In the days gone by of publishing, your only hope for selling your book and developing a loyal fan base was to get it published by a company. They would arrange your book sales through book sellers and you’d get a commission. Then along came Amazon and SmashWords and self publishing was introduced; authors could drop the middle man and sell through one of those organisations. This was great but you should also sell direct to your readers. Here is why.
Why Should You Sell Direct To Your Readers?
The truth is that while you might be comfortable with the current arrangement with SmashWords, Amazon KDP and others; the truth is that they are both businesses. Their terms and conditions might change in the future to make it more difficult for you to sell through them or they might collapse.
Worries about big brands collapsing might seem a little dramatic but remember Woolworths, Blockbuster and MySpace? These failed to adapt to new market conditions and disappeared from the public consciousness very quickly.
At the same time, shops can quickly pull your books. WHSmiths, in 2013, pulled indie books from their shelves without warning and for concerns that didn’t relate to the majority of ebooks.
The only real person you can trust to always sell your book is yourself. This means you have to offer a platform to sell direct to your readers. This should be your own website where you accept payment either by direct bank transfers or Paypal.
Additional Benefits When You Sell Direct To Readers
Avoiding the problems of finding yourself without a profile on a major book seller is not the only benefit that direct selling will provide you. There are other benefits that you can take advantage of. These include:
- Consumers are looking for smaller retailers – several years ago, there was a move from small independent stores to large supermarkets. Now consumers are reversing that trend and moving to smaller retailers. Farmer’s markets and trade fairs are becoming more prominent than they use to be. So become that smaller trader and sell direct.
- You get more of the sales – Ebook sellers like Amazon may offer 70% of the sale, after costs but if you sell via your own website, you’ll get greater rewards. For a book that is priced at 3.99 this means you could take home 3.65 instead of 2.25 from Amazon. That is 62% more.
- You can collect reader information – the true money is in the list and you will be unlikely to want to sell just one book. By selling the book on your website you can collect reader information (customer name and email address) and then sell special offers and new releases to them later on.
- It makes you look more professional – Your own website and the facility to take payments gives the audience the impression that you are a professional author with real credentials in the market. This provides you with a lot of power and persuasion when it comes to selling your books.
- You can experiment – Not sure whether your book’s description is convincing enough? Then use A/B testing on your own website to check. This is a feature that isn’t available on other e-retailers.
- Book Reviews are yours – Reviews are important and you should look to generate them immediately. Other e-retailers will state in their terms and conditions that the reviews hosted on their sites are their property. This often means that you shouldn’t use them for other marketing purposes. At the same time, reviews can disappear (Yelp for instance). But if you sell direct, you can collect reviews and they belong to you.
- You get access to the money immediately – Money earned on Amazon, SmashWords and other sites cannot be collected until you’ve earned a specific amount and then it can take up to three months to arrive. When you sell direct you can have access to the money straight away.
So Why Not Sell Direct Today?
We are not telling you not to sell through Amazon and other platforms; they are still great platforms for the time being. However, we are suggesting that you broaden your readers’ options and offer sales direct through your author website. This will help you to increase the reward you get for your book.
Do you sell direct to your readers? How do you attract them to your website?
Let us know in the comments below.