Have you considered boosting your book sales with autographed paperbacks? As an indie author, one of the things we focus on doing is maximizing sales. We need those book sales and we need them to come in on a regular basis. One of the ways I’ve found that helps is having a store on my website. A store? But that’s what Amazon’s for…right? True…but I’ve found fans still enjoy physical copies of books, and while they are going to go through the trouble of purchasing a paperback, they might as well snag an autographed copy. I’m always pleasantly surprised to find the demand for autographed copies and specialized book bundles is there.
Here are a few reasons why you’ll want to have autographed copies in your store:
- Fans love a personal touch and sending autographed copies allows you add a personalized message.
- With autographed copies you can include a special note or extra book swag like bookmarks, candles, coffee mugs, etc.
- My store does between $100-$500 in book sales depending on the month.
- Paperbacks are a great way to help you recoup your return on investment from self-publishing and marketing expenses.
From my personal experience, I have found the demand for autographed copies comes out about a month before and a month after I release a new book. A few things that help is the covers are gorgeous and makes people want to have a copy to hold even if they own the ebook. The average order on my website is $30 which gives me a much higher piece of the pie than ebook sales.
How do you create a store?
My website is built out on the WordPress platform and I installed WooCommerce which is an e-commerce plugin. Now, there are a few things to know when you are setting up an e-commerce solution, regardless of which platform you’re using.
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PayPal is a popular payment method and another payment processor is Stripe. Keep in mind if someone is making a purchase from your website, there are processing fees. Be mindful of these fees and if you need to, build them into the cost of your product so you don’t get blindsided by the extra cost.
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot – make sure you’re not losing money when you ship out books.
I order books from KDP and I can calculate how much the book costs me to purchase and ship to myself. Typically books cost me between $5-$10 depending on the size of the printed book (I write big books that are an average of 500 pages). As always, the more you order at one time, the lower the cost.
For shipping I use the flat rate shipping from USPS.com. If I’m shipping one book, I can also use Media Mail which costs $3-$4 per book, however, Media Mail takes about a week or so, and I prefer for my customers to get their books fast. Therefore I can also use the $6 flat rate envelope from USPS.com.
If I’m shipping 2 or more books, I use the medium sized flat rate box which is $13. The higher priced shipping makes my cost go up, so it’s only effective if I’m shipping 2-4 books.
My out-of-pocket cost for one book is around $11-$15 so I sell books for $20 in my website which includes the cost I paid to ship books to myself, how much it costs to ship books to someone who made a purchase plus a nice little royalty for myself. If I’m selling books in person, I can sell them for cheaper because I can take out the cost of shipping.
It’s important for me to capture the email addresses of people who make purchases from my site, so I can email them when deals and sales come up. Plus it’s a no-brainer way to grow my email list. WooCommerce integrates with MailerLite and creates a list of people who purchase from my shop.
Coupons are a way to reward customers or give a limited time offer to increase sales during a specific time period. WooCommerce allows me to create coupons for a certain percentage off a product or free shipping.
I have 5 books which can be shipped out as autographed paperbacks as well as bookmarks, candles, coffee mugs and other book swag. One of the best practices I try to implement it always to have books on hand. I never known if/when someone is going to order an autographed copy, so my best plan is to have 5-10 copies of each book at home at all times. If I run out, I’ll place an order which tends to take a couple of weeks.
If you run out of stock, be up front. Add a notice to your store or add it to the product description. Let people know when the books will be back and stock and when they’ll ship out.
There you have it. Creating a store for autographed paperbacks is a fun way to boost your book sales, plus you can add book swag to your store and thrill your fans with fun book-related items.
Have you created a store for your books?