DiscoverThe Ingenium Books Podcast: Author. Publisher. Changemaker.Preventing Book Returns: Strategies for Author Financial Stability - John Wagner-Stafford
Preventing Book Returns: Strategies for Author Financial Stability - John Wagner-Stafford

Preventing Book Returns: Strategies for Author Financial Stability - John Wagner-Stafford

Update: 2023-12-21
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Are you a self-published author, pouring your heart and soul into your book only to face the heartbreak of returns? Picture this: a cautionary tale of a publisher forced to pay back royalties on a staggering 25,000 returned copies. The publishing industry is like a consignment store, where that initial sale to a bookstore is just the beginning of a risky ride. But fear not, because in this captivating episode, we unravel the secrets of protecting yourself financially, setting aside a reserve against returns. Stay tuned to discover how to navigate the treacherous waters of book returns and ensure your hard work doesn't go in vain.
Check your royalty report for the line item 'reserve against returns' and thank your publisher for protecting both of you. - John Wagner-Stafford

In this episode, you will:

  • Learn how to protect yourself financially by setting aside a reserve against returns.
  • Discover strategies for mitigating the risk of book returns in the publishing industry.
  • Explore ways to proactively communicate directly with bookstores to minimize returns.
  • Gain insights on how proactive marketing and increased visibility can help reduce returns.
  • Understand the importance of establishing a reserve against returns to safeguard your earnings.



The resources mentioned in this episode are:

  1. Check your royalty reports for a line item that says reserve against returns to ensure your publisher is accounting for potential returns.
  2. Ask your publisher about their accounting and tracking system to ensure that the amount withheld for returns is not offsetting another author's royalties.
  3. Review your publishing agreement to see if it allows for returns and what the percentage and term for returns are. Ensure you understand the length of time the publisher can hold returns.
  4. If you are self-publishing, make sure you understand how to communicate with distributors about returns. This may involve specific settings or instructions when uploading your book to platforms like KDP or Ingram.
  5. Consider setting aside money in reserve to prepare for potential returns, especially if you are experiencing more returns than sales.
  6. Stay informed about the publishing industry and keep up with best practices for handling returns to protect yourself as an author or publisher.



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Preventing Book Returns: Strategies for Author Financial Stability - John Wagner-Stafford

Preventing Book Returns: Strategies for Author Financial Stability - John Wagner-Stafford

Ingenium Books