Book Cover photography Archives - Phil Cox

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Category Archive: Book Cover photography

  1. God Bless the American Way….but maybe not their tax bit.

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    I have recently been looking at getting Point North & Pedal published as an e-book; this has been an interesting exercise in researching a topic I know nothing about.  Amazon’s help pages and FAQ’s are good although the process is quite convoluted, especially the tax situation with the United States.

    My manuscript is currently being formatted as a ‘zipped HTML’ file which, apparently, Amazon prefers for Kindle. I have set up a Kindle Direct Publishing account with Amazon and provided various bank details and international payment reference numbers provided by my bank. Obviously all in preparation for the huge amount of royalties that will wing their way to my modest little bank account. In addition to this I have created a JPEG cover for the book and a TIFF product image (the picture that you see when browsing Amazon).

    The main barrier to actually publishing for Kindle is invoking the US Tax Treaty with the UK, to do this I need to apply for an Individual Taxpayer’s Identification Number (ITIN) from the US Internal Revenue Service. If I do nothing, Amazon is forced to pay 30% of my net royalties to the Federal Government. Amazon paying its taxes you say…a little unlikely but apparently they have to or they will be doing hard labour in pink shirts that say ‘I am cheating the social state and especially sub-prime mortgage victims’; this will require a big t-shirt but then everything is big in America.

    Completing the required W7 form is easy but the catch comes with providing suitable identification, in this case that would be my passport. To get the IRS reference number, I have a couple of options: send my passport to the IRS office in Texas with Form W7 or visit the US Embassy in London to have a copy of my passport certified before sending W7 to Texas.

    The IRS counter works on a first come, first served basis and opens a limited number of time per week. The main benefit of doing things this way is I get to keep my passport. Interestingly, I am not allowed to take any electronic devices (they must be stored off-site at a cost) and entry to the embassy is via and airport style security check with body scanners and probably huge Marines that have necks thicker than their heads. If they are tooled up I am not going to argue….

    Assuming that everything is in order and I get seen before the office closes at 4pm I can send everything off to Texas. Unfortunately, it could be 3 months given the size of the IRS and also the fact that the Federal budget issue thing shut them down for a period of time recently. I have no idea of the length of the backlog but will maintain faith in their system; after all, this is the nation that landed men on the moon.

    It’s not that 30% of any royalties will be a large amount of cash but it’s the principle of thing. I feel slighted that I have to apply for this ‘concession’ given the very Special Relationship that I must have with our US allies. Additionally, it’s a complicated, bureaucratic bit of nonsense that will not beat me…

    Roll on publication date! God bless America!

    Further reading…..

    If you liked this blog please take a moment to check out my book describing the solo Land’s End to John O’Groats ride in 2012, all profit from sales to

    Please click the cover image for the Kindle version or click here to order a paperback copy. Thank you!


  2. Book Proof Arrives….!

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    The last few days have dragged waiting for the proof of the book to arrive…it finally did yesterday. Despite having eagerly anticipating this moment for a long time, it was strangely flat. The book looked like a book: I did notice that the cover was a little flimsy at 250gsm (I have negotiated a free upgrade to 300gsm) and that there was a mistake on the contents page, it was not the momentous moment I thought it was going to be.

    However, it was nice to see all the work come together in one place, the cover art appeared so much better actually on a book instead of a .pdf on the screen. I like the design; it really gives a good representation of the content. The pictures in the book are a touch grainy but then none of them were taken with a decent camera (some with a different camera) and I suspect the paper used is not the same as if I had used a publisher and charged £12.99 for the book.

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    In terms of corrections, I have started to proof read it (again) and have picked up a couple of semi-colons that should be commas and vice versa. The majority of the changes are around re-wording sentences. I am happy with 95% of it but there are still pieces that need attention. After this re-jig, that will be it – back to the printers as a signed off proof, this will mean amending the word document and resubmitting.

    Mark Crone at has produced a fantastic website; I am very grateful and have enjoyed working with him. He sent me over a test page which shows the book cover off nicely and gives people the opportunity to buy. I think this looks really nice, clean and easy to use. Check out his website if you get a few minutes spare.

    There is still a long way to go before the first box of books arrive for sale but I hope to have it ready for launch by the last week of April. I’ve come this far and don’t want to spoil things by rushing now. Now that year end has finished at work and I can start cycling again, I fully expect my mood to lift and everything to come right; happy and sunny days are on the way!

  3. Book Cover Shot….it can’t be that difficult, can it?

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    I had planned to get a cover photograph last weekend but the weather forecasts were so shocking that we just didn’t bother. Today’s forecast was better so we decided to give it a go.

    One good thing about this whole project is the resurrection of old friendships from my school days. During last years ride, Wayne May put me up at his house in Cornwall and Penny Mumford made the effort to feed and water me at Ludlow train station to name two. Today I hooked up with David Clements, he still lives and works locally and hasn’t really changed that much since 1988. We played a lot of school rugby together but, as we left school to pursue their own lives, friendships went on hold for a bit. David is a keen photographer so I pitched the idea of getting a cover shot for the book.

    Thinking myself just a bit clever for checking the forecast on Sunday and deciding that tonight would be bright and sunny, we planned to meet at 5pm on Chain Hill, just south of Wantage on the Newbury road. I had prepped my bike at the weekend with things like racks and bar bags; the panniers were stuffed to make them look full and my summer gear was neatly piled up ready to go. The brief for the picture was ‘long, winding and undulating road, solitary cyclist struggling with kit on a sunny day’…no problem with the struggling bit as I am still trying to shake off a liberal dose of fatal man flu; the weather changed it’s mind around 3pm which buggered up the simulated summers day a treat.

    Not to be beaten, we decided that the shot would be a moody weather scene instead. I cycled off down the hill for a few hundred yards, turned around and selected a big gear to add to the effect of struggling up a hill. So far, so good, no cars in the shot and the rolling hills appeared in the background. The cold was making itself know by the pain in my fingers; despite wearing gloves, David still struggled to operate the camera. Having got the first run of pictures out of the way, we did another couple of run throughs and seemed to get some nice shots. By this time, it was getting very unpleasant and I was relieved to get back to the car.

    The beauty of this picture revolves around the fact that I am in it but my face will not be visible, always a bonus when you are trying to get people interested with a photograph. The cover shot should make people pick up the book and read a little further (hopefully turn it over and read the blurb). If I could have ordered up the weather, I would have gone for blue sky, sunshine and fluffy white clouds but this was not to be. A more threatening sky and landscape with a lone cyclist would fit in nicely with how I felt at the end of Day 9 near Dalwhinnie in the Highlands. It was cold, damp and windy with a definite sense of being the middle of nowehere.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the results once David has worked some magic on the raw pictures, I can then move onto the next stage of getting the cover designed. Thanks for your help mate, another debt of gratitude to be repaid in the bar!