As someone who came over from the fiction author side of things to nonfiction (granted my first nonfiction book was published in the mid 2000’s), there are some truisms that all fiction authors learn quickly from those who have gone before. And yet, in the entrepreneurial sphere, these same things are happening and entrepreneur authors think they’re ok!

They’re not! So let’s break down two of those hard lessons and discuss how they apply to the entrepreneurial area.

1. You do not have to pay to be published. If you are self-publishing, then yes you have to pay for cover art, editing, and possibly formatting/book creation. But if a “publisher” is doing all of this for you, then you should not pay them a dime. The true publisher makes money from the sales of your book. This goes for stories or articles to be included in anthologies as well. If someone wants to publish you, then wants you to pay them money think twice, thrice and yet again.

I hereby invoke YOG’s Law. Money flows TOWARD the author.

(Caveat: If you look at these opportunities as advertising, then do a ROI check. The money you’re paying, does it make sense for you to buy advertising of that amount to reach the same amount of people? I’ve seen a couple of anthologies put out by very well known, reputable people. And yes, I would probably have made those payments too, because for me it was about the company and the advertising. Even so, those authors weren’t seeing a split of the proceeds, and I would be lying if I said that didn’t bother me a whole lot. But trust me, if you’re paying someone thousands to publish your book, then someone is making money off of you and it isn’t through book sales, which is traditionally how publishers make their money.)

2. Vendors shouldn’t pay you less than Amazon pays you to sell your book. For books priced $2.99-9.99, Amazon gives you 70% of the royalties. When you subtract the money they charge based on file size, it ends up being about 68%. There are no set up fees, no extra money to be paid to Amazon. All of their overhead comes out of that ~32%. For books under $2.99 or over $9.99, they pay you 35%, which frankly sucks.

I am seeing vendors who charge a hefty per-book set up fee and who give you royalties that are far less than the 35%. Hey, I know it costs money to run a venue. Trust me. I’ve published a great many books of my own and for other authors. But when the royalties are less than I pay my affiliates, and far less than Amazon gives me (for far more exposure from Amazon, I might add), that’s not a mutual relationship. If I do 100% of the work writing and self-publishing the book, the vendor shouldn’t keep 90% of the money from the sales.

In a future blog, I’ll be talking about ways that all authors can improve their sales and their reach, but it would warm my heart if entrepreneurs took these two lessons to heart. Book publishing doesn’t have to be scary or expensive. Got questions? Use the help button below to reach out to me. I’ve been doing this a very long time, and helping authors is my passion. I’d love to help you!