Sell Your Book, Not Your Identity

April 6, 2014

Cover for kindle 081213How exciting! You are about to receive your first royalty check from your local bookstore, CreateSpace, Amazon, Smashwords, IBookstore, anyone. And they ask you for your Social Security Number or SSN.

Do you really want to give your SSN away so casually?  No way.  And there is a very easy way to avoid it.

Here’s a secret most people don’t know.  You can and should get a separate Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your self-publishing business. Yes, you should get an EIN even if you are a sole proprietorship, even if you never have any employees, even if you do not choose an imprint name.

Why a separate EIN? So you don’t have to give Amazon or any other seller your Social Security Number. They will accept your EIN instead.

Cost – nothing. Time — 10 minutes.

You will need your Social Security Number when you fill out the IRS forms online, but that is not a big deal since they already have it. Here’s the IRS link:  Employer Identification Numbers for Self-employed and Small Businesses 

Be sure you go directly to the IRS site. Sham sites that look like the IRS site are popping up every day. They ask for your Social Security Number, mother’s maiden name, birthday—all the tools for stealing your identity. Scary stuff.

Another benefit of having an EIN — your self-publishing venture will have more characteristics of a business, which will pay off at tax time. More on that in a later post.

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