Self Publishing and Marketing Your Book Online
It would seem that with the Internet and the online marketplaces at their disposal all that an author would need to do to be successful is write a book, have it printed by a reputable print on demand publisher, and put it up for sale online. To some extent this is true and a few copies will probably sell, but what about the authors that want to sell 1000+ copies of their books?
As the owner of the copyright, you can enroll in the Amazon Advantage Program and have your book sold by Amazon.com. This will almost certainly boost your sales; all you have to do is pay Amazon an annual subscription ($30.00) for the honor of being in the Advantage program and 55% of your sales in Amazon commissions. Sound really appealing doesn't it? You could also pay Amazon several hundred dollars each month to participate in their "Better Together With" program and have you book advertised on the product page of another good selling book, but you better plan on selling a lot of copies to recover your investment.
After spending hundreds of hours writing your book, $10.00 to have it printed and shipped to you, another $3.00 to ship it to Amazon, you sell it for $30.00, pay Amazon $16.50 to sell it, and you get to keep $3.50 for your insignificant role. If you sell 300 copies the first year through their Advantage program, this is effectively reduced to $3.40 because you also have to factor in the $30.00 membership fee. In the end, your print on demand publisher ends up with 33% of the final sale (the $10.00 you originally paid for each book), Amazon.com ends up with 55% (plus whatever the membership fee distribution ends up being over the number of books sold) and you get about 12% of the sale. If you also enrolled in their "Better Together With" program, you are out a few thousand dollars. As an author myself, I found this entire scenario unacceptable and did some research.
There are alternatives that should be considered, and the one that stands out is to sell your book yourself through the Amazon.com marketplace as an independent bookseller. There are costs associated with this as well, and the type of merchant account you choose should depend on the number of books you anticipate selling. If you are a low volume seller (less than 40 books per month) you should opt to pay Amazon.com 15% in sales commissions plus $1.00 per sale. For those that anticipate selling more than 40 copies of their book per month, they can enroll as a Pro Merchant on Amazon.com for $39.99 per month (first two months at 1/2 price) and pay the same 15% in commissions. In either case you can sell other books as well and generate a nice supplemental income.
Michael E. Mould is the author of "Online Bookselling: A Practical Guide with Detailed Explanations and Insightful Tips,", and developer of "Bookkeeping for Booksellers,", a 19 sheet linked and tabbed Excel Workbook designed to assist online booksellers with the calculation of their in-state retail sales tax obligations and the preparation of their Schedule C tax forms. "Bookkeeping for Booksellers" also provides 55 integrated graphs to visually show an online bookseller just how their business is performing."Bookkeeping for Booksellers" and "Online Bookselling" are both available for digital download here:
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