Right now, you probably have a link to your book on Amazon or IndieBound. Maybe you’ve set up a storefront with several of your books on a site like Lulu or Smashwords. But have you considered selling books, ebooks, advertising, merchandise or anything else you have to sell them directly on your website? There’s a few very good reasons to consider this option.
- A direct connection to your customers. When you send a customer to Amazon or any other store, you never know who it is that just bought your book. But if you are selling directly, you know the name of the customer who purchased the item and can connect with them in the future or ask them to join your mailing list. Even if they decide not to join your list, you still get a first hand look at trends (“Hmm, lots of sales from Nebraska today. I guess that interview with the local paper just hit.”) and other details about who is actually buying your content.
- Less chance of losing the sale. Sure, you linked them to your awesome vampire romance on Amazon but what if, once they clicked through, they decided to purchase a copy of Twilight instead because it was on sale? When you’re selling the book yourself, if a fan logged onto your site to purchase your book, there’s less chance of them getting distracted and purchasing something else since the only thing they’ll have the option to buy is… your stuff.
- Everything you have to sell… all in one place. Right now, you’re sending them to Cafepress to buy merchandise, CreateSpace to buy your DVD and Amazon to buy your book. But wouldn’t it be nice if they could buy all three items in the same place and with the same checkout? It also gives you the flexibility to sell other items you may not have original considered such as merchandise, tickets for events, advertising on your website or whatever else you think your fans might want to buy while picking up a copy of your book. You’ll also have the flexibility to sell whatever you want, however you want.
- A bigger cut of the sale. In most cases, because of the difference between the wholesale and retail costs of your book, you can often make more when you buy copies of your book from your printer and then sell them directly. (For example: Maybe through your distributor you make 30% of the wholesale price of $5 which would be $1.50. But if you bought copies directly and then sold them at your full retail price of $10, you’d make the difference between your print costs and $10.) When talking about ebooks, instead of giving Kindle, Smashwords or whatever your eBook publishing platform their percentage of the sale, you’ll be making 100% of the sale price by selling it direct. (For traditionally published authors, your publisher may have restrictions on reselling copies and the price at which you can do so. But many allow you to sell signed copies at a price slightly higher than retail so you can still take advantage.)
- It’s not as difficult to set up as you think! In fact, there are many very simple shopping cart and e-commerce plugins that you can add to your existing website with little to no knowledge of HTML or code. If you aren’t sure where to begin, I’ve got a small but info packed eBook all about simple and free options for selling direct from your website available for under $1 available here.
Worried about the hassle of doing your own packing and shipping? Why not just place the order directly from your distributor but give them the buyer’s address? They’ll print it on-demand and then drop ship the item for you so you don’t need to bother.
Want to see this in action? Check out the store on my website where I sell as many of my books directly as I can including advertising and other items.
Any questions? Tips from authors doing this with success? Weight in below.