Should you be selling ebooks on your own website? One of the most exciting moments in an indie author’s life is when you finally have a finished product available. Publishing a book is like having a baby – you have worked hard, protected it, sacrificed your time and energy to it, torn your hair out over it, and finally, your baby is here. But once you have that perfect digital file ready to go, how do you begin selling ebooks on your own website?
Advantages of Selling eBooks on Your Own Website
As an indie author, marketing is part of the job. So whether you sell your book on your website or not, you’re going to have a website. And if you’re going to invest in having a website, you might as well sell your books there.
There are several advantages to selling ebooks on your own website:
- You get to keep your profits. Yes, when you list your ebook on other sites, they can often get it front of more eyeballs. But they’re also putting all the other ebooks you’re competing against on the same page. You’ve seen it yourself: Like this? You might also like…. They also take 30-65% of the profits, depending on where you’ve listed it and how you’ve priced it. When you sell from your own website, you keep 100% of the sales price.
- You Get to Know Your Readers. Not only can you control the experience your readers have from the moment they discover you through delivery of the book, but you can also collect them. Giving away a free story or some other item of value can encourage readers to sign up for your mailing list, which will allow you to keep in touch, let them know about special events or interviews, and notify them of upcoming book releases. You my even be able to create a street team who helps you promote your books, function as beta readers for new books, or write reviews.
- Grow Your Visibility. When you list your book on other platforms, they get the SEO benefit of everything you write and do. All of the searches are directed to them. More and more, independent authors are realizing the benefit of developing their own spaces, which can be a central hub for their book sales, reader engagements, and promotional efforts.
Own and develop your own real estate. You own your website, but you don't own your stuff on social media. Generic link sites, for example, are becoming more popular, but in my view, it's preferable to send readers to your own website or your own app - to anything you own. Why build your empire on rented land? - Morgana Best, Indie Author, 2018 interview with Self-Publishing Advice.
What Are the Best Website Builders for Authors Selling eBooks?
There are three main options for building your own website: Wix, SquareSpace, and WordPress. Wix and SquareSpace are temptingly simple to get started with, but they do not have the same capabilities and capacity to grow as your success grows that WordPress does. For this reason, we recommend starting with WordPress.
WordPress.com vs WordPres.org
There is a significant difference between developing your website on WordPress.com versus WordPress.org. You need to build using WordPress.org. To do this, you must purchase a domain. Domains can be purchased from the hosting company through which you plan to host your website. Most people have heard of GoDaddy and HostGator, but there are many others available as well. Do your homework – depending on the amount of traffic you expect to see, the number of images you plan to load on the website, and your own level of expertise, you may need to measure cost and support.
Once you select your domain name, purchase it, and add your WordPress hosting plan, you can either build the website yourself if you have the experience and expertise to do so, or you can hire someone to do it for you. A basic author website can cost $400 - $2500 or more. It depends on the degree of complexity, the level of custom integrations you need, and what third-party tools you’ll need to have connected.
Elements of An Author Website
While your website can be quite basic or very complex depending on your vision, there are some elements that every author website should have, including:
- A home page or landing page, which gives your readers some basic information about you, your books, upcoming releases, and where to buy your books.
- An about page that tells your readers all about you as an author.
- A blog. Blogging can be one of the most important ways you can connect with your reader. You can post your own musings as well as links to external interviews. You can also use your blog to announce news about upcoming books or hold contests.
- A contact page where readers, publishers, potential collaborators, and others can reach you.
- Social media links as well as other links you may want to share.
- A sales page. This means you will need some way to process payment. You can set something up to take PayPal, or you can use a third-party ecommerce platform like WooCommerce or Magento to function as the interface.
WordPress has plugins for selling tools like WooCommerce and Magento, which you can integrate with your website to make it easier to list your books for sale and fulfill the distribution of your purchases.
How Do I Securely Sell eBooks on My Website?
The EditionGuard platform provides you robust tools to protect and fulfill all your digital documents, ebooks, pdfs and eLearning content with enterprise-grade DRM solutions. For a small monthly fee, you can integrate EditionGuard fulfillment services with your own ecommerce site. We offer robust APIs that work with all of the major ecommerce platforms, like Magento and Shopify. No royalty sharing or per-book fees.
EditionGuard leaves you in control as the author and publisher of your work. You set the price, you earn the royalty, you manage the level of security you apply to the ebooks with our updated interface and easy DIY plugins, you deliver books on your own ecommerce site. Furthermore, we don’t require exclusivity with EditionGuard. You can use our ebook fulfillment solution and APIs to while still using an aggregator or submitted to other distribution services as you see fit.