You’ve heard the Kindle success stories. The ones where the unknown, brilliant author self-published her amazing book and is now an international best-selling author?
As a writer, it’s that kind of success that’s motivating you to pursue a writing career. No need to hound publishers, only to hear their harsh rejection. Anyone can be a successful self-published author on Amazon.
Unfortunately, everyone else thinks so too.
There is no doubt that Amazon changed the publishing world. The self-publishing paradigm shift has given authors chances they never dreamed about. However, it’s also created somewhat unrealistic expectations, misleading perceptions, and a huge amount of competition.
You have a dream of becoming a full time writer. Your focus has been on writing the perfect book, not necessarily on how to sell your masterpiece. Creating an online business wasn’t really your intention. But being an independent writer makes you a business person, even if reluctantly. The key is to consider different strategies and choose the one that works for you.
Amazon is a great option, but it’s not the only option. If you’re an author who already has an audience, growing social media presence, and an existing website, you should consider adding a direct sales option. It allows you to reduce your direct competition, promote your book creatively, and build your unique brand.
One in a Million – Competition at Amazon
Amazon’s currently selling well over 3 million Kindle books, with new books added every day. Competition is extremely fierce, as you have to compete with hundreds of thousands of books.
Here’s the competition level from a few popular Kindle categories:
- Romance: 250,000+
- Science Fiction & Fantasy: 186,000+
- Business & Money: 194,000+
- Mystery, Thriller & Suspense: 164,000+
Even if you focus on one specific niche, you could still be in a category with thousands of other authors. Here’s an example of competition you could face in the Romance category:
- Contemporary: 79,000+
- Historical Romance: 27,000+
- Paranormal: 28,000+
- Mystery & Suspense: 23,000+
If you don’t have thousands to invest in an expert publishing team, you need to find ways to reduce competition and leverage your existing audience to increase your overall sales.
Jumping into eCommerce can be overwhelming. But if you’re a writer who already has experience creating a website, there are some easy eCommerce options. Selz is a simple eCommerce option that allows users to sell their books from any page on their website. They handle the hosting and downloading of your eBook, and you can also create your own online store. Easy Digital Download is another option if you have a WordPress-based website. It takes a little more time to set up than Selz, but like Selz, it handles the checkout process and automated book delivery.
Popular author Deborah Cooke sells her books both on Amazon and direct from her website using Selz. Cooke offers free and promotional downloads from her website, and sends buyers a Kindle/Mobi file so they can read her books on their Kindle.
Create Multiple Streams of Income
Joanna Penn, bestselling author of the ARKANE Series,says authors shouldn’t be exclusive to Amazon and should have multiple streams of income. One of the biggest reasons is any independent author shouldn’t be dependent on any single income stream. You’re completely out of luck if something happens to disrupt your business (remember the recession?). Plus, if you have multiple books to sell, you can always try different selling strategies.
Penn also stresses that “I’ve talked before about not building your business on anyone else’s platform, because they can take it away from you anytime. The same can happen with Amazon.” Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, create print, eBooks, audio books, and a merchandise line. This is your business, and you shouldn’t rely on one platform (that you don’t own) for all your sales, promotions and profits.
Keep them Interested in You, Not Your Competitors
Let’s face it. Amazon is only trying to sell books, not specifically your book. They don’t care who’s book customers buy, as long as they make a sale.
Everything about Amazon is designed to make the buyer spend more money. Every person that looks at the Amazon website sees different products. The results on the Amazon homepage are tailored to your past searches and buying history. From “Inspired By Your Browsing History” to “Related to Items You’ve Viewed”, Amazon tries to deliver exactly what you are most likely to buy.
Anne Bogel, from Modern Mrs. Darcy, is the author of How She Does It: An everywoman's guide to breaking old rules, getting creative, and making time for work in your actual, everyday life. She has a dedicated page for her book on her website, and sends readers to Amazon to buy her book. Once there, potential buyers are shown the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” selection. In this case, Amazon is suggesting seven other authors.
You want to limit the alternatives your potential buyers see. You want to keep all potential buyers focused on your site, books and blog/articles. As you already have an author’s website, adding a direct sales option helps you build your unique brand. It’s a way for you to control what your readers see, and reduce the possibility that they’ll like someone else’s book better.
Don’t Limit Your Potential
There are lots of ways to make your eBook a success. Maybe selling on Amazon is the most popular, but adding another eBook to the Kindle library is just one way. It’s not the only way.
Writers don’t need to limit their writing to one genre or topic. That’s the beauty of writing. You can do anything, and go anywhere. As a writer entrepreneur, with wondrous new technologies that change all the time, you can also create a limitless business.
If you have a growing online platform, consider adding a direct sales option. Adding a direct option is easy, allows you to create unique promotions, and reduces any potential competition. Adding a direct sales option creates a new profit stream and helps your business grow. You can still use Amazon, but you don’t have to put limits on yourself or your business.
About the Author:
Liesha Petrovich is the creator of Micro Business Essentials, a blog dedicated to helping women balance their business and their crazy life. In her free time, she’s working on a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship. Grab a copy of Preventing Business Fires – a Mompreneur's Workbook and follow her on Twitter
Share small business news, blogs and social media tips with Project Eve's community of small business owners and entrepreneurs today. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds; so whether you are a small business owner, social media strategist, financial adviser, serial entrepreneur, or write an amateur blog we urge you to contribute a blog to our 500,000+ community today. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.