Tag Archives: royalties

Why Giveaway Your Talent?

Many authors, painters, and sculptors get asked this question: Why is it so much? Newbies, you will want to read this.

Coming from a very artistic family, my brother was often asked why his paintings cost so much? I have been asked to give books away for free.There are several ways to gauge a cost: How famous is the creator? How much time went into creating this work? How much were the materials to create this work?

The one people most commonly will understand is how much material went into the work. They are more apt to understand a higher cost of something if, say a sculpture, was made of copper. The one people don’t usually understand is the value of time.

Almost all people are paid by time;  by the hour. You put in 8 hours at work and you are paid for those 8 hours. Of course, the hourly wage will depend on the type of work. Let’s just say that any indie artist is paid minimum wage (in CA that’s $10). As an independent author, writing a novel may take me 300 hours (that’s being generous). In theory, I should make $3,000. But nobody is paying me. My income comes from sales of books.

On average, an independent author receives about $2.00 from the sale of a physical book and $1.75 from the sale of an e-book. Those prices fluctuate depending on how they went about publishing, so +-$1.00 in either direction.

Here’s the math:

At a $15 dollar book, making only $2.00 royalty per book, I need to sell 1,500 books to earn minimum wage for my 300 hours. the average indie author sells 10 books. It’s a labor of love.

Here’s some more math:

I pay an editor $1500 to edit my book. I pay $100 to buy an ISBN for my book to be sold. I pay $500-$1500 to have someone professionally format that book. Then, I either publish on my own (Amazon) or go through a vanity press, in which you can tack on another $1,000 to $5,000 dollars. So recoup those costs, I’ve got to sell another 3,ooo+ books.

But wait! There’s more.

A book lost in cyberspace is just that: Lost. Now I’ve got to let people know this book is alive. As an independent author, I’ve got a few devote friends and family, a loyal stalker or two, but no huge fan base that jumps for joy whenever a new book comes out. So I have to start marketing. My latest Facebook ad cost $38.83 to reach 2,300 people total. But that’s just reach. I need clicks. I need purchases!! Of those 2,300 reach 171 clicked through to see what I’m selling and about 7 downloaded the e-book. I spent $38.83 for 7 sales and made about $10.

The question again: why does a book, painting, piece of art cost so much? Why can’t you float me a book for free?

Because it cost more than I may ever recoup and nothing is ever really free. Even if I gave the book for free, it actually cost me my soul. See below for my October royalties. In total there were 9 books or e-books sold (ignore the 19 I had an author order of 10 books in there). Total gross sales were $68.83 and royalties paid to me were $15.40. I made about a quarter of the gross or $1.71 average per book. Who else would work for that?



So why do it? I get asked that quite a bit. Why? Because writing is in my soul. This is what brings me comfort and peace. And if i could write for a living, I would absolutely do it. Once a year, maybe twice, I’ll get a great review, or someone who says that my story touched them or made them think. One person said she picked up the phone and called her father after ten years of being estranged from him, after reading my book Be Still. Yeah. That’s why. Happy reading and happy writing.

Follow me at Facebook and Twitter. For more information on my books visit the author webpage HERE

Tania L Ramos RN BSN


Iuniverse Fails Royalty Report Card

First of all I’d like to thank everyone for making Epic Ode to Pinkie Toe the most viewed and liked post on my blog. I suppose every once and a while we all need a good laugh.

On to bigger topics. . .where is my royalty? Okay, since I started using Iunivierse, oh way back in 2012, my royalties were sort of paid on time.  The first one was paid to the date, the second was paid out a day late, the third about a day late. This year, the first quarter was almost a week late, now this second quarter is twenty days late.

It’s not like my life hangs in the balance of my payout. Lord knows I haven’t done any real promoting of the book over the summer so I could take a hiatus from social media a bit, but it goes without saying that as an author I’m pretty darn curious about my sales. Wouldn’t you be? The only way I know what I sell is to see my royalty sales figures and I wanna know.

My best guess was that I’d be using Iuniverse again for Life by Chance, since I have zero or less time to jump on and put my book up to every site out there. And if you’ve read my rants about Amazon then you know I won’t go the KDP route or Create Space route. Heck, I’m still waiting on them to post my book on my author’s page so I can see ranks & sales, etc. I digress, it’s a learning experience.

I never had any real problems with Iuniverse. They were polite, friendly, not overbearing, and did a fantastic and professional job with my book. They placed it on every market from Nook, and Kindle, to Kobo and iBook. It’s on every platform and bookstore for purchase worldwide. Their potential to be so strong is so huge, but it fails when it comes to payouts and reporting monthly royalties in a timely manner.

If I were selling books by the droves I know I would want my payout in a timely manner. On the iUniverse report card for reporting royalties in a timely manner they get an F.  Sorry Iuniverse, this area has become worse as time goes on. I’m sure I’m not the only person to rant about this.

Tania L Ramos, Author Waiting and Waiting and Waiting

My Iuniverse Stats 2012

A quickie post for those of you looking at Iuniverse to publish. Keep in mind this is my second book, but the only one I really promoted in 2012. These are the sale numbers for online sales through retail markets and include e-books. My physical book sales are quite a bit more, so apparently I sell more from the trunk of my car: more than double. And I’ve given away about 15 books to giveaways, reviewers, friends..etc

Ebooks: 44

Softcover: 10

Hardcover: 4

Total: 58

What sells more? Ebooks, by far. Unless you are standing at the trunk of my car. Personal sales equal about 120-ish. Keep in mind, I am not KDP, so no freebie days. These are actual sales that I had to hustle for. And I still say this is not bad for a no-name, no followers author of 2012. Remember, I didn’t start selling until June 2012, so I’m shining my gold star right now.

Okay, a further break down for those wondering if only selling on Amazon is ideal. I took all the e-readers and broke it down. Kindle still sold more, but it would be wrong of me to neglect the other options because they almost add up to Kindle sales.

Kindle: 27

Nook: 13

iBook: 3

Sony e-reader: 1

As for the royalty pay out, here is the gist: aprox $1 per ebook and about $2 – $2.50 per physical book depending on the site purchased from. My total royalty pay out for 2012 is almost $80. I made 5 times that selling from my trunk after my initial cost to purchase. Not trying to discourage anyone. I’ve said before, they were great for doing all the hard work: formatting, distribution, etc … but the payout isn’t great.

So if you’d like to contribute to double these sales in 2013 please purchase my book, and don’t forget to leave feedback if you have or do. I love reviews and criticism. Here’s the trailer

Kindle $3.49 today

Nook $3.51 today

Barnes & Noble softcover $14.25 plus use this coupon through 3/10/12 to get 15% off code:CBU2BGZXLT5ZA

Signed copy: Use PayPal to email address hdsurfgirl@hotmail.com $15 for softcover $23 for hardcover (shipping included/ U.S. only)

Getting to the Distributor

For those of us living in the U.S. and working, odds are you have seen a substantial change in your paycheck.  It is awful, and to someone like myself who is not on the full-time payroll but works full time hours without benefits and accrued paid time off, it is worse. Since I am not guaranteed hours it difficult to judge what my next pay check will look like.  Then enter the costs of publishing and marketing which takes from said paycheck.

I wake up on a daily basis and ask myself what I can do different.  If invention is the mother of necessity, then I must find something to necessitate.  Ugh! Then I started looking into publishing The Surviving The Writing Apocalypse manual in physical print.  Which channel to go through? Createspace? Vanity press? Staples and spiral bind it? Bookbaby for personal sales? There really are a lot of avenues.

But what about micropress? What is a micropress? These typical have book runs of less than 5 books, which is more like self-publishing to the bare bones.  You do it all yourself. Impossible? No.  Hella difficult? Yes.

First you have to find a distributor, like Lightning.  next you have to learn all their formatting rules not only for the book, but also for the cover.  It couldn’t be as easy as a Word doc though, no they use some bizarre PDF thingy that looks more like the name of some Matrix movie than a program.  Luckily, they have a manual.  Brilliant! Yeah, about as brilliant as reading an Ikea how-to-build-your-bookshelf guide in Swedish.

All sarcasm aside, after reading the manual ten times and deciding I would have to buy at least two new programs, it isn’t impossible.  You follow the instructions, they give you a format, you follow that, upload all the finished products, submit some basic payment info (for your royalties) and they place it in their catalog.  Whala, self-published book that places such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others can place in their catalog. The retailer takes their cut, the distributor takes manufacturing costs, and you reap the rest of the royalties.  Since you are the publisher, you take all royalties and don’t have to share with agreggators or publishers.

ls_logoPhew. So, if you are truly looking to be self or independently published, it looks to be worth the work. I am going to try this with my manual just to test the waters and report back with more info, pros and cons alike.

By the way, the break down is like this:

$0.90 per unit (book), add $0.013 per page and you get the manufacturing cost. (example at 150 page book is $2.85)

Next, take the cost of the book retail, say $15.00 for paperback and subtract the retailer discount (Amazon asks 55%, most don’t ask more than 20%). So at worst, Amazon takes their 55% off $15.00 which is $8.25, then add the manufacturing cost of $2.85= $11.10. You then get the full rest of the royalty of $3.90, which is much better than my $1.25 with a vanity press.

All books are returnable, so if you are paying for a return program it is bogus.  Any returned books will be deducted from the author’s royalty payment.

Look into it authors.

Tania L Ramos


Follow me at

Facebook.com/TaniaLRamosBooks and Facebook.com/WritingApocalypse

Twitter @tanialramos and @writingapocalyp