Unless something unusual happens, when you do finally get to publish your book (yay!), you’ll be selling it, at least in part, on Kindle and through Amazon.
When that happens, you can sell your book in one of three ways: paperback, direct Kindle sale or Kindle Unlimited.
When you sell a paperback, Amazon takes a pretty good-size chunk right up front. The exact amount depends on the length of your book and what you’re charging for it. Amazon sets a minimum sales price — they want to be sure to get their money out of the deal — and then after that, you can set the price at whatever you want. Keep in mind, there are plenty of Westerns available from new authors, so if you’re looking to get sales traction, you may forsake profit for quantity of sales. In simple terms? The less you charge, the more likely someone is to buy your book — at least until you get as big as Larry McMurtry.
All of my novels are for sale (paperback version) for under $10 each, and some are as low as $6.99. Some of my project books (52 Weeks, etc.) are much more ($25), but it’s because every page has full color photographs and illustrations.
If someone prefers Kindle to paper (which is true in the vast majority of cases), they have two options. They can buy your book outright, usually for 99 cents, and you then split that amount with the good folks at Kindle and Amazon and make a few cents for yourself.
The other option is members of Kindle Unlimited can download your book (and any other book they want) at no cost, other than the monthly fee to be a part of Kindle Unlimited. Think Netflix for books.
As far as revenue for you the writer, there is none unless someone actually reads your book. Through the magic of technology, Kindle knows exactly how many pages of your book(s) are read each and every month. They literally know if someone never read a page (in which case you get nothing), read 10 pages, hated it and deleted it, or read it cover to cover. You get credit for the exact number of pages read every month.
At the end of the month, all of the Kindle Unlimited dollars (after Kindle takes their share) are put in a big bucket and divided by the number of total pages sold by every writer in the world. That means you’re competing with James Patterson and John Grisham for dollars.
A few days after the first of every month, you’ll be notified of how many pages you’ve sold, broken down by book if you have more than one book published, and then they will kindly send you your money — in whatever manner you agreed to when you set up your account.
Of course, if you have a publisher, they’ll take their share (usually in the 50 percent range) before you see yours. It’s something to keep in mind before you decide to try securing a deal with a publisher, though as I’ve written previously, I believe it’s well worth it.
I wish you good writing, and if you have a question or something you’d like to share, send me an email at [email protected].
Thank you, enjoy and keep writing!