Self-Publishing Stats: Retail and Royalty

The self-publishing journey isn’t always an easy one, even though we often claim it to be. There are many decisions to be made, and sometimes choices can get confusing.

While many of my posts may refer to authors who have yet to publish, the information is really universal. One thing I generally see successful self-published authors do is constantly learn and research. 
If you have published your book already, you may be starting to recognize some of the “fine print” issues involved with your publisher. For example, you may be discovering with your current publisher that their “20% royalty” is not what you expected.  Or you may be learning that your author’s copy price keeps increasing year after year, or that you have to buy 100 copies at a time just to get a fair price. You may be discovering that the royalty you earn for Amazon sales is much, much lower than the royalty they told you when you signed up. High royalties are usually reserved for publisher’s bookstores, but most books are purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Or you may be discovering that once your book was published, your publisher stopped communicating with you entirely and left you to figure out how to promote your book yourself.

These are all “tricks of the trade” and things that a good self-publisher will not do. Many authors have discovered that switching publishers is actually more profitable in the long run, even with additional upfront fees.

I recently reviewed one case study in which a best-selling author from “Publisher A” to another leading full-service self-publisher and that was the best decision he ever made. His royalties increased from 15% of his retail price to 55% of his retail price as a result. Instead of $3.74 per book, he started making nearly $14 for every book he sold on Amazon.

The good news is switching publishers is easier than you might think. Almost all publishers offer non-exclusive contracts, and you’ve already gone through the process once, after-all.

Have fun. Keep writing and keep learning!


– Karl Schroeder

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