Authors who are self-publishing have many challenges. The biggest challenge is visibility.
Advertising is expensive. Using Google AdWords is very expensive, and Facebook advertising is heading in the same direction. Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) ads are less expensive in money terms, but more expensive time-wise.
I don’t have hours each week to monitor advertising; few authors do. At our author meet ups, we’ve been chatting about selling books from our websites.
Self-Publishing: make sales from your website
More authors are selling their books from their websites. This makes a lot of sense. If you have readers coming to your website, why not sell your books directly to your readers?
The benefits of self-publishing from your own website as well as the big online book retailers include:
▪ You keep more of the profits (you’ll keep 90% of the profits, compared to at best, 70% if you sell through a retailer);
▪ Data: you know who your readers are. You have their email addresses, so you can contact them directly and build a loyal following;
▪ It’s a chance to make friends with readers, ask them questions, reward them, and build sales overall;
▪ Diversification can help to insulate your sales from algorithm changes.
Payment and delivery processors make it easy
To sell your books from your website, you need a payment processor and a way to get the books to your buyers. Many payment processors will help you to sell.
Not only do they take payments for you, they also deliver products to buyers. They include:
- Shopify, which allows you to sell physical as well as digital products;
- Selz, ditto. I know several authors who use Selz, and find the service very simple and easy to use;
- Payloadz, which sells digital goods only.
There are many more payment/ delivery processors.
If you have a WordPress website, you can buy plugins to set up a store on your site. Some plugins are free, others are commercial.
I’ve been using the MyBookTable WordPress plugin. It integrates with Gumroad, which makes selling directly to readers easy.
Ask questions before you commit to a processor
Ask fellow authors who are selling via their websites what they’re using. You have many options, depending on whether you want to sell ebooks only, or wish to also sell print books and audio files.
Facebook’s recent algorithm changes are forcing authors to use Facebook advertising, but as we’ve said, it’s expensive. Authors can’t afford to spend more on advertising than they’re making on their books.
Selling your books from your own website won’t solve all your self-publishing challenges, but many more authors are thinking about it.