Monday, June 10, 2019

Watch Everything

Over the weekend, I sold a book.  Yes, I sell few enough right now that it's an event, but that's not why I bring it up.  I sold a copy of a book at $3.99.  And I got $1.40 in royalties when I should have gotten $2.74.  (When you're small beans, every penny counts.)

Basically, they gave me the 35% royalty rate instead of the 70% rate.

Once I realized this, I checked first to make sure I hadn't accidentally clicked the 35% rate at some point.  Nope.  I've got it clicked right.  Then I contacted Amazon to get it fixed.  (I'm still waiting on a reply at the time of this post's creation.)

Then I got to thinking.  I don't usually check this stuff.  Usually, I assume everything is hunky-dory until I match up the deposits with the amounts I assume I'm going to get.  Which is two months down the road from the actual sale.  So far, everything has matched up. 

But what if it didn't?

And what if I was selling way more books, so one messed up royalty percentage wasn't as obvious?

What a clusterfuck that would be.

Now, I don't believe this was intentional.  I think it's more an issue of the massive amount of calculations and code it takes to run a website like Amazon.  There are bound to be errors now and again. 

Sometimes, it's a customer issue.  In February, Amazon showed that I sold a copy of Project Hermes, but the money never showed in my Royalties Earned section.  I chalked that up to the actual payment never going through - which sometimes happened.  Sucks, but it does.  Oddly enough, I got paid for a copy of PH in April that I never showed selling.  So it all worked out somehow or other.

My point is authors really have to watch what's going on.  All of it.  All the time.  $1.34 doesn't sound like a lot, but it adds up over time.  Or think of it this way, that's a cup of coffee.  Over 100 sales, it's $134 which I'm sure none of us can afford to lose.  Over 1000 sales... 10000 sales...


Or think about the agent that screwed all those authors out of royalties last year because he was funneling the money into his private charity.  And somehow the authors just assumed their books weren't selling?  I'd be watching even closer when someone was handling those amounts of my money.  Embezzling... it's a real thing, folks.

I know it's a pain in the ass to have to watch every little thing.  We've all got better things to do with our time than babysit this stuff.  But not watching could really hurt the bottom line.  And I, personally, like to get paid what I'm owed.  

Anyway, I'll try to remember to let you know how this all works out.  I have every faith that Amazon will fix my little burp.  Well, not every faith.  I did screen capture how my pricing page looked for WIOH before I emailed them.  You know, just in case.  ;o)


  1. Such an important reminder to stay on top of things! I'm frequently guilty of *not* checking. Thanks for this!

  2. Yeah. I used to check every royalty sheet that came out. I need to start doing that again. Good reminder!

  3. I had that exact thing happen once. Amazon wrote back and said it was something about the buyer, and I unfortunately don't remember what. In a non-covered country, maybe, or on expanded distribution.

    I hope they fix it for you!