Bob Mayer On Traditional Publishing, The Future, And Selling Direct To Readers

Bob Mayer has been on the New York Times Bestseller list twice. His Atlantis series alone sold over a million copies for his publisher.

But now he has the rights back and is self-publishing everything, making more than he ever did before.

When we talk about indie success stories, the same three names are always mentioned: Hocking, Konrath, and Locke.

While they all deserve that billing, there are others who deserve to be mentioned in the same breath.

One of those is Bob Mayer. A lot of self-publishers were complaining last month that things were slow. With the combination of good weather, kids off from school, people being online less, and various large publisher sales on Amazon, many indies saw a dip.

Bob Mayer sold 80,000 e-books in July – mostly at $2.99. He hasn’t even got all his backlist up yet!

He was one of the 33 authors who contributed to the success stories section of Let’s Get Digital. This is part of what he had to say (and the whole thing really is worth reading, which you can do for free, here):

My first book came out in 1991 and now, over 45 titles later, more than 4 million books sold, I’m more excited than I’ve ever been as a writer. Here’s the thing authors need to understand: it isn’t as much about what’s happening NOW in publishing. It’s where things are going to be a year from now.

There’s a huge difference between an author promoting their book and a publisher tossing a book out there, because I have an incentive to promote and also know how to promote—something New York is still behind the curve on.

I don’t think success is any easier in self-publishing. Both are very difficult. The main difference is that I have more control than I ever did in traditional publishing. Success will go to those who, first and always, have a well-written book with a great story. Then there is the need for persistence and consistency. While the digital age has made all this possible, I think it has the potential to make quitting much easier since we live in a time of instant gratification. Writers are checking their Kindle numbers daily and bemoaning lack of sales within a week of upload.

I think one trait those of us coming from traditional publishing have had is knowing it’s the long haul that counts.

Bob Mayer always has one eye on the horizon. And he always has something interesting to say. His blog – Write It Forward – is a must-read.

On top of sharing his experience there, he’s also a regular conference speaker. On a recent post on his blog, he contrasted his experiences at US writers’ conferences, and those in Australia and New Zealand.

He says that international writers are openly embracing the digital future, and self-publishing and e-publishing were central planks of the conferences. However, in the US, the topics were ignored – at least on an official level. From his post on the topic:

Plenty of people talking about it in the hallways, but the organizations, like many others in publishing, seemed loath to put it on the official agenda.

A friend on Twitter sent me a link to a great video interview that Bob Mayer gave to Dan Blank. It’s about thirty minutes long, and it’s really excellent. I urge you to watch the whole thing.

Not only will you get Bob’s thoughts on where things stand, you will get a sense of how he is looking at the future. While he is making superb money right now, and has no plans to stop writing books, he doesn’t assume that things will always be this rosy.

He is actively preparing for a future where business conditions won’t be as favorable for the independent author. He figures that competition is going to increase and that indies will need to come up with creative ways to maintain visibility.

I won’t spoil the whole thing, as it really is worth watching in full, which you can do here.

Aside from a whole slate of novels, Bob has two highly-rated books aimed at sharing his wealth of experience with writers. The Novel Writer’s Toolkit focuses on the craft, and Write It Forward teaches the business. I look forward to checking out both of them.

If you clicked on either of those links, you will notice that Bob has set up his own e-store for his publishing company Who Dares Wins Publishing (which publishes writers other than himself and pays extremely equitable royalty rates).

This is something I have been thinking about for some time, and I know that other writers, like Chuck Wendig, have had success in selling their own stuff direct.

While some worry that it might be too much hassle, or that you could dilute your sales and affect your Amazon rankings, I think that giving the customer more choice can only be a good thing.

In the video I linked to above, Bob underlines the importance of not depending on one sales channel, something that was touched on today in the online conversation between Blake Crouch and Joe Konrath.

As I get more titles up, I will have my own e-store, where readers will be able to buy my work in any format. It will also have links to all the other retailers for readers that prefer to shop there.

It may dilute my ranking on Amazon somewhat but the increased royalties and the ability of international readers to shop without a surcharge should make up for that.

What about you? Have you considered selling your work direct?

About davidgaughran

David Gaughran is an Irish writer, living in London, the author of "Mercenary" and "A Storm Hits Valparaiso" as well as "Let's Get Digital" and "Let's Get Visible."
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59 Responses to Bob Mayer On Traditional Publishing, The Future, And Selling Direct To Readers

  1. I haven’t really considered it – mostly because I’m still working on my first release.

    I know some artists like Radiohead sell direct from their site. But they also have a huge cult following. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it would dilute your sales ranking. I’d definitely consider the benefits of increased sales vs. the costs of increased readership exposure. How much does the increased ranking on amazon really help sales – are these readers all people who would have bought the book via your blog, or is amazon’s algorithms pulling through and cranking up that paycheck? Again, these are all just things to consider.

    • One of my books – Let’s Get Digital – is hovering around the top of the genre bestseller lists. It was in the top three in the UK and US for books about writing or publishing for a solid month, but has slipped back a little in the last week.

      I have no doubt that being on these lists – and being near the top of them – drives sales. It’s not self-sustaining, i.e. if you “faked” your way to the top of one of those lists through coordinated purchases or whatever, you would slip back pretty quick; but it does result in sales, for sure.

      The ranking is only really useful in terms of increased visibility on lists like this. And while selling direct may – possibly – decrease my visibility on those lists, I’m not too worried about that. For starters, the only people that purchase from my site will be those that visit my blog. While I have very healthy traffic, I’m sure that most readers ultimately don’t discover me through here. It’s through reviews and recommendations – word-of-mouth. I would also imagine that the percentage of readers that discover me through the blog will become a smaller and smaller percentage.

      But really, I don’t think of it in those terms so much. The biggest threat I face is obscurity. Anything that will increase my exposure, anything that increases the chance of readers finding my books, anything that makes it easier for them to buy my books, has to be a good thing.

      On top of that, there is things you can do with your own store. You can offer bundles of content. You can offer deals. You can offer exclusive content before you upload it to the other stores. But most importantly, it decreases the dependence on one sales channel. When my sales slow on Amazon US, I have nothing else to pick up the slack. Sometimes the UK can pick up part of it, but the market is too small (in relative terms) to cover the whole thing. Same with Smashwords. But the more outlets I can start making sales on (including my own), the less I will be affected by things such as the summer sales we saw on Amazon.

      • Damn! My current plan – to steal thousands of passwords and beg for change until I can purchase a couple thousand copies from my own book – is now shot if that’s true! Oh well, I suppose I shouldn’t deceive my readers anyway. That’s unethical – or something along those lines.

        I’m confident the slight drop in exposure on those lists would be more than made up for via no royalties and more controlable (possibly more engaging through multimedia maybe? You’d have the freedom to experiment) avenues of selling direct. Selling direct is sort of the penultimate ideal of the indie movement. it reminds me of my studies in fair trade coffee. Cutting out the middleman and the like.

        It also hadn’t occurred to me before, but many of those readers buying direct could be prompted to leave reviews on amazon.

  2. Lacy Camey says:

    Thanks for another great article! I am curious, how are you going to go about having your own e store? This is something that I want to do in the next year, as well. I have seen many successful indie writers who have their own store on their site and I have always thought it was a great idea.

    I am in the process of publishing several short stories under a pen name. On top of my other releases, I will have several books to have an online store. I was wondering if you could share your process! I know several web developers…are web developers able to create an online store? When it comes to coding, I officially suck at coding, haha. I will most definitely hire someone!

    • Web developers can certainly design your own store for you. But there are a number of free or low-cost pre-packaged solutions out there too. Essentially, the easiest way is to have a simple interface that hooks up with PayPal so that you can take payments from them, and all credit cards. You will pay a transaction fee to PayPal, and then you have a flat fee or monthly fee for (or no fee) for the shopping cart. E-junkie is one that I am looking at, with fees of $5 a month ( http://www.e-junkie.com/ ), but there are plenty of others.

      Depending on where you live, there can be some complications with sales tax and local laws, which are worth checking out before you consider doing this.

  3. j.p. Hansen says:

    At this point it seems all most foolish for a new writer to try to work in the old paradigm — people are not buying traditional books at a level to keep Borders afloat. Does anyone know if the Nook is what set B&N apart from falling like its fellow behemoth book seller?

    • B&N are only showing growth in digital and in non-book products (which is why you will see even more space given away to Nook reader displays, toys & games, and (ugh) scented candles in the future). There is no doubt that the Nook is keeping their heads above water.

  4. Joe Vasicek says:

    I’ve thought about it a lot, especially since the whole Pottermore thing was announced. It seems like this is the new “holy grail,” so to speak–build up your fan base to the point where you can sell direct and not be dependent on anyone (except perhaps the people hosting your site). But for newer writers like me who are looking to build an audience from the ground up, it’s probably better to focus on sites like Amazon so that you can get into their recommendation systems.

    • Can’t you do both? If you are worried about diluting Amazon sales, you could restrict the store to selling EPUB and PDF files. Then you could trial selling the MOBI version for a couple of weeks, and see if that affected your rankings. Rather than diluting your sales, you could increase them overall.

      • Joe Vasicek says:

        Yeah, the key is probably to have as many income streams as possible, and not just with books. But provided you’re putting out new material on a regular basis, it seems like it would be better to have a newsletter with a few thousand fans who are willing to buy direct whenever you come out with something new, who love your stuff enough to share it with their friends. I guess it comes down to whether word-of-mouth trumps chart rankings; if it does, then I tend to think a peer to peer approach would be more desireable.

  5. It’s something we’re actively looking at, mainly with the overseas surcharge in mind.

    Our thoughts are that most buyers would look first to Amazon and other big e-stores, because of the convenience of one-click buying, so would need an incentive like no surcharges to come direct.

    Direct-buy numbers would therefore be low and unlikely to dilute Amazon rank in any significant way.

    @ Thomas: Having been almost to the top of the Amazon UK chart we can say there is no question chart position in the higher ranks can significantly boost sales. Casual browsers will rarely look beyond the top page or two of their genre choice, and impulse buys for an unknown name will mostly be based on what’s hot at the top.

    Getting high enough to be noticed comes back to the issues David has referenced time and time again. A good cover, a good story and word of mouth.

    • I agree – I don’t think direct sales will ever be a huge portion, so the worries about dilution of sales are minimal. Also, you can retain your promotional focus on the venues that are most important to you for the ancillary benefits that accrue from ranking and the extra exposure that affords. The store can be there for those who wish to use it. But you can still promote the hell out of your Amazon listing.

  6. Aron White says:

    I’ve heard that being an affiliate through retailers like Amazon or Smashwords can help increase your royalties, but being a new author, I don’t have any plans for the time being to sell direct. So far customers are more likely to find my stories through a retailer than my own website, but I plan to have an affiliate link from my website just in case :)

    • I recently replaced my Smashwords links with affiliate links. It results in a slightly increased take per sale – nothing dramatic. But certainly worth doing. I should really do the same for my Amazon links.

  7. elynd says:

    Yeah, I have a couple more books I am trying to finish before Christmas then I was going to look into this. I think the biggest advantage is, like David mentioned, you can do things that can’t, or at least are not easy to do, at the large retailers. For example, selling signed print books.

    • I’ve heard from others that you need to be careful selling physical stuff – difficulties with shipping/returns etc. can make it more hassle than its worth. But for digital, you don’t really have to worry about that.

  8. I’m already offering my ebook in any format for sale on my site. It was easy to setup and directs visitors to Paypal to submit payment. However, as a newbie, more people find my books through Amazon than via the web page. I agree with you, David, that both can be viable options.

    Yet, I’ve seen the hesitancy among some of my indie friends to embrace things like this that take them out of their comfort zone – they just want to write. Fine, but I believe in also being prepared for the myriad ways in which someone might want to access our books.

    • Hey Lisa,

      That’s a very nifty set-up you have there. Is that a custom build? Do you have to manually send out the books or is it automated?

      Dave

      P.S. Love the new cover

      • Lisa Yarde says:

        Thanks David, on both counts. The ebook interface is an add-on for sites built with Webon. IF someone ever buys a book from the site, Paypal will send a notification so I can deliver the book in the specified format.

  9. Okay. I’ll “think” about it. I’ve put off an official web site (beyond a blog) until the fall. Thank God it’s still August. I really don’t want to be in the fulfillment business. I love Lightning Source and being able to send a print on demand request and shipping off a book. I love Amazon because they provide me marketing gadgets that all the other online retailers can’t even bother with. I utilize Smashwords for the errant reader that has special needs (PDF, no VAT tax). What am I missing?

    @markwilliamsinternational – I agree with everything you’ve said. Especially: “Getting high enough to be noticed comes back to the issues David has referenced time and time again. A good cover, a good story and word of mouth.”

    My books have only been out since May and to your list above, referencing David, I would add: patience. : )

  10. Jim Bronyaur says:

    Fun post. I watched the video with Bob- it was great.

    I’m intrigued by the “build your own estore” idea. I’ll have to look into it.

    I also set up a side publishing business called Hundred to Home Publishing, LLC. I did this so I can publish under my pen names, to be able to collab with other authors through a viable company and viable contracts, AND I’m publishing anthologies and even taking stand alone projects for those who don’t want to do it themselves. I do my best to split all the royalties 50/50 (depending on the project).

    It’s a fun time right now for sure. I never thought I’d be in the position I am. :)

  11. Cora says:

    I have been considering selling my work directly, especially since I set up a dedicated site for my publishing house. However, that’s definitely a long term plan. At the moment, I am focusing on getting my backlist short stories up and producing new work. Besides, my country has pretty strict regulations for e-commerce, which I would have to investigate in detail first.

    The potential of diluting my Amazon sales doesn’t bother me. My sales are not high enough to hit anybody’s bestseller list but XinXii’s anyway. And I’d rather have my books available at multiple outlets, particularly since Amazon isn’t too friendly to international customers

  12. patricefitz says:

    Thanks for the interesting post, and the video. This business is moving like the wind!

    Between reading you and Konrath, one could obtain a Ph.D. in eBookology.

  13. Pingback: Indie Publishing Link Round-up | Pegasus Pulp

  14. “I think one trait those of us coming from traditional publishing have had is knowing it’s the long haul that counts.”

    This is exactly what Kris Rusch says. It’s true. You’re not going to become rich on e-book sales overnight, especially if you’re just starting out. Patience is key.

  15. If you directly sell ebooks from your own site, be sure to double check the tax and legal impplications of running an ecommerce site in your country.

  16. Karl says:

    David,

    With regard to selling direct, what are your thoughts on a service like Back My Book?

  17. Bob Mayer says:

    The direct sales model is good for nonfiction. Like McDonald’s though, we have links on our site for direct buying from Amazon and Nook and most people prefer that. You also have to remember, too, that if you have too many people buy direct rather than from those sites, your sales ranking might go down and you could slip off a bestseller list. So, like everything in publishing, it’s a good news/bad news situation. Higher royalty against possibly lower sales ranking. We haven’t seen any drop in sales (indeed, still increasing) at Amazon or B&N and Apple, and our direct sales are solid and more than enough to support the time and money we put into building and maintaining it. The site sends downloads automatically which is nice.
    Another plus is by being able to take credit cards, we have increased the number of people who sign up for our Write It Forward monthly on-line workshops. You can even take credit cards on your iPhone with an app, which is pretty neat at conferences and booksignings.

    • That’s very interesting, Bob, and thanks for commenting. I think it’s crucial to include the links to other retailers too, rather than trying to browbeat the reader into choosing one option over another. And I know from conducting usability studies, that the more clicks you force someone to make before a purchase, the more sales you lose. I would like to make each path as easy as possible in that regard, and let the reader decide.

  18. Roughly, I think you can say that there are two, complementary ways in which digital stories can be monetized:

    One way to monetize digital stories is of course just to … write a lot of stories.

    Then you offer them as ebook downloads via online retailers and hope that the customers on these sites will buy your ebooks, like them and then recommend them to others, mostly by way of the retailer site’s discussion forums, review fields, the enigmatic ‘people who also bought algorithms’, and so on.

    Another way is to begin to write a lot for free, offer it on your own site or elsewhere with backlinks to your own site and thereby attract a smaller, but dedicated following – a tribe as IT-guru Seth Godin would call it. Members of this tribe may then be willing to pay for new stories you write and sell either as an ebookdownload, as paid access to a premium area of your website, monetize with ads or something similar. A lot of the hype about mailing-lists from internet marketers are based on the perception of the merits of this tribe-concept, I believe. (And of course, I’m treating it extremely superficially here.)

    Of course, one can – and should probably – combine the two approaches.

    *

    It’s interesting that authors/writers who frequent ‘indie-blogs’ are beginning to discuss the opportunity of selling themselves – directly – as if it was something ‘big’. But it’s overall very positive, I think.

    For non-fiction writers have been selling ebooks and other products directly since the early days of the Internet! I’m of course talking about socalled infopreneurs who’ve worked for years on building audiences via promotion and SEO for their web sites or their blogs on specialty topics. Perhaps they have used commercial software and support, such as Site Build It, to monetize a niche or hobby site; perhaps they have succeeded on their own after a zillion trials and errors as bloggers like Darren Rowse, who started on his Digital Photography blog and then years later developed it to a big business – with lots of spin-off businesses, like Problogger.net. Or they guy who run the Entrepreneur’s Journey-site. (The name eludes me right now.)

    Bottom line: They all sell ebooks. Directly. And make Money.

    So it would be very welcome, in my opinion, if more indie fiction authors, or indeed any kind of writer, begin to move into this more independent mode of either selling their work 1) directly to the reader – or – 2) monetizing their work in other ways, e.g. it via ads, affiliate income, etc. Or both.

    And it’s good to see authors who are beginning to understand that there are more opportunities, given patience and hard work, for making a living – perhaps even a very lucrative one – from their artistic endeavours.

    What I’m talking about is not leaving Amazon or Barnes and Noble or other online retailers all together! We should of course use all opportunities for exposure we feel comfortable with, but the point is that if we ONLY exchange one master – like a traditional publishing company – for another master – like Barnes and Noble’s self-publishing division – (both of whom take their cut from the author’s profits, sets restrictions on content, distribution, pricing policies, etc.) then we are not doing ourselves a favour at all! :-)

    *

    My own approach will be a combination of the two ways but it is biased towards the first way – the most independent way – at least right now. It is all in the planning stages yet, however. I have my day-job, family and sock-washing and time is precious. Besides, I’m not sure I think my prose is yet quite good enough to monetize, but it’s getting there.

    Anyway …

    I am going to (continue) writing many, many shorter – and longer – stories about my characters in the Shade of the Morning Sun-’universe’ and offer these for free to attract a following. A tribe.

    Later I’m going to package these stories as ebooks and print-on-demand books and sell them directly from my site – but with added material, which is not available on the main site (in html that is).

    I want to offer unique stuff in these packages that I can’t do – yet – on any regular retailer sites I know of (such as selling a zipped package with multiple e-reader formats, high res jpeg files of the cover or illustrations and so on).

    And, of course, I want a larger cut of the profit :-) (Okay, never mind that it seems Paypal’s micropayment’s program with lower fees per sold item is only available in certain regions of the world, I’m sure there are solutions or alternatives once I get the time to research these more. If anybody has info on this I’d be grateful to hear from them … )

    But that was a digression … in a comment that’s already becoming longwinded.

    So in conclusion:

    Currently there’s a pdf-button on my site and a link that leads you to online-convert.com where you can format the pdf-files for yourself, to mobi for example – but with all the mistakes that a file from such a service may contain. My ‘premium’ packages would of course be mistake-free files, converted and ready for instant use on, say, your Kindle. And then with all the extras I mentioned before.

    I will also – a bit later – offer ebooks (and perhaps even print-on-demand books) with standalone, novel-length stories that have never been published before, and I will offer them on my own site and/or via an online retailer.

    I’m not sure about ads or affiliates, but I guess once I’ve build a decent level of traffic I would have to consider those options. That is a long-term thing, though.

    I’ve barely started out, and I’ve got very little traffic yet, so all these plans are still just … plans. I felt like sharing them, though, now that David has been writing about the topic. Perhaps my ideas can be an inspiration for others, or perhaps some of you have some feedback for me?

    Okay, enough now. Thanks for a great blog, David. It’s sure earned its popularity! I hope it will drive sales for you – and as a ‘South America enthusiast’ myself I do look forward to your first novel – Valparaiso. :-)

    • There is a technical reason why many nonfiction authors and bloggers traditionally sold ebooks from their sites: these files are usually distributed in PDF format, which is not supported by Amazon and other major online retailers.

      Another, business related reason may be that bloggers have been selling digital books since long before ebooks became popular, so they have experience and an existing market. Darren Rowse is now distributing his ProBlogger.net ebook via Amazon.

      • That’s a good point Paolo. I will also be offering PDFs. I don’t know if there is a market for them, but it takes little effort to offer that format too.

    • That’s an interesting and comprehensive approach. There are so many different possibilities here. And, of course, the idea wouldn’t be to pinch sales from the other retailers, but to grow them by offering them in another sales channel – your own.

  19. “biased towards the *second* way … ” I wanted to say. I.e. of selling from your own site. I’m sorry it’s getting late here, and I’m out of coffee.

  20. Neil says:

    I like the idea of selling from one’s own site. Blake and Joe have another one of their conversations going about authors sharing links and cross promoting to create a ‘cloud’ to sell ebooks:
    http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/08/who-wants-whom-dialog-between-ja.html

    I like the idea as it prevents there ever being another set of exclusive gatekeepers. With ‘Pottermore’ the positive example has been set.

    But as a customer, I’m going to go where it is easiest to buy. I’m unlikely to pay any way except paypal due to security concerns. And boy do I like switching between multiple devices for Kindle books.

    Has anyone else perfected having the device go to the latest page read of any device reading a book? I’ve been switching between my Kindle and the cloud reader app this week and suspect I’m not going back. Hmmm… I’ll do some reasearch.

    Neil

    • @ Neil: I can understand the ‘security-concern’ to purchasing, although PayPal is currently used by about 100 million people IIRC, and similar services like Google Clicks (is that the correct name) are growing rapidly. It might very well be a ‘generational issue’, too. I don’t know how old you are, but I’m 37 so I’m sort of ‘in between’ the Internet generation who can’t imagine a world without Internet and the generation who grew up without it. I’ve been paying online for retailer goods, including Amazon since the early 00′s, but it took me some time to get used to even then. Paypal I’ve only begun using in the last year or so, ‘for real’, although I’ve had an account for ages. And Amazon’s payment options are damn convenient. So there’s definitely an issue there, but we are probably still leaving money on the table by not implementing a site-pay solution for ourselves, if we can, and if it’s feasible (i.e. if we have a big enough following/traffic level).

      A question about the Kindle (I only have an old off-line-ish version). What did you mean when you said “switching between multiple devices”. Are you talking about using an app, or synchronizing your files with your PC or tablet? I guess you would have to have a Kindle reader program or similar installed in the latter case, as I have on my PC. Last time I checked azw-files were locked to the Kindle …

    • I read that dialogue with interest. What they are planning is something altogether more detailed and comprehensive than what I have been thinking about all summer. I just want to offer my books for sale, along with PDFs, and do things like discounted bundles and special deals that I can’t offer on Amazon. They are really taking it to the next level, and it will be fascinating to watch.

      Part of my thinking is to really push the EPUB sales. I’m getting no traction on B&N, and going indirect through Smashwords really limits me there. If all my MOBI readers stick to purchasing with Amazon, and all my EPUB readers and potential PDF customers use the store, that could be a perfect result for me.

  21. Wow! There is so much great information in this one that I had to “create a shortcut” to my desktop so I can go back and read it all. After I hit my wordcount for the day, I will do just that. Thanks so much, David. And GREAT comments everyone!
    Now, back to writing….

  22. David, who does all your web design stuff? This includes setting up a store on your site, which will only be more complex than what you currently have.

    Do you do it yourself? That would mean you’re fantastic at web design. Or do you hire someone? Or do you have a friend who does it for you?

    This is a topic I never see discussed, but it has become very important to me. I’ve been trying to make a website, struggling all the way, and the whole time I shake my head at authors who have these incredible websites.

    Are the only authors destined to make it the ones who know how to write code?

    I need time to write, and I’m spending so much time on website stuff.

    Thanks for your help!

    Taylor

    • Hi Taylor,

      Are you talking about this blog or my other website? This blog is just the free WordPress set-up, but the website was done by a web-designer friend a couple of years back, and hasn’t changed much since. I don’t have the first clue about web-design myself, I would definitely have to call in help.

      However, I believe there are free solutions out there; I’m still in the process of researching it all. When I know more, I’ll write a post about it.

      Dave

    • Another great option for easily creating and maintaining web sites is Weebly http://www.weebly.com It provides a wide selection of design templates, but there is still room for customization. You can try Weebly for free, and switch to the — affordable — paid plan if you need additional features.

      With Weebly, unlike hosted WordPress, you can add JavaScript code to web pages, which may be required by the tools and services for directly selling ebooks discussed in this post.

    • Weebly already provides some ecommerce site elements for building online stores, such as product pages with PayPal and Google Checkout support.

  23. Thanks for replying!

    I was sort of talking about both sites. That makes sense if this is a free set-up, and you had another person design davidgaughran.com.

    I was trying to set up a wordpress site, but I found it was really hard. I was trying to have a static front page, so it’s different than this site, but anyways it was very difficult and I finally went with an easier template system. I got the site looking okay, though it isn’t quite to my standard, but what am I supposed to do? I already pay for ebook formatting and cover design. I can’t afford web design too. I’m not rich.

    Yeah if you could post about it later on, after you do more research, that would be awesome. I suspect most authors with nice websites hire people to do their website, but I don’t know. I constantly read articles or blog posts about cover design, editing, formatting, etc. but I’ve never seen a writing blog that covers the web design aspect. And I don’t mean the technical code writing side (that would be boring to most people), but just how they went about getting everything set up.

    Just to be clear, I’m not talking about setting up a blog. From my experience, making a blog is way easier than making a website.

    Thanks again! I appreciate the response!

    Taylor

    • Hi Taylor,

      I’m pretty sure I have seen people set up a static front page on WordPress. I think the way it works is you write the post that you want as the static front page and then you can “stick” it to the top.

      I don’t think you need to shell out for a website at this point. Mine – for now – is largely redundant. I will be doing stuff with it in the future, but right now, the blog suits my purposes perfectly. Even if it is a website you want rather than a blog, all you need to do is write up the stuff you want to stay on the front page and not post again. As you can see along my top bar, I also have plenty of static pages here, just not at the front.

      Dave

  24. Re: The static front page – It IS easy!

    http://codex.wordpress.org/Creating_a_Static_Front_Page

    But I’ve been using wordpress for years, so of course I can say that… we all have a learning curve to go thru and we just gotta be patient and start out with what works best for us. Blogger has fewer options but has evolved a lot over the years, so you can make some fine looking blogs on that nowadays too (but no static front page, alas – unless you do a bit of code-tweaking).

    Best of luck with your site Taylor!
    :-)

  25. I’m working on revisions for my first novel, and I have high hopes for the series (who doesn’t?). I am so conflicted about epub vs trad pub. I have friends doing well with major houses, whereas others are treading water with the epub/indie pub.

    As far as affiliate programs, there are some issues there. I live in Illinois, USA, and because of tax laws passed by our state, Amazon has cut its affiliate program with anyone living in Illinois. I could still sell books/stories on Amazon, of course, but I can’t link to them to earn affiliate income.

    In the meantime, I have a bunch of short stories, and I’ve been thinking about posting them on Amazon. I’m a bit lost, though. I have the software and design experience to set up nice packages, but actually doing it and getting sales confounds me.

    About WEB DESIGN…

    Those fantastic sites are usually created by professional designers. In fact, I’m a web/graphic designer, and catering to authors is my chosen niche. I’m working on learning better ActionScript (for Flash apps) and JavaScript right now to make things click.

    I don’t know how much shameless self-promotion is or isn’t allowed on this blog, so I’ll leave it there for the moment. If David’s cool with it, I’ll post my URL and more info. 8^)

  26. thanks guys! Christina I might email you.

  27. I recently set up my own online store using Digital Delivery App. http://digitaldeliveryapp.com It was painless and works like a charm. It’s nice receiving as much royalty as possible.

  28. I used E-Junkie for my site’s store (as I did with a non-fiction book in 2009) and I continue to love the service. Because they take payment through Paypal, it also offers one less barrier to purchase (unlike Smashwords, for instance). For the $5 a month plan, just keep in mind that you only have 10 files available. I offer 3 different file purchase options for each book (PRC, ePub and PDF) so after 3 books I’ll need a higher priced subscription (I *think* the next plan up may be $8 for 20 files…).

    The most powerful thing about having your own store (in my opinion) is that you can set up pre-orders, something I don’t think indies can do on sites like Amz, etc.

  29. Pingback: Bob Mayer: Publishing Is The Wild West – Danger, But Possibility Too | David Gaughran

  30. Pingback: Building A Sustainable Writing Career: How To Develop Multiple Income Streams | David Gaughran

  31. Pingback: Bob Mayer On Traditional Publishing, The Future, And Selling Direct To Readers | Digital Media Best Of | Scoop.it

  32. Pingback: Writing Tip #9: To Self Publish or Not? | Jennifer Lauck Memoir Writing

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