My First Royalties

Mar 23, 2023 | Accomplishments, Writing | 0 comments

Last week I decided to start changing my Amazon page over to my new pen name. I haven’t actually logged onto KDP for years (that’s apparently what having a baby/moving house/starting several new jobs etc does to me – but then again, I already knew I’d accidentally let life take over my writing) so when I did, I was a little surprised to find a few error messages on the royalties page.

Now, I definitely remember setting up royalties when I published Synthetica – after all, I wanted to paid for my work – but I couldn’t quite remember if I’d set up all the different options for different currencies. On KDP, you can manually select what percentage of royalties you want to receive for each currency, and some countries have slightly different options from the standard 70/30 split that Amazon uses (or there’s restrictions e.g. your book has to be above a certain price, or enrolled in KDP Select). However, as it had been at least five years since logging on, I thought perhaps that the system had changed in that time, so I just needed to update the countries it was asking me to.

I updated my info and then didn’t think any more about it (also, turns out I couldn’t do the updates I wanted to just yet – but maybe that’s for the best – see below). A few hours later however, I got an email through from Amazon Accounts Payable, with the subject line ‘KDP Royalty Payment Notification’. I must confess that I skim read it as it looked like the kind of automated email I normally ignore, but I did notice it mentioned the FR Kindle store. ‘Hang on,’ I thought, ‘does this mean someone in France actually BOUGHT MY BOOK?!’ But before I got too excited however, I got several more emails through from both the US Kindle store and the CA Kindle store. ‘Oh,’ I thought, ‘this isn’t a notification of royalty payments – this is something to do with the royalty information I just updated.’ So, feeling slightly disappointed, I left it.

However, a few days later I was checking my bank account on my phone, when I noticed there was a little more money in one account than there had been the previous week. I checked the transactions, and lo and behold, there were several payments from Amazon Kindle! Royalties! Paid to ME! I HAVE OFFICIALLY MADE MONEY FROM MY BOOK!

And would you like to know the amount I made? I made a grand total of…£3.04. Yes, that’s right – at some point over the last eight years, my book as made me a little over £3.

This seems like an absurdly small sum compared to hearing about authors getting paid five or six figure advances – but it really means a lot to me. It means that sometime in the distant past someone – several people actually – have seen my book on Amazon and they decided it sounded interesting enough to buy. I can’t tell you what this means to me. It’s validation that my writing IS good enough. That one day, maybe, I’ll also be one of those authors you read about actually making a living from their books.

For now though, I’m going to use this small win as fuel to keep going, and especially to finish The Imperial City Chronicles in its entirety. And if you’re one of those people who believes in signs from the universe like I do, I think this is a pretty strong one; especially since it was only last week I was speaking to one of my friends about all the doubts I was having over my writing. And then this happens! Also – I couldn’t find an easy way to update my author info, but as I have a meeting with a design agency on Tuesday to discuss new book covers for the Imperial City series, I think this was perhaps another sign from the universe telling me to wait until they’re done before I do anything more.

So the moral of the story is this; I can do this. If I keep working away at my writing, one day, my childhood dream will come true. I will earn a living from my writing. But for now, I’m going to proudly call myself an author, and use that £3.04 to buy myself a cup of coffee as I work my way through the first draft of Cyber. And who knows, maybe that will be the one cup of coffee that gets me through to the end.

How did you feel the moment you found out you’d made money from your writing?

Z xx


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