Our thanks to UnboundWords.com and author Jennifer Kohout for this guest post. UnboundWords is a new platform to allow authors to sell ebooks directly from their site… Read on to learn more! They’re also a new WWW Approved Partner. Graphic courtesy freedigitalphotos.net
Two years ago, I gave up my license to practice law and became a self published author. I’ve never regretted my decision, but if I’d known what was in store for me, I would have stocked up on vodka. It didn’t take long before I realized that writing was the easy part. It’s the marketing that sucks.
Being self published, I don’t have the resources of a publishing company behind me. It’s been an experience of trial and error in learning what works and what doesn’t. Eventually, I grew frustrated with the big online book retailers (who shall remain nameless).
One of my biggest complaints was the lack of information. I spend a considerable amount of time, energy, and money promoting my books and driving traffic to the online retailers. But I have no way of knowing which of my efforts pays off in the form of sales. I don’t know who is buying my book, where they heard about me, or how to market to them when the next book comes out.
The retailers have that information, and they use it for their own marketing purposes, but they don’t share it with me.
There are also issues around pricing, royalty share, and promotions, but the lack of information is the biggest hindrance to building a successful business, and writing IS a business.
In talking with other authors, I learned that I was not alone. While we appreciated how easy it is to self-publish these days, a lot of authors expressed frustration with the current situation and wished for an alternative. Luckily, I have a very handy husband. With over twenty years experience as a web developer, and almost as many writing and directing short films, he immediately grasped the situation and came up with a solution.
While it will never replace the big retailers, selling ebooks direct is a great supplement. It’s also a way for authors to take back control and learn who our customers are.
When readers feel they have a connection to the author, they buy more books, and tend to spread the word to their friends. It takes time to develop that relationship with a critical mass of readers, but every business has a growth curve. One thing’s for sure: it doesn’t happen if you’re just another name among thousands.
Most of the ground work is already done. We have author websites, mailing lists, Facebook pages, end-of-book links, Google+ accounts, and Twitter. In the past, we used these sites to direct readers to the online retailer. All it would take is a few subtle tweaks and you could use those same efforts to direct readers to your website. Once there, sell them a book (and keep 100% of the sale)! Give them a chance to learn more about you. And ask permission to stay in touch with them, when your next book is ready.
After looking at the available options out there for selling ebooks, we agreed none of them offered all the tools writers really needed. So, we built our own system, designed just for people like me: UnboundWords.com.
Basically, we made it easy for authors to sell their ebooks on their own website, and take control over the whole process.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still sell my books on all the major retailers, in addition to my own site. But creating a new revenue stream feels good, and this one is building my mailing list, which is an investment in my future success.
So if you’re looking for a way to have more control over your writing career, try selling direct. It’s easy to do, you’ll love the sense of control, and best of all? You’ll get to know more of your readers.
A former lawyer, Jennifer Kohout has self published ten titles including Wolf Lake, her bestselling trilogy, which reached #1 in its genre. She is the co founder of UnboundWords.com, a site dedicated to helping authors sell their books directly to the reader. She enjoys running and wine (and vodka…and rum). Visit her website www.jenniferkohout.com or find her on Facebook.