By sending buying links through emails, texts, tweets, Facebook posts, and posts on their blogs and websites, independent authors are making sales and earning higher royalties.
Want to know what the future holds for self publishing? All you need to do is take a look at the Indie music scene. Today’s independent authors are following a similar script to the one musicians wrote over the past two-and-a-half decades.
The parallels are almost an exact historical mirror image.
- First, technological innovations opened the door. For musicians, this included cheaper home recording options, the ubiquity of CDs, and the ease of MP3 access and distribution. For independent authors, it’s digital files and printing, eBooks, and POD production and distribution.
- Next came the impact on the traditional gatekeepers’ control of the marketplace as independents crashed the party. The old guard’s stranglehold on tastemaking dissolved. What happened to the big music labels like Sony, EMI, Capital, etc. matches the upheaval and consolidation we’ve seen among major traditional publishers.
- Finally, access to the marketplace opened wide, with musicians and authors adding a tsunami of content to Amazon, iTunes/iBooks and hundreds of other platforms and channels. Music fans – and readers – continue to be the beneficiaries of this new creative era (no matter what Laurie Gough at the Huffington Post has to say – take it from the massive reaction in the comments!).
Now independent authors can follow musicians in the next chapter of creative success by selling printed books and eBooks directly to their fans. Authors have the ability to make more income – a lot more! – and engage their fans to build long-lasting relationships without the middleman.
Building a direct channel for sales is the best option to create a lucrative income stream that has no intermediary looking to charge a sales commission. With your own web pages you can make much more than the typical eBook and POD royalties. For example: BookBaby authors earn 85% royalties on eBooks sold through their own BookShop eCommerce pages. That compares with rates of 30% to 70% selling through Amazon. For Print On Demand titles, BookShop sales earn authors a guaranteed 50% royalties, much more than the 8% to 15% earned on Amazon.
There are even more benefits to selling direct to your readers
Selling direct enables the author a way to learn more about their customers and create a rich and meaningful relationship.
- Controlling your own sales channel allows you to build a strong marketing database that can be used for strategic email messaging.
- You can share your story to help readers get to know you better and encourage them to be ready to support your future writing efforts.
- This relationship with your readers – many of whom are now actively looking to buy directly from you – enables your fans to support creativity on a personal level rather than through a global conglomerate. In many ways, it’s more in line with similar movements where farmers, artisans, and craftspeople are establishing a localized economy through farmer’s markets and craft venues – physically and online.
How do you get readers to buy direct instead of via Amazon?
The answer is within your control. One of the hidden truths of self publishing has to do with browsing and book discovery on the huge retail sites. In a nutshell, it just doesn’t happen for indie authors. While it’s important to have printed books available on Amazon for legitimacy, it’s very unlikely that readers will discover self-published authors this way. The Amazon algorithms for genre or book searches don’t favor unknown independent authors. Searches are often done for more famous authors. (Not unlike how indie music artists have a hard time being discovered on iTunes or Spotify.)
The good news is, self-published authors ARE getting discovered in a whole different way.
In talking with dozens of self-published authors and by monitoring sales results, we estimate that a vast majority of sales by independent authors are a result of their driving interested readers directly to a designated retail website to make a purchase. As much as 90% of sales for some of BookBaby’s self-published authors come from BookShop.
What this means is that authors already control where their books are sold by sending buying links through emails, texts, tweets, Facebook posts, and links posted on their author blog or website. Their faithful readers follow their instructions as to where to buy.
Once you have your own direct-to-reader web pages set up, send readers there instead of Amazon, iBooks, or Barnes Noble. You’ll make lots more revenue and your readers will enjoy a better experience by dealing directly with their new favorite author!