Should you sell a book on Amazon? It’s the largest bookstore in the world, but is that a good thing or bad?
As authors, we are constantly faced with options and questions that, quite frankly, are not simple to answer. And to copy what a friend or colleague did is not the way to go. That’s because one person’s marketing plan for selling books is not right for everyone.
For one thing, you have your own goals and lifestyle choices. This means that you had better make the right choices or you’re going to be very frustrated because you are forced to do things you don’t enjoy doing. Even worse, you will fail because there is no alignment of goals.
Plus, nothing is 100% perfect. There are always good and bad points to things. If you hear how great something is, be keen and ask, “What are the drawbacks?” It’s the only way you can make a sound decision on whether you should do it too.
If the answer you get to your question is, “There are no drawbacks,” don’t do anything until you actually find what the drawbacks are.
Sell a Book on Amazon?
The question of whether you should sell a book on Amazon can be better answered when you have the information you need for making an educated decision.
For instance, Amazon takes a sizable commission for every book sold. So, if you are looking for higher profits per book, you won’t get that by selling a book on Amazon.
If you don’t want to receive returns, then this is another reason not to sell your book on Amazon. You can get caught up in having books printed, but then if they don’t sell, Amazon will send them back to you and make you pay for them.
That doesn’t sound very fair, does it? Months after your book is printed, Amazon can ship back ALL of the books they haven’t sold. Money you counted on is suddenly gone because your books are returned for a full refund.
Personally, I have never agreed with this kind of “no responsibility” buying from retailers. It’s an abuse of power, in my opinion.
Granted, if you sell your book in e-book format, this deadens the blow in some ways. But only selling an e-book says to the world that you’re an amateur and not really serious about what you do. Ideally, you will have a print book too.
I’m not saying Amazon is bad. It’s just how the larger retailers operate. Most aspiring authors don’t know of these kinds of matters. They only hear about how many books are sold there annually, or they are so excited about seeing their books published, they don’t care to do the research.
No doubt, Amazon has its plus points. They fulfill your orders and do all of the accounting so you don’t have to. But they do earn their commissions, so it’s never all roses and wonderful.
As long as you can live with the bad as well as the good, that’s what matters. The answer lies in the best survival option for your success and happiness.
If you’re more interested in exposure, then it’s completely fine to sell books on Amazon. A lot of my clients do. We mainly sell books through Amazon for bestseller potential. Sometimes, we will place a client’s book on Amazon to achieve the Bestseller status and then switch to direct sales on their website for higher profits after that.
If you’re not interested in becoming a Bestselling Author as much as making some good money on your hard-earned book, then you need to consider how to sell a book directly from your website. It’s a brilliant way to go. Many smart authors do it.
Here’s a very interesting point…
The best way to monetize your website is with your own information products. But selling online is very different than selling offline. It is known as Internet Marketing.
To get an overview of what IM is, here is a short video on the subject:
Now that you have a basic understanding of what selling online is about, let's take a look at selling from your website.
How to Be Extremely Successful Selling a Book From Your Website
Selling a book and other information products is one of the best ways to monetize a website.
As mentioned in the above video, many websites rely on ad revenues from banners being placed on their websites. But, while this can make you a little profit per click, it ultimately means that visitors leave your website. That’s never a good thing. If you have spent a lot of energy and money to get visitors to your site, you need to make sure you get a high profit margin.
The fact that those advertisers are paying you for these visitors tells you that they are getting more—a lot more—money for “your” visitors than what they’re paying you.
I have helped countless clients develop info products. Every time, we start with their book as their first information product. There are many reasons why you want to sell a book first.
For one thing, it positions you as an expert. Having a book says to visitors that you are the top one percent of the top one percent in your field. This is one of the smartest things you can do because it removes the walls of resistance people have with strangers.
People have no trust in websites. They are worried about getting ripped off or sold something inferior. But by having a book, this almost completely eliminates their fears.
Truth is, using Amazon AND your website to sell your book is brilliant too. We have helped some clients to first have their book become a bestseller and then sell it from their website for higher profits.
This way, you have the prestige of calling yourself “a bestselling author” and your book a “bestseller”, which gives you an even stronger position of authority and trust.
Of course, you have to do a good job with the writing and have an amazing cover design, but those are formalities anyone can make happen when you have a good source of information or a knowledgeable mentor. You have both here at Author Utopia!
Once your book is evident on your website, you are then able to convert more visitors from being “lookers” to “action takers” by getting them to do what you want them to do, such as “click here” or “fill out this form” or even get out their wallets and buy something! This means that you can sell other more advanced information products with better response rates!
So, to repeat…
Selling your book and other information products on your website is an effective way to convert more traffic into cash.
That way, when someone clicks to buy, you will be making a much larger amount of profit than selling on Amazon. And instead of sending free traffic to Amazon, you will keep your visitors on YOUR site.
To me, working so hard and spending money on advertising and so forth, it doesn’t seem fair that you just give Amazon your traffic for free, and then at the same time, they also take a big cut of your book’s profits.
And by using your book to leverage trust, you will be able to create more traffic and get visitors to come back to your website by offering other information products (like courses, training programs, coaching/mentoring services…). You will be able to monetize your website more and more over time as you develop more information products and services! This is what many brilliant authors and entrepreneurs do!
If money is tight, you can start with an e-book because e-books don’t cost anything to reproduce, they don’t require storage, and they don’t incur the costs of packaging or delivery. Again, in my opinion, you should offer both print and ebook formats. Heck, you can even offer audio books down the road as you grow.
WARNING: If you think this is a “get rich quick scheme”, think again. Selling books, like selling anything, takes work—a lot of doing. And you need to know precisely the right way to do things in order to be successful. This Quick-Start Guide includes some very important things to know.
First, you need to make sure that you have a website with a strong brand and real engagement from your followers. That means your site should have a mission statement and really be about something.
Okay, okay, I have to apologize for being a jerk. The above statement is an example of the frustrating information we run into all the time. People say “you need to…” like it’s some quick, simple thing to do. But the fact is, it’s VERY involved and requires a lot of knowledge and know-how to accomplish!
This kind of thing sets people up for certain failure. I WILL NEVER INTENTIONALLY DO THIS TO YOU.
If I ever have a brain fart and ever do that to you, I ask that you please let me know so I can clarify what needs to be known. I promise you, I will quickly remedy any such blunder on my part.
Okay, there is ALWAYS a lot to learn about anything you want to succeed with. As these Quick-Start Guides are designed to serve you well by enabling you to get into action quickly, here are a few things to consider before trying to sell a book on your website.…
Answer this first question for yourself…
1. Who is your audience?
And if you say “everyone,” you have to go back to the drawing board.
A book, or any product, is NEVER for everyone! You may think it is, but when you start to take a closer look at Earth’s population, you begin to see that this is NOT the case.
Truth is, your book is very likely for a lot of people, but it is very important to realize that there are different walks of life. There are different age groups. There are people who believe certain things when others do not,… in other words, you have to categorize your different audiences. From there, you can clarify how they think, react, feel … about your book or your topic.
After doing that, you have to choose just ONE AUDIENCE, and only one!
The more you try to speak to “everyone,” the less you will reach any single audience. This is because you will not relate to them. You will not reach their inner core or emotion, needs and beliefs. This is demographics on steroids. Not only do you need to clarify things like: age group, sex (male/female), annual income and other specifics, you need to realize the HUMAN side of them. This will pay off for you in countless ways.
While your competition sticks to the high-level demographic data, you will practically know your audience better than they know themselves! And, boy is this going to pay off for you!
Once you choose your best audience to start with, you need to investigate them very closely. And once you do that, you will know what your initial statement should be.
You can get more details on how to select your ideal audience to sell your books, information products and services in the Quick-Start Guide: “HOW TO SELECT YOUR IDEAL AUDIENCE TO SELL TO”. But for this Guide, to get you right into action and moving in the right direction, you can get started by doing the following.…
Once you have culled down much of the populous into groups of potential book buyers (people who would likely be interested in buying and reading your book), this is what to do next:
2. Which of my audiences looks to be the easiest to get to take action?
I always have to correct my clients when I work with them one-on-one on this point. They are drawn to the size and money potential of their audiences. But in most cases, almost every time, that largest audience is the most reluctant.
And you do not want to set yourself up for a long and costly journey right out of the gate. Typically, there’s simply not enough money for the promotion dollars and efforts they will require to budge, it’s extremely frustrating! Believe me, I know firsthand, which is why I forewarn my mentoring clients.
You want to pick the lowest hanging fruit to start with so you can see some results and profits as soon as possible.
Once you have your ideal audience of whom you want to magnetize to your website and all marketing efforts, clarify these initial traits about them.
Note that there are many other points to clarify, but these will keep you busy for the time being. Then you can come back and follow more instruction to continue this powerful way of how you can sell your books!
For starters, you must know these two things about your audience:
1. What pain or problem do people have that you can solve?
2. What do you have to offer that these people need or want?
These two are inseparable. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, coffee and cream, yin and yang.
As an author, this could simply be: “People are looking for a way to get escape from the struggles of life for a while.” As a result, your fantasy book would do just that for them.
Another example is: “People are struggling to make ends meet financially and don’t know what to do to improve their current scene.”
Being an entrepreneur who overcame this challenge, you can offer them a book and other information products on how you did just what they want to achieve.
Do you see the synergy? You have to figure out how you fit into the “Problem—Solution Equation”; something that you are the solution to.
When you can answer questions 1 and 2, you will be able to work out the very first thing you should say to this particular audience of potential book buyers. This will be what you place “above the fold”. This is a marketing term that comes from the newspaper industry. It refers to the first thing people will see when they glance in the direction of a paper on the newsstand. I am referring to your website’s headline.
If you get your headline right, you have overcome a huge obstacle most people never resolve for their websites. So many website owners and even large companies shut down their visitors before they even get a chance to show what they have to offer.
But this is just the first step in the conversion process for visitors. In fact, you’re only still in the negative phase of converting people to take action. In other words, you are in the phase where what you’re trying to do is stop people from clicking away from your site. We haven’t even begun to move visitors into the positive phase where they want to know more; their interest level has gone from being cynical to “OMG! This is for me!”
Still, what you’ve just been shown takes you leagues above 95% of website owners. So take a big win and APPLY what you’ve learned today, and then come back for more Quick-Start Guides to apply to your success goals!
Even with what I’ve shared with you today, there is still much more you need to clarify before you no longer guess at what to say and KNOW WITH CERTAINTY what you should have for your website’s headline that will stop them in their tracks and allow you more time to prepare them to buy a book from you!
Keep coming back to Author Utopia to get the information you need, in bite-size quanitites. Without a doubt, over time, you will be the smartest author in the room!
If you’re not sure how you could have your own information products to sell on your website, our mother company, Writer Services, LLC, has brilliant Author Consultants available to work with you on developing your strategic plan for success. Reach out to them by clicking here: https://writerservices.net/contact-us/
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