Children’s writers, thinking of self-publishing, automatically think Amazon. As do most other writers who plan to go solo. This despite some serious drawbacks – no access to customer information and a 30% fee for each book sold. No matter that in many cases the author brings in a huge proportion of those sales with tireless promotion of their own.
But most writers are loath to turn away from a platform that has democratized the publishing scene, allowing an author choices other than traditional publishing houses. So, is Amazon really the only choice for self-publishing? Not really. There are always alternatives and here are a few.
Gumroad is an easy payment and digital delivery system. Gumroad lets authors to integrate e-book sales directly into their website. Though Gumroad is hugely popular, there are others like Sellfy, e-Junkie and DigitalDeliveryApp which can be similarly uploaded and used.
Designer and writer Nathan Barry swears by Gumroad, which netted him 200,000 dollars in less than a year. He simply did not want to give Amazon 30% commission!
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While Shopify and BigCommerce are usually associated with physical goods, a number of self-publishing writers (including children’s writers) are using these platforms to sell their books. Using digital-delivery app plugins (FetchApp) makes it easier with instant delivery of e-books to the reader.
The downside to WordPress is that it does not have a built-in commerce functionality. However, there are quite a few WordPress-centric plugins available to allow for sale and delivery of digital books. Best known among these is WooCommerce, a payment-and-delivery tool which is popular with WordPress users.
When Squarespace 6 was launched, they ensured a feature for enabling commerce. This was for easy turnkey transaction and digital delivery function to be built directly into the web publishing platform.
So, is it bye-bye Amazon for all self-publishing writers? Not really because despite the downside, there is a lot that Amazon’s marketing muscle can achieve with regard to sales volume. But if you are confident of your following and marketing prowess, you have alternatives to Amazon.