I first heard of Yog's Law from author and podcaster Mur Lafferty, and thought it would be good to share an explanation here. Originally from author James D. Macdonald, it states:
“Money flows to the author”
That's it. Very simple and very effective.
Here are 2 examples where this is true
- Traditional Publishing. You get a deal with an agent who sells your book to a publisher. They might pay an advance, but they will pay royalties based on sales. Basically, you do not pay the publisher. They pay you. Here's a great summary of royalties and advances from publishing blogger Moonrat. The amount you get paid is based on sales.
- Self-Publishing using Print-on-Demand. I use POD specifically because there are very few upfront costs (although I do recommend a pro editor). Basically, this is a simple business model. Books are sold and you get income from sales, after the costs of the POD printer/distributor. The amount you get paid is based on sales. (for details on Print-On-Demand, read Ch.8 of this free ebook)
Here are 2 examples where this is not true
- Vanity/Assisted Publishing. Unless you are traditionally published, or you do everything yourself, this is assisted (or could be called Vanity publishing). I don't think this is such a big deal if you have a good business model and can recoup the costs through sales, but it can be crippling financially for the person who just wants to see their book in print. So, please don't pay anything for publishing UNLESS it is part of a solid business plan or you have guaranteed presales that will enable you to make a profit.
- Self-publishing print runs. This is where you do everything yourself but then you pay $thousands for a print run. Again, don't do this unless you have a solid business plan to make a profit from these books. If self-publishing, use Print-on-demand technology and publish for free on Amazon.com (Read Ch. 6 of this free ebook).
I really do want you to see your book out there, but I don't want you to bankrupt yourself or waste money on the way there. Make sure the money is flowing towards you however you publish, even if it is a trickle at first.