Tag Archives: royalty

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

Quarter 1, Iuniverse

So I received my first quarter sales/royalty report from Iuniverse yesterday–only one week late, but who’s counting. It was among one of the lowest payouts I have had, thusly, I proceeded to pout and continue to put on my nursing uniform, with heavy disappointment.

doves cry

I now know what it sounds like when doves cry. *cough*

However, when I was able to download the actual reports today, I gotta say that as far as payouts goes, I’m not buying me a new car just yet, nor have I hit the pinnacle $100 sales (short .50cents) via royalty generated through Iuniverse (although I’ve made ten times that amount in out-of-the-trunk-of-my-car sales), but the actual sales  were the second largest I’ve had.  All sales, minus one, were e-books, which reflects on why the royalties were so low, because the payout is only about $1.00 per book.  There was one physical book purchased, and with the payout rate, I’m going to assume it was through Barnes and Noble because Amazon payout on physical books is half that.

All-in-all the 1st Quarter was okay.  I’m not sure how the 2nd Quarter will look because I haven’t been promoting too much.  Not that I gave up, but I did get tired of all the social media time hoarding and too be honest, I just needed a bit of a break to enjoy my free time.  I am a writer not a marketer! I may just make t-shirt that says that.  Over all sales have been fabulous, but again, the majority of books sold have been physical copies I carry with me. And starting in July, I will hit the active marketing scene again.

I was told if you sell (for profit) ten books to people you don’t know, you did nice.

Sell fifty books (for profit) to people you don’t know, you did good.

Sell one hundred books (for profit) to people you don’t know, you did great.

Sell more than one hundred books (for profit) to people you don’t know, you have surpassed the average sales of the indie author.

I’m happy to report that I am well over the one hundred mark in paid sales and have been since last October and pushing 200 this summer.  But feel free to put more icing on my cake! Amazon, the best $3.79 you’ll ever spend also available on Kindle, Sony readers, Kobo, and iBook.

****Want to know more about Iuniverse royalties, check out my other link here to show the exact breakdown https://newauthorpublishing.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/my-iuniverse-stats-2012/*****

Tania L Ramos, Author Still Putting Up The Numbers

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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


iUniverse Royalty Payout Breakdown

Last night I received a royalty check from iUniverse.  It was an actual, physical check, which is not what I signed up for, because I don’t want to be charged a fee, and I don’t want to wait until I make $25 or more before receiving payment. I like instant gratification, and the free kind is best.  I am subscribed for direct deposit so I pay no fees and get my payment no matter how small it may be.

I said, I would report anything I learned about iUniverse and try to be as unbiased as possible.  As such, I will only state the facts about this account for Be Still, since I have thus far received two royalty payments.  Keep in mind, the first installment I had just put the book out and only had a little over a month in that sales quarter.

Here are the results:

2nd quarter:

Books Sold: 12

Net sales: $62.68

Payable to me: $17.34

What I actually received: $12.29

3rd quarter

Books sold: 27

Net Sales: 112.59

Payable to me: $36.65

What I actually received: $26.49

I called iUniverse today to ask whyy my net payable is less than what I am receiving. I was told that I had not filled out my tax info, so a standard 28% was being withheld.  Okay, maybe that was my fault. I immediately went on the website and fixed that.

moneyI only post to this for those authors who are thinking of using iUniverse to publish. I have stated that I liked them due to the fact that I didn’t have to do any of the work myself, and as a very busy single mother and employed as a full-time nurse, this was an area I didn’t have time to spend in. I have heard complaints about royalties not being paid, etc. In my opinion, my numbers look correct. I know I have about 20 more Kindle sales at the end of the 3rd quarter, but I also know they may not have been reported yet, so i’ll have to keep an eye out there.

All-in-all, the royalty pay out is crappy at best, but I haven’t encountered a problem in the numbers being wrong. I may have to look into small publishing houses for my next book, but we’ll see. I’m not thrilled with the idea of being paid nearly 40%, when I already paid out a small fortune to publish. I know they have to make their profit somewhere, because they are a business after all. I am grateful to all I have learned from this experience, but I work my behind off for this book, and would like to see a better return on my investment. Not sure I will use them again, but only because I’d like to see a better spending to profit margin.

In Remembrance of Me

 Today my book went live.  Wait! I’m not ready.  The promotional flyers I ordered arrived yesterday and wouldn’t you know it, I put the wrong website.  And that, my friends, is why you should not write a promotional flyer at one a.m.  Take it from me, 25 flyers short and several dollars in shipping and handling later, it is better to be awake and create a flyer than be sleepy and create crapola.

But hey, Iuniverse said–clearly stated–“your manuscript will go live in 10-15 days.” I had time, right? That was on Monday.  According to my mathematical skills when your carry the cosign and multiple by 25 erroneous flyers and divide by one frazzled nurse and multiply by 10-15 days, you get 4.  That’s right, you get four days.  Unlike my friends who hitchhiked the galaxy to discover the answer was 24.  Those who have read the book or seen the movie get the inuendo, those that haven’t please click the link and read the book…AFTER you have read mine of course.

So, “Be Still,” is now live on the iuniverse website and it is time to see if all those royalty complaints are true.  It is time to start sending out those press release kits and time to recruit some volunteer mailers, researchers, and publicists.  Anyone need a job? Well, my son was voluntold that he will be my Junior Marketer, to start, he took several flyers to school today, and for that he can continue to play his assassin games on Xbox.  Seriously, it is time to pick up the pace and get my book out there.  It is time to put my words into action.  Time to go forward into the great unknown (cue patriotic music), to succeed at the all American Dream, to find glory in knowing my talent can bring happiness to others or maybe just make someone say, “hmmm.”  I will boldly go where no writer has gone before, and if for someone reason I do not make it back then I have but one request...buy the book in remembrance of me.