With many publishers closing down their online bookstores (A mistake I believe, and if they say they “can’t afford it”, then they need new IT people), a lot of independent authors are asking me why I am such a proponent of authors being able to sell their own books from their websites. Off the top of my head, I could think of half a dozen reasons or more, but let’s focus on the 3 biggest ways that having an author bookstore will help build (and possibly save) your career.
First, you are not dependent on anyone else’s platform. No, your author bookstore won’t replace Amazon, and would you really want all the stress and worry of building something that’s larger than Amazon? Any vendor who tells you their game is to “beat Amazon” is delusional at best. They’re like a boulder in the middle of your garden, since moving or destroying it would take more time and effort than most people want to give, then either ignoring it or working around it is the way to keeping your sanity. What an author bookstore will do is give you a fallback position. A vendor closes? Use your store link. Need a way to distribute a free book? Use your online store.
Secondly, your author bookstore builds your author brand. When you send a reader to Amazon.com or Kobo.com, you’re building their name in your mind—not yours. The reader will learn to get your books you need to go to their site. Instead, put all your vendor links on your own bookstore and send readers to your site, to get all the links. Not only will they have a choice on where they want to buy, but you’ll be sending them to your website—not someone else’s.
Finally, you can begin to bring some much needed sanity to promotions by knowing which ones were the most effective. Yes, there are other tracking tools, and ways to get an idea of what promotion is effective, but for the average author it’s so much easier to simply generate a coupon code for each guest blog, each advertisement, and see which ones rack up the sales!
I’d love to talk more about the ways a webstore can really help your author career and for a lot less time and financial outlay than you think.