When we’re contacted by a new author who’s interested in publishing through our affiliate network, their first question is nearly always, “When will I get paid?”

In response to that question, we’ve created a whole page on our website (www.borumapublishing.com) that explains how and when each affiliate pays out.  Some pay monthly, some pay out 30 or 60 days after the month’s end, some pay out 30 or 60 days after the quarter’s end, and one publisher pays out 90 days after the quarter’s end. No question about it, that can be very confusing.

We hope our comprehensive list of ‘who and when’ will take the guesswork out of your payday…but if it doesn’t, please let us know!

Writers write because they love to write, right? But authors publish because they want to get paid for their writing!

Nothing’s more frustrating to a new author than knowing you made some sales, but you didn’t get paid for them at the end of the month. How dare they withhold your royalties! You know you made some sales…they must be cheating!

Sadly, this does happen. Some publishers do run into financial difficulties, and don’t report or pay out the royalties their authors are owed. But this is rare, and always self-correcting…the indie publishing community is small, and once rumors start spreading about a publisher stealing from their authors, they fold very quickly because all their authors will pull their books immediately. No books = no sales = no publisher.

The simple fact is that royalty payments should be a simple matter to calculate…but they’re not. Why? Because every website takes a different royalty percentage, and pays on a different schedule. Keeping track of all those sales figures can be a nightmare!

To help you understand when you can expect your royalties to be paid, let’s take a look at the primary websites in our affiliate network: Amazon, Smashwords, Google, Lulu, Fiction4All, Lot’s Cave, Carnal Pleasures, Stealth, and Excitica.

Smashwords, Lulu, and Stealth all submit to multiple sites such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Flipkart, Kobo, and Scribd, just to mention a few. Because of this, payments from these sites are delayed because they’re waiting to get paid from each of their affiliates; they can’t pay us until they’re paid, and we can’t pay you until we’re paid. Even sites like Fiction4All, Google, and Lot’s Cave pay 30 days after the month’s end…for the same reason.

It sounds like a shell game, and many times it feels like one; but a shell game won’t give you precise times when each player pays out. We will.

Amazon: Amazon is infamous for allowing readers to refund books even if they’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed them. Because of this, they don’t pay out until 60 days after month’s end…so if you make sales in April, you won’t see royalties until at least the end of June, and it could be longer if you don’t meet their minimum number of sales for the month.

To make things worse, their royalty structure is draconian: if your book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, they will graciously pay you 70% of your book’s retail price. However, if your book is priced lower than $2.99 or higher than $9.99, they take a whopping 65%, leaving you only a 35% royalty for your hard work.

Note: Books submitted to Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and India will only pay out 35% royalties, even if they fall within the ”premium” $2.99 – $9.99 range.  Highway robbery? You bet, which is just one of many reasons Amazon has such a bad reputation in the industry. However, their mystique is such that many authors will put up with their dishonest practices just for the thrill of being able to say, “My book is published on Amazon!”

Apple: Apple doesn’t allow as many chargebacks, but they also hold payment for 60 days. Since they only accept submissions through e-publishing giants like Smashwords, Lulu, and Stealth, or else you must use a Mac computer to access their site, very few people submit to them independently. (If you submit to them independently, they also require you to purchase your own ISBNs, unlike most other publishers, which can get very expensive very quickly.)

Barnes & Noble: Although they are one of the most decent and honest big publishers, their royalty rates vary dramatically depending on whether you submit directly to them, or whether you submit through a wholesale site like Smashwords. Our recommendation is to submit through Smashwords, as they pay 60% on anything over 99 cents, as opposed to submitting directly where they pay 65% on all books priced $2.99 – $9.99, but only 40% for anything above or below that range. They also pay out 60 days after month’s end, just in case there are any chargebacks (yes, they have recently started allowing chargebacks, too…it’s sad to see how the mighty have fallen!)

Google: Just when you thought it was starting to make sense, Google throws a wrench into the works.

Their big claim to fame is that they undercut everyone else by approximately 22%. The nightmare scenario is that if Amazon sees a book priced lower on any other website, they will price-match it…so the $2.99 book you published on Amazon will suddenly be listed for about $2.35…which, coincidentally, is outside their “premium” price range. So now instead of paying you 70% for the book sale, they only have to pay you 35%. Nice, huh? Did I mention how many authors despise Amazon?

On top of this, Google only pays 52% royalties to its authors. Fortunately they pay 52% on the initial $2.99, not $2.35. But it’s still a huge whopping chunk.

There’s a way around this: If you raise the price just on Google by 33%, and they automatically reduce it by 22%, the final price comes out to almost exactly the same price you used everywhere else. That means Amazon won’t reduce their price, so you still get the full royalty amount from them…and to really sweeten the deal, Google pays you 52% on the increased price…making your final royalty about 70% rather than 52%.

Who says you can’t beat ’em at their own game?

Lulu: Unlike many other publishers, Lulu pays out 30 days after the month’s end. However, their affiliate royalty rates are some of the worst in the industry. Books sold directly through Lulu earn 60%, and Apple pays 63%. However, Amazon only pays a horrific 38% (even if your book is priced in their “premium” range of $2.99 – $9.99), and “Kobo and Everything Else” only pays out 40%. The only thing that makes this publisher worthwhile is that Apple, Kobo, and Amazon will nearly always accept books through Lulu that, ironically, they’ll reject if submitted independently to them. Go fig.

Book Oasis, Carnal Pleasures, Carnaltopia, and Timeless Erotica: These four sites are lumped together because they are all owned by Boruma Publishing partners. This gives you an unparalleled advantage: since they are under our personal control, they pay out immediately after month’s end, usually within 1 – 2 calendar days. No waiting 30-180 days for your hard-earned royalties. They take a flat 25% royalty, and accept every legal genre, including hardcore and “taboo” erotica.

Fiction4All: This site may be small compared to mega-sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but some of our best sales come through them. They accept all genres, but specialize in BDSM and “taboo” erotica. They pay 30 days after month’s end, and their royalty rate is generally about 70%. However, since they are a British-based website, currency exchange rates can alter this percentage somewhat…and sales made through their affiliate program will be considerably smaller.

Smashwords: Again, just when you thought things were making sense, Smashwords has to be…different.

Whereas other sites pay a percentage-based royalty, Smashwords’ royalties will vary all over the place. Generally speaking, they will range between 18 – 24%, giving authors a 76 – 82% royalty rate. However, this is based on the credit card processing costs associated with each specific order, so the author’s royalty rate will be higher if several books were ordered (i.e. the credit card processing cost was split between several books) and lower if only one book was ordered.

Smashwords only pays out once per quarter, and this payment is made 30 days after the quarter’s end. Because their affiliates pay out 30 days after each month’s end, sales for January and February will be paid out at the end of April, but March’s payment will be held until the following quarter-plus-30-days; i.e. the end of July. April’s and May’s sales will also be included in the July payment.

If this is giving you a headache, don’t feel bad…it gives us a headache, too, and we’ve been dealing with it for years!

Stealth: This affiliate services several dozen large and small international websites. Since each website has its own royalty rate, we will not try to detail them all here. Rates are comparable to most U.S. publishing companies, though the foreign exchange rates can skew these figures somewhat. They pay out 60 days after the quarter’s end, so sales that are made in January through March, for example, will not be paid out until the end of May.

Excitica: This site accepts all taboo topics…but hands down, Excitica has the absolute worst payout in the industry. Instead of paying authors 30 or 60 days after the month’s end, they pay out a whopping three full months after the QUARTER’S end.  That’s right…they receive payments instantly, but hold onto those payments for up to SIX FULL MONTHS!

So where does Boruma Publishing figure into all of this?

Boruma Publishing will submit to any or all of these sites, and more besides, at your request. For this, we charge a mere 15% royalty rate for all book sales, to cover hosting and credit card processing fees. (This 15% rate is already figured into Carnal Pleasures’ 25% rate, making it the most lucrative website in our affiliate network.) There are no hidden fees, no underhanded “gotchas.” What you see is what you get.

And what, exactly, are you getting?

– We will process your book into multiple formats, and send these to you upon completion of your submission to whichever affiliates you specify.

– We will NOT make changes to the content of your book without your knowledge or approval; the only changes we may make will be to the formatting, so that your book can be processed and submitted to the sites you choose.

– If you require a professional-quality book cover, our graphic artists will go to work on your behalf. There is a small fee for this service––quality graphic artwork is never free––but our prices are reasonable, and we will continue working until you are pleased with the results.

– We will accurately track your sales from each of these affiliates, and provide you with secure real-time stats so you can track your previous and current sales.

– Should there be questions or complaints about your book content or cover, we will intercede on your behalf with the affiliate, and do our best to resolve any problems.

– We will send you prompt payment, and a comprehensive month-end report, for all sales credited and paid in the immediately-preceding month.

– We will send you a comprehensive year-end report for your tax records (all taxes accrued from book sales are your sole responsibility).

– If you would like to see a “snapshot” of your current sales, just let us know. We believe in complete transparency at all times.

– If you have any questions, or would like to discuss additional publishing opportunities, we’re available seven days a week to help you. After all, we’re authors, too…we understand the importance of friendly communication!

If anyone tells you our services and rates are “too good to be true,” just ask our authors what their experience has been. Our record speaks for itself. We’re proud of that, and will work hard to live up to your expectations!


4 thoughts on “Royalty Payments 101

  1. I’m assuming it is the fact that Smashwords, Stealth, and Lulu ALL submit to Barnes and Noble that I have two and three copies of several of my books available on the B&N website?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s right. Some sites, like Amazon, don’t allow more than one copy of a book on their website. Other sites are far more reasonable, and will allow multiple copies. This actually helps you, as each affiliate may choose a different category or subcategory when submitting your book, so it will show up in more places. And, oddly enough, people are far more likely to buy a copy of your book if they see it listed multiple times. “It must be popular if the website is promoting it like that.”


  2. Thanks for this incredible cheat sheet on the mysteries of royalties. Put me down as a big fan of Boruma–authors get tremendous support, which is almost unheard of in this treacherous business of erotica publishing.


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