Royalty Share vs. Subscription Pricing for Self-Published Authors – Which Option is Best?

PublishDrive offers two pricing options: Royalty Share and Subscription Pricing. These flexible options allow authors at every stage of their self-publishing career to maximize their royalties. But how will you decide which one is best for you?

Here, we’ll break down the differences to help you choose.

Understanding Pricing for Self-Published Authors

Royalty Share Pricing

Royalty Share pricing is the most common option offered by self-publishing distributors. With this option, PublishDrive will take 10% of the digital list price. This is a great, no-upfront-cost way for new authors to begin their publishing career.

Before calculating your royalty, it’s important to understand that each store has its own royalty rate. For example, for books sold through Apple Books using the Royalty Share, authors earn a 60% royalty.

This link has a list of all the major stores and the royalty rates they offer through PublishDrive.

Key Points:

  • PublishDrive’s fee is 10% of the digital list price.
  • We only earn money when you do. There are no hidden fees.
  • This pricing option is best for new authors selling less than $1,000 monthly.

Subscription Pricing

Our Subscription Pricing is one of the most innovative and lucrative options in the industry. This option lets you keep 100% of your royalties (after the stores’ fee) for a small monthly fee of $100 USD.

For authors selling $1,000 or more per month through PublishDrive, Subscription Pricing allows them to maximize their earnings. Authors also have access to the same marketing options as they would when publishing directly to stores, so it combines the best of both worlds: direct-like conditions for multiple stores in a single platform. (Authors can also access the free marketing features that we offer all PublishDrive users).

Key Points:

  • Requires a flat monthly fee of $100 USD.
  • Authors keep 100% of their royalties (after the stores’ fee), no matter how high sales go.
  • This pricing option is best for authors selling at least $1,000 monthly.

How Pricing for Self-Published Authors Affects Take-Home Royalties

Let’s look at some examples to see how pricing for self-published authors can affect take-home royalties.

Scenario #1

John is a new author whose monthly sales are a few hundred dollars, and he is using the Royalty Share option. All of his sales come from Amazon. He sells his books for $3.99 each.

Here’s a breakdown of his monthly sales:

Units sold100 @ $3.99 = $399.00
Author royalty70% = $279.30
Minus PublishDrive fee10% = $27.93
Author’s final royalty$251.37

Scenario #2

After about a year, John begins to see a steady increase in sales. He is now selling over $1,000 per month:

Units sold1000 @ $3.99 = $3,990.00
Author royalty70% = $2,793.00
Minus PublishDrive fee10% = $279.30
Author’s final royalty$2,513.70

At this point in John’s career, it makes much more sense to enroll in Subscription Pricing instead.

Let’s see what John’s earnings would look like with these same figures using Subscription Pricing:

Units sold1000 @ $3.99 = $3,990.00
Author royalty70% = $2,793.00
Minus PublishDrive fee$100.00*
Author’s final royalty$2,693.00

*As a reminder, this is a flat fee that will not increase no matter how high sales go!

To compare, John was taking home $2,513.70 with the Royalty Share option. But with Subscription Pricing, his take-home royalties are $2,693.00 – that’s about a 9.33% increase!

When high-earning authors continue to sell more books, they will see this difference increase exponentially. For example, in a previous post, we shared how best-selling author Rachel Morgan was able to increase her take-home royalties by 16% just by enrolling in Subscription Pricing.

The best part about these pricing options is that you can switch them at any time. Feel free to change your pricing option as your sales fluctuate.