Blog to Book Project — Royalties

As a published author, you will receive royalties on the books that are sold. Exciting, isn’t it?

Since I am most familiar with Amazon’s policies, we will be talking about royalty earnings through Amazon rather than other self-publishing sites today.

Amazon’s KDP lets you choose whether you wish to earn 70% royalties or 35% royalties on your ebooks. It seems like you would always want to choose the higher royalty rate, but there are some restrictions on eligibility.  

These eligibility requirements vary from country to country. If you are selling on the Amazon mega-platform (United States) then your book qualifies for 35% royalty sharing if it is priced at least 99 cents and less than 3 megabytes, if your book is between 3 megabytes but less than 10 megabytes and costs $1.99 or if your book is larger than 10 megabytes with a price of at least $2.99.

To quality for 70% royalty sharing your book must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99 and at least 20% less than the lowest cost of the book in printed form.

If you enroll your book in KDP select, you will earn 70% royalties on books sold in Brazil, Japan, India and Mexico as well. Enrollment also means your book is in the Kindle Unlimited (KU) and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) and you earn royalties based on how many pages are read. We’ll talk more about KDP Select on another day.

KDP will pay you 60% royalty rate of the list price on your paperback book. The cost of printing is deducted from that royalty. What is left over is all yours. If your book is sold through expanded distribution sites via Amazon, you will receive 40% royalty of the list price minus printing costs.

You can elect to receive your royalties by direct deposit or check. There is a minimum payment threshold with check payments. Direct deposit payments are made 60 days after the end of the month your book earned royalties.

Royalties are subject to withholding tax the amount of which depends on your nationality and in which country the book was sold. If you are a U.S. citizen, you will receive a 1099 MISC at the end of the year for tax purposes.