Authors, when considering the choice of a storefront for selling your books, ask yourself about your primary objective in selling direct. Are you an author, a business person, or both?
When considering the choice of a storefront for selling your books, it's essential to reflect upon your ultimate goals and what you aim to achieve. Rather than pondering over which storefront to select, ask yourself about your primary objective in direct selling.
Are you seeking to maximise profits, or is your goal to provide an additional purchasing option for your readers?
Do you enjoy marketing? Or would you rather stick to writing?
Consider whether you're inclined towards running a business or prefer to let retailers handle the business side, with your website offering a direct purchase option.
Managing a business is a demanding task, requiring significant time and effort. Consider whether you would like to run a business.
Your objectives will guide your choice of storefront and how you structure your store. From simple buy buttons on your existing website to a comprehensive setup like Shopify, there's a spectrum of options. If you're committed to diving in deeply, consider adjusting your writing schedule to make time for starting your store, similar to undertaking a home renovation project—it often takes longer than anticipated.
Drawing an analogy from my distance running experience, there's a saying: "You're either a runner or a competitor." This can be applied to authors—are you primarily an author or a businessperson, or both? If you're more of an author, the business aspects of selling direct might not appeal to you.
Selling direct can have varying levels of involvement. If you don't want to run it as a business, you can simply sell from your website.
Authors who are not in KU and distribute their books wide are aware of the time investment in uploading books to various retailers. Starting a store will be time-intensive as you will need to upload files to BookFunnel (BookFunnel handles file delivery and customer support), and also to a print provider such as BookVault or Lulu - that is, if you don't want to handle inventory and go to the post office!
Regarding costs, Shopify Basic is all anybody needs until they are selling well over a million dollars a year. This is a viable option for established authors with a substantial backlist and subscriber list. It costs around the same as website hosting. (With Shopify, you don't pay for website hosting.)
It's important not to feel overwhelmed. Nobody builds a business in a week. Focus on progress over perfection.
In summary, the journey to selling direct is a process of discovery and learning. Don't wait for perfect clarity; start where you are and adapt as you go. The key is to make steady progress.
My YouTube Channel for Authors Selling Direct.