Self-Publishing Insights: Is It Best to Sell Your Ebooks from Your Own Site/Blog or via Biggies Like Amazon?

Today’s post was inspired by a question I received from a Twitter follower earlier this month. She DM’d me, asking about selling ebooks on e-Junkie, ie was it worth it?

Below is the question she sent in and my answer, along with more in-depth information to help you make informed decisions about getting your self-published ebook to market — and making sales when you do.

FYI, I wanted to clarify my answer here because there are some definite distinctions worth making.

Why What You Publish Determines Where You Should Sell

As I told the person who DM’d me, most of my NON-FICTION ebook sales come via my site. I have all of my titles listed on Amazon; and all of my fiction and about half of my non-fiction titles on Barnes & Noble.

I’ve published with Amazon since December of 2010, and have been selling ebooks via my own website since 2002. Until I signed up with e-Junkie, a digital download service provider, though, I didn’t make very many sales.

I think part of this had to do with the fact that ebooks weren’t as popular a few years ago as they are nIs Selling Ebooks on eJunkie Profitable?ow. E-readers have really escalated sales for many self-publishers, and having the ability to sell worldwide via sites like Amazon has helped too.

Now with all of that being said, I’ve recently started writing more fiction than non-fiction (primarily romance). Now all of my sales in this genre have come from Amazon (90% to 95%) and Barnes & Noble (5% to 10%).

From what I’ve read around the web though, most self-publishers of fiction earn the bulk of their sales from large distributors like Amazon, etc. I still want my author site because I need a home for my fiction titles (just like I have for my non-fiction titles here).

I’m in self-publishing for good, so looking years down the road, I believe as e-readers become more common, readers will get more comfortable ordering directly from an author’s website as opposed to a biggie like Amazon.

So for now I’m just working to build my fiction inventory, and grow my readership and brand in this genre.

The #1 Reason to Sign Up with Smashwords

I recently put one of my romance (fiction) titles on Smashwords, so soon it will be visible on sites like Apple, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and several other ebook outlets.

FYI, distribution power is the main reason I signed up with Smashwords. You can sign up to each distributor individually, but for me it’s a time thing. I upload to Amazon and Barnes & Noble myself. I let Smashwords distribute to the rest.

FYI, this is one of the things I love about self-publishing. You can run your business the way you see fit, all the while keeping control over material.

Why I Don’t Sell My Fiction Works from My Own Website

I removed all of my fiction titles from my website and just linked to my profiles on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I did this for two reasons: (i) because I wasn’t making any sales of the titles there; and (ii) because I’m going to have an author site built just for my fiction titles at some point. Right now, I’m just working on building my inventory (eg, writing as much as possible).

Self-Publishing Insights: Summary Observations

Just a couple of more observations — based on my experience and in the reading I’ve done on self-publishing — before I wrap this post up:

–>Romance sells well on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Some romance writers say they sell better on B&N; I’m selling better on AMZ. Bottom line — genre matters, so do your research. I’d say always upload to AMZ though. Why? Simply because they are the ebook market leader. You can’t NOT be there IMO.

–>Non-fiction hasn’t sold well for me on Barnes & Noble at all, and again, only about 10% of my NON-FICTION ebook sales come from all the larger outlets combined. Most of my sales for NON-FICTION continue to come from my own website, and almost all the rest come form Amazon.

–>With the above being said, I think the exposure from the larger sites has definitely helped sales from my own website. Part of this, in my opinion, is because these sites give you more “validity” in the eyes of readers.

–>Since 2010, over half my annual income has come from self-publishing. These days, it’s more like 75% to 85% because as my self-publishing income grows, I take on — and market for — fewer freelance writing jobs.

FYI, learn more about using digital download providers like e-Junkie, and good luck if you decide to dip your toes in the self-publishing waters. I hope these insights help.

Share Your Self-Publishing Insights

Which ebook distribution outlets have worked well for you? What type of writing do you do? Do you use a digital download service provider? Which one? Why? Please share your insights in the comments section below.

P.S.: FYI, you can now Advertise your ebook on this site for just $5/week!


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    1. This is great advice. It comes down to understanding your target audience and where they are most likely to buy. Giving your audience more options increases the likelihood that they will buy.