Inefficiencies detected

  1. Download the Lulu revenue report for the month of January.
  2. Note that the report says “N” under the “Withholding” column.
  3. Remember that I haven’t submitted a W-8BEN form to Lulu. This confirms to them that I’m a “foreign entity” for tax purposes and allows them to stop withholding 30% tax on my revenue (there’s a tax treaty between UK and US, so I pay the tax in the UK not in the US).
  4. Look at the Lulu Knowledgebase page on tax withholding. It says nothing about how to get a completed W-8BEN form to Lulu.
  5. Browse and locate the Knowledgebase page “How do I get a W-9 or a W-8BEN on file at Lulu?”
  6. Note that this document, contrary to its title, does not explain how to get a W-9 or a W-8BEN on file at Lulu. Instead it waffles and then suggests I contact Support if I “have any questions on how to submit” my form. I do indeed have a question. My question is “how do I get a W-8BEN on file at Lulu?”
  7. Attempt to search the user forums for an answer to this question before I contact the maze of twisty passages all alike that is Support.
  8. Note that Lulu’s user forums do not have a search function.
  9. Sigh.
  10. Flip a nearby table.
  11. Navigate to Lulu’s support page.
  12. Identify which of the four options offered — “My order”, “Professional services”, “My ISBN or distribution” or “Lulu.com website” — is most likely to cover issues on tax and revenue. It’s “Lulu.com website”, of course.
  13. Complete a support ticket asking the question not answered by the page claiming to answer the question.
  14. Receive an immediate automated email response including the answer to the question.
  15. Wonder why this answer isn’t included in the page alleging to answer the question.
  16. Note that the answer says “W-8BEN form must be received in hard copy”.
  17. Note also that the answer says I can fax Lulu my form.
  18. Wonder how, in “hard copy” terms, “fax” differs in any significant way from “email a PDF that someone can print”, the latter option not being offered.
  19. Decide that emailing a PDF is disallowed for the same reason that faxing is allowed: “because the US government lives in the 1980s”.
  20. Sigh.
  21. Flip a faraway table.
  22. Decide that this is all a monstrous faff since the “Withholding” column in step 2 was “N” and I barely sell anything on Lulu anyway.
  23. Profit!
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Out now: The Pink and the Grey

It’s done. The Pink and the Grey has been published for the Kindle, for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, and as a DRM-free ePub from Lulu.

I’ve created a page where you can read the blurb and find links to the book. I’ll update that as more formats come onstream, as a stereotype in braces would probably say.

Stats fiends: it’s 81,867 words long. In a standard 5in by 8in paperback format that’s about 280 pages. And yes, I am planning to release it in print form if you’d prefer an actual paper copy for your groaning bookshelf.

Hey, why not buy the ebook in all its formats and the print version? Why not buy a dozen copies to give to your friends? It makes an ideal Christmas present. Look, just buy it, will you?

I love the cover, which shows a shield not unlike that of St Paul’s College in the story. It’s designed by Mike Smith, creator of the excellent Blogshank blog. (He also writes and illustrates children’s books, so while you’re book shopping you should buy his Edward Hopper and the Carrot Crunch too — available for iPads and iPhones.)

Mike has also produced a new cover for Till Undeath Do Us Part in the same style. None of the story has changed but if you want to buy another copy I shan’t stand in your way. The new cover shows a detail from the stained glass of the west window of King’s College chapel, the magnificent medieval building that plays a part in the story. I simply cannot stop looking at the two faces. Wonderful, expressive — and very appropriate to the story, I think. (As I write, Amazon is still showing the old cover. I imagine there’s some caching somewhere. I twiddled all the necessary bits, I think.)

I guess I now have a brand. All I need are some sales…