About Royalties …

#SciFi #IndieAuthor @Tamyrh942 #Writing #WritingTips

Here’s what I discovered in regards to payment schedules when I examined the ‘Terms & Conditions‘ of Smashwords, Createspace, KDP/Amazon, and Kobo. The relevant sections have been copied verbatim; I’ve used bold for the highlights. This information was correct as of April 02, 2017,


Royalty Payment Schedules:
1. Smashwords:
I Reviewed the FAQ for Royalty Terms and Payment Schedules. My first question was how often are smashwords.com’s revenue shares paid out?

“Monthly (prior to 2017, it was quarterly). Although our Terms of Service states that authors’ earnings will be paid within 40 days of the close of each calendar month, we usually pay in about 30 days.

To qualify for payment, accrued earnings must be over USD $75.00 for U.S. authors who want paper checks, and $0.01 for all authors who want electronic payment via PayPal. All authors and publishers outside the US are paid via PayPal.”

This seems entirely reasonable, but I’ve read articles that express frustration at sales not showing up … Aha! Here be the dragons of confusion.

“Unlike sales transacted at Smashwords.com, where you receive instant notification and account credit, sales at retailers are reported back to Smashwords on a delayed basis, and there’s a lag time between the end of the month and the time we receive the reports and the payment. Once we receive the reports, we will reflect this data in your Dashboard. For each revenue period, you will be paid your share of all payments received from retailers as of the last day of the period.”

Considering that all retailers pay on a delayed schedule of 30-60 days, this means that often, your Dashboard’s retail sales reports and payments will only include the previous month’s receipts, as well as all previous receipts.

This delayed response will add a level of frustration for us non-trusting/instant-gratification seeking, type-A, wanna-be accountants; we can’t even see if we’re selling or target our marketing efforts until after the fact.

In this magnificent age of technology why is the invoicing/accounting angle difficult? I believe it Simply comes down to Smashwords’ reach.

The Premium Catalog (Reaches Global Retailers and Libraries):
Once your book is accepted into the Premium Catalog, we automatically distribute it to major online retailers. Notable retailers in the Smashwords distribution network include Apple (operates iBooks stores in 51 countries), Barnes & Noble (US and UK), Scribd, Oyster, Kobo, Yuzu, Blio and Inktera (formerly Page Foundry). Our industry-leading library distribution reaches OverDrive (world’s largest library ebook platform serving 20,000+ libraries), Baker & Taylor Axis 360, Tolino, Gardners (Askews & Holts and Browns Books for Students), and Odilo (2,100 public libraries in North America, South America, and Europe).
Some of our partners mentioned above power, supply or operate additional digital storefronts. For the sake of clarification, the distribution partners above are “Primary” partners, and if they operate, supply or power other stores, the stores are “Secondary” stores. These secondary stores further extend the reach of the Smashwords distribution network. Please note that the stores operated by our partners change frequently. If you opt into one of the primary stores above, your books may automatically flow to any secondary stores they launch, supply or power. This is a good thing assuming you have world rights to your books, as most self-published authors and publishers do (if you do not have world rights, or if you need to block distribution to certain territories, please contact the Smashwords Support team for instructions on how to block by territory). Although we will endeavor to update the listings below from time to time, please note that the list may be incomplete.”

Here’s a listing of secondary stores:

“Kobo powers the ebook stores of multiple ebook retailers around the world. Simply by distributing to Kobo via Smashwords, your books may also reach WH Smith in the UK, FNAC in France and Portugal, Livraria Cultura in Brazil, Angus & Robertson Bookworld in Australia, Bookworld in Australia, Indigo in Canada, Collins in Australia, Feltrinelli in Italy, bol.com in the Netherlands, Paper Plus in New Zealand, Play in Great Britain, Rakuten in Japan, Buy.com (now Rakuten) in the US, PriceMinister in France, Crossword, and WHSmith in India, Eason & Son, Ltd in Ireland, Mondadori in Italy, The Paper Plus Group in New Zealand, National Book Store in the Philippines, Pick ‘N Pay in South Africa, La Central in Spain, Dogan in Turkey, participating Booksellers Association Stores in the UK, and participating American Booksellers Association Stores in the US, and Orbile in Mexico (Orbile is a partnership between two large Mexican book retailers, Porrúa and Gandhi).”

Inktera operates retail site Inktera.com and powers multiple apps across iOS and Google Play including Athanatos, Book Bronco, Caffeine Nights, Cricket Books, Digital Pretium, Digital Turbine eBooks, EverAfter, IndieReader, Inktera Books, MediaRewards, Morgan Rice, Oasis eBooks, OneClique, TribBooks, Versent Books, and EverAfter (app for romance); and operates Android ebook store apps for Cricket Wireless and Asus.”

Baker & Taylor operates Blio, an ebook store and also operates Axis360, a major supplier of ebook checkout systems to public libraries.”

Gardners, also mentioned above, powers hundreds of small white label ebook stores; operates Hive.co.uk which powers e-commerce operations for hundreds of physical stores; operates Askews & Holts, a large supplier of ebooks to public libraries in the UK and other countries; and operates VLeBooks which powers ebook checkout systems for academic libraries.”

Tolino is a powerhouse in Germany, powering various retailers that account for approximately 50% of the German ebook market. The retailers served by Smashwords’ distribution agreement with Tolino include Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel / ebook.de, Buecher.de, Mayersche, Osiander, Libri, Standaard Boekhandel and IBS.”

So, what do I think?:
I can see where trying to keep track of this many retailers would lead to misunderstandings, actual accounting errors, and other issues that contribute to an author’s ulcers, but from all the reviews I’ve read, Smashwords seems to do be doing a good job of resolving issues.
Ask me my opinion again, next year.
2. CreateSpace:

Pays royalties for a given month’s book earnings at the end of the following month for Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, and CreateSpace eStore royalties, as long as you have met the applicable minimum payment threshold per currency. For example, you will be issued royalty payment(s) at the end of March covering royalties earned in February. Royalties earned through Expanded Distribution have a different payment schedule and will be issued within 60 days after the end of the month in which the royalties were earned.”

That’s pretty straight forward.

“Books enrolled in both Amazon.com and Amazon Europe distribution channels will accrue royalties in three different currencies; U.S. dollars (USD), British Pounds (GBP) and Euro (EUR). Payments will be issued separately for each currency according to the above schedule, once you meet the minimum threshold per currency.
The minimum threshold is $10/€10/£10 for direct deposit and $100/€100/£100 for checks. While royalties accrue in separate currencies, if you select direct deposit as your payment method then payments will be issued in your bank currency.”

My Advice: If you want to market to your local bookstore(s), use Createspace to set it up. Give them this link and they’ll be able to purchase books wholesale:
https://www.createspace.com/pub/l/createspacedirect.do
3. KDP/Amazon (from their Terms and Conditions):

“5.4.2 When We Pay You. Each Amazon party will pay Royalties due on Digital Book sales approximately 60 days following the end of the calendar month during which the sales were made. At the time of payment, we will make available to you an online report detailing sales of Digital Books and corresponding Royalties.”

Ok, this seems reasonable …

“5.4.6 Payment Disputes. You may not bring a suit or other legal proceeding against us with regard to any statement unless you bring it within six months after the date the statement is available. Any such proceeding will be limited to a determination of the amount of monies, if any, payable by us to you for the accounting periods in question, and your sole remedy will be the recovery of those monies with no interest.”

In other words, read your reports and check them for errors – the interest earned on your royalties doesn’t belong anywhere except in your pocket.
4. Kobo (from their Terms and Conditions):

“4.6 Reporting and Payment. Provided Publisher is not in breach of its obligations under these Terms, for each of your eBooks sold to a User Kobo will pay you the applicable amounts (i.e. under Standard Terms or IPP Terms), net of refunds,
bad debt, and Taxes. Kobo will make payment to Publisher and provide associated sales reporting on a monthly basis, with all payments and reports to be made within forty-five (45) days following the end of the applicable month. Kobo may accrue and withhold payments until the total amount due is $50.”

Okay. Again, this is standard.

“You are responsible for reviewing all sales reports relating to your Works. If you identify any errors or omissions in such reports, Kobo shall not be obligated to correct any such errors or omissions, or any resulting shortfalls, unless you provide written notice of such errors or omissions within six (6) months of receipt of the subject reports.”

Use the same procedure you would for reviewing Amazon reports and download them/take screenshots if you find issues.

… Kobo is covered by Smashwords. Why did I upload to Kobo directly, you ask?  Long story, short: I had to learn how to do the TOC the Smashwords way. I’m old, and I wanted instant gratification. It did pay off; I netted three sales before I made myself Smashwords compliant.


What did I learn?
  1. No two platforms are alike in their payment schedules; Smashwords.com pays the fastest (provided the sale wasn’t through their connections, at which time they may be the slowest). Kobo is the second fastest, at 45 days (unless they’re waiting for the $50 to acrue). Createspace and KDP/Amazon are third (as you can count on it appearing within the 60 days after the month of the sale, unless Createspace is waiting for the $10 minimum sales to accrue).
  2. Read your reports, track your sales as best you can, and make sure your bank balance tallies with the results.
  3. Don’t rely on sales reports to tell you where your market is (at least when you’re starting out).