Indie Rambles #2 - Navigating the Paper Work - Jo-Ann Carson

Indie Rambles #2 – Navigating the Paper Work


This week I slid into a special layer of writer’s hell where the mind is tortured by details. I named it Acronymsareodious. Filled with walking zombie-like figures: EIN, ITIN, IRS, BEN and WTF (defined below *) it had a distinct nasty smell to it, kind of like smelly socks that have stayed in a teenage basketball player’s gym bag too long.

If you don’t treat them right, I believe they’ll haunt you forever.

And, let me tell you, these guys have friends ISBN and ©! I’m sure I will find more acronym critters to deal with, but that’s all for now.

It’s been a week of writing in the morning, which I love, and sorting through paperwork in the afternoon (not so much fun). I think I’m getting somewhere, but only time will tell.


There are many ways up the mountain, both in writing and indie-publishing. You have to find a path that suits you. I found Mimi’s route easy to navigate and if you are like me, and trying to get your paper duckies in a row,  I recommend it:

Mimi’s Clear Instructions on How to Do It

A good writing buddy of mine, multipublished Mimi Barbour has generously posted on her blog a simple way to get things done. Check it out:

For Mimi’s blog post click on the title: Information You Should Have to Publish on Amazon


* Defining the Ghouls of Acronymsareodious

EIN – Employee Identification Number (US)

INIS – Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (US)

IRS- Internal Revenue Service (U.S.)

Ben – the W-88BEN form (US)

WTF – What the f**k

ISBN – International Standard Book Number (you need lots to id your books)



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Mata Hari Series launches April 1st

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24 Replies to “Indie Rambles #2 – Navigating the Paper Work”

  1. Mimi has been so generous with her time, in terms of trying to make a muddy road clearer. I’m very thankful for her assistance.
    The paths to self-publishing are convoluted, that’s for sure. Discovering what other indie-authors have done is the key. Hang in there Jo-Ann.

    1. Thanks Jodie
      I’m so thankful to have people like you willing to help me along. I can’t imagine how the pioneers did it.
      Speaking of Indie pioneers, Mimi is an amazing woman with lots of savvy and a heart as big as the continent. She’s helped so many of us along, and is always there to help us out of the potholes.
      I have at times an affinity for potholes.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Happy Writing

        1. Mimi
          Looks good on you. And so well deserved. You`ve touched so many of us with your knowledge about writing and publishing. Truly changing careers and lives. Saying a simple `thank-you`just doesn`t seem like enough.

  2. Hey, Jo-Ann. How did those first people manage to do this? It’s what I wonder any time I drive across the vast western plains or hit those mountain passes. Yikes! Amazing any of us is here.
    I read Mimi’s blog. Very helpful. Fortunately for me, DH handled most of that for me. I’m now MRW Press for my e-books that I will print myself. I’ve got one more coming e-book out from MIU *which I will simultaneously bring out in print, then will probably do the whole thing myself. (Assuming I get the WIP completed. LOL)
    I just got an email from my formatting folks asking about the ISBN number. I responded I thought I got that when I went through Creatspace. We’ll see. I may have missed a step.
    It is exciting though and not dull. I love your graphic. You are multi-talented, Lady!

    1. Hi Marsha
      I just heard a great line on a podcast “You have to build the bridge as you’re walking on it.” (Tim Grahl marketing guru). That’s about what it feels like.
      I do believe I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors, and I agree with you, looking back I can see their lives were no picnics.
      I’m glad you like Mimi’s blog. She’s an amazing woman. Like you, she shares everything.
      Your book will be out in print soon. I’m so excited for you. I wonder if it’s more exciting because you did it yourself?
      Yes ISBNs are interesting. Your print book needs to have its very own.
      I’m still sorting through the process of getting what I need. I tried to buy a block of ten from Bowker, because one author said they were a good deal. After filling out yet another form, I discovered I have to obtain my ISBNs in Canada. Okay. It’s an international number, but I have to buy in my own country. Who makes these rules? I feel like I’m playing monopoly. The good news is that it turns out ours are free. The bad news is that I have a bunch more paperwork to do. You know the kind that makes you squint and shake your head.
      I’m rambling. Always good to talk to you. Sorry to hear your fridge is still underperforming. Loved your blog post on the gecko.
      Thanks for your kind words.

  3. As a not-quite-there-yet author I watch your journey to indi with interest and awe. The creative parts of it sound fun and energizing, but the paperwork sends me back to querying agents. Love y our new cartoon. Who’s so creative?!

    1. Hi Judy
      There are many paths up that mountain and finding the right agent is an awesome one. Please, don’t let my journey diminish your dream. I wish you every success. Your stories, so richly told, deserve to be published.
      Energizing! Yes, you hit it on the nail. Ever since I jumped off the cliff my mind has been on fire. I can barely sleep, my mind is constantly running on several platforms that don’t entirely meet. lol. I think the initial rush will settle…at least I hope so.
      The paperwork was scary. I pulled up my big girl panties tried to manage it on my own, but I turned to our chapter and Mimi for help in the end. Thank God we belong to such a great group of writers.
      Thanks for the compliment on the cartoon. Coming from an artist, it means a lot to me.
      I need to get writing. Great chatting.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I have to admit I’m being lazy. Much of what you discuss is on my list of to do’s but sof far I’m sticking to Amazon and not doing POD simply due to time constraints. And yes, I KNOW putting all my eggs in one basket isn’t smart.

    1. Hi Pat
      Hey, I think your business plan sounds great, especially since you have a full time job. I`m starting only with Amazon. It`s enough to figure out. The last name I would call you is lazy. Maybe crazy (especially with high heels in New York), but not lazy.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I’m bookmarking this blog for future reference. When I get a free moment, I need to check that all ducks are in a row. I have a feeling they are not. A writer’s work is never done 🙂

  6. I won’t make that mistake again. Really, after wearing high heels in NY once I realize how fictitious Sex and the City is. I think this is the show that really made Loubatin and other shoe designers a household name. I don’t think I saw (didn’t watch that many) one episode where Carrie Bradshaw wasn’t talking about or wearing high heels. Granted she seemed to prefer cabs to walking but still… Such is the power of fiction and now that I have gone totally off track I’ll just wish you well with journey into Indie Publishing and stop my rant about high heels in NY.

    Wishing you much success!

    1. Hi Pat
      I know! I agree! This “stilettos are fun“ thing is complete fiction. Amazing how cultural things like that can grow.
      Thanks for cheering me on. I`m always here cheering for you too.
      Best Wishes

  7. Jo-ann, good news! As a Canadian, we get our ISBNs for FREE 🙂 … It’s actually easy too … but it’s more letters 😀 CISS (Canadian ISBN Service System)
    http://www.collectionscanada (dot )gc (dot) ca/ciss-ssci/index-e.html
    they give you very specific directions, but feel free to give me a shout

    By the way, welcome to our insanity…. ha ha last week I dumped emails from TransferBigFiles because I thought it was a scam… nope, it was files from a cover formatter … oops.

    1. Hi Kathryn Jane
      I signed up for ISBNs today. Whew. One more thing crossed off my list Thanks for the info.
      Next week, I`ll tackle copyright.
      OMG I can`t imagine how you felt when you realized you dumped the wrong files. Urrrrgh. Hard to stay positive through that.
      Thanks for all your support.
      Best Wishes

  8. So glad to have you join our Indiehood Jo-Ann. It’ll be fun. You’ll see. Just to put your mind at rest, shrink costs aren’t so high anymore LOL

    One more comment and then I’m gonna be quiet. I found out about a site called Pressbook ( from another wonderful sharing author in the VIC group – thank you Shelley) and it’s been a godsend for me as far as formatting my books. At first, I did have a professional formatter and things went along very well until he started male menopause and went all PMssy on me…. the bast… ahem!
    Trust me, a problem formatter can lead to a lot of problems especially for someone who’s just decided she wants to undo Select and share her product among the rest of the distributors. Of course, they want everything formatted as epubs and not mobis.
    When I learned about Pressbook, that it was a template and very easy to manipulate, I forced myself to ignore the voices – you know the ones saying – No! Are you insane?? It’s too much, too hard. Hire someone!! – those voices – and I got through the first book’s formatting with help from Shelley… and drugs. The next book was a piece of yummy cake with lots of frosting and ice cream and…. oh sorry, I digress. Anyway, when you start out as Jo-Ann is doing now, it’s best to take control right from the beginning. And know I’ll be glad to help you when the time comes. And also know Pressbook does have a good “how-to” guide to follow. If I could just find the damn thing when I want to…… sigh!!

    1. Oh, Mimi, you give me hope! I just shelled out a bundle for a two page update in three books… it is a blessing to have someone who can do this when you need them, but… if I can do it myself, well, then I need to give it a try… eventually… once the shaking stops 😀 thanks!

      1. Hi Kathryn Jane
        I love how my writing buddies share everything. I hope that your shaking stops soon, and you like the template.
        Best Wishes
        …but Mimi did say shrinks are getting cheaper.

    2. Oh Mimi
      Another tip! Pressbook. I`ve started a new page in my notebook for it.
      Glad you stifled the voices. You had me laughing all the way through your comment. Shelley and drugs – quite the combo.
      The Pressbook template sounds awesome. Thanks for passing along the tip. You may hear from me when I try it the first time. Ill keep the image of yummy cake in my mind.
      What I like most about Indie publishing is taking control of things, so this is a sweet discovery. Thank you.
      Happy Writing
      who is proud to belong to the Indiehood.

  9. I can’t believe how difficult this is – and yet you are courageously charging ahead. What was that old saying? “Leap and the net will appear” You are weaving a very resilient net. Good for you.

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