OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
So I have shared the entire journey of Pentecost with the readers of this blog, and I have tried to be transparent along the way. I have shared the triumphs and also the difficult times in the hope that we can learn together. You can read/skim the entire journey here => First Novel.
Yesterday was very exciting because I received my first royalty cheque from Amazon since Pentecost was released on Feb 7th. They have payment terms of 90 days and pay by cheque to people outside the US for Amazon.com sales (which I have had a lot of questions about lately). So to round off the story, I thought I should share it with you in the spirit of honesty. Here it is.
I think there's a lot of smoke and mirrors in the publishing world. People are secretive and keep things behind closed doors which can skew our perception of reality. Joe Konrath shares his numbers and encourages us all, so I'm sharing my (far more modest) sales in order to show you it can be done on a smaller scale. This cheque is a representation of a level of publishing success – very small, but for a new author with a first novel, it's encouraging to me. I will make my costs back within a couple of months and then we're into the happy times!
I sold 578 books on Amazon between February 7 – 28 and the total sales = US$1003.06 and GBP33.90. Because of the with-holding tax from the US Kindle store as I'm not a US tax-payer, I received a cheque for $702.14. The GBP royalties aren't enough to warrant a cheque yet! (They have a threshold of $100 before payouts) No, this is not going to pay a mortgage but it will pay a couple of weeks rent and is not insignificant for a first month.
The exciting thing is that Pentecost continues to improve sales and ranking, so although I have lowered my price to 99 cents, the sales numbers are going up (as above).
I'll forfeit the higher price for this first book and the next one in the series, Prophecy, will be back at $2.99 so the cheques will get bigger again after December. As I write this, Pentecost is at #277 overall in the Kindle store, #2 in Religious Fiction and #12 in Action/Adventure.
It's also exciting to see my future as a pro-writer, blogger and speaker slowly coming more into focus. I fully intend to make it my full-time living in the next few years and move out of the day job. A few more books will mean the cheques will get bigger. I can aim for the success of Konrath, Hocking and Locke – and so can you!
George Hamilton says
Well done Joanna, and best wishes for the future. A mutual friend Colin told me about your work, and it’s encouraging to see that there are successful UK self-publishers out there. Hopefully you and a number of us will soon start to have sales figures as large as the most successful of the American self-publishers.
I note that you had US tax withheld from your royalties. This is higher than UK corporate tax and is also inefficient in terms of cash flow. If you have not already done so, it is a simple process to claim for no US tax to be withheld, as the taxes are actually due in the UK. It took me 3 weeks to get my claims approved by Amazon.com and Smashwords – after getting a tax code from the IRS. If you get your claim approved before 31 December, then Amazon will also have to refund any withholding tax they have taken off in the current year. If you let Colin know if you have a Ltd company and how many shareholders, I will send you copies of the forms you need to complete and details of how to do so.
Joanna Penn says
Thanks George – I have emailed you directly about this.
Farrukh Rashid says
I also got 2nd cheque from Amazon.com. But the problem is that I have to open a foreign currency account in order to deposit the cheque and according to the Bank representative 50-70% of total amount would be deducted for transaction. Is there any way I can contact Amazon.com so that I can receive payment through Telex Transfer as there is no such information on Amazon.com after I sign in nor did I receive any email from them.