Like most authors, you want to sell your ebooks on major retailers such as Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and B&N.
There is no denying that many readers and book buyers prefer to buy with a one-click service from their preferred retailer.
But if you want to sell your ebooks directly from your website, blog, or social media, it’s not easy. Yes, you can offer free ebook downloads quite simply with a WordPress site. However, setting up an online store with a payment gateway involves a lot of work.
But there is an easier way to sell your ebooks directly to readers. Best of all, it’s easy to set up, and believe it or not; it’s free.
Why sell your ebooks directly
When you sell your ebooks with KDP, Amazon takes at least 30% of your selling price.
In some cases, it can take 65%. On top of that, you might even lose more due to downloading fees.
If you sell your ebooks with Smashwords or Draft2Digital, both take around 10% of net sales.
It means that if you sell an ebook on Apple or Barnes Noble, each takes 30% of a sale, and then your aggregator takes 10% more.
Then there is the problem of withholding tax if you don’t or can’t register with the US tax office.
In this case, you lose 30% more from each sale.
You can’t avoid all of these charges and difficulties when you self-publish.
But there is a way that you can do a little better.
Sell your ebooks directly with Payhip
Payhip is an online payment service that allows you to sell digital downloads. In your case, it’s your ebooks.
The service started in 2011, so it’s very well established and not a new startup.
You can choose from different options, but the most popular with authors is the Free Forever option.
With this option, you only pay 5% of your selling price each time someone buys one of your ebooks.
So for an ebook selling at $3.99, there will be a small deduction of about $0.20.
There will also be a small deduction for either Stripe or Paypal payment processing fees.
Even so, you will certainly earn more per sale than what you receive from online retailers.
There is an option to pay only 2%, but it costs $29.00 per month.
This option would only suit authors who sell an awful lot of ebooks each month.
One of the big benefits is that Payhip looks after all the EU VAT paperwork.
Another is that you don’t need to worry about withholding tax.
Also, Payhip will deposit your sales to you immediately after a sales transaction.
You don’t have to wait 30, 60, or 90 days to get paid.
If you don’t have these accounts, you will need to set them up so people can pay you.
Set up your sales page
Once you register with Payhip, you need to set up your sales pages and ebook files.
Here’s an example Payhip sales page.
There are different options you can use.
But the main elements are your cover, book description, buy buttons, and social share buttons.
One nice touch is the option to offer a 25% discount if a buyer shares your book.
In the example above, you can see that the ebook is available in pdf, epub, and mobi.
It is essential that you prepare these three file types for your ebook.
A mobi file can be opened and read with the Kindle App or a Kindle reader.
An epub file can be read with Apple Books and Kobo readers, among others. Lastly, a pdf file can be read using any device.
By offering all three, you cater to all readers and devices.
All buyers need to do is click on their preferred file, and it will download and open in their reading app.
It’s quite simple to create these three files with the free Calibre ebook program. Vellum is another option.
There is also the possibility to download your ebooks from your aggregator or retailer if you can.
Get everything right on your sales page, and make sure you have all the options you think will make your ebook attractive to buyers.
You can also set up mailing list integration if you use Mailchimp or a similar mailing list service. It will add your book buyers to your subscriber list.
If you have more ebooks, you can set a store page for all your titles.
Once it is complete, you are ready to start promoting and selling.
How to promote your new sales page
You can add your Payhip link to your book page or store almost anywhere.
The obvious places to start are your website and blog. You can use text links, image links, or buttons.
But it’s an ideal link to share on all your social media accounts. If you can, you might pin it to the top of your feed.
It’s certainly a lot easier than setting up a Facebook Store for your ebooks.
If you use a universal book link, make sure you add your new link.
Another way is to use it in your email campaigns or even in your email signature.
You can also add your link to any book promotion services you use.
Promoting direct sales of your ebook is no different from how you promote your books already.
All you need to do is decide when and where you will use your direct buy links.
Anything else you need to know?
If you have your ebooks enrolled in Amazon KDP Select, you have agreed to sell your ebooks exclusively with Amazon.
In this case, Amazon will not allow you to sell your ebooks directly.
You will need to wait until your 90-day enrolment period finishes.
If you published your ebooks using standard KDP or with Smashwords or Draft2Digital, you are free to sell your ebooks in any manner. Therefore you can use Payhip.
Will you sell a lot of ebooks directly? Probably not as many as you would like.
Selling ebooks directly is just another arrow in your quiver. It is one extra part of your book sales strategy.
You can experiment with your book price, offer discounts or even offer freebies to your readers.
But in combination with your other selling avenues, you can cover as many bases as possible for every type of book buyer.
Direct selling your ebooks is not for every author. If you are happy relying on KDP sales and KU reads, there is no need to change your strategy.
But if you spend a little time setting things up to direct sell, you might find that you can develop a new income stream that pays well.
It won’t happen by magic. You will certainly need to promote as widely as possible to gain the most benefit.
But it’s an option you can investigate to see if it’s a good fit for you.
If it works, you will get paid more per sale, get paid faster as well as help build your email subscribers.