Please can somebody help me with a problem regarding a publisher who took my Kindle book under his wing last year, and has persistently fobbed me off when I have demanded my share of the royalties.
When I complained to Amazon about this they, sent me a final statement saying that the total sales for my Kindle book came to around $1,800.00. However, this publisher - whom, I have to say, I now deeply regret ever entrusting to launch my book - repeatedly insisted that the book had "not made much money" due to some people "returning" the book out of dissatisfaction. Yet again, I have written to both Amazon AND the publisher concerned, and he is still fobbing me off with the same old story that "Amazon pay late and he will contact me once he has the final figures blah blah". Well, I MYSELF now have the final figures, as stated above, and so for a book to have made over a thousand dollars, I find it very strange that he claims that the royalties will not amount to much.
Do I have a legal case? What can I do about all of this?
Research your publishers before you give them your work. Do not be duped. Ask for references before signing over your book and when you do, spell everything out. Find out what the publisher charges, do they charge for editing? What is their cut of your profits?
Thank you. Some good advice there, which, in retrospect, I wish I'd have heeded. The only reason why I took this publisher into my confidence was that, at the time, I had no knowledge at all about how to correctly format an ebook for Kindle publishing (but I am certainly remedying that now!).
As I said, this matter had gone on now for a whole year, and I am very angry that is publisher is persistently dragging his feet in regard to paying me my due royalties.
Just as a matter of interest, do you know roughly how much I would be entitled to, given Amazon's figures that I sold around $1,800 copies (and that's before taking out Amazon's cut, sales returns and the publisher's chunk).?
Do you have a legal case? Contact an attorney, if they'll even take the case. How much is it worth to you? Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and move on, though. You're not the first to get screwed over.
Did you sign a contract with the publisher? If you did, go to a lawyer. If you didn't, did you make any arrangements through e-mail or do you have anything in writing that specifies terms? If you do, take that to your lawyer. If not, you may not have a case. In any regards, get a lawyer to help you write a letter to your publisher taking back all digital rights to your book and a cease and desist notice, ordering him to remove your book from all his websites, including Amazon. You can also try billing him in total for the amount due you, but at this point I would take him to small claims court.
Hi. Thank you for your advice. This is what Amazon told me in their last email:
"Our records indicate that we have sold 1050 units of CELEBRITY GHOST STORIES - Terrifying True Hauntings About Famous People Kindle Edition, ASIN: B005AZ4MO0 with sales totaling $2849.24. We have recorded no sales of CELEBRITY GHOST STORIES - Terrifying true hantings about famous people Ring-bound, ISBN-10: 1907163484. If you believe you are entitled to compensation, you will need to resolve this matter with your publisher."
So can I presume, from this statement, that Amazon have already taken their royalties, and this figure of $2849.24 is now due to me, minus the publisher's cut?
Re. the publisher, since last August, when he first published my book, he has persistently fobbed me off with the same old answer that Amazon pay royalties "three months in arrears", and that once he gets the final figures, he will give me a full quote. Well, needless to say, I am STILL waiting. He is also claiming that some people returned my book, particularly in the States, so is there any way I can check with Amazon that this is true?
Multiply that 1050 by the cover price. If it comes up to the figure Amazon gave you, then that's before its cut has been taken. If it comes up to more, then Amazon did.
Amazon pays 60 days in arrears, after the end of the month in which the correct pay out threshold has been reached.
It doesn't look like your book had any problem reaching that threshold, so if it was published last April, then your publisher has been receiving a payment on royalties for it every month since the end of June/first week of July.
Either way, it appears that it already took the appropriate cut, so multiply that $2849.24 by whatever percentage the publisher is supposed to receive, and then subtract that from the $2849.24.
What's left is how much is owed to you, and I would have an attorney send a demand for payment letter and accounting to your publisher. S/he HAS been receiving payments for several months now. I'd make certain that your contact with Amazon has been mentioned, including the number of copies sold and amount paid in royalties.
Sounds to me like your publisher has been spending the money, and now doesn't have it to pay out, which is why you're getting the run around.
Also sounds like you're going to have to go through the same steps with Smashwords in order to find out how many copies were sold there and via any of their distribution partners' sites (B&N, Apple, etc.).
Oh, and if your publisher hasn't been paying you as contracted, the s/he has broken your contract, so I'd be getting my rights back too.
To gldrummond: That is very good advice. I shall certainly be acting on it.
You made a very interesting point there too about my reclaiming rights. To be honest, I didn't think I could do this, once I had given the publisher the right to format and upload my book for sale. He did initially approach me with an offer that if I paid him to convert my book to Kindle and pdf format, he would just take that one off payment, and I would then, as writer, be able to claim ALL royalties. However, as I could not afford to do this at the time, I had to accept his alternative offer of splitting the royalties.
Having now learned a valuable lesson from this bad experience, I am now learning EVERYTHING about formatting Kindle ebooks myself, so that I can be independent and, as such, not after to get into legal arguments and wranglings with publishers.