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June 2024 Royalties issue: All Author, Cause and Publisher PayPal and Wise Royalty Payments have now been sent!
June 2024 Royalties issue: All Author, Cause and Publisher PayPal and Wise Royalty Payments have now been sent!

Keywords: royalty, royalties, bug, data, payment, delay

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Written by Leanpub Support
Updated over a week ago

Update June 17, 2024:

Now that the dust has settled, one of our authors asked for a confirmation that everything was done correctly. So, we wrote an explanation of it in an email, and are pasting the generic version of that here. This is what happened for almost every author who received an incorrect email from us on June 1, 2024:

Hi (author),

Sorry again about this issue.

Here's the explanation regarding the numbers. I am going to write it this way, because this happened to a large number of our authors.

1. The email we sent you incorrectly at the beginning of June congratulated you on getting $A USD in royalties. This total was composed of the two amounts:
a) The $B USD which we sent you on May 1, but which had not gotten properly reconciled so it still showed as owing
b) The $C USD which we actually owed you at the beginning of June

You will notice that A = B + C.

So, to be clear, at the beginning of June, we congratulated you on earning what we had already paid you in May, plus what we were about to pay you in June.

2. On June 3, we reconciled the May 1, 2024 payment. So, you will notice that on the Royalty Payouts list, there is no payout listed for May. That is because even though we paid it on May 1, we reconciled it on June 3. So, when you look at that list, you will see that the $B that we sent you on May 1 shows as having been paid on June 3:

We probably should have triggered an automated email to you on June 3 congratulating you on the actual royalties ($B) which we paid you in May, and which we were just reconciling on June 3. However, we had our email sending turned off, to prevent any more confusion about people expecting their June royalties and receiving a congratulations on their May royalties. Just know that the amount we paid you at the beginning of May ($B) was correct, and was correctly reconciled on June 3.

3. On June 6, we sent the correct June royalty payments, and we reconciled them when the send completed. In your case, we sent you $C USD.

So, in short, we had the following issues:
- a delay in reconciling the May royalties ($B), which led to...
- an incorrect email being sent on June 1 (mentioning $A, which is actually $B + $C), which led to...
- us delaying the June royalty payments (for $C) until we could finish properly reconciling the May royalties (for $B) on June 3, which led to...
- us actually sending the correct June royalty payments (for $C) on June 6, and reconciling them at that time as well.

All of us at Leanpub are very sorry about what happened, and we have taken steps to ensure it will never happen again.

We have also posted updates to our author forum here:

Update June 6, 2024:

We have now sent all of our Wise and PayPal author, publisher and cause royalty payments for June!

Thank you very much for your patience with us as we resolved this issue!

We conducted a thorough investigation of why this happened, comparing the past n payments our system to all payments made from a full PayPal export, which includes taking into account royalty pool payments, publisher royalty payments, cause royalty payments, AI service purchases and other service purchases, etc. Our entire team reviewed hundreds of payments, and everything has now been resolved.

The Wise author and publisher payments were sent on June 3.

The PayPal author, cause and publisher payments were sent on June 5 and June 6.

If you were paid with PayPal, you will now see no royalties owing for June.

If you were paid with Wise, you will still see royalties owing since we have not reconciled Wise yet. (We typically wait 7-10 days to reconcile Wise, since some sends take a while, and are occasionally returned to us.)

We expect to reconcile most of the Wise send on Friday, June 7, and the balance sometime on the week of June 10. If you were paid with Wise, you will get an automated email from us notifying you about your Wise royalties when we reconcile your payment, as usual.

If you receive royalties with PayPal, if you look in your royalty payouts here, you may see two payments for June, and none for May. This is because for many of you, we reconciled the PayPal royalty payment that we sent at the beginning of May in the beginning of June. We are not modifying that date (since we did actually reconcile the May payment in June), so that date will show you the date the payment was reconciled, not the date the payment was sent. (So, that May payout will always show a June date.)

Some of our authors noticed unpaid royalties fluctuating briefly on June 5. Here's what happened at a high level:

1. Some of the royalties which we sent via PayPal at the beginning of May were not properly automatically reconciled internally in Leanpub, due to a bug. (Everything was sent correctly in PayPal at the beginning of May.)

2. So, throughout May, if you were one of the affected authors (from #1), it looked like you had more money owed for the beginning of June than was correct (since that number included the amount you had already been paid for May).

3. On May 31, our system incorrectly sent many affected authors a "you've got Leanpub royalties" email. The reason the email was sent and the amount of money it referenced was (in many cases) incorrect was due to our automated reconciling not happening properly inside Leanpub in response to the May payout. So, some authors got an email telling them we had paid them their royalties of x + y, where x was what we paid them in May, and y was what we were going to actually pay them in June. However, we had not actually sent any money for June yet.

4. We discovered this early on June 1, before sending any royalties. We conducted a brief investigation and emailed all authors who had been emailed on May 31 to let them know what was going on. We then started our more detailed investigation, which has been going on ever since. We posted an article to our Help Center explaining our progress, and sent that link to authors who reached out.

5. On June 5, we deployed code which fixed the issue with the royalty reconciliation from earlier this month. So, this meant that in many cases, the amount owed for May which had been showing in the total owed for June was now removed from that total.

Sorry again for the delays in sending royalties this month, and for the issues with our reporting.

Later this month we will figure out the exact changes we will make to ensure that our royalty processes are improved, and I will post a follow-up in a new article.

Thanks for your patience and support, and for being Leanpub authors!


P.S. I greatly appreciated the many encouraging, calm and understanding replies I got from the authors who I emailed in the bcc email on June 1 when we discovered the issue. Thanks again for your kind words and support 😄

P.P.S. These were the previous updates from before June 5:

Update June 4, 2024: As we mentioned in our previous update below, we've already paid Wise royalties. We're ahead of schedule double-checking the issue with how we logged PayPal payments in May, and we currently hope to be finished paying PayPal royalties by Thursday, June 6 at 5 PM Pacific.

Update June 3, 2024: Since Wise royalty payments were not affected by this bug, we sent the Wise royalty payments today. However, we are going to delay reconciling the Wise royalty payments until the PayPal royalty payment issue below is resolved, later in June 2024. So, if you received a Wise payment from us on June 3, it will not show up as paid until mid-to-late June.

We are still working on resolving the PayPal royalty issue. We do not want to rush things, so the timetable below is still considered accurate. See below for more information about that...

On June 1, 2024, we noticed an embarrassing bug regarding the way we internally logged some of our PayPal royalty payments to authors last month, at the beginning of May.

Because of this bug, some Leanpub authors were mistakenly sent an automated royalty email late on May 31, when in fact we had not sent the June royalties yet!

Don't worry: your royalties are safe and sound. This was an embarrassing bug on our part. We did not send any royalties today (June 1), just these mistaken emails to some Leanpub authors.

To be extra safe, we are going to take the week of June 3-7 to fully investigate why this happened.

That means we will be sending June royalty payments sometime in the week of June 10-14, or possibly sooner, if we complete our investigation before then. The payment amount will be for what you were owed on June 1.

Please email us at if you have any issues with the planned timing of the June royalty payment set out above, so we can prioritize resolving this for you.

Please accept our sincere apologies for this issue. We are going to make changes to ensure this never happens again.

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