internet

How to Sell Books Online (tips and useful platforms)

Selling books online can be a daunting prospect, the internet is a jungle … but if the jungle can scam-alertbe dangerous and scary, the internet offers endless possibilities to earn money. You just have to find your way trough the scams that pop out of the bushes, always ready to suck your wallet dry; and you maneuver to the real deals, the ones that offer you value.

First of all, there is no need to invest huge amounts of money. Second, there are plenty of opportunities, and that’s what’s so wonderful about using online resources.

Whether you write fantasy, romance, history, horror, self-help books, memoirs, biographies, or any other genre, it all comes down to the same thing. How will I sell my work …?

Free Online Resources – What is Useful?

These are some of the options that are available online, and all of them are free. Please scroll down for detailed information.

  • Websites
  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
  • Smashwords
  • Barnes and Noble
  • BookRix
  • Apple eBook Store
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Hashtags

Which Websites Are Free?

WordPress is excellent. You can set up your website for free. It is easy to use, and it has a comprehensible dashboard. No struggling, no trying to figure out how things work. It is pretty straightforward. WordPress offers free hosting, live support, live chat, dozens of themes, photo uploads, and it’s mobile friendly.

For an upgrade you get more services such as SEO tools, advanced customization, and security, or you could simply choose to continue using it for free.

wordpress

SiteRubix is WordPress’s little sister, it runs on WordPress.org. (Please note that it is WordPress.org and not .com. The wordpress site I mentioned in the previous paragraph runs on .com) Basically, you can do a lot more with a siterubix site. You can insert affiliate links which in turn will earn you commission if someone clicks on them and ends up buying the product that you promote in said link.

Siterubix is hosted at Wealthy Affiliate which offers free hosting for two siterubix websites. Yes, you do not need to pay anything. You receive the tools and training to build your own 2 websites plus a quick and responsive site support team. A free membership at Wealthy Affiliate offers you all these (and more) benefits, and a premium membership includes free hosting on up to 50 websites …

==> Click Here to Read My Review of Wealthy Affiliate <==

Either WordPress or Siterubix can help you create an awesome author website where you can promote your books online. Personally, I like WordPress, but I prefer Siterubix, because it gives me a lot more freedom.

Is It Hard to Build a Website?

No, surprisingly it isn’t. You can create your first website in less than two minutes. Gone are the days when setting up a website took ages and cost you an arm and a leg. The internet has evolved. It took me only a little over a minute to start Writetopia.

The only thing that is time-consuming is writing content, but if you like writing – like I do – that shouldn’t be a problem. I enjoy writing articles and providing info that helps fellow writers and people in general.

Amazon – Isn’t it Overloaded with Books?

Yes, totally. There are millions of books on Amazon. To get noticed out there is not an easy feat, and it may take a while, but it is possible. Amazon offers you great publishing and promotional tools. Much of it is free and others have a cost.

amazon

Free on Amazon:

  • KDP (Kindle Publishing)
    • Upload your manuscript
    • Upload your own book cover or use KDP’s book cover tool, which offers you many free cover designs and photos to choose from.
    • Option to publish not only Kindle but also paperback version
    • Set your book price
    • Troubleshooting, Video tutorials, and instructional documents
    • Excellent customer support
    • Royalties reports
  • Amazon Author Central
    • Create your Amazon author page
    • Add blog and social media
    • Sales rank feature
    • Add a book to your bibliography if you wrote it and it hasn’t been added yet
    • Option to turn your book into an audiobook
    • Amazon author insights: guidance and tips on writing, publishing, and marketing from well-known authors and Amazon teams
  • Promotions
    • Free
      • Amazon giveaways
      • Kindle Countdown Deal
      • Free book promotion
      • Sign your book up for Kindle Unlimited
    • Paid Promotions
      • Run an ad campaign (you pay when shoppers click your ads)

kindle

Pros

  • Kindle Unlimited is popular and gives readers the chance to download books at a monthly fee. It gives your book more exposure.
  • The platform is easy to use
  • Great online support

Cons

  • Author’s earnings on Kindle Unlimited are very small.
  • High competition (over 3 million ebooks are on amazon)

You must be prepared to put in a lot of work, be patient and persistent. Overnight successes do not happen overnight, they take years of hard work. That being said, I don’t want to discourage you. Amazon offers amazing tools and is dedicated to good customer service. I have had a wonderful experience with the KDP help desk; their response time is quick and they give valuable help and tips. In my opinion, it is definitely worth it to create an author account and publish your books on Amazon.

Goodreads

This reading platform is a writer’s best friend. Goodreads is absolutely free and you can build your Goodreads author page, add your books, a blog, author interviews, book giveaways, and enter into other events and promotions. There are also seasonal or genre promotional campaigns for which you can sign up, for example, the month of horror, Halloween, summer reads, etc.

The author profiles also have a follow button and a private messaging system. One con of this platform is that sometimes things tend to get confusing and you may get stuck when trying to use certain features, but the online support is pretty good at answering questions and helping out. I’d highly recommend Goodreads for any author.

reading

Both Amazon and Goodreads are great tools that any author should have.

Smashwords

I published my first indie book with Smashwords. This platform has been around for a long time and is constantly re-innovating itself. It provides great publishing tools. What I like about Smashwords is their rigorous manuscript revision. After uploading your manuscript, it goes through a vetting process, and if there are any errors, you will be notified on your Smashwords dashboard and also by email.

If book formatting isn’t your thing or you find it too time-consuming, on Smashwords you can find professionals who will do it for you for a small fee. Likewise, you can also contact book cover designers who charge for their services. Those prices are very affordable.

When you publish on Smashwords your book is also automatically added to the Barnes and Noble online book store (but not on Amazon), and Smashwords also publishes a premium book catalog.

Barnes and Noble

This is another book store giant, but unlike Amazon, Barnes and Noble has retained its cozy bookish atmosphere. It has a huge readers base. Offering a broad selection to its readers, it is only advantageous to have your books featured on Barnes and Noble. It has the largest number of retail outlets in the US, and an international online book store.

library

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t create an author page on Barnes and Noble, because it is currently only available to Barnes and Noble press authors. It would be better to set up an author page elsewhere (such as the other mentioned platforms) and then link your book to Barnes and Noble, which in some instances is done automatically.

BookRix

BookRix is a self publishing platform which also offers distribution services for indie authors. You can share your writing and connect with other writers and readers.

The great thing about BookRix is that it is absolutely free, your book is distributed to Amazon Kindle, Google Play, Kobo, Apple ¡Books, etc, it offers high royalties (70% of net proceeds), no strings (no binding contracts, you can cancel any time), and over 510,000 readers. You also have the option to create your own author profile.

Apple eBook Store

apple-logoNot only can you create and publish books, but you can also ad artwork and metadata. While metadata don’t always influence Google ranking, it is nevertheless important for SEO. Visitors do not see metadata, it is invisible to them, but the information it contains is essential for SEO. It speaks to search engines. Therefore, the description in your title tag should be original and short.

Books you publish on the Apple app can not only be sold at the Apple store and on ¡Tunes, but also on the web.

If you’d like to learn more, Wealthy Affiliate offers a comprehensive training on setting up your website and learning all about SEO. The first ten lessons are free.

Social Media

You either hate it or you love it, but no one can deny the power of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, and others are useful tools to share your work, connect with authors, readers, beta readers, agents, and publishers.

Twitter is an amazing platform which I use very often. It has connected me with many authors, twitter-phonereviewers, readers, and publishers, and it has greatly helped to promote my work.

On Facebook, you can create a business page and gain “likes”. It is also a good promotional platform, but what I don’t like about Facebook is that your posts may not be seen by all your followers. You are pushed to pay for Facebook ads in order to obtain more exposure, but those paid ads do not always have the desired results … So, you end up spending a lot of money and make little to no profit …

That is why I prefer Twitter. On Twitter, you can advertise your books for free and you will get much better results. And when you’re on Twitter, I suggest that you connect with the writing community (#writingcommunity). This online group is made up of mostly writers (and some agents and publishers) who answer questions, offer advice, give tips on query writing, and support fellow authors. It is a wonderful community that will make you feel welcome and help you on your writing and book marketing journey. When you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #writingcommunity and introduce yourself 🙂

Instagram and Pinterest are also brilliant for promotions. Instagram is all about photos. You upload a photo that is related to your book or ad, and then you add a link and a description.

Pinterest is also a visual platform. You pin a photo and add the information, always including a link to your book or author page. Then you can save your pin under an existing board or you can create a new board.

The Importance of Hashtags

Don’t forget your hashtags. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest all allow the use of hashtags and they are essential to reach a broader audience.

Some good examples are:

  • #writers
  • #writingcommunity
  • #amwriting
  • #bookboost
  • #indieauthors
  • writing genres such as #fantasy, #urban fantasy, #historicalfantasy, #nonfiction, #memoir, #romance, #thriller, #historicalfiction, #werewolves, #vampires, #selfhelpbooks, etc. You get the idea.
  • #weekendreads
  • #amreading
  • #readers
  • #Kindle
  • #amazon
  • And so on

hashtag

There are so many hashtags you can use, and you can also create your own. If you want to write a book about dogs and cats, you could make a new hashtag like for example #dogsandcatslivingtogether, #dogslivewithcats, #dogsandcats, or whatever relates to your book. Be creative 🙂

Seriously, I repeat once more, don’t forget the hashtags.

My Thoughts

Personally, I have not considered Apple eBook Store, but it is well-known and offers great product distribution. I use Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble, and BookRix looks very promising to me, since it links to mentioned platforms and will also help with distribution.

Regarding promotion, Amazon, Smashwords, GoodReads, and BookRix offer free promotional tools for authors and are dedicated to seeing authors succeed. I recommend using the free but also the paid advertising. Try them out, one by one, and see which one works best for you. I already stressed the importance of hashtags 🙂 .

All of these platforms and tools provide great service to an independent author, but they do not always guarantee a quick result. Some promotions can yield huge results in a matter of days. In some cases you have to try different methods to see which one is more suited to your needs and goals.

One very important thing to remember is that marketing your work requires time, effort, and patience. If your earnings do not come in immediately, don’t despair. Keep on going, connect with people, gather followers on your social media platforms, share, tweet, pin, use free promotional services (or paid if there is enough budget). As I mentioned before, there is a lot of competition, and you must work to get your book noticed. Just, don’t give up. Persistence pays off.

persistence-pays-off

 

38 thoughts on “How to Sell Books Online (tips and useful platforms)

  1. Hi! It’s exciting to have so many books on display, ready to promote on Amazon. Being able to publish our own material as a Kindle book is also very good. But what I have liked the most is how easy it is to create our own website. It’s cool to be able to build a free website with siterubix and also have free hosting. How long does that free hosting last?

    1. Hi Henry,
      Yes, it is cool to be able to build your own website now and it being affordable or free. The hosting is permanent on Siterubix when you’re a member (either free or premium) at Wealthy Affiliate.
      Thanks for visiting my page!

  2. I didn’t realise that Kindle could actually finish the book presentation for you. I have often thought of writing an e-book but had no idea what to do with it after that. 

    It’s good to know there are several places books an be uploaded. 

    Does an e-book need to be written to a particular format, if so is there a particular software you recommend?

    Social media  is an excellent business tool, I agree.

    Thank you for a useful and informative article. I will share on social media for others to see.

    1. Hi Linda,

      You can write an ebook in a Word document and upload it on the KDP platform as a PDF. Some writers use different software such as Scrivener (which is a word processor), but I haven’t tried it yet. I am still old-fashioned and sticking to good old Word and PDF 😉 

  3. This is such a helpful website!  I’m new to affiliate marketing and have been rolling ideas around in my head about coming up with a ‘freebie’ in the form of a newsletter or book, etc.  These are GREAT ideas!  I will have to look more into it, obviously!  I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate, and there are many good resources there.  I’m so glad I stumbled upon this page!  PS – #ImLearningTheImportanceOfHashtags  !!   Have you sold any books online?  What’s your favorite?

    1. Great hashtag 😉 

      Wealthy Affiliate indeed has many good resources. I’m happy you found some ideas here. I have sold books online, different ones. A social media platform that has really worked for me is definitey Twitter. If you have more questions, please let me know 🙂 

  4. Great content, ever since I started writing poetry, I always wondered how could I promote it in a less expensive but convenient way. I have tried social media, but It hasn’t gotten the response I thought it would. Maybe I should look into some of the other resources you provided. I like how you can promote your writing on Barnes and Noble, that has been my favorite bookstore for years. 

    1. Hi Joshua,

      Books that are published on Smashwords are automatically added to the Barnes and Noble bookstore. Perhaps you could publish a book with your poems there. Building a presence on social media also takes time, don’t give up, but it is always good to explore other options. 🙂

  5. Hello!
    Some time ago I am trying to create an ebook on how to grow blueberries I am in a first stage. 

    Reading your article a little more, you talk about a company called Wealthy Affiliate. From what I observe, it has a very good training, which is what I am missing. 

    Could I sell my book using my website? 

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Claudio,

      Yes, an author needs a website and it is advisable to start your website before the book is even written. Wealthy Affiliate is a great platform where you can learn everything you need to know about building websites, marketing, SEO, etc.

  6. I personally think that anyone can publish a book online. All you have to do is just to be passionate about it. Look at the 50 shades of gray writer. She got turned down by so many publishers and what she did was genius. She started her own site and started blogging her first book and she got so many fans. After that so many publishers came rushing but she rejected them and self publish her books!

    What I am saying is that you can start writing your book by blogging it first and see how the readers response to it. Also do not give up and just follow all the platform that you provide to us 🙂

    1. Exactly, I totally agree. Blog about your book, self-publish, be passionate about your goals. What the author of 50 Shades of Grey did is indeed wonderful. 

  7. I really love that even though SiteRubix is a free tool, it still allows one to have a functional website that can earn money. This is something that anyone who is not ready to spend money could check it out. Amazon is another great place that I like to browse through. Thank you for the great explanation of how Kindle Publishing works. With all the above resources, no one should find an excuse not to start an online business. Thank you for taking your time to compile these useful tips and resources.

    1. Hi Carol,

      I really like Siterubix, it gives me a lot of freedom with my websites. All these resources are a great help. Like you said, there can’t be any excuses 😉 

  8. Hi there,

    Your content is very interesting to me. Do you mean I can publish my ebook on Amazon for FREE? I am currently writing a book and I know if I take advantage of the huge market at Amazon I will be able to reach a lot of people. The challenge I foresee is getting my book to rank. Please does it have to do with the content of my book or there’s a way to get my book to the first page of amazon search results? I love the way you shared the importance of hashtags. I can really use this to improve traffic. Thanks alot. 

    1. Hi,

      Yes, you can publish your book on Amazon for free. Amazon has great publishing tools. Getting your book to rank can indeed be a challenge due to the high amount of books being published on Amazon every day. A good way for a book to get noticed is getting a lot of reviews. You should have at least 50 Amazon reviews. Hashtags on social media help as well, they will get your links and book to a larger audience

  9. Yeah am a writer and I was thinking of where to be selling my books and a friend directed me to Amazon,bookriz that they are easy platforms to sell though I was doubtful because I was thinking who gonna pay you for writing online?i just give it a try and it came out successful actually it’s a really good platform’s for us writers.  Thanks for this great article  

  10. Getting to involve in affiliate marketing is the new cool and would be great to see a lot of pbooks to promote on the website you have pointed out. Getting books from Amazon and also through my self publishing on kindles too. Great post here and well worthy it. I’m surely going to try out

  11. Hi Christine. Thank you so much for sharing this post concerning how to sell books online (tips and useful platforms). I found this article very useful as I will be writing some inspiring books in time to come. As a newbie, it’s not usually very easy to be known because there are top players everywhere, but it isn’t impossible either as it only requires your best, consistency and time.

    1. Hello,

      Yes, very true, nothing is impossible, our efforts just require our best, consistency, and time. Thanks for visiting my page!

  12. hello Christine

    I’m new to affiliate marketing and have been thinking of how to sell books online for a start and i think i have found the right tips that would help me start up and make good profit and feel this is the best out there because in recent times i have come across many tips that where not useful at all and were very discouraging to buy. Thanks to your article i have summoned more strength to continue.

  13. Writing has always been my thing since I was in high. Falling in love simply turned me into a Shakespeare and I was all about writing love poems. I still go through them and they still sound real good. They are quite a bunch and I was planning on creating a book and selling them on Amazon until I realised the competition was real huge so instead I think I’ll create my own poetry site which was also one of main ideas that I never got to do. Thanks for an eye opening review.

  14. The idea behind your website is absolutely brilliant!  The first thing I did was to bookmark your site because I have to return to it as I am interested in getting published myself. You have basically given a writer every tool they need (especially the Wealthy Affiliate angle) to do what they love and get published. There is a plethora of information here that I believe will be beneficial to a whole lot of persons! 

    1. Thank you, Claudia! I hope to help many writers out there. We need all the support 🙂

      And Wealthy Affiliate is definitely a great tool to learn all about online marketing, affiliate marketing, website building etc.

  15. Rather interesting one which has given some insights to me and what this entails in full abut the processes involved in sales of book and to always stay ahead of the situation. Great post and one that I found very helpful. I wish to know more about each websites here so, I will have to make my researches myself so that all things can be okay and cool before thrusting myself in it. I have over a hundred eBooks I would like to sell. So, this is great to now of.

    1. Researching beforehand is definitely recommended. You got your work cut out for you with so many ebooks to publish. Wishing you all the best on your publishing journey!

  16. Very interesting article you have here and i must say at this is awesome and surely worthy. For a truth, you have given the full guide that I know anyone who finds delight in reading books would want to try out. However, I wish to know if it is possible for me to try to sell through a personally owned website and if that is possible, what other ways could I sell from.

    1. Hi Bella,

      You can sell from your own website. WordPress offers a tool called eCommerce which allows you to sell products from your own website.

  17. Making use of a website as the basic reference to selling the books would be awesome. I already have a website where I talk about my poems and various collections. I figure that if I can affiliate with places like Amazon to get access to most books, I can sell them too on my website and sell my personally published books too. This is great and I value it a lot. Thanks

  18. Hi Christine, thank you for your article on how to sell books online. The post was very informative as you tried your best to provide maximum of tips and useful platforms. I really enjoyed every line of the post as I always wanted to publish a book but did not know where to start. Please ,if someone want to hire a writer for content, do you have some recommendations? Thank you!

    1. Hi Eva,

      I’m glad that this post was useful to you. I think that Freelancer would be a good place to find content writers.

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