...

I'm in New Zealand and my publisher paid royalties through Paypal, so I never had to deal with bank transfer fees or anything. But that was a small press and the amounts weren't enormous. I'm not sure I'd want the royalties from my million dollar best-seller (I can dream, right?) going through there. And there are some countries that Paypal doesn't cover, so if you're in any African nation for example, that's not going to be an option.

BJ Muntain said...

It was so nice to see Sha'el, Princess of Pixies, in the comment thread on Gary's post. She is one impressive pixie. I think she still lurks here some, but she never posts. I kind of miss the goat stories...

I love PayPal. I also like interbank transfers. So much easier than wiring money. I prefer doing everything on the computer. I'm pretty sure I can set up a US bank account through my own bank, though, so that should make things easy enough. Now, if only I could get some money coming to me from an American source, perhaps a publisher through an agent...

Joseph Snoe said...

I’d love for Sha'el, Princess of Pixies, to comment again. I regret I missed her stint here.

My quick research indicates she published only that one book (Pixie Warrior) so far:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6002758-pixie-warrior

I don’t understand tweets, but these are some of her recent ones:

Just so you know, pixies do not date leprechauns.

I'm fairly certain our neighbor is a werewolf. I know this because he has doggy breath.

I watched a male brain at work and came away terribly confused.

Despite my best intentions, I work of the chaos is your friend method.

Of course I believe in GIANTS. I'm 4 feet ten inches. From my perspective nearly everyone is a giant.


Botanist said...

Because I'm dealing with US companies like Amazon and Smashwords I went through the process of getting a US tax number in order to stop the 30% withholding tax at source ('cos they are not getting 30% of the occasional cup of coffee I can afford from my book sales :)

Anyhooo...I hear getting an individual tax number (an ITIN) is a real rigmarole involving paperwork, fees, notarized copies of your passport, the chewed off heads of three chickens, and a piece of coal inscribed with a Zen koan. However, if you can legitimately describe yourself as a business, you can get an EIN instead which involved nothing more painful than ten minutes on the phone.

Theresa said...

I loved the Finding Gary Corby thread that Janet posted today. A very welcome diversion.

Lennon Faris said...

Loved the Gary Corby story as well!

Thanks Janet for the France folks update.

Julie Weathers said...

That was indeed an adventure. It was like a real life Where's Waldo? I think our Pixie Queen finally tracked Gary down.

Gary had put his contact information in his query, but in the meantime, he moved and had to change internet providers. They were supposed to migrate his emails. They didn't.

Janet had half the internet trying to track him down. I think Sha'el finally got an email through, but it went to a spam folder if I remember correctly. "Hi, are you Gary Corby? If so, a rich uncle died in Nigeria and sharque Janet Reid would like to talk to you about a dead man falling from the sky."

Well, she probably worded it differently than that.

Gary's sainted wife was sorting through stuff and said, "Dear, I don't think this is spam." or something to that effect.

Needless to say, everyone except me was thrilled. I had to change my name back to Julie Weathers. I was just getting used to answering to Gary Corby.

Obviously, we were all thrilled. I had forgotten about Hélène Boudreau being in the middle of the hunt also. She went on to sell six or eight books since then including her real mermaids series and I Dare You Not To Yawn, plus her non-fiction books. She is such a sweetie.

Now I really feel like a slug.

sigh

John Davis Frain said...

I think Gary Corby's code name is Red October, but I can neither confirm nor deny such.

Colin Smith said...

John: LOL. Subheader of the week! :D

AJ Blythe said...

Outing myself as Opie, although very late to the party. Thank you, Miss Janet, for the what you do here!

At least I now know being from Down Under won't send agents into hiding because of the hoops, but when I finally manage to hoodwink an agent into signing me I'll definitely look into getting a US Bank account. I don't want to share the few dollars I'll earn with the banks!

Love the Gary Corby story and what a lovely touch your final comment is, JR =)

So's y'all know, in the event our fearsome shark is turning the internet inside out hunting to sign me, I'm just 3 hours down the road from Gary Corby. Piece of cake!

Miss Janet, thank you for updating us on our French Reiders. Like others here I had been wondering how they were. I had a French delivery man at the house yesterday morning (not long after the tragedy struck Nice). He mentioned what had happened and I said I hoped his family and friends were okay. He replied he had none in Paris. I let him know it was Nice and he turned white, muttered something in French and left. I've been worried for him since.

Colin Smith said...

AJ: Three hours down the road from Mr. Corby??! That's like... a stone's throw! You're virtually neighbors!!! This means you are destined for greatness, you know that, don't you? :)

AJ Blythe said...

Colin, next time I'm in Sydney I'll be drinking the water. Just sayin' *wink*

Colin Smith said...

AJ: Yes, next time you're in Sydney, say "hi" to Gary from me. :D

This is like people in the States who used to say, "Oh, you're from England. Have you met the Queen?" :)

John Davis Frain said...

Colin, I suppose chance meetings like you and the Queen are possible based on the story from Red October (weird: autocorrect did that. I bought my computer used from the CIA. Do you think ... no, never mind.)

Anyway, Red October (autocorrect. spooky.) says people always ask him if he's met Bill Gates. Turns out not only does he look a little like Mr. Gates but he has indeed met the man.

So ... how well do you know the Queen, Colin?

Colin Smith said...

John: I know not this "Queen" of whom you speak. I have a friend called Lizzie Windsor, who lives at Buck House in London. But she's not the same person. Not at all. :D

John Davis Frain said...

After your first international best-seller, Colin, the Queen will invite you for tea. Unless, of course, you kill her in chapter 20.