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How Do I Make Money From My Published Book?

How Do I Make Money From My Published Book?

As Founder/CEO of Enhanced DNA:Develop Nurture and Achieve, LLC and the Enhanced DNA Publishing division, I wanted to share insight into the world of publishing through this Q&A series.

Here is an excerpt from the workbook, "Enhancing Your Communication DNA: Publishing for Beginners" that gives some insight into the publishing world.

Distribution used to be one of the biggest challenges for self-published authors since distributors were not accessible to those outside of the traditional publishers. Now that online retail has become a dominating factor in book sales, distribution is open to everyone. Most book sales (for all platforms) occur through online sales. You do not have to hire an expensive publishing service since Amazon and other online resources have opened the door for everyone at little or no cost for basic services. Distribution is achieved through Print-on-demand and requires no upfront costs. The distributor keeps a portion of the sales leaving you with the cost of printing and your royalty per book sold. Print-on-demand printing means that your book is printed once an order is placed. When the order is placed through the distributor, it will be paid for by the customer (including shipping charges) and the distributor ships to the customer. One downfall of Print-on-demand printing is that it is harder to get these into Brick and Mortar bookstores.

The two biggest distributors in the US are:

Amazon KDP, no upfront fees.

IngramSpark, a division of Ingram, the largest book wholesaler/distributor in the US; there is a fee per title.

Just a note that Amazon is an awesome tool for someone who is thinking of a limited distribution. But realize that Amazon does limit the use of some of their free products on KDP beyond their Amazon platform. For example, some other distributors will not accept an Amazon title that has the “Amazon only” ISBN or Cover Created with Amazon Cover Creator.

Getting Paid: (Royalty) Through an Independent Publisher

Most Indie Publishers will charge a fee to assist with the publishing process – depending upon the services requested. They may charge by the hour or for specific services. Recognize that the Indie Publisher is a coordinator of services since it takes a team to publish a quality book adhering to the standards of organizations such as the Independent Book Publishers Association. The Indie Publisher may contract with you and also contract with the editor, cover creator, etc. or they may recommend those services and you contract with them directly. Make sure that you understand the fee structure. Usually if the author contracts with the Indie Publisher, all royalties obtained from the sales of books goes directly to the author. Once the book is published and the Indie Publisher contract is fulfilled, there are no additional payments to the publisher (unless previously determined in the contract).

Getting Paid: (Royalty) Through a Distributor

Publishing through a distributor and selling the books through that distributor will result in the author being paid a royalty directly into the author’s bank account (this is regardless of whether you self-publish or use an Indie Publisher). Authors have the ability to purchase Author copies (at a discount through the distributor). The author purchases the books and pays a reduced price along with shipping charges for the number of books purchased. The books will be shipped directly to the author and the author can sell those books and retain the remaining royalty. If the books are sold through the distributor (i.e. online through Amazon or Barnes and Noble), the distributor keeps the cost of printing the book (Print-on-Demand) and a portion of the sale on the book. The remaining is paid as a royalty directly to the author. For example: If the amount that the distributor keeps is 40%, then your royalty will be 60% after the cost of printing.

The royalty determined is based off the size of the book, the retail cost of the book and the royalty calculation determined by the distributor. The distributor usually provides a tool to help you determine this amount when you are setting the price of your book. Royalty from a distributor can be paid as much as 2 months after the sale of a book. Again, this gets paid directly to the author’s back account and it can be traced through the distributors reporting features.

Many authors will sell their books directly to consumers or through their website. If this is the case, they are able to retain a majority of the royalty. The only limitation is that if the books are ordered off their website, they are responsible for accepting payment (eCommerce) and are responsible for shipping the books to the customer. This could result in additional overhead from postage as well as additional supplies for shipping. One of the biggest benefits of the author providing books directly to customers is that they can provide autographed/customized books. For example, our most recent book, Mentoring Moments: 14 Remarkable Women Share Breakthoughs to Success, has fourteen different authors involved in this project. As a result, each individual author is able to sell copies of the book and retain the royalty for it. Also, they are able to autograph the book. But the most exciting benefit is that they are able to add the new recognition of, "Award-Winning Finalist" sticker in the Self-Help: Motivational category of the 2019 Best Book Awards sponsored by the American Book Fest, to the book!

My advice for authors is to be realistic regarding their sales goals. Most authors don't publish their book for the financial reward (especially if they aren't a full-time author). But, it never hurts to make a profit! Work with your publisher to determine the number of books that you will need to sell in order to make your money back from the publishing costs and to see a profit. Then set your goal and develop a plan for how to reach that goal. I hope this provides some insight into "getting paid". If you have questions about the cost of publishing or how to make money from your book, contact us at Enhanced DNA Publishing. We will be glad to help.


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