Author Topic: ways to be less Amazon dependent  (Read 6922 times)  

Online Kyra Halland

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #50 on: January 12, 2018, 02:12:32 PM »
Hey, everyone! Creator of BookFunnel here, so if you have any questions, I'm happy to answer.

In regards to taxes, we now offer selling through several big sellers: Payhip, Selz, PayPal, Shopify, and WooCommerce. They each have their own pros and cons, but if taxes are your worry, then you want to go with Payhip. While their website specifically talks about VAT, US sales taxes are also covered because of how their business is set up.

Unlike the other sellers where YOU are selling the book (and the software is just facilitating the transfer of goods and services), Payhip acts more like Amazon in that you, the author, are granting them the right to sell the book on your behalf. This is why they can collect VAT and (most importantly) PAY the VAT on your behalf. Because Payhip is a UK company, and they are selling your book as a UK company, they are under no obligation to collect sales tax from US resident sales.

We (meaning BookFunnel) got this question a lot, so we reached out to our accountants as well as the state of Texas to clear this up, and this is our understanding. As long as Payhip has no nexus in the US, they are not required to collect any tax from US residents. The same rules apply for Canadian GST as well. Since they are the seller, and not you, all your tax needs are covered using them as the seller, and they will pay VAT to all of the respective countries that are owed on your behalf.

You can absolutely use another seller, and many of them provide the ability to deal with taxes, but Payhip is completely painless at the expense of an extra 5% per transaction. We recommend authors use them if you're really worried about the tax implications. :)

That. Is. Awesome.  :D Thanks so much for stopping by to tell us about this!

Adding to my to-do list.


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Online Kyra Halland

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #51 on: January 12, 2018, 02:14:31 PM »
The disadvantage of selling from your own site, as has often been pointed out, is that your buyers have to make the effort to go to your website, then shop (with all the related headaches of offering a credit card, etc). Not to say readers don't/won't do it. But Amazon's one big advantage is that I can shop for other stuff, too. Pick up that new book, check out sheets for the kids' beds, order toner for my printer, and, while I'm at it, place an order for the groceries and cleaning supplies I forgot the last time I was at the store. And they've already got my card and mailing address and all the rest. (OTOH, that access can be a disadvantage if the buyer has sworn she's NOT spending another dollar except for that new book she has to have!  ;) )

Still, it'd be awfully handy to be able to grab those readers right then and there when they do show up at your site. Rather than say, click here to go to Big Store, they can click here to Get It Now. I, like many consumers, am very fond of Now.

PayHip handles payments via PayPal and Stripe. so if customers already have an account set up with one of those, they don't have to enter anything new. So that removes another one of those barriers.


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Offline Seneca42

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #52 on: January 12, 2018, 02:26:29 PM »
What this thread is telling me / showing me is that the will to go beyond amazon, even if that entails risk and possible downsides, exists within the author community. If those voices grow louder in time (and I'm pretty sure they will in the future as zon soon gives everyone who signs up to KU a free bottle of KY Jelly so they can fully enjoy the experience), then what's going to happen next rests in the hands of innovators out there who bring to market solutions that the author community needs.

This means promoters, other distributors, web services, ecommerce services, cover and editing services... everyone needs to up their game and offer more than just "zon-centric" solutions.

Especially zon's competitors. Let's go boys, time to start rewarding authors who do business with you with your own perks. Hell, even consider an exclusivity program of your own (just not a subscription model!).

Anyway, this thread has been enjoyable to read. It's nice to see people not responding to this insane market with new year's resolutions to publish one book a week.

Online RBN

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #53 on: January 12, 2018, 03:35:15 PM »
(and I'm pretty sure they will in the future as zon soon gives everyone who signs up to KU a free bottle of KY Jelly so they can fully enjoy the experience)

Well, they wouldn't give anything for free. Maybe that's what the 50% option is all about...  ;D

Offline Elizabeth Barone

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #54 on: January 12, 2018, 03:55:19 PM »
I've been considering BookFunnel for reader magnets, but as far as I can tell, BookFunnel doesn't bring in readers and market your book the way that, say InstaFreebie does. Or am I wrong? (I have heard, though, that BookFunnel is much easier for readers to use.)

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Offline Damon J Courtney

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #55 on: January 12, 2018, 04:22:17 PM »
I've been considering BookFunnel for reader magnets, but as far as I can tell, BookFunnel doesn't bring in readers and market your book the way that, say InstaFreebie does. Or am I wrong? (I have heard, though, that BookFunnel is much easier for readers to use.)

BookFunnel doesnt have a reader list that we market to, no, but we make it easy to work with others. Our authors work together in group promotions in their genres to find new readers, and weve built some awesome tools around making that easy. We didn't really set out to be a promotions company, but we love that so many authors are using us for just that.

Most readers love our process because we support damn near every device and app out there, and we walk them through every step. And, if they get stuck, our support team is amazing and super friendly. :)

Offline Going Incognito

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #56 on: January 12, 2018, 05:24:11 PM »
Anyway, this thread has been enjoyable to read. It's nice to see people not responding to this insane market with new year's resolutions to publish one book a week.

Yeah, I think they've finally slow-boiled enough frogs.

BookFunnel doesnt have a reader list that we market to, no, but we make it easy to work with others. Our authors work together in group promotions in their genres to find new readers, and weve built some awesome tools around making that easy. We didn't really set out to be a promotions company, but we love that so many authors are using us for just that.

Most readers love our process because we support damn near every device and app out there, and we walk them through every step. And, if they get stuck, our support team is amazing and super friendly. :)

Which is awesome! Instafreebie has it's place, for sure. Bookfunnel is different, and that is great. I like to use Instafreebie to go fishing. They cast a wide net. But once I've got a non-just-freebie-seeker hooked and in the boat, it's bookfunnel that I turn to to feed and maintain the long term reader relationship. Ya'll are great for that.

Offline Going Incognito

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #57 on: January 12, 2018, 05:32:39 PM »
I've been considering BookFunnel for reader magnets, but as far as I can tell, BookFunnel doesn't bring in readers and market your book the way that, say InstaFreebie does. Or am I wrong? (I have heard, though, that BookFunnel is much easier for readers to use.)

I use both services, cause they do different things. I've got readers that email me with 'I clicked on your freebie but it went to Instafreebie and I refuse to use them,' and I tell them they clicked on the wrong freebie then, and point them at Bookfunnel. Insta is a promo company. When you give them your email to be able to have your book delivered, they slide your email into their mailing list and promote to you. You can unsubscribe, of course, but the minute you click to get another author's freebie thru them, you're right back on their list.

Bookfunnel just emails their book. They dont keep their email address as a promo opportunity. They're more of a delivery company with perks. Two completely different services, for sure. Both have their place, but they are not the same at all. So for a reader magnet, yeah, use insta. But for ARC delivery or 'I'll do my own targeted promo please, just deliver my books to the ones who seek me out and sign up to my list, dont just give them to everyone who collects freebies and never reads them' or people who say 'I refuse to give insta my email again,' stuff like that, bookfunnel excels there.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 05:45:07 PM by Going Incognito »

Offline Rosie A.

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #58 on: January 12, 2018, 06:18:19 PM »
What would be really nice is if we were able to gain some insight on how to reach readers on different retailers. For example, several folks here have mentioned Kobo's in house promotions. But I don't think the other stores have this...do they? I mean, how do we reach readers at Barnes and Noble? Or Apple? Or Scribd whatever else? We've got our books up at these places but don't know how to draw in their readers, or even how much traffic these sites get. Is any of this information readily available? It seems we need a good starting place and that power rests in the hands of other retailers. If we can figure out how to better advertise or reach their people, we might be able to depend less on Amazon over time.

Offline Seneca42

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #59 on: January 12, 2018, 08:23:04 PM »
What would be really nice is if we were able to gain some insight on how to reach readers on different retailers. For example, several folks here have mentioned Kobo's in house promotions. But I don't think the other stores have this...do they? I mean, how do we reach readers at Barnes and Noble? Or Apple? Or Scribd whatever else? We've got our books up at these places but don't know how to draw in their readers, or even how much traffic these sites get. Is any of this information readily available? It seems we need a good starting place and that power rests in the hands of other retailers. If we can figure out how to better advertise or reach their people, we might be able to depend less on Amazon over time.

100% the case. I'm canadian, so I have to go through D2D for BN and ITunes; but even on those stores it sounds tricky to get promos. And let's not even talk about google play... wtf is with those guys?

This is what I meant earlier... these guys need to get their acts together and start making it easy for people to use them. Like itunes making you upload from a mac? Are you serious? Why not require that I crochet a tuque while you're at it?

I've said this before, and I have no idea if anyone agrees, but Kobo is the only one who has their *&%^ together. In-house promos, they cost basically nothing upfront and only 10% of a sale on the back end (you never actually pay, you just get less royalties... so no spending money now and getting money in 3 months when you get paid your royalties).

Kobo has its flaws, but it's the closest thing to a genuine, author-centric ebook store that is out there. It's actually quite sad that they can't get more traction without having the big bucks behind them.


Offline LilyBLily

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #60 on: January 12, 2018, 09:14:02 PM »
100% the case. I'm canadian, so I have to go through D2D for BN and ITunes; but even on those stores it sounds tricky to get promos. And let's not even talk about google play... wtf is with those guys?

This is what I meant earlier... these guys need to get their acts together and start making it easy for people to use them. Like itunes making you upload from a mac? Are you serious? Why not require that I crochet a tuque while you're at it?

I've said this before, and I have no idea if anyone agrees, but Kobo is the only one who has their *&%^ together. In-house promos, they cost basically nothing upfront and only 10% of a sale on the back end (you never actually pay, you just get less royalties... so no spending money now and getting money in 3 months when you get paid your royalties).

Kobo has its flaws, but it's the closest thing to a genuine, author-centric ebook store that is out there. It's actually quite sad that they can't get more traction without having the big bucks behind them.

I get all excited about these options and then I remember that I've never actually sold a novel on Kobo.

Also, I can't even find my five books on iBooks, so how is anyone else going to?

Amazon is giving an open door to competitors, no doubt about it, by letting the browsing experience deteriorate so badly. But we still have to woo readers who do not want to make much effort to find a new book. Other platforms represent a learning curve.

 

Offline evdarcy

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #61 on: January 12, 2018, 09:36:58 PM »
100% the case. I'm canadian, so I have to go through D2D for BN and ITunes; but even on those stores it sounds tricky to get promos. And let's not even talk about google play... wtf is with those guys?

I've seen a couple of people say they're out of the US and so have to use D2D to use BN (Nook) to distribute.  I'm in the UK and I set up a publishing account with them no problem...

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Offline kw3000

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #62 on: January 12, 2018, 11:00:08 PM »
So, I guess the idea is to throw the odd book onto Amazon to try and lure in readers from that big pond, and once/if you do hook someone, you then point them to your backlist which you sell direct from your own site with side-loading help from Bookfunnel and with payments processed through PayHip. Do I have this right?

Should mention, I'm enjoying this discussion and the ideas being tossed about. It has a hopeful air to it.

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #63 on: January 12, 2018, 11:03:11 PM »
I started selling books via my website and Bookfunnel. I have not advertised it widely yet, but made $70 in the few weeks it's been up. I have plans for this but have not implemented any of them yet.

Offline shimmering

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #64 on: January 13, 2018, 01:54:25 AM »
Having read this thread, I am looking into setting up selling through payhip, which I had never heard of before.

Couple of things I am wondering about though for any of you who are already doing this: I gather you sell a file (epub or mobi) that the customer then has to "sideload" to their reader device. Is this something customers can have trouble with, and if so how is it dealt with? Also should we be more worried about people sharing these downloaded files compared to a typical ebook bought from one of the main retailers?

Offline HSh

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #65 on: January 13, 2018, 03:46:09 AM »

Having read this thread, I am looking into setting up selling through payhip, which I had never heard of before.


Couple of things I am wondering about though for any of you who are already doing this: I gather you sell a file (epub or mobi) that the customer then has to "sideload" to their reader device. Is this something customers can have trouble with, and if so how is it dealt with? Also should we be more worried about people sharing these downloaded files compared to a typical ebook bought from one of the main retailers?


No.  People who buy (more) directly from you are trying to support you for the most part.  Thieves don't bother paying for things to share.  People asking for review copies are probably a higher risk, but we don't stop sending review copies.  I don't have data for that, it's just my impression.  Anyway I think it's low on the list of things to worry about.


Not fun trying to teach people to sideload, and of course not necessary when the books are available everywhere (so only people who want to do it have to).  I usually send this link: www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle if someone's having issues  I wouldn't try to teach anyone how to load to a different device.  That's what Google's for.




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Offline Sailor Stone

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #66 on: January 13, 2018, 03:47:44 AM »
Having read this thread, I am looking into setting up selling through payhip, which I had never heard of before.

Couple of things I am wondering about though for any of you who are already doing this: I gather you sell a file (epub or mobi) that the customer then has to "sideload" to their reader device. Is this something customers can have trouble with, and if so how is it dealt with? Also should we be more worried about people sharing these downloaded files compared to a typical ebook bought from one of the main retailers?


This is what Damon over at Bookfunnel is offering as a service now. This has been the big stopping point for many authors when it comes to direct sales. Now, with companies like Payhip, Instafreebie, and Bookfunnel being used in tandem, it is possible to sell books to readers without making them figure out how to sideload their kindle or download an epub into their iPad or whatever device they happen to read on. This is where Bookfunnel takes over and helps.

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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #67 on: January 13, 2018, 03:48:02 AM »
Musings about the market...

People need to see the reader base as a whole market and not just the one on Amazon. If you step back, you see the market is huge, with more than enough people of every type, age, demographic and interest to support trads and indies. Once you take that view you can begin to escape the escalating marketing costs.

Just because Amazon appear to own 80% of sales doesnt mean they have 80% of the market. It depends on how you assess the market is it number of books sold, or read, or number of buyers, or number of full price book? These are really important questions. What value to authors is a platform that mostly sells books at 99c or controls my pricing or gives books away?

Now youre starting to narrow down what market youre pitching for. I dont want to give my books away, or feel I have to continuously discount them in order to compete. I dont need to sell at trad prices either. I dont have their overheads and my books might not quite up to trad standards, after all I dont have an army of editors. I dont want to play a zero sum game either, nor do I want to be manipulated into one, which is where Amazon have been steadily driving us.

As someone has noted, iTunes and google offer no way to visible, so now Im not in KU, theyre the same as Amazon to me. No platform is offering me visibility. The only difference is iTunes and google dont smother my page in ads, so that makes them preferred suppliers. At least I know when I drive traffic to their sites they dont force me to compete with hundreds of other books on my page. That a huge plus in their favor.

Speed of growth doesnt bother me. Im happy to slow the growth if it gives me a sustainable revenue thats not subject to the whims of the platform provider. I also dont want to tie up hundreds or even tens of thousands in cash flow for marketing. Thats a mugs game that youre likely to end up losing unless you happen to be a very lucky gambler.

Say I want to run with a few thousand tied up in cash flow for marketing, which means I can spend $500 - 1,000 a month. Bear in mind, I havent lost that money, its just the risk capital to pay for marketing while I wait to be paid for sales. Having such a small marketing budget means I cant compete with the content mill style marketers. Those guys are spending tens, and probably soon to be hundreds of thousands, to maintain rank so they can get downloads and page reads. Nah, theyre welcome to that game. There will be more than a few thatll drive themselves into bankruptcy. However, now they control the top 100 cats Amazon offer me no visibility even if Im in KU, so might as well stay out of it.

Product profile: 20+ books, three unique series, etc.
Reader profile: 40+ males, 30% female
Platforms: itunes, google, Amazon, more to be added
Growth plan: grow readers, profile, margin, paced to match risk capital
Risk capital: $1 - 2,500 at risk with occasional uplift to $6,000
Current sales: 3 years published, currently selling 25,000 books a year and growing
Price breaks: zero free, limited discounting at 99c, 2.99, 5.99

Now I know my boundaries its a question of working out what else I want. I have a list.

* Expand international markets to reduce dependency on one.
* Expand platforms to reduce dependency on one or more.
* Ensure back catalog sells, so no books asset is wasted.
* Retain control on secondary products such as print and audio.
* Avoid single platform dependency, so spread ebooks, print and audio.
* Take control of royalties and therefore guarantee margin longer term.

Its the last one that leads me to direct selling. No, I dont think that market has matured yet, but I believe it will. Why? Because the tech is catching up and fans like a closer connection to their favorite authors. The larger platform will always be a way to find new fans or sell to the casual reader, but the dedicated readers will sign up in much the same way as they once did a mail list.

Which brings me to mail lists. The problem with the indie world is they overuse and overdo everything. One minute they all decide erotica is a big seller so a bazillion books turn up, some with stuff that should never have been published, until it turns into a mess that has to be curbed. Now we have content mill books, so there are a bazillion of those turning up, being downloaded by high volume readers who dont even pay for them, and the top 100s have become almost impossible for any other type of reader. Mail list are going the same way. A lot of the readers signed up for the author, but now theyre being emailed a bazillion times a day, and no doubt unsubscribes are on the up.

The purpose of a mail list is to reach your readers, but theyre not the only way to do that. A lot of people get hung up about control, but a wise man once told me that its not how much money you have, only how much you can get your hands on. Good point. My reader base falls into various categories tried and hated me, casual, interested, keen, mad fan who shouldnt know where I live. In typical fashion, theyre shaped like a funnel. Most tried me and spat out the book like yesterdays rubbish. A percentage thought it was ok and theyre a casual reader. The next smaller percentage were interested enough to read the next book. The keen ones work their way through more than one series. I need a way to service every single type of reader or Im missing a trick.

The spat me out reader is attracted through marketing (forget about the Amazon algos, they only work if Im content mill with big budgets or Im universally popular and Im neither). I need to have marketing tactics that keep winning new readers. My next group only thought I was ok, so they need to know if I have a new series they might like. The ones reading the next book in series need to be reminded I exist. The fans are the ones who might join a mail list, but if I abuse it the theyre liable to leave. Remember these readers arent the high volume, read a book a day crowd, so they need to be handled differently.

Every type of reader falls into a category and I need to service each one.

* New readers are found by fishing far and wide, so broad based marketing tactics are needed. Email promoters, various click ads, etc.
* Existing readers who arent that keen, or ones part way through a series, can be updated through various means, and usually the ones you used to find them will work.
* Fans will follow you through a variety of channels (not just a mail list because many wont join any) so you need to have as many running as possible.

Channels are constantly being updated. Bookfunnel and Payhip are some of the newest ones to arrive as is Patreon. The interesting thing about these channels is theyre offering a new way of dealing with our buyers so we can cut out the middle man, which are the platforms.

As sites like Amazon increasingly move toward Mom and Pop shop suppliers theyre turning into a bazaar of flea market suppliers. Its not a huge step for them to move to sites like Payhip who will allow them to transact directly, but how will the buyer find them? If the platform doesnt provide any discoverability, and the cost to get it is so high its turning into a zero sum game, then you might as well direct buyers wherever you want them to go. The platform is doing you no favors for sending them customers.

Ive always been inclined to go against convention simply because there is less competition when you do. Joining the herd to compete with content mills pushing out 10, 20 or 50 books a month will come down to whoever has the most marketing money to buy content and visibility. If Im going to invest that much money there are better options than a high risk venture like this one. You dont even control your pricing in KU, so thats got to be at best a short term win, and at worst it will bankrupt you.

This is why Ill add Bookfunnel and Payhip to my tactics. Itll be a nuisance to set up and it wont pay short term, but I want to be in the right place in 12 - 18 months time.

Offline Sailor Stone

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #68 on: January 13, 2018, 04:33:22 AM »
Musings about the market...

People need to see the reader base as a whole market and not just the one on Amazon. If you step back, you see the market is huge, with more than enough people of every type, age, demographic and interest to support trads and indies. Once you take that view you can begin to escape the escalating marketing costs.

Just because Amazon appear to own 80% of sales doesnt mean they have 80% of the market. It depends on how you assess the market is it number of books sold, or read, or number of buyers, or number of full price book? These are really important questions. What value to authors is a platform that mostly sells books at 99c or controls my pricing or gives books away?...


This is some good stuff. Thanks for the insight. I'm beginning to do this myself now. I'm tired of running my book rankings up on Amazon and having the tail of secondary sales last shorter and shorter as time goes by. I've gone wide with most of my books and I am beginning to get some traction on Kobo when I get selected for their promos, but I can't seem to get more than one or two a month so I have to find other ways to make sales. Hence, direct sales. I'm going to try it this year with hopes that it gets more tech-friendly help with implimentation as the coming months go by. I think it will.
Can I ask you, TwistedTales, what genre(s) you sell into with your books? Just for pricing purposes, as I see you are staying away from free and I was wondering which genres allow for full pricing with limited discounting. I have four series of books for my main pen name, one is romantic suspense, one is inspirational romance, one is magical realism (boy, that's an easy sell, although what readers there are in the genre will pay full price) and the other is coming of age. Figuring out where to price these relative to one another has been a journey of discovery, although I haven't found the promised land as it were to date.

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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #69 on: January 13, 2018, 04:56:50 AM »
This is some good stuff. Thanks for the insight. I'm beginning to do this myself now. I'm tired of running my book rankings up on Amazon and having the tail of secondary sales last shorter and shorter as time goes by. I've gone wide with most of my books and I am beginning to get some traction on Kobo when I get selected for their promos, but I can't seem to get more than one or two a month so I have to find other ways to make sales. Hence, direct sales. I'm going to try it this year with hopes that it gets more tech-friendly help with implimentation as the coming months go by. I think it will.
Can I ask you, TwistedTales, what genre(s) you sell into with your books? Just for pricing purposes, as I see you are staying away from free and I was wondering which genres allow for full pricing with limited discounting. I have four series of books for my main pen name, one is romantic suspense, one is inspirational romance, one is magical realism (boy, that's an easy sell, although what readers there are in the genre will pay full price) and the other is coming of age. Figuring out where to price these relative to one another has been a journey of discovery, although I haven't found the promised land as it were to date.

Thanks for the feedback, Sailor Stone. These are notes I make for myself and I share in the hope of hearing others thoughts. Another regular poster has been sharing he thinks 2018 will be a telling year and it looks like hes right.

Like you, I can see the algo problem on Amazon. Its getting very expensive to run books up the ranks. I mean, we can all do it, but the cost has to be offset by the tail, and you can already see the margins are going in the wrong direction. I think the content mill thread went a long way toward explaining some of the causes. In a winner takes all game you have to work out your boundaries, and know upfront if you can afford or are willing to play. Unfortunately, Amazon has turned into a winner takes all, and I think even the content mills will learn the hard way that Amazon has stacked the deck so only Amazon win.

To answer your question about genre, Im a soft scifi and horror writer. By that I mean, I dont write classic horror or hard scifi. Pricing is a question of pitch and gall. Word count, packaging, marketing tactics, wide vs KU, risk tolerance, growth plans, etc contribute to where you can pitch your pricing. I see the occasional author in my genres pitching at 99c, but theyre in KU. Others pitch at 5.99 and theyre still in KU, but they use AMS a lot. Its all a bit circular. Pitch high, advertize on AMS, get higher page reads, pay most of the revenue back to Amazon through AMS. I wouldnt mind it if it was building me a broad reader base, but it mostly builds a KU base where Amazon control your pricing and youre never seen outside of their shop.

I havent gone into KOBO yet. I think three platforms and setting up direct is enough to take on for the moment. Someone is compiling a fact sheet for me about how we can set up and use Bookfunnel and Payhip. If I remember then Ill add some of the notes here.


Offline notjohn

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #70 on: January 13, 2018, 05:13:11 AM »
I'm another who's grateful for this thread. My experience with alternative booksellers seems a bit different than most: my best earner is almost always the Apple iBookstore (or however they spell it today), with B&N second and Kobo a strong third, sometimes coming in second. Google Play (awful name!) is a distant fourth, and the others scarcely register, though I got a lot of Overdrive sales when D2D added that option.

I once tried selling direct, through an outfit that took a percentage, but it was a lot of work building epub, mobi, and PDF versions, and I didn't sell one. Not one! Do you think Bookfunnel's pay-by-the-month model is better? I have a lot of books out there, but only a few that bring in much money. Does it make sense to sign up for the $20/month, five-book account, or does that turn off people who might want one or more of the unavailable titles?
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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #71 on: January 13, 2018, 05:24:16 AM »
I'm another who's grateful for this thread. My experience with alternative booksellers seems a bit different than most: my best earner is almost always the Apple iBookstore (or however they spell it today), with B&N second and Kobo a strong third, sometimes coming in second. Google Play (awful name!) is a distant fourth, and the others scarcely register, though I got a lot of Overdrive sales when D2D added that option.

I once tried selling direct, through an outfit that took a percentage, but it was a lot of work building epub, mobi, and PDF versions, and I didn't sell one. Not one! Do you think Bookfunnel's pay-by-the-month model is better? I have a lot of books out there, but only a few that bring in much money. Does it make sense to sign up for the $20/month, five-book account, or does that turn off people who might want one or more of the unavailable titles?

Its $20 a year for 5 books and 500 downloads per month under one pen name. For $100 a year, its two pen names and 5,000 downloads a month for unlimited books, where theyll auto collect the email addresses for you, plus you get secure ARC and gifting. For an extra $50 a year theyll auto integrate the addresses to your mail list (or you get a file to do it manually for free).

Were looking at the $100 a year option plus the $50 bolt on for the mail list.

Offline Kwrite

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #72 on: January 13, 2018, 05:45:16 AM »

The only reason I'm not selling direct from my site yet is because of the US state sales taxes. I shouldn't have to collect and pay sales taxes on sales outside my own state (since I don't have a physical or legal presence in any other state), but on sales within my own state, I have to get a state sales tax license and a city business permit, which together would cost more per year than I anticipate making on direct sales. PayHip handles VAT but it looks like the only direct-selling services that handle US state sales taxes also cost more than I can afford. I guess I could say, Sorry, no sales to customers in Arizona, but I'd kinda hate to do that.

Anyone else in the US have any thoughts/solutions to this?

*sorry if Im repeating something as I havent read all comments yet-still working my way through.

Im going to begin this with: Please speak to an accountant regarding your business decisions-specifically an accountant who works in sales tax and is current on sales tax laws, because not all CPAs do/are. Dont take my words as professional advice as Im simply posting my thoughts on a message board.

That said, my day job is in public accounting, and I do prepare sales tax reports for some of my clients. I dont do a lot of sales tax work, but enough to give me a headache and become leery of wanting to sell off my own website. Ive had discussions with one of my sales tax managers regarding selling books from a personal website.

Based on his study and understanding of the laws, if youre selling through Amazon youve established nexus with them, and you would need to set up business and pay sales tax for any sales from your website to any state Amazon is required to pay sales tax. Not just your own state.

Just something to think about when making business decisions, and I highly recommend that you (general you for all US citizens) consult with a professional about these types of matters.


Offline GeneDoucette

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #73 on: January 13, 2018, 06:19:48 AM »
100% the case. I'm canadian, so I have to go through D2D for BN and ITunes; but even on those stores it sounds tricky to get promos. And let's not even talk about google play... wtf is with those guys?

This is what I meant earlier... these guys need to get their acts together and start making it easy for people to use them. Like itunes making you upload from a mac? Are you serious? Why not require that I crochet a tuque while you're at it?

I've said this before, and I have no idea if anyone agrees, but Kobo is the only one who has their *&%^ together. In-house promos, they cost basically nothing upfront and only 10% of a sale on the back end (you never actually pay, you just get less royalties... so no spending money now and getting money in 3 months when you get paid your royalties).

Kobo has its flaws, but it's the closest thing to a genuine, author-centric ebook store that is out there. It's actually quite sad that they can't get more traction without having the big bucks behind them.

I agree that Kobo is trying. I haven't had the same experience with their in-house promotions as you. They happened, but I wasn't terribly impressed with the results. In one case, a book that was marked for free on Kobo, and promoted all week on their 'free' page, had fewer downloads than the same book on Amazon, once Amazon price-matched it, three days later. That is, even given a three-day head start with active promotion, Kobo couldn't match Amazon's passive, unadvertised price-match.

Offline Sailor Stone

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Re: ways to be less Amazon dependent
« Reply #74 on: January 13, 2018, 06:29:43 AM »
I agree that Kobo is trying. I haven't had the same experience with their in-house promotions as you. They happened, but I wasn't terribly impressed with the results. In one case, a book that was marked for free on Kobo, and promoted all week on their 'free' page, had fewer downloads than the same book on Amazon, once Amazon price-matched it, three days later. That is, even given a three-day head start with active promotion, Kobo couldn't match Amazon's passive, unadvertised price-match.

I did a bar napkin comparison of the two stores a while back and I may be off a bit, but I think Amazon sells 40 times more books per year than Kobo. So the numbers won't come close between the two when comparing them, but that said, it is frustrating to ever feel like you are getting somewhere with Kobo. I do like how Kobo readers pay more on the next in series books than Amazon readers. I just wish more readers used Kobo. I think writers outside the U.S. might be doing better with them than I do being here in the states.   

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