Save an author, buy books from their website!

Every now and then we write a post that we know is more important than others. As all writers who blog regularly I know that we sometimes write posts to fill the schedule. Our readers know this, our numbers will reflect this. Yesterday was an interesting day. My post on violence and sex has been retweeted and commented on in social media like few before. I guess I was on to something. Thanks for that!

After sending the post out onto the air waves I continued to work on something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. My friend and social media advisor, Amberr Meadows (if you need help with a blog tour or any other social media issues, talk to her!!!), had been asking me about a web shop for some time, but while I was on blogger and had my website designed with Apple’s own (discontinued) system iWeb, I was unable to add a shop to my website, and frankly, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to.

web shop

I”m seriously contemplating getting a button like this for conventions…

Selling books is a two edged sword. As an indie author I could never presume to compete with Amazon or even mom & pop book stores when it comes to shipping. Amazon ship so much that their deals with the shipping companies of this world are unparalleled. Good for them, great for readers. And picking up a book from a book store is free, too (to the reader.) The only ‘value add’ I could offer to my readers is signed and dedicated books, but let’s face it, who’s willing to pay for shipping from the printer abroad to me and on to their house just for the privilege of my signature? Particularly if you can get that at any event I attend? IF you do, e-mail me. I have a hunch we’ll be able to find a solution for you. If not, given the off the rack shipping costs, I just can’t compete with physical books, those are still best bought from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others.

Ebooks, however, are a different animal. All you need is the computer file, uploaded and ready. All of us have it, in PDF, ePub or .mobi (for Kindle.) We have it because we have to, for the Amazons, Barnes & Nobles and Apples of this world. However, for the longest time, I was unable to sell my own ebooks for technical reasons. Thanks to Amberr and after having moved my website to WordPress, I was suddenly facing a world of opportunities, aka plugins. One of the five or six plugins I use is called WooCommerce, and it is a simple web shop. Yes, it takes some getting used to, as all new things. But I managed to install it on my own, ad the EU add-on (which is important due to European VAT-regulations), add my books and get it all ready.

After maybe six hours of tweaking and toying around, I was ready and pushed the button: my book store is live!

This is BIG! Maybe not to the world, but it is a huge step for me, and make no mistake, this is a critical step for me as an author. In my industry, more and more authors go indie, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to Amazon and the others for making it all possible. Having said that, we also suffer from Amazon’s size, their monopoly (I sell 99% of my books through Amazon) and the pressure they excerpt on authors (and publishers) in terms of pricing, making it more an more difficult for authors to make a living. No, I am NOT delusional, I don’t think that just because I have a web shop that I’ll suddenly make a fortune. I don’t even think that my sales will increase. However, I also know that a lot of readers keep telling me that they are aware of the small margins authors have on external web sites, and that they therefore prefer to buy their books directly from the author/publisher.

Small sums, yes, but it also shows just how important every cent becomes.

Small sums, yes, but it also shows just how important every cent becomes.

The math is simple, as the attached calculation shows, based on a standard Paypal account. I hope to upgrade to a micropayment account eventually and save a couple pennies more, but even without, the savings for me, compared to Amazon, are huge! And the savings are bigger the smaller the price is.

Therefore, dear readers. Please buy your books from me. It’s price neutral to you. If the book is 99cents on Amazon, it’ll be 99cents on my website. I also have the possibility to give additional discounts, do short sales and other options that I couldn’t do with Amazon (at least not without having to tie myself even tighter to them, and not without having to wait 12-24 hrs for things to trickle down through their many websites.) All I have to do is push one button and it’s available globally.

So, today is a HUGE day for me, and this is a VERY important post. I’ve been toying with many different marketing options, and I’ve had lots of comments on this subject every time I write about it. I know that many authors feel the same way I do. Setting up your store is easy. If I could, anyone can.

Even in writing, we use imagery to express ourselves. This particular cover, a bow to the operatic art, is an attempt at giving a glimpse of the story waiting within.

Even in writing, we use imagery to express ourselves. This particular cover, a bow to the operatic art, is an attempt at giving a glimpse of the story waiting within. This week for 99c in my new web shop.

To celebrate, I’ve decided to offer my third novel, The Opera House, a book that is very dear to my heart, as it deals with some of my pet questions: parenting, loss, homelessness & love, for 99 cents, until Sunday night. Only here on my website. Get to know my writing for less than a dollar. I promise you won’t be disappointed by the story of Raphael, Brian & the mysterious Angela. Naturally, the 50% discount is still valid for my other books.

Authors: do you have a web shop of your own? Experiences? Good and bad? Please share. Readers, where do you buy your books? Are you willing to help authors to make a few extra cents on their books?

As always, I’d be happy if you shared this with others who might enjoy or profit from reading it. I love to connect with my readers. You’re more than welcome to interact with me on TwitterFacebookPinterestYouTubeGoogle+, and/or Instagram.

Please make sure to visit my other pages here, and to subscribe to my blog (top of the page, on the right) for more great posts on writing, travel, parenting, life, humor, rants and more, including a great sale…

Have a wonderful day!

Hans M Hirschi

PS: Don’t forget to have a look at my shop. Thank you. Great deals there… And don’t forget to swing by tomorrow because we’ll release the cover for my new novel Willem of the Tafel, complete with an excerpt. You’ll love it, I promise!