Earn More Royalties With Bookshop: My Self-Publishing Experience, Part 11

Bookshop

This is a cautionary tale born from my bad decision to promote my book’s Amazon page instead of Bookshop for my self-published title.

Note: From the outset, I promised I’d be as unbiased as I could in these overviews because, as you’ll see, I have a long history with BookBaby and DIY Media and I wanted to provide an honest and accurate review of my experiences. If I sound less than unbiased in this post, believe me, I’m telling the truth. I really regret not having taken advantage of the real-life benefits of this BookBaby feature sooner than I did for all the reasons listed below. Read on to see what I mean.

As a former BookBaby employee and longtime BookBaby blogger, I have been familiar with the benefits of selling your printed books and eBooks through Bookshop ever since the day Bookshop was launched. I was there. I remember sitting in that marketing meeting when Bookshop rolled out and thinking, Wow, this is great. We’ll be able to offer our customers the best royalty deal in the world (a whopping 85 percent!). What author wouldn’t want to take that deal and promote the heck out of it?

Answer: me. Why? Because I’m an idiot.

When I first published The Dragon Squisher, I did the smart thing. On the advice of my BookBaby Publishing Specialist, I created a Facebook ad campaign and sent people to the Amazon page for my book. Why Amazon? Because everyone has an Amazon account already. Since this was my very first self-published book, I wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to buy it. And thanks to Amazon, it’s literally a one-click purchase. Easy peasy.

Consider your royalties

But, when I was putting my Facebook ad campaign together, my BookBaby Publishing Specialist suggested I promote my Bookshop page in any subsequent ads I ran so that I would make more money. Made sense.

How much more money? Well, the printed copy of The Dragon Squisher sells for $14.99. Through Amazon, I make $1.03 per copy. Through Bookshop, I earn $7.50. Per book. That’s more than seven times the royalty I get through Amazon! For eBooks, the difference can also be dramatic. Bookshop offers you an 85 percent royalty rate. That’s across the board. For Amazon, the rate varies between 35 and 70 percent, depending on the price of your book (you can get that 70 percent rate if you price your eBook between $2.99 and $9.99). Either way, you’re still making more with Bookshop.

So, you’d think given the expert advice I received, and the clear monetary difference, I would have promoted my Bookshop page when running subsequent Facebook ads, right?

No. No, I did not.

It is easy to buy from Bookshop

Why? Because of that perceived ease factor. Each time I ran an ad, I kept thinking, I don’t want to make it hard to buy. Well, here’s the thing: It’s not hard to buy from Bookshop. How do I know this? Because just this second I hopped onto Bookshop and bought a book, The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Cryptocurrencies, by Fito Kahn. (Maybe I’ll finally understand these things?)

I didn’t already have a Bookshop account. And guess what? I didn’t need one. Bookshop accepts PayPal. Boom! A one-click purchase. (Bookshop also accept credit cards, in case you’re wondering.) What’s more, when you buy an eBook through Bookshop, you can choose ePub, AZW, and PDF, which doesn’t even require an eBook reader.

Here’s another thing: You can include links to Amazon and other retailers on your Bookshop page. So why not send people to your Bookshop page and let them decide for themselves where to buy the book? Besides, lots of people are looking for ways to support businesses other than Amazon, and here’s your opportunity to give them a choice.

Bookshop makes it easy to discount your titles

Another fun fact: You can drastically discount your books on Bookshop and still make more money than selling it through Amazon. For example, my book, The Dragon Squisher (in case I haven’t hammered that home by now), retails for $14.99 in print and $7.99 for the eBook. I am now running a holiday special on Bookshop for $5 off either version (through 1/1/22). If someone buys the printed version of my book, I will still get $2.50 in royalties, which is twice as much than if they buy the book through Amazon at full price. (By the way, if you want to get $5 off my book, simply use the promo code SQUISH at checkout. See how easy that is?)

And there are even more features

Another great reason to sell through Bookshop: Your readers can share their email addresses. This lets you build up a primo email list of actual customers so you can reach out to them when you’re ready to publish your next book. (Here’s a hot tip to encourage this behavior: Tell your readers if they buy your printed book, you will email them a code for a free eBook.)

Book reviews are even better on Bookshop. Why? Because you can curate them. So, if someone leaves a review that talks about how their book arrived on time and in great condition, you can ixnay that and just publish the reviews that talk about how amazing your writing is.

Also, your book is always in stock on Bookshop, so there are no worries about meeting demand during the holidays. Bookshop offers true print-on-demand turnaround, with orders fulfilled in two-to-three busines days.

Finally, Bookshop allows you to customize your metadata in seconds. And what’s more, your Bookshop metadata is independent of other retailers. So, if you want to temporarily change your book’s overview or description to mention your Bookshop-exclusive sale, it won’t affect your metadata on other sites.

To sum up: Don’t be a Scott. Use the link to your Bookshop page when you run social media ads. You’ll make more money and build up your mailing list at the same time.

Best of luck!

Read the Self-Publishing Experience series:
My Self-Publishing Experience. Part 1: Placing An Order
Book Marketing and Social Media Promotion: My Self-Publishing Experience, Part 2
Book Editing: Part 3 Of My Self-Publishing Experience
Amazon Optimization: My Self-publishing Experience, Part 4
Metadata Optimization For Your Book: My Self-Publishing Experience, Part 5
How To Get Great Cover Design: My Self-Publishing Experience Part 6
How I Landed An Audiobook Deal: My Self-Publishing Experience Part 7
eBook Distribution: My Self-Publishing Experience, Part 8
Successful Book Printing And Distribution: My Self-publishing Experience, Part 9
Facebook Ads: My Self-Publishing Experience, Part 10
Earn More Royalties With Bookshop: My Self-Publishing Experience, Part 11
What Would I Have Done Differently? My Self-Publishing Experience, Part 12

How To Publish On Amazon

7 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks, Scott, for this very helpful article on Bookshop. I’m about to upload my fourth book to Bookshop. It is Heroes Of The Heart Book Of Quotes. I will spend my initial ad budget on Bookshop and with the additional income, add promotion to Amazon later. Writers’ need a great deal of added cash to support their writing habit, and their love for writing the oft dreamed of bestseller.

  2. This seems like a basic overview only. The author fails to mention the costs involved with publishing through Book Baby. Did the author do the book totally outside of BookBaby and only dropped it into the Bookshop with no additional fees? And he also failed to mention the 90 day rule with KDP. I would have liked to see the real dollars and cents – not generalizations.

    • BookShop is only available to BookBaby authors, included as part of our publishing services. There are 10 additional posts in this series that go though lots of detail, including working with KDP. I recommend the entire series!

  3. Sounds easy – but a question. How does a First Edition work on books that are only printed on demand? Do I need to have 1,000 First Edition books printed at the same time to honestly say that they are a First Edition?

  4. This comparison commentary on Bookshop and Amazon is so helpful. As I complete my poetry book ‘Unravelling My Life Lines’ I will highly consider Bookshop as my publisher.

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