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Have you been thinking about self-publishing? Like millions of other writers out there, you’d naturally be assuming that Amazon has the answers when it comes to selling your self-published book. What you’re not told is that if you go that route, Amazon owns your business.

If you want a better chance of getting your work off the ground, read on to see why an alternative to Amazon is best for you.

Why You Need Great Alternatives to Amazon for Books if You’re Self-Publishing

Alternatives to the Amazon Marketplace: Benefits of Selling Direct
Looks Do Matter When You’re Selling Ebooks
Alternatives to Amazon for Books = Mailing List Gold

Like any other marketplace that owns your customers, sales, and data, Amazon shouldn’t own your online presence. It’s great for exposure and being discovered but, unless you’re already well-established, it’s unlikely that selling exclusively on Amazon is going to result in a long-lasting, substantial income from your writing.

The great news is that there are alternatives to Amazon for books when it comes to self-publishing!

Every author needs a piece of the internet to call their own, starting with building your own website. We’re BIG on this here at Selz – we want you to have a long-lasting and lucrative writing career.

So, here are a few reasons why you need your own site and store if you want self-publishing success:

  • Selling direct means more profits
  • Connect, engage, and brand yourself and your work
  • More opportunities for post-purchase marketing

Alternatives to the Amazon Marketplace: Benefits of Selling Direct

Selling directly to your audience gives you more profit and greater control over the future of your business.

When you’re selling on Amazon or another marketplace, you’ll find that they eat up at least 30% of your sales. We’re not advocating that you completely remove yourself from these marketplaces because they are good for exposure.

But as you get loyal fans and customers who are hanging for your next piece of work, you can be selling your self-published books direct from your website and earning around 95% of your sales price as opposed just 60-70%. It makes sense to set yourself up for both.

Keep Your Ebook Fans’ Attention

Other than Amazon being an unsexy place to shop (protein powder while you’re buying your novels, anyone?), you also run the risk of losing an interested customer to distractions. With direct competitors ebooks being suggested left right and center, one click and they’re gone.

Where you decide to sell from will be up to you, as you’ll know best where your audience hangs out. A few options:

  • Your own website hosted on WordPress, with ecommerce added
  • An online store that sits on your own domain
  • Your Facebook page (use Selz to add a store to your Facebook page so buyers don’t have to go elsewhere)
  • Your Instagram or Twitter profile (lead them straight to your product for sale with the link in your profile)
  • Your mailing list

When you’re selling directly to your audience, you now have a direct link to your customers.

Give Your Customers Alternatives to the Amazon Marketplace

If you sell through Amazon, those customers typically remain as Amazon’s customers.

Not if you’re selling directly to your audience through your own website! Instead, selling direct provides you with your customer’s details like their email address and purchase history, so you can continue your relationship with them as you write more books.

It’s also a way to put your professionalism as a writer at the forefront. Having your own website where you offer multiple channels for your customers to buy shows that you’re a professional, not just a hobby writer.

Looks Do Matter When You’re Selling Ebooks

Having your own website means that you’ll have total control over the look and feel of you as a brand. As an author, it’s important to remember that you’re as much a part of the sales pitch as your work is, and let’s face it, Amazon ain’t gonna be winning any beauty pageants any time soon.

Providing your fans with a professional looking and feeling website with an about page, store and a blog is super important when it comes to showing existing and potential fans what you’re all about.

Alternatives to Amazon Create New Selling Opportunities

It’s also vital for SEO – if want your name out there as a recognized author then you’ll need to make sure that people can find you. Having your own site gives you a golden opportunity to get seen in the way you want and also have control over what people read first about you.

Your blog is the best place to show the world your personality!

Regular posts about your latest book tour, book ideas, behind the scenes shots and any other relevant news will keep readers coming back to your site.

SEO is huge here – make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to include book title names, your own name and any other search terms that people use to find your website.

By enabling comments on your blog you’ll give your readers a way to engage with you on your site.

Create a Personalized Ebook Buying Experience

You also get to take charge of what kind of buying experience you want your customers to have (credit cards, PayPal, both?) and what file types you want to be selling.

Amazon limits you to .mobi files for Kindle, but that doesn’t serve the millions of readers that prefer PDFs or have other non-Amazon devices.

The best way to serve everyone is to offer your ebook as a bundle – the same product in different file types. Everyone’s served, and everyone’s happy.

Alternatives to Amazon for Books = Mailing List Gold

Marketing to a mailing list is still the best way to get buyers, so you need to be collecting email addresses at every opportunity.

If you’re only selling on Amazon then you won’t have access to this kind of data – your customers will only appear to you as sales in a list. No names, no contact details.

This is one of the biggest reasons to have your own site and payment system. If you’re selling direct, you get to keep that all-important email address which means that you can email your customers and fans with news and opportunities to buy.

Email Marketing Works

Tools like MailChimp are super easy to use and have a bunch of good looking templates and features to help you get started.

If you’re taking advantage of alternatives to the Amazon marketplace using clever tools like an abandoned cart feature in your online store, you’ll be able to send friendly reminders to buyers to complete their purchase if they didn’t quite make it to the end.

Think about post-purchase emails like your receipts – are they adding to the experience? Why not include a fun thank you message or a special offer for their next purchase?

We’d love to hear how you’re paving your own way with self-publishing! Share your stories and tips with us below.

About the author

Melissa Whidjaya

Melissa Whidjaya

Melissa is the co-founder of Bloombox Co. Bloombox Co works to connect flower growers and flower buyers, creating a distribution system that reduces waste, improves profitability for growers, and removes barriers to consumption, providing flower lovers with a fresher, more sustainable product than ever before.

12 comments

  1. Livingstone Osaretin

    When people buy my book through this medium, do I have to post the hard copy to them or they are to download and read?

    1. Kristen Runvik Selz

      Kristen

      Hi Livingstone, if you self-publish, you can sell both a physical copy of your book and a digital copy. If a buyer purchases a digital copy, the book is digitally delivered. If you want to sell a physical copy, you would need to post it to your buyer.

  2. Mark

    Hi, Im the protranslator, can translate ur landing page for 25$ and u will be able to atrract more traffic from Russia

    1. Kristen Runvik Selz

      Kristen

      Hey Mark, thanks for checking in! We may be looking for translators in the future, so I’ll keep your info on hand for Russia. Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. AlTonya Washington

    Are there any safeguards to prevent ebook buyers from sharing titles with others once they’ve purchased them?

    1. Selz

      Kristen DeCosta

      Hi AlTonya! Yes, there is a safeguard to prevent buyers from sharing your ebooks after purchase. You can set up license keys for your ebooks, which protects against sharing! Here are two great posts that discuss what license keys are and how to use them on Selz! Post 1. Post 2. I hope this helps!
      -Kristen at Selz

  4. Alan Toner

    As a self-published author on both Amazon Kindle and Createspace, I found your post very interesting. Due to the hard slog of generating more sales on Amazon, I have now started to consider other means of selling more of my books. In regard to your comment that there still millions of potential buyers of PDF books, I was quite surprised to read this, as I thought Kindle buyers had oustripped PDF buyers quite considerably! So being able to convert my Word docs into PDFs, you reckon I could stand a better chance of selling more books in this format than in the Mobi format? In regard to offering paperback versions of my books, which alternative method to Createspace would you recommend, bearing in mind the cost of printing hard covers on demand?

    1. Hanna Whirty

      Hey Alan! First of all, thanks for reading. These are great questions. Due to the amount of royalties that Amazon takes out, we have found that most of our users get to walk away with more in their product if they sell from their own online store. There’s no way to tell if you will sell more copies by switching to PDFs, but we have seen similar successful results.

  5. stephen

    I tried selling pdf form from my website, did get some sales, so got to keep most of the funds through paypal, though since payments are not personal, are for products, some customers after receiving the book/s as for their money back. The books I sell can range from $30 to $80 they are gambling based.

    So some try it on, they get the info and get their money back. If you ask for personal payment they can’t get their money back. Though only ever had one ask for his money back from all sales, the rest were happy, I know because received emails from them.

    In the end I thought it too much hassle and stuck to amazon. Plus amazon have this promote your books where you pay for them to be displayed on certain pages or categories etc. Amazon is by far the biggest and most people go to amazon by default these days when they want to buy books. After all amazon began selling books.

    That said I take your point about having a website, I have one and need to update it to generate more traffic, i display my amazon title on my site that are clickable to my amazon page or page of each book then my readers can buy from the click or go direct to amazon and buy.

    Also if you publish outside of amazon (though your book will end up on there anyway) you miss out on the pay for every page read business, KENP. If you have 300+ pages and keep on writing books that sell the revenue can add up. Thus it’s another stream of income as well as the paperbacks and kindle eBook sales.

    1. Selz

      Bryce Patterson

      Hey Stephen, thanks for chiming in! It’s true that there are absolutely different ways to sell eBooks, and depending on your goals you might find that a personal site isn’t your preferred option. Great to hear about your experience selling!

  6. Eugene Dakin

    How do I publish an e-book that has added files?

    I have written over 20 computer programming books and there are many examples (>50) that contain files to run the programs that complement the e-book. How can the publisher/store download the files when the e-book is purchased? I have contacted amazon, and they can’t do this type of download with their system.

    Thanks!

    1. Tara Storozynsky Selz

      Tara Storozynsky

      Hi Eugene, great question! I’m a little unsure of what you mean by the publisher/store downloading files, but I think I know what you mean. You have a couple options here:
      1. You can upload multiple files to a product page. This means that customers can access supplementary resources that complement your Ebook, with the purchase of your Ebook.
      2. You can go to the “Orders” page and download the files using the buyer’s download link.

      Let me know if you have any additional questions! We do offer a free 14 day trial, and you can publish products and start selling in that time. If you’re interested in seeing whether or not this would be the right solution for your Ebook business, you can sign up here.
      Have a great day!

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