Self-Publishing Guide: Pricing, Royalties, Taxes, Getting Paid

by Rachel Sawden
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Self-published authors need to factor in the financial aspect of their publishing plan. Your book price has a big impact on your sales, so you don’t want to price yourself out of the market, and you don’t want to lose money. These decisions are yours alone, but based on my experience, here are my recommendations.

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Pricing Your eBook

As a self-published with your debut who is building their reputation, I would keep the eBook price between $0.99 and $4.99. I would not recommend crossing the $5 mark. If you have a series, make the first one $0.99, or even free to hook readers for sales of the rest of the series. Right now, the goal shouldn’t be making a fortune, it should be building an audience for your career. If you are drowning in rave reviews and accolades, and your sales are off the charts, then you can get away with raising your book price incrementally. Until then, just get people reading your book.

Pricing your Printed Book

For printed books, everything depends on the cost of printing. For soft-cover, I would keep your price between $9.99 and $14.99. For hardcover, around $20, as the sales price. If you are using Ingram Spark, you will also have to calculate and decide on the wholesale price/bookseller discount – this is the price at which bookstores will purchase your book for.

What your price will ultimately be determined by will be the cost of printing and the royalty to the printer. Which is what I will outline next.

Royalties

KDP – Kindle

If you price your eBook between $2.99 and $9.99 will receive a royalty rate of 70%.

If you price your eBook below 2.99 or above $9.99 you will receive a royalty rate of 30%.

KDP – Print:

The royalty rate is 60%, however, your royalty is calculated by this formula:

(royalty rate x list price) – printing costs

Your print cost depends on the page count, ink type, and the Amazon market price (which country it’s listed in).

If you have enabled expanded distribution, the royalty is 40%, and what you end up with per sale is calculated by the same formula above.

Click here for Amazon’s in-depth explanation.

To find out your KDP Print Royalty, you’ll have to enter your information into the KDP Paperback Royal Calculator which is an XL spreadsheet – click here for the link!

Ingram Spark Royalty:

Again, this differs depending on if you are publishing a soft cover or hardcover, trim size, the laminate type, and page count.

Click here for IngramSpark’s book cost calculator.

Taxes

With all selling platforms, you’ll have to submit tax forms. As a US citizen you’ll be filing your income taxes separately, but this segment is really for non-US authors.

I, as a non-US resident/citizen that lives in a country without an income tax agreement with the US, lose an additional 30% of my royalties to Uncle Sam. I am trying to find a work-around, if you know one please let me know!

If your country has an income treaty with the US then you can avoid Amazon withholding 30% tax.

Getting paid

Kindle Direct Publishing

KDP pays royalties every month, approximately 60 days after the end of the month in which they were earned. You will receive separate royalty payments for each Amazon marketplace in which you have chosen to distribute your title (e.g. .com, .co.uk, .au. etc.). Depending on where you and/or your bank are located, available payment methods are direct deposit, wire transfer, or check.

Ingram

Royalties are paid out via direct deposit or PayPal.

Compensation Payments for print book sales are paid 90 days after the end of the month in which the sale occurred. 

Payoneer

If you are not a US-based author, I highly recommend signing up for Payoneer *.

You can get a bank account in the US, the EU, and UK and receive in those respective currencies and more from any business account in the world. Unlike PayPal, Payoneer commands legitimacy in the banking world (as you can only receive payment from registered businesses) and you can deposit the money received straight into your bank account. For many jurisdictions outside of the US, banking institutions to not recognize PayPal. So you can receive money, but you can only spend from your PayPal account.

The cost to transfer from your Payoneer account to your bank account is about $15, You can let your royalties accrue until you’re ready to pay the $15 and move the money to your bank account.

Now you’re all set up, let’s talk about Marketing your Self Published Book.

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