Authors who are looking to have more control over their book sales and revenues can explore the option of selling their books on their own online bookstore, instead of the usual e-book sites like Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, etc. Setting up your own online bookstore might seem like a lot of work, but for those authors who are ready to turn their writing into a proper business venture, an online bookstore can be a very profitable business. Authors have a choice of opening a simple e-bookstore for selling only their own books, or setting up a large online bookstore for selling a variety of titles. Some authors prefer to start slow, with a simple e-bookstore and then expand later to a full-fledged online bookstore, as they become more comfortable running the online store.
Here are a few tips to create your own online bookstore:
1. Set up an attractive, professional looking, separate site
To attract readers to your online bookstore and keep them there long enough to purchase a book, your site should be well designed and professional looking. Avoid the temptation to set up the online bookstore from your existing blog or website. Even though you may have a lot of traffic and great content on your blog/website, in the long run it will be crucial to have a separate site with a different domain name for your online bookstore. Moreover, the demands of the online bookstore- e-commerce links, internal links, a shop-feel and unique branding- are beyond the scope of most blogging platforms.
2. Plan out all the components of the online bookstore
For a successful online bookstore, there are several essential components such as safe payment methods, good website design, special software suites, and finally well-written and compelling sales copy for the products. Many people use the OptimizePress software suite for online bookstores as the software works with existing WordPress sites, and is specially designed for product sales. You can use an e-commerce vendor like E-Junkie which is a safe and cheap way to sell e-books, or try a different option like Gumroad.
3. Add incentives and giveaways
Your readers need to be convinced that buying the books from your site is better than other sites. While sites like Amazon get more traffic, they have limited options for authors to provide special discounts or attractive deals for the readers. On your own bookstore, you can add a whole lot of attractive incentives, deals, giveaways and other features to make your site a better option for book buyers.
4. Limit the availability of your books on other platforms
You can continue to keep your books listed on top-selling sites like Amazon, but limit the links for the books on these sites. When you mention your book on your blog, link to your online bookstore, rather than linking to your book page on Amazon or other sites. You should focus all your promotions and marketing on your online bookstore, and try to direct buyers towards this site to maximize your book sales.
5. Get an email list for your customers
One of the great advantages of your own online bookstore is that you can get the email addresses of readers who are buying your books. When you plan to release your new books, you can send them a brief, non-spammy email with a sneak preview of the book. You can also create a nice weekly or monthly newsletter to email to your readers, to attract them to your books and your bookstore.
This article was first published by CS Rajan on e-Books India.