Ultimate Guide To Selling Print Books From Your Author Website

Ultimate Guide to Selling Print Books Direct

Are you cheerful to promote ebooks and audiobooks direct out of your creator web site however you balk at print? It is probably not as advanced as you suppose. Today the Alliance of Independent Authors brings you the final word information to promoting print books direct out of your creator web site

ALLi lists direct gross sales as one of many drivers of Self-Publishing 3.0. In self-publishing 3.0, the affect and energy are transferring from massive tech corporations to creators similar to unbiased authors like us. Thanks to this variation, we’ve alternative and the power to efficiently create our writing and publishing enterprise at present.

Self-publishing 3.0 offers us autonomy, management, and direct entry to our readers. And promoting direct is a manifestation of that.

What is Selling Direct?

Selling direct means utilizing a platform that you just personalbe it your web site or a digital retailer, for instance a Shopify retailerto promote your books and merchandise instantly to readers.

This relies on the recommendation Morgana Best gave indie authors on the Self-Publishing Podcast in 2018: “Own and develop your own real estate,” Morgana stated. “Send readers to your own website or your own app – to anything you own.”

“Why build your empire on rented land?”

Why Sell Direct?

Selling direct prior to now has confronted a number of resistance due to the time and the necessity to do the administration required round bodily gross sales. The admin together with printing and storing books, packaging, addressing, and posting and so on.

But promoting direct offers you extra flexibility with what you are able to do. You can signal books, personalise them, add bookmarks and even ship bundles of books if you promote direct.

In addition, know-how is quickly advancing and there are a plethora of companies that allow you to promote direct out of your web site by connecting to their print on demand service. They will then pack, tackle, and ship the books out—although this does cut back your capability to signal and personalise the books.

There are many causes you’d need to promote direct:

  • Build a brand new income stream
  • Be broad and non-exclusive together with your books
  • Have extra flexibility over how and if you receives a commission
  • Earn a better % on every sale
  • Have management over your clients’ information

Why Sell Print Books Direct?

Perhaps you already promote your ebooks and/or audiobooks direct and consider print will not be one thing you’d be interested by. You nonetheless know your clients, obtain the cash in a matter of days after the sale, and are rising your electronic mail checklist. Or maybe your ebooks is perhaps enrolled in an exclusivity contract deal, and print will not be well worth the problem.

You want to strategy promoting print direct with an unbiased enterprise mindset—how disheartening is it if you go into your favorite retailer to purchase a shirt, however the one in your dimension is stocked elsewhere? Similarly, if a reader pulls up your creator web page to purchase a large-print version paperback of your newest guide and solely discover the e book, they are going to be disheartened. They had come on the lookout for the product and the expertise of shopping for from you.

Embrace Wide

Another driver of self-publishing 3.0 and an in depth pal of promoting direct is ‘being wide’. Wide embraces non-exclusivity and takes your books all over the place: all shops, in as many territories as doable and in as many codecs as doable.

If you’re broad and never tied to any exclusivity contract, why must you solely solely promote ebooks and/or audiobooks in your creator web site? Today’s panorama is about independence—we can provide our worldwide clients a selection of our books in numerous codecs by our web site. Shopping with us may be an expertise for them: large-print, dyslexia format, paperback, hardback, particular editions, bundles, signed copies, totally different covers—you have got to strive it and see if it really works for you.

What Options do I Have to Sell Direct?

There are many print-on-demand companies that work with unbiased authors in numerous capacities—a few of them are print-on-demand service suppliers whereas others assist authors deal with formatting and warehousing. It is vital to know what the boundaries of their companies are. And whether or not what they provide is what you’re on the lookout for. For eg: some companies are assisted publishing companies or small unbiased publishers whereas others are print-on-demand and distribution suppliers.

When vetting suppliers, please hold the next in thoughts, particularly for print:

  1. Quality of the books: Even in case you’ve outsourced your guide manufacturing, your readers buy the books in your retailer. That makes you liable for delivering a high quality product to them, particularly in case your guide is closely reliant on good high quality eg: a particular version, artwork books, coffee-table books and so on. Make positive you proof the print recordsdata properly, and that the standard of the books is constant regardless of the place or how they’ve been printed.
  2. Payments and Royalties: If the service supplier’s web site isn’t clear on the associated fee or any funds that you’re anticipated to make, be cautious of working with them. Make positive you already know beforehand of any hidden or undetermined prices that you should have to bear. Do they’ve a setup payment? Or do they take a share on each sale? The service supplier must also be clear with their insurance policies relating to royalties. How a lot of a share do you earn from every sale? What is the royalty fee cycle?
  3. Reporting: The service supplier ought to report gross sales and royalties earned frequently. The reviews ought to be accessible to you and present royalty calculation primarily based on the variety of gross sales.
  4. Returns Policy: Like if you use a POD service which ships to clients or bookstores, you should have to cope with a returns coverage to your personal retailer. Make positive you perceive what the service supplier’s insurance policies relating to returns are and guarantee they align with yours. You want to talk this returns coverage to your readers as properly.
  5. Autonomy: Check what you’ll be able to and might’t do. Can you make adjustments as soon as the guide is uploaded? If you utilize a plugin for this service in your web site, are you able to model the gross sales web page such as you need it to? Does it permit you to worth your books, design the gross sales web page in a method that aligns together with your model? Think about what your imaginative and prescient is to your web site and if this supplier permits you the liberty you would want to arrange one thing related to what you needed.
  6. Rights: It is essential for you to know the way a lot management and autonomy you keep when utilizing their companies. Please learn the effective print. Who owns the recordsdata after publication? Are you signing away part of your rights to them? Can they tweak your guide with out your permission? Be conscious that you just personal the copyright to your guide, so it’s best to license it advantageously.
  7. Distribution: If it isn’t talked about on the service supplier’s web site, ask them the place they distribute print books. Which geographical space do they distribute to? Don’t join with a service which doesn’t service the areas the place your main viewers is.

You may look these companies up on-line and/or ask indie creator teams. Don’t overlook: in case you’re a member of ALLi you should utilize our companion listing to verify for suppliers. Log into the member site, navigate to APPROVED SERVICES.

Before you go for a specific service supplier, please verify their phrases and situations as properly.

  • Think about: the associated fee and revenue, territories, codecs, rights, termination of the contract, obligations (requirements for efficiency)
  • Be in management
  • Keep an open thoughts
  • Seek assist

Beware of:

  • Too excessive or too low charges as in contrast to different related companies
  • Most service suppliers ought to deal with readers, not the authors
  • All-encompassing packages with imprecise descriptions and unrealistic guarantees

What ought to I contemplate earlier than I Sell Print Books Direct?

As with any new earnings stream, if you promote your print books in your creator web site, it’s a method to join together with your readers and share what your publishing values are. You ought to prioritise your reader and create an expertise for them.

So have a take into consideration:

How will you market your direct print gross sales? You can provide reader magnets, particular reductions, or unique content material to your readers—related to what you’d do with ebooks or audiobooks. Don’t overlook to clarify to the readers already in your electronic mail checklist how it’s useful for you in the event that they bought books out of your web site instantly. Get inventive about advertising and marketing your print books to readers. Think about how one can give them an expertise that aligns together with your values and model.


Your electronic mail checklist is vital to construct connection together with your readers. And it’s the place it’s best to go to search for the preliminary print guide clients. That doesn’t imply every electronic mail you ship to them ought to say, ‘buy my books’. But these readers know you and are interested by supporting you. If you inform them you’re now promoting print in your web site, they’re prepared to assist you. You can provide them reductions, unique print editions and strengthen your communication with them. Based on what they bought, you too can section your viewers and know whom to attain out to subsequent time you have got a guide out in a sure sequence.

How will you shield your clients’ information? Make positive you solely ask for needed information out of your readers and have their consent earlier than you utilize it. Think about how one can retailer the info safely, create moral insurance policies about readers’ data, and have a privateness coverage.

What is your returns coverage? You want to take into consideration your returns and the way you propose to deal with them. When you select a printing service to your books, verify what their insurance policies are. Can you determine whether or not you permit returns or not? How do they deal with returns? Do they cost you? How environment friendly and useful is their customer support crew?

How will you deal with customer support? Sometimes there are points with the books which might be shipped to your readers. Who do your readers get in contact with in that case? Does the printing service you have got a contract with provide this assist? Will they cost you for re-shipping or exchanging the guide? In case of any points, be sure to provide assist and steerage to your readers.

How does tax work? Tax is a really individualistic matter that will depend on the place you’re promoting from and who you’re promoting to. When you choose a service and a fee gateway, be sure to perceive how they deal with taxes. Will they do it for you? Or will you have got to deal with among the taxes your self? Taxes should not solely restrictive to print gross sales. So, it would enable you to to perceive them in case you promote something in your web site.

With all these questions and choices to get began with, you may really feel misplaced within the wilderness. When overwhelmed or uncertain, it’s at all times a good suggestion to attain again to your writing and publishing values. What is the aim of this author-business? What are your objectives? The solutions to these questions will enable you to navigate by selections. You’ll know whether or not to inventory stock and ship every guide or in case you ought to outsource printing and logistics to a 3rd celebration solely. There may be a number of variations to this selection, and ALLi’s member listing has a service that fits every reply.

You must also contemplate the associated fee vs the good thing about your selections. How a lot effort and time would you like to put into promoting your print books? And what advantages does that provide you with? These advantages may not be simply financial. Selling print books may enable you to attain your readers in a method you couldn’t earlier than. It may give a lift to your e book and audiobook gross sales.

When selecting between what you’d like to do vs what it’s best to do, suppose ‘balance’. Find a steadiness between prices and advantages, ‘must-dos’ vs your values, ‘want to’ vs prices. And that may enable you to progress on this journey.

It may appear overwhelming when listed out this fashion, however you solely have to make these selections when initially establishing store. After that, just a few tweaks primarily based on the belongings you study will enable you to construct an important author-business over time.

Ultimate Guide to Selling Print Books Direct 3.0 Buy Direct BadgeWe additionally provide our memberss badges that may be embedded in your web site to encourage readers to purchase instantly from you, relatively than at different on-line retail shops.

Sacha Black Visits BookVault

Ultimate Guide to Selling Print Books Direct Sacha Black Black and White

Sacha Black, Author and ALLi Blog Manager

Sacha Black just lately visited Bookvault’s warehouse and requested them about how indie authors can promote direct with them. BookVAULT is an Alliance of Independent Authors companion member: a print on demand answer introduced to you by digital guide and journal printers, printondemand-worldwide.

Image of a long printing machine in a warehouse

Printing Machine

What are your suggestions to indie authors for promoting print books direct? 

If you don’t have already got a web site setup, we advocate Shopify, as the best and most user-friendly answer. If you have already got a weblog or web site setup by WordPress, Woo Commerce is a good possibility because it’ll plug instantly into your present retailer and permit direct print gross sales utilizing the Bookvault plugin.

Other e-commerce softwares can be utilized, however usually lack performance and require just a little bit extra work.

Equally Kickstarter is a good way to launch your guide. Once your marketing campaign has completed, you’ll be able to attain out to our crew who will enable you to import all of the orders as bulk to prevent manually creating delivery labels and packaging them up!

Any suggestions or recommendation for indies on promoting print books direct?

  • A free novella/pattern of your guide (an e book) works nice for attracting new clients and rising your mailing checklist. If you place the product as free, clients nonetheless have to undergo the checkout course of (capturing information) which you should utilize for future advertising and marketing.
    hardback books piled up before being glued together

    hardback books piled up prepared to be glued collectively

  • Selling particular editions is a good way to appeal to customers to your retailer over Amazon. Simple issues similar to an unique hardback version or bonus color illustrations assist individuals select to purchase direct over going to the large giants like Amazon.
  • Exclusive releases additionally assist drive gross sales, if you launch a brand new title, make it reside direct for the primary couple of weeks solely in your web site, making an attempt to direct keen clients to your web site, incomes you extra!
  • Selling bundles at a promotional low cost helps convey up the common gross sales worth in your retailer from that of 1 guide to a number of, and in flip will increase income.

What else are you able to do for indie authors?

Stacks of mile-long reams of printing paper wrapped in brown paper

Stacks of mile-long reams of printing paper

We provide just a few choices. For instance, single guide printing so that you solely print if you want it, dispatching books in some circumstances similar day. We have a free reside chat service with just about on the spot responses throughout enterprise hours and a 1-working day response time to emails.

We can even print any dimension from A6 (105 x 148.5 mm) to 297mm x 297mm together with panorama merchandise, and bespoke choices similar to foil embossing in addition to printed jackets on each printed and material PPC bindings.

We have vary of bindings for all types of initiatives:

  • Saddle stitched
  • Wiro
  • Spiral
  • Printed Casebound
  • Case Cloth
  • Paperback

We provide inexpensive color printing, printed on premium paper permitting for as soon as inconceivable merchandise by POD similar to youngsters’s books. We do that by break up color, the place we solely cost you for the variety of color pages in your guide, which means you may make it additional particular.

What do you want indie authors knew about promoting direct?

You can use a number of printers collectively for a large strategy. Don’t simply restrict your self to one supplier.

And do not forget, in case you’re an Alliance of independent member there are sometimes reductions and offers for a lot of suppliers—together with us. We present ALLi members a promo code for 5 free titles every month. (log in to the member zone to avail of your low cost).

ALLi Member Case Study: Morgana Best

What are the circumstances beneath which indie authors ought to contemplate establishing a web site print retailer? 

You ought to arrange your retailer proper from the beginning. It’s vital to arrange promoting print from the very starting. As quickly as an creator has an e book, it’s a good suggestion to launch it in print–and you’ll launch it in paperback, massive print, dyslexia pleasant, and hardcover. Print guide field units or bundles additionally do properly when promoting direct.

What are the most important mindset shifts to make when creating your print direct retailer?

Selling direct is completely nothing like promoting on the retailers. For a begin, it’s a enterprise and ought to be handled as a enterprise. Email lists and Facebook advertisements are nothing like those authors use for promoting on the retailers.

When promoting on the retailers, authors can not use Facebook Sales (used to be referred to as Conversion) advertisements as a result of they don’t management or personal the retailer’s pixel. That is why authors promoting on the retailers have to use Traffic advertisements which ecommerce shops shouldn’t use. Sales advertisements should not obtainable to them.

And why does this matter?

There are many causes however the primary one is that when any person runs a Traffic advert, Facebook does its utmost to discover clickers. Of course, a few of these clickers will even purchase, however Facebook is just on the lookout for individuals who will click on on the advert. On the opposite hand, if you run a Sales advert, Facebook is definitely on the lookout for patrons and never for individuals who will click on.

The method you deal with concentrating on can be totally different, and there are additionally phases of advertisements. Facebook advertisements for promoting direct are a complete totally different ball sport.

Newsletter lists are additionally totally different for ecommerce.

Also, I’ve observed that some authors are reluctant to spend $10 so as to make $100 and would relatively have a storefront that’s free just because it doesn’t price them something, thereby neglecting the truth that they could possibly be making critical cash with an honest storefront. As I stated, it’s a enterprise.

Please remember that even when Facebook Ads are a wonderful method to attain readers, you ought to be aware of how they work and the sum of money you’ll be able to spend on advertisements, particularly in case you’re a first-time or rising creator.  

What do you say to these authors nervous about print and delivery prices for world distribution and never making sufficient revenue to assist the endeavour?

I’d say these authors have it fully fallacious. The creator doesn’t ship the books in particular person. The creator doesn’t pay the delivery. There isn’t any upfront price when utilizing a third-party consignment printer that may ship for you. And after the printing prices, every part is revenue.

Any recommendation to assist authors begin shifting/coaching their viewers to direct?

It’s most vital to notice that clients don’t want to be educated to purchase direct. Stores make billions upon billions and don’t prepare individuals to purchase direct from them.

Training the viewers is author-selling-on-retailer pondering. Authors are so used to Amazon and the opposite retailers that they assume their readers want to be educated to purchase from them. This is definitely not the case.

To get their present readers to an creator retailer, the creator merely has to ship a coupon code or a guide on sale to their present e-newsletter checklist. There are loads of readers on the market who’re already shopping for direct and can suppose nothing of shopping for books direct.

Authors want to set their third-party retailer mindset apart when promoting direct. Books should not magical unicorns. Books are merely merchandise.

How do you ship site visitors to your webstore?

You can have free shops on social media–Facebook, Instagram, TikTookay, Pinterest, even Google.

The primary method to ship site visitors is to do what all of the profitable ecommerce shops do and run Facebook advertisements–once more, not Traffic advertisements however Sales advertisements (and Sales advertisements should not obtainable to authors promoting on retailers).

What errors do you see authors making with print direct? 

I began out with print again within the day, and through the years, I’ve seen authors consider print as an apart and never deal with it correctly. Authors usually have a tendency to consider ebooks or audiobooks and neglect print.

However, there’s good cash to be made with print.

Another mistake is to worth one thing decrease than on the retailers. I’m at all times telling individuals to overlook about Amazon–don’t make your ebooks a lower cost for instance.

If you’re utilizing your individual printer, you’ll be able to promote your print books for much less due to the decrease printing prices, and that’s nice, however don’t do it merely since you want to worth decrease than Amazon. Put Amazon out of your head.

It’s additionally a good suggestion to provide a normal low cost with a pop-up subscriber type which seems a set time after any person lands in your retailer. By the way in which, the wording and timing are each tremendous vital right here.

You can do a joint electronic mail and SMS advertising and marketing subscriber pop-up.

Authors like to give away freebies, however it’s not a good suggestion for an ecommerce retailer. Instead of a lead magnet similar to a free novella or no matter, use a reduction code for a subscriber as a substitute.

Now what are some enjoyable concepts you are able to do with print direct? 

You can bundle print books and provide say, the primary 10 books within the sequence, or when you’ve got a 9 guide sequence or perhaps a 7 or 16 guide sequence provide that as a bundle.

With promoting direct, it’s vital to have a better common order worth. If a buyer solely buys a single guide from an creator retailer, that may be solely round $5 to $10. Yet it prices as a lot to promote a $5 guide because it does to promote a $50 or perhaps a $100 product. That is why with the shop it’s tremendous vital to improve the common order worth.

An simple method to do that is with bundles. You may bundle a print guide, e book, and audiobook or you would provide the following few print books within the sequence.

At the checkout web page, which has a 100% open charge, you would and will do an upsell, similar to to a print guide bundle.

Non-fiction authors and low/no content material authors can promote spiral certain books of their shops. 

Is there a distinction in strategies/course of for worldwide vs nationwide delivery?

There isn’t any distinction within the technique or course of for worldwide vs. nationwide delivery. My printer ships worldwide. Again, authors usually convey up the truth that clients with Prime can have their Amazon books shipped without cost.

Once extra, I say to overlook that. Plenty of on-line companies promote merchandise which might be additionally offered from Amazon with free delivery. My recommendation is to put that out of your thoughts fully. Don’t even give it one other thought.

Nobody can compete with Amazon so don’t even trouble to strive. Plenty of individuals purchase print books from authors instantly. There’s excellent cash in it.

Any different suggestions or recommendation? 

Don’t deal with print as a poor cousin. I usually hear authors say that they don’t promote a lot print, and after I ask them if they’ve performed something to put it up for sale, the reply is invariably no.

It prices nothing to arrange print with a third-party printer, in order that every part after printing price is revenue.

Ultimate Guide to Selling Print Books Direct MorganaBestBioImage

Morgana Best, USA Today Bestselling Author

Morgana Best began promoting print direct in 1993. She offered on the retailers after Kindle was launched, however when she stopped to contemplate who benefited most from her laborious work, she centered on promoting direct. Morgana teaches authors how to promote from their very own shops along with her guide and course, Stop Making Others Rich. Find out extra about Morgana on her website.


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