Hannah is a content strategist at SendOwl, a digital delivery and marketing company that makes it easy for you to sell digital products, physical products, memberships and services direct to your audience from your blog, social media or anywhere you can paste a link.
You've finished your ebook and you want to sell it. Amazon looks like an easy bet, but it also comes with a high cost. You can end up giving between 27-70% of the sale price of your book to Amazon, depending on where your buyers are located. They also control the sale, so they control the buying experience and the data – which could be yours!
Why not take control of your own sales?
You can #sellyourbook direct from your website, blog, or social media. It’s easy!
Four steps to sell ebooks direct from your own website, blog, or social media
You probably already have a website, blog, or social media presence. You've likely been promoting your book for months. You have attracted feedback, interest and, followers. If you already have an engaged audience, why would you want to point potential readers AWAY from your website in order to make a purchase?
A general rule of thumb in converting online visitors to buyers is that the more steps you make them do, the less likely they are to do them. People are lazy! So, keep them on your site to purchase!
Integrate with a payment gateway
To take payments for your ebook, you will need to choose a payment gateway.
You might already have a PayPal account. Paypal lets readers pay for your ebook whether they have an account or not and it is a widely trusted brand. You can go for a Business or Premier account to reduce transactions costs if it fits your pricing strategy. It’s a best practice to keep your personal and business accounts separate.
A standard business account doesn't have a per month fee but charges per transaction. You should pay 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction in the US or 3.9% + a fixed fee for all transactions outside, according to Paypal. The payments pro account costs $30 per month and comes with advanced features.
If your ebook is under $10 you can also use PayPal's Micropayment Fee Structure which reduces the fees for low priced goods.
However, just having PayPal as your payment gateway can be limiting. Some people dislike paying with Paypal. And sellers can't change the Paypal widget to make instructions more obvious. Plus, your readers will have to fill in more fields than necessary in order to buy your ebook.
Founded in 2010, payment gateway Stripe prides itself on offering an elegant way to accept credit/debit card payments. Your readers can buy your ebook in a few easy steps. There are no extra fields, no need to divert to another site, and no confusion about whether your readers need a Stripe account or not (they don't; they won't even know Stripe is there). You also don't need a merchant bank account.
Stripe also supports Bitcoin and ApplePay. However your readers want to pay, they can. It’s price competitive. You pay 2.9% and $0.30 per sale in USD and as low as 1.4% + 20p for European sales.
This one is only going to be your payment of choice if you become J.K. Rowling, but I'll touch on it just in case. Authorize.net is a gateway that allows you to plug a merchant bank account into the internet. If you sell high volume you might also find it is cheaper than Paypal or Stripe.
Getting started with automated digital delivery
Your next step is to sort out delivery of your ebook. How will the buyer get the product after they make a purchase? You could manually email everyone who buys your product - but this is time consuming and means your reader is left wondering when they'll get their product. They bought it online because they wanted to read it now!
I recommend automating your digital delivery. There are some great tools out there to make this difficult job very easy. You can also find security features to prevent pirating, such as PDF stamping and secure time-limited delivery.
Some services take a commission on every sale; others charge a set monthly fee. Most should integrate with your payment processor of choice. A few services even sell physical products and services as well as digital products.
Good digital delivery companies make getting started super easy. Setup should be as simple as entering one of two lines of information, and bingo – you're ready to make some money. That's what we aim for at SendOwl.
Choosing a shopping cart, buy now button or link
Do you just want a “buy now” button on your website or blog because you're selling only one ebook? Do you want a shopping cart to allow people to browse your site and buy a few products? Do you just want to sell via Facebook in which case a link that takes readers straight to a checkout would be the most effective solution?
Whatever you choose, these options should all be provided by your digital delivery company. Just make sure you do your research. Not all digital delivery companies provide you with a shopping cart.
Optimise your sales funnel
This is where your digital delivery tool really starts to shine – extra features! For example: responsive multi-language checkout, integration with all your favourite marketing tools like MailChimp, and the ability to customise your checkout experience to match your branding.
A few digital delivery tools also let you experiment with marketing features such as discount coupons, pay what you want pricing, one-click upsells, and an affiliate schemes.
Make money - and then make some more
Once someone has bought your ebook direct from your site, you get the data. They can be on your mailing list or other further marketing.
In short, you can build your fanbase, making it easier to sell future work, as well as make it more likely that your fans will talk about you to other people, maximising your online reach.