There have been numerous posts regarding the accuracy of royalty payments. Some have complained of not receiving payment at all, others that they have not received accurate payment. This is not only a serious problem with very serious implications, but it is worse in that there is absolutely no transparency in the system. We have no idea whether Amazon or Createspace are selling our books, CDs, videos etc. All we know is what they report to us. I am not accusing either entity of cheating. What I am suggesting is the introduction of a fool-proof system, perhaps audited by a third party, which tracks all our sales and reports them accurately.
Some of us have spent years writing, trying to break into a field dominated by New York agents and publishers of a few particular persuasions who have denied us entry. They certainly have good reason in most cases, but in others, where the work is exemplary, excellent and worthy of publishing, they've made it impossible. Createspace has given us all a tremendous opportunity in what is really a symbiotic relationship. We write, they produce, we both make money. They cannot do without us, and at this point we cannot do without them. But there must be an accounting of what goes where, where the money goes, and who controls that aspect of the relationship.
My suggestion is that we nominate from our community, one, two or three people to represent us at the table with Createspace and Amazon executives where we can in fact hammer out as foolproof an agreement as possible. These people can be paid as our representatives by Amazon as a gesture of transparency and in the spirit of openness so that no questions arise as to the most important facet of our relationship, the sharing of proceeds from the sale of our work.
Should this seem reasonable to you my fellow members, as well as the executives at CS and Amazon, please email me at *****
One more thing...I should think that this kind of cooperation should extend to Amazon's promotion of our work. I would like to suggest several ways Amazon can help us all by subtle promotion. Email me with suggestions.
Message was edited by: CreateSpace Community Moderators
It is up to Amazon/CreateSpace to take care of accurate reporting, accurate royalty payment and accurate tax withhold (in regards to make difference between "royalties" and "other earnings" as Lulu do).
It is not up to us to control anything at all.
As it is now it is simply the way this works.
Amazon & Createspace has to take care that reporting and accounting works correct and that they are trustful.
If they will not give attention to this matter and questions rise more and more it will be there business which will get in trouble sooner or later.
So it's up to Amazon / CS to respond to questions, to take care of sales reporting software glitches etc.
I just wished that a CS Manager would give some kind of comments and answers to all these questions here at the forum,
so that we would have at least have the feeling that they would take these client comments serious.
PS: Please remove your email address. Otherwise CS moderators will remove it and you will get warned probably.
You misunderstood. We all know CS and Amazon are in control. That's the point. They shouldn't be in TOTAL control of our money, especially since their track record (according to the sizable number of posts) is not a good one. They have a fiduciary responsibility with respect to paying us our royalties, but how can we know if they're fulfilling it without some form of audit trail? My suggestion would make it better for both parties. And I subscribe to Ronald Reagan's old adage: "Trust, but verify." Anyone can make mistakes. Let's help them not make mistakes. And if you are satisfied with the way things are, that's alright. No one should be forced to participate in the accounting process. As for me, and apparently many, many others who have posted comments of concern, I would like to see an accounting and auditing process which would insure I am being paid what I should be paid.
I agree something needs to be done, but I doubt CS/Amazon would agree to such a proposal. Instead, has anyone thought to contact the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection? It is their job to investigate situations such as this. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm
(I'm not volunteering to contact them, as I'm in Australia - but I'm happy to write a letter of support if needed.)
It is a case of the fox protecting the hen house. I am convinced that createspace and amazon are cheating me. I saw one of my titles on amazon which stated, "others who purchased this title also purchased...etc." But, my reports show zero sales for that title. I have waited for several months, watching for sales of the title and still there are none. It is a popular title and I've sold on my own through eBay, so I am convinced that they've sold copies and have paid me no royalties. We need to do something about this! I have some ideas--contact me! Let's band together and stop this cheating!
Quote: I saw one of my titles on amazon which stated, "others who purchased this title also purchased...etc." But, my reports show zero sales for that title.
Just my take on that . . .
I see that on Amazon quite often. I think it's their way of increasing sales. Think about it . . . If I order a certain type of book, they will "helpfully" direct me to other books of the same type in the hope that I'll buy them, too. It doesn't necessarily mean your book was sold.
I originally replied in good faith. I believe that the very nature of sales through any type of outlet is open to all sorts of shenanigans. These are difficult to find even if all the records are public, and they are impossible to find if they are not (have you done investigative work? I have.) If there are problems and if someone can demonstrate them, it would be appropriate to post them and alert people to things that are otherwise invisible.
The forum works because people read the postings and respond. Way too much time has been spent--wasted--reading yours without any evidence. I hope that you will post something that shows the who-what-where-when-why-and-how of it. Maybe people will send you examples, which you'll post. The community needs to know. If you find nothing, will you post that? I hope so.
I'm always curious as to how people come up with the notion that they are being cheated. I get paid almost every month from Amazon when my account hits the threshold. I can see my sales post in almost live time when I check my account. I have never seen anything in Amazon's business behavior to remotely indicate that this might even be a problem. Most of the time when someone posts that they aren't getting sales reported, it falls into one of three complaints.
1. Someone told me they bought my book, but the sale isn't showing.
Allow me to be the bearer of bad news. That person LIED. Maybe they mean to buy it. Maybe they just don't want you badgering them over it. Maybe they just don't have the heart to tell you the truth. But if your friends and co-workers are telling you they bought the book and it is not showing up in your sales, it is more likely they are lying than Amazon is cheating you. You can always call their bluff. Tell them to bring the book to you and you will autograph it. After asking them two or three times and you realize they keep "forgetting" it, you'll understand. Unless the person shows up with the book in hand, he didn't buy it.
2. Third-party vendors are listing my book as USED but I haven't sold any copies yet!
Third-party vendors on Amazon rarely actually have books in inventory. If you are using EDC, this information is fed into the Ingram's database. Because your book is POD, vendors know that if they get an order, they can order the book and have it drop shipped directly to the customer. This encourages them to list ALL POD TITLES because they don't have to have the book on hand. That is, after all, the entire point of print-on-demand, to print the book when there is actually a demand. The reason some of them list a book as "used" is to snag those customers that actually are looking for used books. There are people who always look at the "used" catagory first because they think it will be cheaper. It is all smoke and mirrors.
3. I have posting about my book all over the place and telling everyone I know and Amazon is not reporting any sales after two months! They are obviously not reporting!
No, you obviously aren't selling any books. The average self-published book will sell less than 200 copies over the course of its life. That is the reality of self-publishing. If your entire marketing plan is to spam forums and websites and hope someone buys, you aren't going to sell any books. Being listed on Amazon along with 5,000,000 other books is not going to get you discovered by readers. You need to actually have a real marketing plan in place to drive traffic to your listing. That means sending out comp copies for book reviews, buying ads in genre specific publications and websites, sending out press releases to appropriate print and digital media, engaging in social networking byond posting "BY MY BOOK PLZ" everywhere. if you aren't doing those things, you aren't selling books.
If you personally think you are being cheated, you are within your rights to get a lawyer and sue Amazon. But I see no reason to jump on an ill-informed bandwagon based on assumption and innuendo bred in a pool of conspiracy theory by people who don't really have the first clue about the publishing industry to begin with.
Thank you bardsandsages for your usual logical analysis. There seems to be one character here who has recently made it his personal crusade to uncover the den of iniquity that he sees CS and Amazon to be. Up until this week, he had maybe two postings ever, then launched a blitz campaign demeaning anyone who disagreed with him (I so wish he'd at least vary the "fox guarding the henhouse" catch phrase). I seriously don't think that the "heavy hitters" here, who have been part of CS for several years and seem to be exceptionally knowledgeable about the publishing business would stick around if there was fraud. Unless of course, one were to believe that they are mere shills for CS/Amazon, placed here to keep us from learning the "truth."
"People who have purchased this book have also purchased, etc..." was advertised on amazon, thus amazon states that my book sold. I waited for two months without any royalties being shown. (this same book is selling well on ebay). Something seems not right. Additionally, read other posts from people that state how sloppy createspace is in handling their royalties. It is fair to call for transparency. It is this simple: Do You Want The Fox Guarding The Hen House?
"People who have purchased this book have also purchased, etc..." was advertised on amazon, thus amazon states that my book sold. I waited for two months without any royalties being shown.
So maybe that person bought your book three months ago, and only recently bought another, unrelated book which is now linked to yours through the "People who have purchased this book have also purchased..." thing. This does not mean your book sold in the same transaction. Amazon is very good tracking a customer's purchasing history to enable it to make recommendations and create "personalised" newsletters etc.
A book I bought a year ago could be linked in this way to a book I bought yesterday. The book I bought a year ago would obviously not reflect a new sale because of this new link.
From what I have read so far this is an old argument. When I sign in to Amazon I get scads of recommendations of titles, and I too see "people who bought this book also bought, etc." at the bottom of all my listings. That does not mean you sold a book. It's the standard blurb on the bottom which generates titles based on the tags on your list. It does NOT imply that your book was sold to anyone at any time. It's a marketing ploy created by Amazon to generate interest in titles in your category and nothing more. That Amazon does not report sales timely to CS is Amazon's fault, not CS's.
But it would be nice to at least know that the books sold, and when, whether or not we are paid. It gives us something to look forward to.