Going wide, as a general strategy, makes your home base ground zero (instead of Amazon). Your website and email list become critical components. Every other platform out there channels readers to your site, where you can capture their email address and keep them informed about your releases.
The more you keep readers on your site and within your community, the better.
Selling direct, while not for everyone, is the ultimate tool for keeping readers on your site and in your community.
This is a strategy for authors with long back lists, though.
In other words, if you’re prolific and productive, selling direct becomes a viable revenue stream.
Setting up shopping cart software or an off-site storefront takes time and usually some money. It’s not worth the time and expense if you’ve only got a book or two.
If you write under multiple pen names, then selling direct becomes even more useful. You can set up an umbrella site and sell all pen names through that site.
This reduces time and effort — you don’t have to set up the shopping cart software on each pen name’s site. Instead, you can redirect the pen name’s book landing page to the umbrella site, so you’re not building multiple pages.
(If you’d like an example of this, click on any of my books under my real name—here—and you’ll see this set up in action.)
Why bother selling direct?
Keeping 98% of the revenue from a sale is a nice boost, but it’s not the critical advantage.
Keeping readers on your site is the non-obvious benefit I mentioned at the start.
And another primary advantage is that selling direct gives you a *huge* degree of flexibility in your marketing strategies that you simply can’t get any other way:
- I’ve found that readers like to buy direct, especially once they learn that you keep most of the proceeds. As I fulfill my sales using BookFunnel’s sales actions, and readers are comfortable using BookFunnel themselves, it’s a win-win.
- Any promos, anywhere else, you can echo on your site with the same discounts and deals.
- You can offer up to 30% off the price of a book and still be earning more than you would from the same sale on any other retailer.
- Discount coupons are a fantastic perk for email subscribers, and gives them a reason to stay subscribed (so do mention that when they first subscribe!)
- Did a reader do something nice for you? Send you a sweet email? Give them a personal coupon.
- Do you have family members who are curious about your books? Give them a coupon with a steep discount or 100% off, and let them buy their books from you. This way, they don’t mess up your Also Bought algorithms on the retail stores.
- Did you oops? Was there a foul up or crossed wires? Offer a coupon in compensation.
- Coax readers onto your email list with a first-time-buyer coupon.
- Do you use BookFunnel promotions & sales? For the sales, provide the coupon code right on the book’s sales landing page; then you’re not annoying Amazon with a cheaper-than-them book. The coupon is invisible to Amazon.
This is a short list. Once you get the hang of it, you can find a hundred other different ways to use coupons and discounts and promotions to bring readers to your site and keep them there…and also keep them coming back.
Stories Rule Press are running their end/start of the month promo right now — 20% off everything on the site, including books already on sale, boxed sets and bundles.
Browse the store here. And use coupon code 20%OffOct/Nov2020 when you check out to get your 20% off. Valid until midnight November 2nd, MST.