Can you imagine their royalty checks? Even at only one dollar per book—and even I get more than that.
I remember well the heady feeling when I started to write, absolutely certain of the future: selection of my work as a favored book by Oprah Winfrey, an interview on the PBS NewsHour, and an Edgar Award presented by the Mystery Writers of America.
And huge royalty checks that would permit the purchase of a Prius, or maybe even a Volt.
I currently drive a Hyundai Elantra, indicating the future is not yet here.
I had one gigantic royalty check. Over $50 as I recall, based on a full very good year. Most of the other returns, paid quarterly, run as much as $2.52.
How do these extravagant sums get computed? Here’s what my latest publisher states on its web page:
35% of list price for printed books sold through publisher
15% of list price for printed books sold elsewhere (e.g., Amazon)
50% of list price for Ebooks priced under $8.95
55% of what publisher receives for Ebooks priced under $10 sold elsewhere
Clearly I’m better off if the book is purchased from my publisher. On my website I usually position the publisher’s button first, before Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sources. A bit of clever marketing shenanigans, don’t you think? On the other hand, full disclosure demands I say the book itself or its shipping might be cheaper elsewhere. And, really, I’m ecstatic if a book sells from any site whatsoever.
What is better, though, is if I can sell from my own hoard. I’m able to buy books at a good price from my publisher (if I order 50 or more) and then sell them directly for anything I want. Of course, I never go above the publisher’s established charge.
This direct sale approach, however, presumes a physical connection between seller and buyer. Planned book signings effectively fill this need. These usually attract friends who are being, well, friends. And because they are friends they often purchase a book. So because of them and their generosity, I’ve made several sales. I’ve had a signing at a bookstore for When Your Lover Dies, and a couple more at my home.
I’d planned one after Patriotism was published, but for a variety of reasons it hasn’t worked out. As a result, I have in my office two boxes of that exciting novel!
One of my publishers encourages authors to sell through the authors' websites. I’ve got to admit that sounds like fun. But then I’d have to develop a way to accept money. It’s probably not as difficult as it seems. I know I was panicked when I first got the “Square” so I can take credit card payments via my iPhone. But that turned out to be easy and even worked a few times. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work without a physical card to swipe. Also I’d have to charge for shipping. And there would be the wrapping and sending. Being basically lazy, I have not yet even considered that route. I need a helper.
This latest book, Patriotism, has been available for over six months. So far no royalty checks have poured in. Guess I’m just going to have to wait for that Volt!