I'm setting up my site so that I can sell direct to readers. I still plan to offer my books through the major retailers. Selling direct offers many advantages for both authors and readers. I'd planned to do this years ago, but at the time it was a much more difficult thing to set up. Today, many tools exist to make direct sells easier than ever. This post isn't about the details of setting it up so much as why consider it at all?
One of the big reasons for me to sell direct is to have options to improve service to my readers. I started reading e-books long before the launch of Kindle and all along I've been frustrated by the lack of options available as both a reader and an author. Selling direct gives me opportunities, such as:
In addition to improving service for readers, I also want to sell direct in order to connect directly with readers. I'm grateful for anyone choosing to read my work, whatever store they use. When you purchase through Amazon, Apple, or Kobo, there's no direction connection. You're their customer. I appreciate it either way, but I'd like to build a direct relationship with readers. As a librarian, I've spent countless hours talking to readers. I want to make those connections outside of the library as well.
Obviously, these aren't mutually exclusive. Anyone choosing to go through a retailer is still perfectly welcome to contact me, sign up for my email list, or go through me for some purchases and not others.
I posted before about Amazon having all of your eggs. In the USA, Amazon controls much of the market for books. The idea of opening a storefront may seem odd. Except that people do it all the time. A great many entrepreneurs sell direct through their site—and don't sell on Amazon at all. I plan to sell products on Amazon that make sense, but as I mentioned above, there are more options with my own store. Short stories, for example.
On Amazon, an author only receives 35% royalty for a short story priced under $2.99. Likewise, if you want to offer a bundle at a price higher than $9.99. Between those two prices authors receive 70% royalty. Through my own store, I can offer a short story at .99¢ and it doesn't impact what I receive from the sale. Using Woocommerce and BookFunnel, I can sell a story for .99¢ and get ~65% from the sale after transaction costs. That's much better than 35%!
I don't plan for direct sales to account for all of my income. I plan to make my novels widely available. I also plan to offer exclusive content through my site and deals for readers that aren't available elsewhere. By diversifying, I make my future more secure and proof against changes in retailer policy.
I'm not going to go into great detail here, but I wanted to share the resources that I am using to sell direct. Or will be using once everything is up!
Those are the major services that I'm using at the moment. I'll post in more detail about all of them in the future. In the meantime, if you have other tools to recommend, please share in the comments!
Ryan M. Williams lives a double life as a full-time career librarian and a multi-genre writer with over twenty books. He writes across a range of genres including science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, mystery, horror, and romance. He earned a Master of Arts degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University and a Master of Library and Information Science from San Jose University. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies from Pocket Books, WMG Publishing, and in On Spec Magazine.