12 Questions to Ask Yourself about Author Royalties

Apr 28, 2020

One of the most important things you need to understand as a published author is your royalty structure. It doesn't matter if you are a self-published author or have a signed deal with a publishing house, it’s imperative you understand how royalties work. 

If you do not understand the structure you are putting your livelihood and ability to be an author at risk.  

The below self-assessment will help you determine how well you know your royalty structure. 

  1. What are my royalty percentages? 

  2. How much money do I earn if a book is sold at full retail price? What if it’s a discounted price?

  3. What expenses are factored into the royalty? 

  4. Is the royalty based on a gross or net price? 

  5. What is the royalty breakdown for bulk purchases?  

  6. Is there a tiered royalty based on how many books I sell over time? 

  7. How does my author purchase price impact royalties? 

  8. How often am I paid royalties? 

  9. Do I understand the royalty reports? 

  10. How do returns affect my royalty? 

  11. On average, do I know how much money I make per book? 

  12. If I was paid an advance how many books do I need to sell to earn it out? 

If you were able to answer at least ten of these questions you are in a pretty good place.  If you answered eight of them correctly, you are doing well but need to make an effort to find answers to the unanswered questions.  If you could only answer seven or fewer, dive into your contract, check with your publisher, consult with an expert,  and learn more about your royalties.  

Knowledge is power.  Knowing the ins and outs of your royalties enables you to do more of what you love as an author.  Don’t let the fear of finances overwhelm you.  

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