Thursday, February 7, 2013

When a Free of Charge Book Becomes a Sale

There is a saying, “Never count your chickens before they hatch.” One could also say, “Never count your money until it is in your hands.”

As authors, sometimes we forget to pay attention to the business elements of publishing. Whether you are a self-publisher or use a traditional publishing company, you spend most of your time being creative by concentrating on developing your characters, plots and superb endings. In addition, you put your heart and soul into marketing and advertising your work and hoping you will make a nice return on your book(s).

In January of 2012, I enrolled my fourth book, Wicked Intent into Amazon KDP Select and offered the ebook free during the month of January. During the first two weeks of its release, the publisher’s records showed that I had sold over 1200 copies. To my surprise, it almost sounded too good to be true. After all, no major media featured my digital book, and it was not on The New York Times Bestseller List.

Nevertheless, I had big plans as to what I was going to do with my windfall. I needed a few office supplies, and I was going to purchase some books, but a little birdie in my brain said, “Do not charge any items on your credit card until the company wires the money into your account.”

When I saw no money put into my account at the end of March, I sent an email questioning where my royalties were.

To make a long story short, KDP responded. Their records showed that I had no sales during the month of January but sales during other months. Mind you, their records, which I downloaded, showed 835 units sold in US, 55 in other countries and 384 in the UK and four in Denmark.

I replied by attaching their reports of my sales to my email and asked, “Could you please explain to me why the attached three reports indicate that 1280 copies of my ebook were purchased?”

Well, I heard from Kindle Direct Publishing, and this is what they had to say, “I see you’ve enrolled your title, Wicked Intent, in KDP Select and offered it for free during the month of January. All of the copies of your title were sold for free during this period, and therefore you’re not seeing equivalent royalties.”
KDP also went on to say, “We’re making improvements to our reports to help give the clearest picture of your sales. Be sure to check out our Help pages and Community forums to learn about the changes we’re making.”

At first, I was embarrassed for bragging that I actually sold so many copies but at the same time, vindicated when KDP said, “All of the copies were sold for free.”


About The Author

Born in 1946, Vivienne Diane Neal is a storyteller with a wicked sense of humor. Vivienne has been writing articles for over twenty years and started writing fictional short stories in 2007. She gets her story ideas from observing people, places and things and watching true TV court cases.
Now, semi-retired, she continues to write short stores and articles on love, romance, relationships and other topics of interest on her One World Singles Magazine Blog.

Follow her on Facebook at and Twitter at

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