How to easily sell your books or ebooks on your blog or web site

The other day I found an easy way to sell my ebooks directly on my free wordpress blog, and other self-publishing authors can easily sell their ebooks or books following the steps outlined on the article link at end of this post.

The catch. There’s always a catch.

Buying something on the net always requires an SSL connection, the HTPPS// you see in all secure URL’s. An SSL certificate costs money. Even Godaddy charges $75/year for an SSL certificate.

Gumroad requires an SSL connection, the old HTTPS you see on all secure sites. Yup. You have to pay to play. Or do you?

ME? I’m frugal. I don’t want to have to buy an SSL certificate.

I use a free SSL conversion method in my FireFox browser to ALWAYS have an SSL connection on ALMOST ANY site. Chrome users also have the ability, but not IE browsers. Chrome is very popular on many desktops, mobile phones and devices, and FireFox is my preferred browser for safe and secure Internet surfing.

The free SSL extension is called HTTPS Everywhere, and is a Firefox and Chrome extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure. HTTPS Everywhere is produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Many sites on the web offer some limited support for encryption over HTTPS, but make it difficult to use. For instance, they may default to unencrypted HTTP, or fill encrypted pages with links that go back to the unencrypted site. The HTTPS Everywhere extension fixes these problems by using a clever technology to rewrite requests to these sites to HTTPS.

WordPress free blogs, like this one you are visiting, don’t have HTTPS and you can’t add HTTPS directly to your free wordpress blog. Some other free blogs or web site services may have the same problem.

Having HTTPS Everywhere as an add-on in your Chrome or FireFox browser not only makes your Internet surfing much safer and secure but allows you to sell your ebooks on sites which don’t have HTTPS or won’t allow you to add HTTPS directly on your site.

I created a Spanish Word Search Puzzles in PDF and uploaded it to the Dashboard on Gumroad. Clicking on the link above, if you have added HTTPS Everywhere to your FireFox or Chrome browser so you are viewing this page safely and securely in HTTPS, takes you to that page where you may purchase the PDF containing 50 full-page puzzles for 99 cents. Simple, eh. Yes, HTTPS Everywhere doesn’t work with Internet Explorer, but that is a piece of crap anyway and no one should be using it to surf the Internet. Get FireFox, it’s much faster and safer.

The reason I chose PDF is Gumroad personalizes each PDF a reader purchases, so the file is stamped with the name of purchaser on the front page of the PDF.

Besides selling your ebooks/books using Gumroads system, you can pre-order.

With the new feature, instead of uploading a file, creators just enter a release date. Fans can use their credit cards to purchase the product, then when the date comes, all those pre-order cards are charged, the content is delivered to the customers, and the listing is turned into a regular Gumroad product listing. Creators can send messages to people who placed orders before the release date, just as they can afterwards.

Create your pre-order, use twitter and facebook to announce it, and do the same on your blog or web site. Seems pretty darn simple to me.

There is no minimum price threshold that I’m aware of, plus they allow pay-what-you-want pricing.

Refunds are handled on your Gumroad Dashboard, and one gumroad user wrote on his blog there are no fees for refunds. You can also offer works as ‘All sales final. No refunds’.

Sales tax may not be applicable where you live in, so check your local laws and tax laws for your country.

The cost for this service? 5% of list price and $0.25.

If you sold a $3.99 ebook on Amazon you’d earn a maximum of $2.79

The same $3.99 ebook using Gumroad earns you $3.55.

To read how and what I did to be able to sell my ebooks on the free wordpress blog and learn more about Gumroad, and to see how to sell your books or ebooks on your own blog/website whether or not it’s wordpress, click this link to the Smashwords Forum article.
NOTE: The Smashwords Forum viewing policy is like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites – free registration required to access all content on the site. To view the article you’ll have to register for free.

I’m tired of reading about your low book or ebook sales. Do something about it.

crying cat

I want all you new authors out there who aren’t selling any books or ebooks worth a darn and are whining about your low or non-existent sales on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or other online locale to stop crying about it everywhere as the only sympathy you’re going to get is from your mom or your dog.

“I published BLAH BLAH BLAH on This Site or That Site or This Place and That Place and haven’t sold any. They are useless.”

“Blah Blah Blah is useless. I published there months ago and haven’t sold one book. Don’t use them.”

“My book (or substitute with ‘ebook’) took years to write and I haven’t sold one copy. Self-publishing is a waste of time.”

MAYBE YOUR BOOK SUCKS?

A few questions for all authors of low and non-existent sales:

If you published your work through companies like Smashwords or Amazon did you market links of your works on Smashwords and its affiliate retailers or Amazon on your web site or blog or Facebook or anywhere?

You did? Did you market it just a few times and then sit back waiting for the royalties to pile up in your bank account?

No? Oh, so you promoted your work everywhere and every day along with the millions of other authors promoting their works everywhere and everyday just like it was suggested by marketing pros and other authors on Linkedin (or some other social site). Good idea. Nothing like filling up social media sites with promotions for ebooks nobody reads.

Stop flooding social media sites with ebook or book promotions. Members of those sites are sick and tired of seeing them all the time.

Market yourself, make viewers interested in you, your viewpoint, your pictures, something, anything but just BLAH BLAH BLAH BUY MY BOOK. Or something similarly barf-worthy as “I just got another 5-stars for BLAH BLAH BLAH”. Okay, so who cares? Do you really think telling the world your work got 5 stars is going to convince people to buy your book, let alone even click on the link to see the review? Thousands of authors get 5 star reviews. Some authors even buy them or use phony names when writing a glowing review of their own work.

But you say even your Author Page or author blog doesn’t get much traffic? Gee, who would have guessed that hundreds, thousands, or millions of people wouldn’t flock to a site about a book and author nobody knows about or has heard about.

I hate to tell you this, but Author Pages or author blogs or anything similar only work worth a damn once you have an audience; a significantly large audience. Sure, you might get 50 -200 visitors a week or month to your author page or blog, but those visitors may have just landed there by mistake. Think about it. If you’re not selling any books then who is visiting your site? And if viewers are visiting your site and you’re still not selling any books or ebooks then perhaps there is a lesson there?

Lots of authors whine about low sales. Maybe it was a crappy book in the first place, maybe it had lousy editing, maybe you were charging $9.95 for something people felt was far overpriced, or maybe the ebook cover or description turned off readers.

Instead of whining about low sales or no sales on Amazon, Smashwords, Apple, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace or elsewhere you should stand back and look at your work with fresh eyes and see why it didn’t sell.

Then fix it so it stands a chance to catch a reader and hold their attention long enough to part with their hard earned money.

Here is an idea, and it won’t cost you a cent (unless – shameless plug coming – you want to own your own copy of Buy This Book. Make Me A Millionaire available at all major online retailers for only $0.99)……. WALK IN THE OTHER PERSONS SHOES!

When marketing your work write the promo as you would want to read it. Think of the hundreds of times you bypassed a promo for an ebook and then remember what it was about the promo that caught your eye and held your attention long enough to click on the link to the promo item.

You’re a writer, goddam it, so write interesting marketing blurbs and tweets. And quit whining about your lousy sales because no one cares, probably not even your mom and especially not your dog.

Is this another ebook scam hitting authors?

A Google Alert on the weekend led to a site listing my popular “A Christmas Tree For Santa” ebook with an image of ebook cover from Amazon – but no link to Amazon – and a download button opening another site which had a horrendous amount of complaints from people paying money to join the site and download ‘stuff,’ including ebooks, but instead ending up filing complaint after complaint. Is this another ebook scam Amazon fails to address?

Links to complaints about Download Provider: Here, here, here, here, here and others you can find by googling.

Amazon should protect its reputation and its customers by, at the minimum, having a robot check the Internet for reports of scams or unlawful use of covers displayed on Amazon and take some action against perpetrators.

As the Amazon Kindle ebook cover image doesn’t link to Amazon I suspect that no author will earn any money from such a listing. That Amazon allows such behaviour to impact itself and its authors is atrocious.

Authors should google title(s) of their work together with Download Provider and see if their work is also being offered through Download Provider.

If you find your ebooks on Download Provider you might want to contact Amazon and ask them what they are going to do about this issue. (See Amazon contact link and my letter to them below.)

Contacting Download Provider likely won’t remove any offending image or ebook, if the complaints about Download Provider are any indication. Why?

Download Provider uses a company called ‘Moniker Privacy Services’, which I’ll refer to as MPS, as registrant of their domain. MPS has a such a reputation it made it to Complaints Board, as you may read here. MPS is considered “very shady” by Answers.com

You can do your own google of Moniker Privacy Services and/or Download Provider for additional information.

Authors may wish to google their ebook title or their author name together with cewopier.bravesites.com and see what appears. Do the same with your ebook title or your name and the term Download Provider.

Here is a copy of the Support information I sent to Amazon KDP:

This web page, http://cewopier.bravesites.com/entries/general/a-christmas-tree-for-santa-downloads displays an image of the Kindle cover of my ebook but no link to Amazon. NOTE: site is currently closed following a report of copyright violation. See Update at end of this post.

Instead of a link to Amazon or some other reputable site there is only a ‘Download’ button. Clicking on the ‘Download’ button leads to another site called ‘Download Provider’ which charges a small fee to join their site and use their services.

HOWEVER, Download Provider has a history of complaints as you may read here http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/download-provider-c581143.html and here http://www.pissedconsumer.com/reviews-by-company/other-company/download-provider-is-a-scam-and-they-are-thieves-20120316305272.html and here http://www.scambook.com/company/view/30765/DL-Providercom and here http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/directory/download-provider and here http://www.reviewstalk.com/complaints-reviews/www-download-provider-l16906.html

My contacting Download Provider would appear to be useless, judging by the complaints against it, but perhaps Amazon can do something to prevent sites grabbing ebook cover images and using them in the manner described above.

Yours truly,
Ted Summerfield

Here is the link to Amazon KDP support. I clicked on Amazon Programs when the page appeared and typed in “Kindle ebook scam?” in the subject line.

Authors with ebooks listed as available through Download Provider may wish to contact Amazon as well.

My way of thinking is Amazon operates a business and businesses have theft prevention programs. A bookstore owner has security methods to assist in theft prevention and so should Amazon. A bookstore doesn’t ask publishers to keep an eye on their store for anyone stealing something, so why doesn’t Amazon – and other online retailers – provide the same level of service? Why should authors have to police their work entrusted to a multi-billion dollar retail store? Online retailers don’t police their supplies because the product is digital? Give me a break. Theft is theft.

UPDATE: Robin Wolstenholme contacted Bravenet support and reported problem. Bravenet has cancelled the account. Amazon hasn’t responded to my support request.

A bit embarrassed.

Whoops. I always check my ebooks for errors before sending it along to others for further review.  But being summer and both Canada and the US celebrating national holidays this past week, I couldn’t reach anyone and so just checked it a couple of times before uploading it to Smashwords the other day.

Today, I was rechecking The Backward Approach to Ebook Success for any mistakes I might have overlooked. Found a couple. Sheesh. That’s embarrassing.

I’ve corrected the ebook and updated it to Smashwords a couple of hours ago.

Marketing ebooks link

Some ebooks don’t get the sales or downloads they deserve because few people know about the ebook. It may be a great or even fabulous ebook, but only if lots of people know about it.

Some authors create an ebook, publish it on Smashwords or other ebook distributors and wait for the money to roll in. Sorry, folks, it just doesn’t work that way.

If you are an author on Smashwords you have another avenue for promoting yourself and your ebook(s) by joining the free Smashwords Forum and listing your ebooks. Search engines will crawl the site, capture your ebook title and your name and other stuff, and thus make your name and your ebook that much more recognizable in searches.

You can wait for the money to roll in, or you can make the money roll in by promoting yourself and your ebooks more. The Smashwords Forum is one more way for you to do that, and it is free.