Unlike what many might think, book readership has not really decreased. It’s simply changed. With the rise of online book retailers, the adoption of devices like Kindle, and the transition of audiobooks to new mediums, readership becomes more and more digital every day. Sure, there are some who still prefer the crisp feeling of the page and the musty smell of old paperbacks, but these things can coexist. Plus, digital text is more accessible for some people, whether that be a market or usability concern. For instance, eBooks and digital audiobooks have been a gift to those with disabilities or the elderly. Whatever the reasons, eBooks are on the rise, and authors like us need to keep up.
So what is the best approach to selling an eBook anyways? Should you go with the easy approach and give a cut to Amazon for self-publishing? Or do you want to make more money being completely independent? And if you do choose the latter, there is the problem of creating a promotional digital space and how to sell eBooks on your own website. Don’t worry though, self-publishing can be a lot easier than you think- especially when you use the right tools. Click through the table of contents to jump between sections and learn more.
Table of Contents
Why Should I Sell eBooks on My Website?
Keeping up with reading markets is part of being a successful author.
While traditional print still makes up the lion’s share of the book market, it’s significantly harder to self-publish in print. Meanwhile, self-publishing makes up almost 50% of all eBook sales. Although self-publishing might seem risky at first, it’s quickly become the best way for new authors to grow. Given that statistic, it also means that many are turning to eBooks for this practice.
When it comes to publishing, all you’re really paying for is a name and a seal of approval. Most publishers leave it up to new authors to do their own marketing. And famously, publications take a majority of royalties from sales. While more established authors might get some marketing cash, writers who are just establishing themselves are better off going their own way. Again, eBooks have provided a great avenue for circumventing this.
The only question, then, is this: what kind of book do you want to sell?
Before Selling eBooks on Your Website, Write One!
No one can tell you what to write, but everyone can use pointers.
If you’re considering how to sell your own eBooks on your own website, you’ve probably already got an idea for a book. That, or you just have an itch to write something. Either way, an idea is the only place to start. From there, though, there are some things you should know about writing a great book. Plus, there are some steps you can take to make it ideal for eBook form.
Know your genre, know your audience
Whatever you’re writing, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, you’ll need to know your audience. This comes first from knowing your subject matter and what genre or category it fits in. Do you want to write a YA fantasy novel? A gripping thriller? A cookbook? Each one of these requires you to keep in mind who you’re writing for line-by-line. While more specific tips would require a crash course in their respective genres, just keeping your readers in mind goes a long way in how you style your writing.
Outline, outline, outline!
A lot of people- myself included- like the idea of just jumping in and winging it. For a lucky few, this is the best approach. For the rest of us, outlines are a life-saver. Even those that fly by the seat of their pants can benefit from outlining if they are really stuck. Even when writing a blog post like this, I always start with topic outlines and summaries, then go from there. Trust me, it ends up being a lot less editing work in the long-run.
Stick to schedules
Like outlines, making a schedule can feel like an unnecessary chore. However, if you want to take a writing career seriously, you’ll need to make one. No one else is going to keep you to a deadline for your own book, especially when you’re just starting out. So set aside regular time every week, eliminate distractions, and just sit down to write. Even if you don’t get much done on the page some days, it’s good practice to have time for brainstorming, outlining, and all that good stuff. Don’t let that stop you from daydreaming outside of your schedule though, you never know when inspiration might hit!
The last little bit of advice I’ve learned is notetaking. Too often have I had an idea, only for it to disappear when I actually sit down. Keep something with you to jot stuff down. You’ll thank yourself when it comes time to write.
How to Sell eBooks On Your Website: Making a Great Site
To sell eBooks on your own, you’ll first need a good site.
There’s a lot of options out there for building a website, but only a few are ideal for independent eCommerce. In order to set up a site with eCommerce capabilities, you’ll either need to code it yourself or use a service that features eCommerce extensions. Luckily, you don’t have to shell out a ton of money for this. In fact, WordPress features a robust plugin library- including eCommerce extensions- and is completely free and open-source.
In addition, WordPress also features tons of other plugins that expand functionality in other ways. We’ll come back to using eCommerce plugins later, but you should also know that that is just a taste of what plugins have to offer. They can act as dedicated page-builders, integration with other website services, and trackers for site stats and SEO. Their functionality is nearly limitless and- with independent developers working on new ones- being expanded every day.
Finally, WordPress themes make it easy to create an approachable and usable site layout. Essentially, you can choose from a wide variety of pre-made designs, customize them, and even create your own if you’re code-savvy enough. for an eCommerce site, you’d usually want to put your store front-and-center. However, as an author, you can also doubly use your site as a presence for your personal brand. Include a portfolio, about page, even a blog to keep up your writing skills. Given that WordPress is designed for blogging, it’s a great feature to take advantage of.
How to Sell eBooks On Your Website: Using eCommerce Plugins
Once you build your site, plugins will help you expand it to start selling.
There’s plenty of eCommerce options available to you, but make sure you choose one that fits your needs. If you’re just selling eBooks, you’ll just need one from payment processing since all of your sales will be digital goods. Make sure your plugin also services the payment method you use. If you need a plugin that transfers to PayPal, make sure you read the fine print of the plugin before building your storefront around it.
Other than this, you will also need to read up on local tax ordinances to ensure your store is in compliance. Almost all eCommerce plugins include taxing features, but it’s on you to make sure it’s all set up correctly according to your location.
Using the Best Hosting for Selling eBooks on Your Website
In order to run an eCommerce site effectively, you need a reliable host.
One part of building a site that many forget about is web hosting. There are plenty of site-building services that provide hosting- including WordPress.com, which utilizes WordPress software for a hosted version of the service- but these are often restrictive and unreliable. Using WordPress with an independent host allows for more flexibility with the software and more options for better hosting.
You don’t need to look far though. WP Super Host provides some of the best security, most reliable uptimes, and a whole support team for your server. Plus, you have flexible pricing options to fit any budget, whether you’re just starting your eCommerce ventures or are well-established. Check out the pricing page to compare plans, including custom quotes.
All of the advantages a good web host provides are integral to a storefront’s success. Without a reliable and strong server, fewer people have access to your site and your revenue will take a hit. Without enough storage space, you won’t be able to distribute all of your content effectively. This is especially important when selling digital goods like eBooks
To Sum Up
Self-publishing can be a challenging and intimidating venture. But nowadays, it’s easier than ever to do so. With the rise of eBooks and related software, any author can put their work out there for the world to see. All you need is the right software and the right skills. With all that, getting the hang of how to sell eBooks on your own website is a breeze. So don’t feel the need to start with a publisher or sign a contract with Amazon eBooks. Instead, start your own site with WordPress and WP Super Host.