What is Yog’s Law and Why Does It Matter For Authors?

iStock_000003521720XSmallI 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.

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  1. says

    Timely post for me Joanna. I started a book project and in addition to planning and working on the content, the thought of “what do I do with it when I’m finished” has been on my mind. I like the idea of POD; especially since this is my first project.

  2. says

    Sean – you’re right! It seems an author has to make big money from one book, or write many books and get smaller income from multiple sources. But then writing a book is not a get rich quick scheme!

    KM – indeed, I need to get more acquainted as well!

  3. says

    Alex – POD is definitely the way to go especially with first project as you can really test things out and also take little financial risk. Let me know if you need more details on anything. Thanks, Joanna


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