Selling direct to avoid bias

book-storesI enjoy watching videos on Youtube when I need a short break from my writing. The site offers something for everyone, but that may be changing. Some content creators have been talking about how Youtube is demonetizing their videos or changing the search algorithms so that their videos are only being seen by a fraction of the viewers their videos typically get. This is having a big effect on their bottom line.

What if that were to happen with the online bookstores? Amazon has banned some books from their sites while not applying that reason uniformly to the entire site.

This is the reason I have been trying to build my mailing list. It’s something that I wish I had done years ago. I don’t know who buys my books on Amazon, Kobo, or iBooks, so if those companies were to make a change that harms my sales, I wouldn’t be able to contact my readers to let them know about new releases. On the other hand, I can stay in contact with my mailing list readers to update them with news.

This works fine unless my book is one that an online bookseller doesn’t like and bans. In that instance, notifying readers that a new book is available won’t help me one bit if the book is not available. I need to sell my books directly from my website to combat this.

This means creating a store on my website. I already have this, and it allows me to sell physical books directly from my website. Readers can click on the book they want, pay via PayPal, and I ship the book out. The drawback is that I am involved more in the shipping and ordering process. The advantage is that I keep more of the purchase price, and I also have the buyer’s e-mail address for future contact.

I still haven’t created ebook files that I can sell directly from my website. I see this as trickier. One advantage of buying your ebook files from a particular retailer is ease. For instance, I have a Kindle. While it is easy for me to download my books to my Kindle reader and sync up my different devices, it is much more difficult to do if I buy a Kindle-compatible book. That inconvenience factor discourages sales from a different retailer other than the manufacturer of the ereader.

One reason I became an indie author was because I wanted to have more control over my books, such as deciding when to pull a particular book from sale. So why would I want to give that control to someone else and their biases and policies? I don’t.

I am an indie author, and I am working toward that goal. I don’t see that I will ever stop using other retailers to help sell my books, but being able to sell directly from my website is a protection for me and my work. It keeps me from allowing the distribution of my work to be in someone else’s control.

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My new website has gone live

I knew that revamping my website would take time. Not only was I going to change the layout, but I had to move it over to WordPress. It was definitely outside of my technology wheelhouse.

The first thing I did was to get help. Caro Begin with GoCreate.me was a great help. She is a writer who has a couple of website themes designed for writers. I purchased the premium theme which she set up for me on WordPress.

From there, I added my books to the site and started tweaking  it to accomplish what I want. Adding all of my book information and the retailer links took the longest time. I’m still tweaking things. The great thing I found with Caro is that she responded to the questions I had after the installation in less than a day. She also recorded her answer as videos so I could see what she was doing on the website and mimic it. That was a big help. She also has a page full of instructional videos on her website that I can watch depending on what I might want to do.

I’ve still got a few things I want to do with jamesrada.com. It may take me time to figure out how to do it, or failing that, figure out how to work around it to accomplish the same thing.

Look at jamesrada.com, though and let me know what you think, and if you have any suggestions.