Tips to Increase Direct Sales From Google Play/Books

An Idea Came Up to Increase Your Sales and Commissions from Lulu


I had last told you that I didn't get much sales from Lulu, but they had the highest commissions. That's if you use them to distribute your books (and is not a bad idea for most authors, who are writing their own books and should concentrate their time on this.)

But I'd dropped a big batch on Google and was busy cleaning up the missing details in the meta data.

Here's a shot of what I ran into:

 

You have a buy link, and a publisher's website link.

Note: This is the buy link for the hardcopy edition:


Both are great for SEO, but wouldn't it be better to get sales? I was sending them to that book's landing page - which is great SEO, but not direct sales. (And yes, these days I'm making a hardcopy version of every book, whether I distribute that book to Ingram or not. This tweak means going back to ensure all my earlier ebooks are represented by Lulu in hardcopy...sigh.)

So I now have the Publisher Website with the landing page for that book (was formerly http://midwestjournalpress.com) and use the Buy Link to get real sales.

The real leverage on this is to get the person to go ahead click through. Lulu gives you a direct shopping cart address to use for sales. You don't go there, then click again to buy the book - it's a shopping cart. You next click to get delivery.


[Update: The plus side of this is that you get from 2-4 times or more royalty from your hardcopy book from Lulu than you do from anywhere else. Like comparing $10-14 there to $3-5 elsewhere. Nice Ka-ching when you can get it.]

The drawback on this is that Lulu isn't in as many countries as Google, Amazon, or Kobo. The plus is that the links can be to your own storefront with something like:


But it will probably get more sales if you send them directly to the shopping cart (the link is in their sales button code - but you have to know their proprietary content ID.)

 
They can't get back to your other books, but the next button is to checkout - which is one less than your site.

Why not send them to iTunes, Nook, Amazon, or Kobo? 

The model I use, and the one I recommend for indie publishers and self-publishing authors, is to get the free ISBN from Lulu first, and then port your content to all the rest. You don't have to get an ISBN, but it makes generating the sales codes quite easy, as you can search by ISBN on all the sites except Amazon (which has their own proprietary code.)

[Update: when you set up that book on Lulu, you'll be able to get that proprietary number they assign. Just note it on Calibre somewhere, along with the tradepaperback ISBN and the hardback ISBN (if you go that far) - plus the Amazon number when it's assigned. Then you can enter these all into your spreadsheet to generate the links for the buttons on your landing page. Sounds complicated, but it does speed things up.]

In other words, Lulu always has all your content. (You can even sell PDF versions there.)

Other reasons to use Lulu:

1) Amazon isn't popular with everyone, they give you lower royalties, insist on being the lowest price, and only give you back an ebook version you can only use on their ereaders. And there's that extra step of finding out what that special code is.
2) For iTunes, you need a MAC - or download their special program.
3) Nook is OK, but I haven't ported all my books there.
4. Kobo gives me the absolute worst royalties on PD books - 20%

My landing page currently goes to Google Books, but should probably go to Google Play: (ex: https://play.google.com/store/search?c=books&q=9781304420114) Now, that will take extra clicks to get a sale from that search, but these links all show up as buttons on the landing page, so we expect that they prefer to have their books on Google Play (syncs between devices, you can download your books anytime you want for local viewing, as many times as you want.)

One other point: if you follow those links, you can see the relative approaches these sites have. Amazon and Nook give "also-bought" recommendations which aren't your books. iTunes and Google tend to show my books which are by the same author and in the same series. Kobo doesn't give recommendations (at least for that link I gave) - but with such poor royalties, it's a desperation play to eke out some sales I wouldn't get otherwise.

Other option is to set up your own site with a shopping cart. Disadvantages are
  • EU VAT you have to pay to the buyer's country as the sales point - 20%.
  • Lack of traffic compared to the big boys above. The sell for you - you just have to keep adding books and link to them with your marketing.
You can always sell digital products via iAmplify or JVZoo, etc. But this is actually in addition to selling through the major distributors - something you use with your mailing list. The distributors finance expanding your direct marketing.

Summary:

Lulu should be number one place to refer buyers to, as they give the best royalties and aren't auto-discounted like Amazon and Google. Nook would be second - and I'd also have to wait 60 days to get paid.

Your mileage may differ - leave a comment if you've a better approach.

The takeaway: Use Google for SEO to link to your site. Any sales should go to your Lulu storefront. You make more income on your hardcopy books by sending them straight to Lulu.

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