Self-publishing with Amazon is easy. But if you live in a country where Amazon KDP pays by check (or cheque), receiving your royalty payments can be a problem.
It is not only very slow, but you will be subject to minimum thresholds before you can receive any payments.
In addition, you will need to pay bank fees to process your check.
While Amazon pays many authors by EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer), there are a lot of countries where this is not available.
Amazon payment methods
Amazon KDP offers three payment methods for authors. They are EFT direct deposit, wire transfer, and check.
EFT is the fastest and most convenient way to receive your royalties. You will be paid monthly, with no minimum threshold or fees.
Wire transfer is similar to direct deposit. But it usually incurs fees from your bank or intermediary banks, depending on your country and currency.
However, minimum royalty thresholds apply to wire transfers.
Check is the slowest and most expensive payment method. It requires a minimum threshold of earnings plus a processing fee per check and a longer delivery time.
The minimum threshold you need to accumulate in earnings before being eligible to be paid is usually US$100.00.
But in some cases, it is £100.00 or an equivalent in other local currencies.
On top of that, thresholds apply to each Amazon marketplace and are not cumulative.
For example, if you earn $75.00 from US royalties and £65.00 from the UK, you will not be eligible for a payment.
You have to wait until your earnings in a marketplace exceed the threshold before Amazon KDP pays by check or wire transfer.
The problem with thresholds
If you are subject to thresholds, you might find that it could take a very long time to get any payment at all from some marketplaces.
Most Amazon book and ebook sales come from the US or UK Kindle store.
But if you sell an occasional copy or two of your ebook in Japan, Spain, or Brazil, exceeding the individual thresholds may mean you will never be paid for these sales.
However, you will be paid if you are eligible for EFT, even if you make only one ebook sale and your royalty is merely a few cents.
If you are new to self-publishing, you need to take care selecting your payment method when registering with Amazon KDP.
Most authors will logically choose EFT. But it is not available to all authors.
Why would you choose to be paid by check?
The most common reason is that you live in a country where Amazon does not support EFT or, in some cases, wire transfer.
Amazon KDP currently offers EFT direct deposit to only around 40 countries.
Wire transfer from Amazon is available for some countries, but not as many as there were in the past.
If your country is not on either list, then payment by check is your only option.
Another reason, although not common, is that you would prefer to receive your royalties in a different currency than your local one.
For example, if you live in India and want to receive your royalties in US dollars, you might choose payment by check.
However, be aware that you will still have to pay the conversion fees when you deposit the check in your bank account.
Some authors may prefer to receive their royalties less frequently and in larger amounts. Perhaps so they can manage their taxes and expenses more easily.
However, this also means that you will have to wait longer for your payment and risk losing your check in the mail.
Downsides of check payment
If you decide to receive your payments by check, you should be aware that there are considerable disadvantages.
Amazon KDP pays by check only when your royalties reach the minimum threshold of $100 or equivalent in each marketplace.
Additionally, there is a $10 processing fee for each check you receive. Amazon will deduct this fee from your royalties before they send your check.
Lastly, you will have to wait for 60 days after the end of the month in which you earned royalties to receive your check.
For example, if you earned enough royalties in January to pass a threshold, you will receive your check at the end of March.
On top of that, you will probably need to wait another 2-4 weeks for your check to arrive in the post. The time depends on your location and postal service.
The last downside is that when you deposit the check in your bank account, your bank may charge additional fees.
When Amazon KDP pays by check, it is not the most efficient or cost-effective way to receive your royalties.
However, in many countries around the world, you may not have a choice.
If this is the case for you, you might want to consider using alternative publishing options.
Smashwords and Draft2Digital offer different royalty payment options. You may be able to choose Paypal, Payoneer, or other solutions.
Unless you have a specific reason to choose payments by check, it’s always better to select another way.
Then you can get faster and more frequent payments, lower fees, and less hassle.
But yes, unfortunately, for some authors in certain countries, there is no other choice other than payment by Amazon checks.
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