Many web owners sell books directly, and sometimes exclusively from their sites, collecting one hundred percent of the price via PayPal. If you publish with Amazon KDP Select, this is obviously not allowed – in fact, if your book is with Select, you are only allowed to distribute the digital books through them, and only the selling of your paper books after ordering them from your POD supplier is considered kosher.
If you’re not with KDP Select you can sell them anywhere you like, so the website option then becomes viable, and a very good idea too. As an independent publisher you get to try a variety of avenues for selling and marketing your books. We all know about Smashwords and all the other sites where you can make your books available to buy. It’s quick work to load them up there – although – not such quick work to get them taken down by the way. I unpublished two of mine from Smashwords months ago, and I’m still trying to get Barnes & Noble to remove them from their site so I can enrol them in Select again.
So there are all these options open to you for spreading your books far and wide, but do consider having one or two for sale directly from you. I’m in the process of getting a couple ready for this very thing. Many of us use WordPress.com. Me, because the thought of hosting my own website terrifies me, but moving to WordPress.org in the future will be necessary because of Google visibility.
You can’t install a PayPal button and sell your books from WordPress.com, although that needn’t be a hindrance. Why not set up your own website with a link to it in your sidebar? Setting one up is only a little work to begin with, and then occasional updates after that. A nicely designed static website is a great thing to have to use for all your future promotions, sales, new releases, and a great way to showcase yourself and all of your books.
A couple of free website hosts are Weebly, and my favourite, Wix. It shouldn’t take you more than a day to get it looking nice and professional. One little tip though – take your time picking your theme and theme fonts, because once you publish and go live you can’t change those. It’s up to you how much you use your website. You have the option of a blog to go with it, which you can use weekly, bi-weekly (or not at all), and share links to pages from there to all your social networking sites regularly, so it needn’t be something that stagnates. Wix has a lot of really lovely, and easy to use features, and setting up your PayPal button is the work of minutes.
Once you’ve got your book written, proofed, and beautifully formatted, convert it to an eBook format (or a selection of formats, such as PDF, Mobi, and ePub) using free downloadable software such as Calibre. Calibre is a great tool for Indie authors to have, with many useful functions other than book conversion – which is a whole lot more words, and best kept for another day. The important thing is how easy it is to use, with step by step instructions, your books will be ready to sell very quickly. Obviously these books will not be protected from customers emailing copies to their friends, but the same applies to every eBook you ever send as a prize or review copy, so that is a thought – the ever present and growing piracy. The customers who do buy it from your website are unlikely to be buddies with each other though, so you probably won’t lose any sales if they do send it on to their grannies and so on, and pirates prefer not to spend a dime at all mostly.
Whether you write something specifically to sell yourself, or experiment with a book you’ve already written that may not be doing so well, it is always an option for the Indie writer. Some authors are making a lot of money this way, especially those in the health and recipe book sector, so if there is a book lurking in you that would help or add value to readers enough for them to buy straight away, rather than taking the time to look for it online, go for it! I personally can vouch for the quick finger of the impulse buyer, and I can’t think of one bought this way so far that I regret buying, and the more you are spread around, the more visible you will be – always a good thing.