The honeymoon’s over. After launching the book, creating the book’s FB page and asking everyone to review the book, we received the first royalties statement and practically had kittens. Seventy-three books had been sold, but no royalties were actually accrued. Zero, zip, nada. I logged into our createspace account and then contacted them to talk with a human being, something I should have done earlier in the process. These were the disheartening reasons why there were no royalties accrued:
- Our book is 206 pages long, printed in full color on white paper. To the novice in self-publishing, what this means is that the three pictures in the book which are color are in full color. It also means that the rest of the book is produced using color printing, including all the black and white images and all the text. This makes for a very expensive book.
- Pricing – I selected the minimum cost for the book, meaning that while it still is too expensive (see 1 above), we still get no royalties, because each book sold breaks even (after shipping and the percentage taken by Amazon.
So, what can we do about this?
- We could raise the price of the book, at the risk of not selling it.
- Had we printed the book in black and white on white paper, the manufacturing cost would have been something like $3.50 per book, versus the $15.27 it costs now. This would have resulted in much better returns for the author. Again, this knowledge would have been very useful earlier in the process.
- And, the worst news – we can’t simply reprint the book in black and white because it has a ISBN number associated with it, and those people buying the book will expect it to be full color on white paper. (with its three color photos)
- To do that, we’d have to create a new project, get a different ISBN number and start over. This, at the moment, defeats me.
At a time when we should’ve been elated about publishing the book in time for Christmas, this news was not cheering. Ironically, the book seems to be selling pretty well, and to be frank, we didn’t publish it to make a fortune.
Having said that, read the great reviews on Amazon, but if you buy the book at the Createspace store, directly, you will be sending a little money to the author. Royalties accrue on every book sold there. So, we encourage you instead to buy the book at the Createspace store instead of on Amazon.com.
Publishing is complex and tough to make sense of as a newcomer. My advice, always read the fine print.
In the meantime, special thanks to those of you who have taken the time to write reviews on Amazon! It means the world to us! Merry Christmas to all.