You’re a self-publishing author. Do you have a website?
Perhaps you’re using your site to promote your books, but sales are made on Amazon, or one of the other book retailers. Why not sell books directly from your own website as well as on the big sites?
You’re a self-publishing author: sell your books on your own website
When I suggest selling books from their own website, authors are confused. “Yes, but…” they protest, why make sales from their website when their books are already selling on Amazon, et al?
In a word, dear author: money. Many of my self-publishing students, even those with tiny websites, find that they make money from website sales.
Another reason: competition. There’s huge competition on the major book retailing websites. When a visitor arrives at your site, he’s there for a reason. You may have an itty bitty audience, but on your website, there’s no competition for sales.
To get starting selling from your website, you’ll need a payment processor to manage sales, and delivery. There are many processors.
I’ve heard good reports about:
I use Squarespace for my Angela’s Writing Classes website: Squarespace has many options to manage sales.
Before we go on, check to see whether any of your ebooks are enrolled in KDP Select. If they are, you can’t offer these ebooks from your website—you’ve given Amazon an exclusive.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): KDP Select, and ebook exclusives
When you choose to enroll your book in KDP Select, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP. During the period of exclusivity, you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format other than digital.
Now let’s look at some tips to help you to sell books from your website.
1. Create campaigns for each of your books: target audiences
Many self-publishing authors are unsure of their book’s audiences.
Each of your books (ebooks too, of course), whether nonfiction or fiction, has a specific audience. Often, there’ll be more than one audience. To sell more books, you’ll need to create a marketing campaign for each book, and for each of the audiences for that book.
One campaign could include:
- Ten blog posts;
- 30 social media mentions over the next month;
- Two online press releases;
- 20 blog comments over the next month…
Your campaign can include anything you like. What you include is completely up to you. It’s vital however that you know what your campaign will entail, how much time it will take, and that you schedule your time.
Be aware of the power of social media for self-publishing.
2. Discover the power of social media (it’s not an instant fix)
Social media: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest et al, is a big challenge for many self-publishing authors. Not because social media is hard, or boring, but because authors imagine that it’s an instant fix. Craft ten tweets, sell ten books.
Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. On social media, you need to build followers, as well as promote. That means that you can’t just promote your own stuff. You need to engage, and post others’ stuff as well as your own.
I suggest to my students that they schedule a few minutes every day, to post on ONE social media network, just to build awareness and engage. Then your social media account is primed and ready for you use in your campaigns (see our first tip.)
3. Use social media to make more contacts: use other people’s audiences
Let’s say you have a bunch of followers on social media. Now it’s time to expand your reach, by using other people’s audiences.
Start by promoting the content of the people into whose audiences you’d like to tap. Comment on their blog posts. Mention them in your own postings.
Then, when you’ve done that for a while, suggest a collaboration.
This takes time. You won’t be able to do it in your first few campaigns. Much depends your audience: grow it, so that it’s appealing to others.
A mailing list is a good way to build your audience and platform.
4. Build your mailing list to sell more books from your website
If you’re a self-publishing author, the bigger your mailing list, the more books you will sell, all things being equal. (That is, you’ve targeted accurately.)
Building that list takes time: you’ll build your mailing list reader by reader.
When an author tells me: “yes, but I only have five people on my list”, I congratulate them, because:
- They have a mailing list;
- They know it’s important; and…
- They can grow their list to ten people, then 100, then 500 and then 5,000.
All self-publishing authors have challenges: use your website to meet them
As a self-publishing author, your books compete with millions of others for sales. Use your website to build your audience and sell books. Over time, not only will your sales increase, you’ll also have a valuable asset.
Good luck. By the way, if you’re already selling books from your website, let me know how it’s going.
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.