Aunt Bertha Syndrome

I hadn’t thought about this before but now I feel obligated to share this with you. I got this from Booklocker FAQ page. Before you read it I would just like to say that you will not hurt my feelings if you don’t buy my book. Just don’t do like Aunt Bertha and say you bought my book when you actually didn’t because I’ll be able to tell.

Q. My Aunt Bertha says she bought a copy of my book last month and it’s not showing up in my author account. Why not?!

A. First, remember that we can’t credit an author’s account for Ingram sales until we receive payment from Ingram. Ingram now pays us 4 months after a sale occurs. But, for website orders (booklocker.com), royalties appear instantly in your author acct. So, if Aunt Bertha ordered from us, the order number on her email receipt will appear in your author account. If she purchased from another store, it will show up in the cumulative Ingram numbers that are posted when we’re paid – four months later. We don’t receive information on which bookstores ordered from Ingram so we can only post totals for each title, each month. If an Ingram post doesn’t appear in your account one month, that means there weren’t any sales by Ingram for your book that month. Also, Ingram has the option of only posting a sale once they are paid by the bookstore for that sale.

If a friend or family member claims to have purchased your book, you should ask them for a copy of their receipt before accusing Ingram or anyone else of foul play. We often hear complaints from authors who say their aunt or sister said they bought a copy and they want to know why their author account isn’t reflecting the sale.

We gently tell them to ask for a copy of the receipt and, in every case where the sales from the relatives were never reported by Ingram or us, it has been the result of the relative fibbing to the author about buying their book so as not to hurt the author’s feelings. We call this the Aunt Bertha Syndrome.

I was surprised when I first heard of this happening, but then it happened again and again…and again. It’s very sad. We’ve audited Ingram’s sales figures numerous times over the years and we’ve never once discovered even one sale missing from their reports and payments. They’re a large and very reputable company and those discrepancies have never happened to us, nor have we heard of it happening to any other publisher. They have thousands of publishing clients and their reputation is excellent. They sell thousands of books for us each month and, again, every time we’ve checked their sales figured, they’ve always been correct.

Please don’t accuse Amazon or Ingram or us or anyone else of not reporting a sale unless you have a copy of the receipt from that sale in your possession. Falsely accusing someone based on a well-intentioned family member’s white lie can be very embarrassing, and can cause unnecessary stress, hurt feelings, and, unfortunately, expensive legal fees for the author who hires an attorney to chase down sales that never occurred.

If you do have a copy of a receipt and are wondering about when your author account will get credited, please contact Angela. She’s always happy to help. Also, the last page of each book printed by our printer contains a barcode and tracking information. Using that, we can track down when a book was printed, and even when and where it was shipped.

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