This is a big lesson I learnt in my online marketing journey! When I wrote my first book which was in the non-fiction self-help space, I hired a professional book cover designer and then sold the book on Amazon. I followed an “expert” on book self-publishing and got reviews for my book, created a book description, author profile and all the pieces were in place. I even followed a supposedly solid strategy of keeping my book free for the 1st few days to generate interest and more book reviews. Then came advertising my book on which I spent a few hundred dollars and did all the right things suggested by the experts.
Though my book continues to sell a few copies every month, it does not generate the kind of sales I was hoping for. I spent over an year getting the pricing right for this first book. By this time, I’d already published my second book as well. The main thing to remember with book publishing is that no 2 books are guaranteed to deliver the same results. Each book release is like starting a new adventure from the start, but the lessons add up over a period of time as you publish more and more books. In my niche on college and career, the print book has been selling a lot better than the ebook inspite of the higher cost of the print book. The number of book sales is lesser but for the kind of topic I have for the book, I’m able to price is quite well for a neat profit.
My biggest issue has been with the amount of money Amazon has been eating up of my modest book sales. For any ebook higher in price than $9.99, Amazon gobbles up 65% of the sale price and 40% for the print book excluding the book printing cost. To top that off, the Amazon payments are made only once every 90 days. If I’d known any better when writing my first book, I would have simply sold the book on my own website rather than promoting a third-party Amazon book page. What a huge ripoff!!
It’s so frustrating to be staring at the sales page on Amazon when all the money from my book sales could have simply been in my bank account instantly upon customer purchase. I recently got further reminded of this issue when a fellow blogger spoke about his increase in blog income ever since he started selling his ring jewelry from his website. That’s when I decided that enough is enough. And now I’m on my way to making this happen on one of my sites. Instead of all the advertising money I’d spent in promoting my Amazon book page, I could have put that money to better use in promoting my book on my own website or blog. This would have even brought more traffic directly to my website.
There are all these expert book authors who write about self publishing and seem to somehow partner with Amazon and almost make it appear as if Amazon is the only option for any self publishing book author! These self-proclaimed experts make money by sucking the blood of a lot of novice first time authors. And once someone goes down this rabbit hole of Amazon and all these book-selling middlemen, it takes a lot of wasted money loss, time and wrong know-how to extricate your mindset from relying on these thirty party profiteers. The book or product is yours but these third-party platforms end up making most of the money by exploiting your efforts for their profit.
On the other side of the fence, there are many bloggers who make money selling their own products or books whereby they get 100% of the sales revenue without having Amazon or any other middlemen eating up their hard-earned profits. So I’ve finally learnt this the hard way. No more relying on middlemen or brokers or platforms for selling my products. I need to simply drive all the traffic directly to my blog and sell my books and other products directly to my site visitors. As for the file storage for the products, there are a number of low-cost cloud storage providers such as iDrive, Google Drive, iCloud and many others.
In case you are concerned about piracy, there are many software and wordpress plugins that allow ebook file encryption, watermarking and so on. So you can still protect your files from unauthorized use and not get stuck with these third-party platforms for making your online income.
Once you’re able to drive sufficient traffic to your website, you get to make 100% of the profit from selling your products. And even more importantly, as soon a customer purchases your product, the money gets into your bank account! This is a mega-huge advantage of selling your products directly in comparison to waiting 30 to 90 days for a receiving a fraction of the money from the platform that sold your product.