Friday, June 13, 2014

Pro Tip: The Cost of Doing Business

From my author blog:
Ooh it's Friday the 13th!  Remember to throw your black cat over your shoulder while standing on a ladder or however all that works.  Anyway, I ran into some bad luck recently where I actually lost money for selling books.

It was maybe late last year or early this year that Amazon changed its royalty payment policy from paying only once $10 had been earned (which B&N still does) to just paying whatever the hell you had earned no matter how low.  Which in some ways is great because it's not like B&N where if I only make $9.60 I have to wait a whole extra month (providing I sell another book) to get paid.  That has happened a couple of times and it's annoying.

The problem though is sometimes your royalty really is too low so you end up getting royally screwed.  In April I got a payment of $0.59 or something like that from one of the European Amazons.  Hey great 59 cents, don't spend that all in one place.  Well the problem is the next day or so I check my account activity and realize my bank charged a $1 fee for this foreign wire.  So I actually LOST 41 cents!

Yup, it actually cost me money to sell a couple of ebooks overseas.  I didn't think too much of it at the time; I just shrugged and said, "Whatever."  But then it happened AGAIN the next month, leaving me out another 41 cents or whatever it was.

At that point I decided something needed to be done.  First I had to track down where these wires were coming from.  Using the new charts on the sales dashboard I realized they were coming from Spain.  My first thought was to just stop selling books there.  But then I realized what a pain it is to go into each book and try to select where you want to sell it.  My second thought was to just make the price in Spain so high no one would ever buy any.  But again that would be a real pain in the ass to do for like 40 books.

So I decide to go ask Amazon's customer service.  For once they actually had something helpful to say.  Basically you can go in and change your payment method from EFT or wire or whatever to check.  Which also means you won't get paid until you hit $10.  Which in Spain means probably never.  While I was at it I changed that for the rest of Europe, except the UK.  And India, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil as well.

The thing is I don't sell a lot of books in continental Europe.  Or pretty much anywhere except the US and UK.  And in the UK it's mostly one book of short stories under a pen name that for some reason sells over there but has sold maybe 1 copy in the US.  The last thing I want is to lose money when I do manage to sell something over there.

So there you go, a Pro Tip:  unless you sell a lot of books in those other countries, don't use the wire or EFT payments--unless you have a bank that doesn't charge a fee for that.  Ha, yeah right, a bank not charging fees? ROFTLOL


  1. I see you took Briane's advice. Do you have copies in Spanish?

    1. Not actually in Spanish, which is probably why I don't sell much there.

  2. I had the same thing happen with Amazon for the ads on our blog. We'd get a check for a lump sum and I thought I wanted the money sooner, so I did direct deposit instead of a check. A few months later I wondered what happened and noticed that it had been dribbling into my account for months without me realizing it. Now I just take the check. It's a hassle, but more reliable. Good tip Pat and I wish you a def one Man.

  3. I'll have to check my money moving establishment. So far, that hasn't been an issue for me.

  4. Good points. I think I would take the time to raise the price a buck or two. A foreign market would probably expect too pay a little more. I would if I were ordering a book from Spain. I belong to a credit union, they do really try harder to not charge any fees.

  5. Good tip! I don't think my credit union charges for something like least not that I noticed, but I will watch for it now. Another thing that gets authors is taxes! ugh....