Okay, you’re booked in a half dozen locations, that’s great. Congratulations!

Now what?A book signing

If you’ve done your homework and built a platform, all you can do is have a great time talking to your friends and customers.

The question now is “How do I get compensated?” After all, isn’t that the goal (at least somewhere down the list after being a blessing and having fun and getting the word out and creating a wave and all that stuff) right?”

Before we discuss the compensation from the retail side, we need to understand the wholesale side.

A Contrtact

  • If you are published through a traditional publisher you need to read and understand the royalty split in your contract.
    • Usually there is a different royalty split for “Distributor” sales as compared to “Publisher” sales and “E-book” sales.
    • It’s hard to read all that fine print, but you really need to know it or you’ll end up embarrassing yourself.
    • The one thing you don’t want to do is to call your publisher and demand to know why your royalty check didn’t come the day after the end of the first quarter.

That being said, let’s say you completely understand your contract (not). What next?

Next, is knowing how much you pay for your books on the wholesale side.

  • Let’s say you paid 40% of the retail price.
  • That means you made a whopping 60% profit, not bad.
  • It would be better if you could wheedle out of your publisher 35%. That’s the Negotiation part of this blog.

I begged my publisher, using all sort of spurious excuses such as: I’m a poor, starving artist, My kids will go hungry if I don’t get a better discount, I’ll have to put my mother-in-law in a nursing home if you don’t give me a better discount.

To my dismay he didn’t budge. I was crushed, but what he did do was to throw in an extra 25 books. Free, I might add. That was a relief.

The next thing to consider is Compensation on the retail side.

Some venues will charge a “Consignment fee” and others won’t.

  • Ø Let’s start with the coffee shops.
    • They are usually a free event.
    • You make the sale, you keep the money. It’s that simple.
    • Keep a log of your sales and if yours is a sales tax state, be sure to charge the tax and record it in a log book.

If you don’t charge your customers the sales tax, you’ll have to pay it and that comes out of your profit margin.

  • Ø Next, are the independent or new and used book stores.
    • I have been in many and they all do it differently.
    • One store discounts my books 10%, but then pays me 60% of the retail price. They make a 30% profit and I make 20% (if I paid 40% to my publisher).

That’s where profit margins are so important?

  • Ø Next are the Christian bookstores, Barnes and Nobles, Books-a-Million and other big and little box stores.
    • If they try to charge you 50%, walk away. 40% is the best you can hope for, 35% is even better, but that’s a rarity.
    • Some bookstores have a “Local Author” corner. This is great because after a signing event, some people who didn’t purchase a book when you are there may come back.
    • Being a good steward is vitally important.
    • Never leave your books without making a record of how many books you’ve left, the price, the percentage split, how long they will stay on their shelves, and when they send out checks. Be sure to get the manager’s signature and make two copies.
    • Make a follow-up call in three months to see how many books sold.
    • Along with your log of venues, create a file of “Consignment Sheets” and look over it from time to time.

Remember, they are your books. No one cares for them as much as you.

  • Ø The next are Fairs, Festivals and Literary Events.
    • Choose your events wisely.
    • What’s it going to cost to rent a 10×10 booth? If it costs more than $150.00, you are running the risk of losing money.
    • If it’s a large event, you may take a chance on it, but it could be a wash.

a checkSo what have we learned?

We have learned that writing a book is only half the fun. The other half is meeting people and signing (selling) your books to an adoring crowd of happy, smiling, anxious readers. But the other side, the Business Side of Writing, is your profit margin.

Don’t back away from your price unless you have a good reason. “A poor economy” “they are my friends” “I’ve only sold one book today” are not good enough reasons to cut your price.

You wrote it, your publisher set the price, so smile, quote your price.

Now go sell your books!

Your comments are always welcome. If you have additional insight (I am not at lawyer and don’t claim to be) you can always Facebook message me.