Monday, January 9, 2012

The Best Week Ever. Payment Scheduling.

So how do you top the best week ever?  Sit down and write your next book, that's how.  My first two books, Requiem and Guardian sold a lot of books last week.  I won't lie, more books moved in those days than the last 6 months combined.  Requiem sold 134 books and received 40 borrows from Amazon Prime members and Guardian sold 39 copies with 8 borrows.  173 books and 48 borrows.  Borrows kind of have me scratching my head on where to fit them in the grand scheme of things.  People didn't buy the book, but I do get paid for each borrow.  So on the business end, it's like a rental.  One question I get asked a lot is "How many books have you sold?"  That used to be easy, right now about 112 books since June.  No one asks, "How many books were rented?" so i'm not sure if I should include them in my numbers yet, however there is actually a lot more because I quit trying to keep track of live sales because the reporting tools just suck and it became a whole lot easier to just record the numbers from the remittance statements.  So when someone asks how many books I've sold,  I tell them, "I've been paid for 112ish".  Also, I'm not going to pay taxes on money I haven't received yet either.

If you haven't published a book before one of the things you will need to get used to is the payment schedule of royalties and advances.  I won't go into traditional publishing, but I have read that they still mail checks out from England and if the row boat makes it across the Atlantic, you might see a check once a year if you managed to earn out your advance.  I use Lightning Source for print and Amazon for e-books.  Both are good and pay out monthly.  Both are bad because Lightning Source is three months delayed and Amazon is two months delayed. But it beats Smashwords pay out schedule of once a quarter.  Downside of delays is obvious. You don't get your money.  For example, back in November I had a sell out book signing at Barnes and Noble.  I have yet to see a dime from all of those books ordered and sold.  I should see it sometime in February.  Same goes for my best week ever on Amazon.  March will be the "Best paycheck ever" month.

Payment schedules get even worse when you add layers of distribution.  Smashwords pays 4 times a year remember.  They use Lightning Source for print.  So if the first week of January is your best week ever and I had sold hundreds of paperback books.  Lightning Source wouldn't pay Smashwords until April.  Smashwords would have just payed out for Q1, so you would have to wait till the end of Q2 for Smashwords to pay you.  Six months delay.  Ouch, I hope you didn't quit your day job because you finally started selling books.  The publishing forums are rife with posts and people claiming that Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Lightning Source etc are stealing their money, holding it hostage, blah blah blah.  But it's funny to read about and point at people who get upset from this because they stepped into a business they don't understand.

I am working on my next piece already.  Come Monday of next week, I will blog about it's progress.  If I maintain my word count, it should be done by the end of February.


  1. I agree, waiting for paychecks is kinda lame. I can deal with it though, and what really annoys me is waiting for sales reports. If I'm not going to see my money for months, fine. But good God, at least tell me how much I've sold in a timely manner. *cough* Smashwords *cough*

  2. 173 books and 48 Borrows is good. We don't have the system of advance in India. My publishers pays me royalty every year.

  3. @Ranae- It can get annoying. Lightning source is has pretty bad reporting. I'll get an email at the end of the month with a lot of detail on sales, broken down by every book and every little charge and discount, but no totals. Then 3 months later get an email with no information other than. We paid you $XXX. So I have to go back and find the previous emails, add up the numbers and see if they match to get my sales numbers.

    @Rachna- Thank you. It was a nice week. Now if only I could have every week be like that with each new book I publish. Once a year payout would suck. I would hate to have a good year and then my publisher goes out of business before I got paid.