Excerpt from: 111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free
Most authors point from their website or blog to their book’s sales pages at (hopefully) several online retailers. And as smart authors, they are in an affiliate program with these large retailers, in order to receive four percent, or more, additional revenue from their own titles. But, why not sell directly from the own website too?
Once your web presence is perfectly established, you can start to sell your books directly to your readers! These days, authors can choose from several well-established, inexpensive and easy-to-integrate shopping systems for author websites.
What are the Benefits for Authors?
- It drives more traffic to your website.
- You will receive immediate payments.
- You will have higher revenues.
- You will know your readers, which is absolutely not possible when you sell through online retailers
Direct selling means you earn around 85 percent to 95 percent of your retail price, way more than the not even 70 percent you receive from Amazon. Also, on a 99 cent book, or one that is priced above $9.99, you get nearly double the amount you would receive from Amazon, Kobo, Apple iBooks or Barnes & Noble.
It also helps your readers who live in areas where Amazon requests a surcharge, e.g. in parts of Asia, Africa, Australia and the Middle East, who can directly order from your website. Last year I purchased a 99-cent book from Germany, which was not available on Amazon.com, only through Amazon.de. In the end, I paid almost US $4.00 for this title. I certainly was not happy about the outrageous surcharge.
Increased Website Traffic.
In social media posts, or blog articles, do not set only links to your retailers, but mainly to your own website where you sell your book. This way, more traffic is directed to your website and blog, and you will receive many more visitors, which in turn helps your site’s ranking, which means more visibility… You get the idea. It also helps to build the author platform and brand in shorter time.
You get paid before your customers download your books. Unlike online book retailers, you do not have to wait until you receive a statement several months after your book was sold. The money for your books is deposited in your account right away. You retain control of the sale price without the discounts applied by retailers, or the upper limits some retailers have on the book sales price.
Who are Your Readers?
If you sell your book solely on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks etc., you will never know who orders and reads your books, no matter how many are sold. These are not your customers, but the retailer’s; they won’t let you know any details about your customers.
The only way to maybe get in touch with them is this: ALWAYS include your website, blog, all your social media information, your about.me site, maybe even your e-mail address in your titles. That goes for e-books (in which readers are given a direct link to your sites), and print books.
Ready-to-go Online Stores.
There are dozens of online stores available, called “e-commerce” stores, “ready-to-go” which can be installed on your existing website or blog relatively easily and quickly. You need to have your own (hosted) website or blog – a paid version, not a free website!
Almost all e-commerce shops work with PayPal systems for secure and easy payments. Some e-commerce shops charge a small fee every month. Some are free for small publishers with only a few transactions.
Check out Shopify’s website to find out how to build your own e-shop. They offer more than seventy international payment gateways.
Ecwid is free if you have less than ten books in total for sale.
E-Junkie provides a shopping cart and “buy now” buttons to let you sell book downloads. They offer one week trials and their fees start with $5 per month for less than 10 downloads. They also offer lots of features, such as tax and shipping calculators, discount management, affiliate management etc.
The very best option in my opinion is Gumroad. They are specialists in sales items for download, such as e-books, music, software, and so forth. Working with them means there are no hosting fees, monthly fees, bandwidth fees, or refund fees. They charge just 5 percent + 25¢ per transaction. You install a link on your website for potential customers, and all the transactions go through their website. However, you will get and keep all of your customer’s data.
Showcase on Ganxy
Easy-to-use tools for selling and giving away content on Ganxy through a customized separate website. You can learn where and how customers discovered your content—across any website and channel where the Showcase appears. Showcases make your content look professional and consistent everywhere it appears on the Internet.
You can create giveaways, award contest winners, send review copies, distribute copies at conferences, and more. You can even ask promotional customers to provide their contact information to access content, giving you a forum for ongoing contact with your audience. They also offer a free trial. However, this is not your OWN website, it is a borrow and it belongs to this company. Use it for campaigns and keep your own website too.
The installation process with Selz is the same as any other WordPress plugin. You can either download it from the WordPress plugin library or install it directly from the “Add New” option in the plugins area of your WordPress website.
The sign up process for a free account is quite simple and takes only a minute to complete. To start the selling process on your WordPress website, you need to select the type of products or services that you’re offering. It can be anything from digital products like eBooks, images, audio files to physical items. Selz provides several other useful features that really make it a complete ecommerce package: For example, offering a freebie, like an eBook, you can simply mark your product as FREE in the product section.
Another option is to install your own custom-made online store, if you are an IT / software professional or if you have one (can be virtual, through fiverr.com or elance.com) on hand, to help with the technical aspect. However, your online shop has to be monitored. Also, you have to choose a very reliable hosting company, as all downtime on their servers can mean lost sales for you.
You can even sell “by hand” from your computer: Customers pay with PayPal and you deliver your files for your e-book via email; or you ship your print book via regular mail. This is the most labor-intensive way, and you are required to deliver almost around the clock; customers expect to receive your e-book immediately after their payment goes through, and a print book within two days.
Put Your Eggs in Many Baskets.
With all of these fantastic options, you have plenty of reasons to sell your book directly from your website in addition to your sales through online retailers. Put your eggs in several baskets – not just in one! And it is good to have access to your readers, to know who is buying and reading your books, in order to communicate with them and inform them about your next works. It is important for your author website to have a large outreach, which can be addressed in this way:
- Solid marketing to your target audience
- Regularly adding lots of content to your website
- Writing many guest blogs and short stories
- Linking from everywhere to your sales page
Each of your books should have a search-engine-optimized web page of its own – within your homepage. This can be an entire web or blog site devoted just to your book, or a page on your website for each one of your books.
Read more tips about e-book sales via your own website, programs, and pros / cons for beginners: