Indie publishing is coming into maturity.
Though some authors self-published before the dawn of the Kindle and Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP in 2007, the movement didn’t really get wind under its wings until then. Personally, I jumped in the fall of 2011, nearly twelve years ago. Things were certainly different for authors then, but thankfully many cottage industries have sprung up in the meantime, supporting independent authors, making our jobs a lot easier.
Still, it hasn’t been without its growing pains.
The biggest shift for authors who go it on their own is the realization that they’re no longer just creatives, but are now business people. Selling a product, whether you create it yourself or not, is by definition, a business transaction. And in order to sell, potential buyers need to know that what you’re selling exists. Visibility and discoverability are big and important buzz words in the indie book industry.
Giving credit where credit’s due, Amazon made finding readers a possibility for indie authors like never before, and most of us would say we owe our careers to the giant. Other retailers followed suit, but never truly reached the effectiveness of Amazon, such as Apple/ibooks, Barnes & Noble/Nook, Kobo, and Google Play.
So why are authors (seemingly en masse) suddenly setting up Shopify stores to bypass retailers and sell to their readers directly? (And why I’m launching my own shop – stay tuned!)
- As I mentioned, Indie authors are business people. Except, that unlike other business people, they don’t have control over their product pages. It would be like Starbucks paying to advertise their product, but having all the other coffee shops sneaking in their brands on the same page without paying for the privilege. Selling direct gives authors more control over their advertising and marketing efforts.
- They get data on who’s buying their books, which they don’t get with the retailers. It would be like The Gap not knowing who bought their clothes, so they can’t let their customers know they have more like it in the store on sale. Selling direct allows authors to know who their readers are so they can better serve them.
- Selling direct means authors can control pricing and offer sales and deals in a way that’s not possible for them when selling strictly through retailers.
- Setting up a store on Shopify also gives authors a way to sell fun book related merchandise like mugs and bookbags and T-shirts.
- Running a business naturally means tracking cash flow, which happens in real time when selling direct. Cash flow is important for keeping any business running in a healthy manner, and we all want our favorite authors to be able to afford to keep writing those books we love!
Check out these Mystery Author stores.
*Image by starline on Freepik