Over the years, I've had numerous conversations with authors who totally dislike the Amazon model of selling books. Mostly this refers to the percentage that Amazon takes in order to list and sell a book. With all the scuttlebutt around Amazon these days, this conversation has gotten even stronger. A lot of marketing and publicity experts have been encouraging an Amazon boycott, but does this really make sense for you?
In 1999, when the self-publishing wave was starting to build (thanks to print-on-demand technology) a then fairly unknown company began to emerge as an online resource to sell books. Back then, there were limited ways to sell online, and Barnes & Noble wasn't stocking these books in their stores, so Amazon became a salvation for many authors. As the online site grew in both demand and popularity Amazon did some things that were questionable at best. Who can forget the #amazonfail campaign? (If you aren't familiar with this, Google the hashtag and you'll see some old conversation around Amazon pulling certain books out of its system).
As an author, you are also a business person -- and if you're not thinking that way you should be. Your decisions should be based on fact, though arguably if you don't like Amazon or what it stands for by all means follow your heart on this one. Consider this though: it's hard enough to sell a book in this market. Not just because money is tight (because entertainment items never seem to suffer the same fate as other dispensable things), but because there's so much competition out there. If you take away a trusted sales source you could lose a customer; are you really willing to risk that?
That said, there's nothing wrong with offering your book on your website or ramping up ways to sell it direct to consumer. Doing this has much bigger benefits than just making more money: you can also build a mailing list of buyers. The process of doing this might take time, but here are some ideas that could help you move a sale from Amazon to your website.
While it might seem like everyone in publishing is jumping on the "I hate Amazon" bandwagon, keep in mind that there are a lot of changes happening that may or may not affect your book. Educate yourself on the industry, but don't cut out a potentially strong sales tool because you never know what big opportunity you might miss. Several years ago we had an author who sent his book to O Magazine, not thinking they'd feature it -- it was just, well you know, wishful thinking. As it happened O Magazine did run a blurb on the book which was great, yes? The problem was the author chose to not have his book on Amazon and his e-commerce system on his site wasn't set up. Consequently he didn't sell a single book from the O Magazine mention. Lesson learned.
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