I sold a book this week. Amazing, right? Actually, I sold several books this week, but one in particular was my favorite. I sold it right here in the Oak Leaf Bookshop. I received the entire price of the book, minus a tiny Paypal fee. One copy of Grandfather Anonymous was delivered immediately via email (using BookFunnel) and presumably the reader put it on whatever device or devices they wanted and read it without any trouble.
And I was THRILLED.
I’m not saying that I don’t get excited about every single sale on every single platform. I DO. This is how I define success. Someone spends money on my book and then reads it. I just happen to get more excited about sales when they happen here. Why?
Money. It’s… it’s about money.
It’s just that the very best I do anywhere else involves giving 30% of book revenue to the platform. Sometimes, Amazon likes to take 70% JUST BECAUSE IT CAN. No reason given. I engage with many platforms via Draft2Digital, which means that D2D also gets a cut before the money (eventually) flows down to me.
It feels like I’m gearing up to unleash gigantic complaints about all the places that you can buy my books, but I’m not. Each one has its advantages, even Amazon. They are FAR better for discoverability than my tiny website over here in this corner of the internet. They make browsing the digital bookshelves a reasonably pleasant experience.
What I’m more interested in right now, though, is making sure everyone knows the advantages of shopping direct from authors.
I’m talking about advantages for YOU. The advantages for me are obvious and can be used to purchase goods and services.
- No DRM: I don’t encrypt these files. I never will. I don’t on other platforms, but the way those platforms are built makes it VERY difficult to move your stuff. Wanna switch your main reader from Kindle to Kobo? Good luck moving your library. Turns out your purchase of a book through Amazon was really more of a lease. If you buy direct you’re not locked in. It’s your book. Read it anywhere.
- A Connection to the Author: Ok, this one requires a sad story in which I admit to not being perfect. I uploaded a bad file a while back. It got fixed right away, but because of how Amazon’s book updates work, the fixed version didn’t get automatically pushed to people’s Kindles. An email went out to every affected reader with instructions, but not everyone reads Amazon emails all the way through. Or at all. I have several bad reviews on the book because of this, which is fine. I deserve that. What bothers me is that I have absolutely no way to help these readers get the fixed ebook. I can’t contact them in any way, even the ones who left very clear reviews saying that they would LOVE to read the fixed book. Buying direct from my Oak Leaf Bookshop means that you can contact me if something goes horribly wrong. I’m right here. I’m very happy to help. After all, these were readers who presumably really enjoyed the previous books in the series. (If you’re one of these unfortunate readers please contact me)
- Discount Codes: The tools I use to run the Oak Leaf Bookshop let me generate discount codes very easily, which is not something I can do for most other platforms. If you subscribe to my newsletter you’ve probably seen the code I send out there. Want a code? Hey, here’s 10% off of all my ebooks: OAKLEAF2023
It doesn’t end there, though. I pretty much never reduce the prices of anything but the the first in a series. I’m thinking about this a lot in the runup to the June 5th release of Grandfather Crypto. Should I offer a whole series discount to try to bring more interest? Sure! (How about 20% right up until the 5th? OLDCODECRYPTO) Should Grandfather Crypto come out a weekend early? (Yes, I’ve decided. I just changed the preorder settings)
Don’t ask me whether or not those two codes stack. I could probably figure it out, but even if they do I’m still doing better than a sale on almost any other platform.
Don’t feel bad if it’s easier for you to buy somewhere else or read on your Scribd or Kobo Plus subscriptions. Like I said, I’m happy no matter how you get my books. I don’t even need you to buy them, so long as you pick them up at a library instead of pirating them. Honestly, the only place you can’t get my books is on Kindle Unlimited, and that’s only because Amazon demands exclusivity (you can still buy the books there, you just can’t use the subscription service.)
But seeing those purchases come through the Oak Leaf Bookshop is extra cool. Rare, still, but very cool. Some day I hope to get enough that the purchase notifications flood my inbox and make email completely unusable.
That will be my definition of success.