Selling Ebooks Directly (and 10% Discount Coupon)

Earlier today, Chuck Wendig was on Twitter talking about ebook sales.

Since one of the things I want to do as a full-time writer is expand more into the self-publishing/indie side of things, I was intrigued. Wendig uses a service called Payhip for his direct sales. I checked it out, then set up my self-pubbed work for direct sale.

For Readers and Fans

This means you can now buy the following works directly from me (as well as through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc.) And to celebrate, I created a 10% off coupon you can use for any of my stuff between now and March 12. Just enter coupon code 348OUWX85P.

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I know a handful of people bought things when I first mentioned this on Twitter and Facebook earlier today, but before I’d created that coupon. It doesn’t seem fair that you had to pay more for jumping in so quickly. I can’t retroactively apply the coupon, but if you bought directly from me yesterday at full price, email me at jchines -at-, and I’ll send you a 25% off coupon good through March 12.

For Authors and Anyone Else Interested in the Nuts and Bolts

Finances: Payhip hosts the file and handles the transactions automatically, paying you through PayPal with each transaction. Payhip takes a 5% cut off the top, and then PayPal takes their percentage, as they always do. What does this mean?

For “Chupacabra’s Song,” the price is $0.99. Of that money, Payhip takes $.05 and PayPal takes $0.33, meaning I make $0.61 per short story sale. Compare that to the $0.35 I’d make at Amazon.

“Spider Goddess” is priced at $3.99. Payhip takes $0.20. PayPal takes $0.42. I come away with $3.57. That’s 89% of the cover price, which is better than Amazon or any other third-party bookseller I’ve dealt with.

Payhip also adds on the VAT for overseas transactions, saving me that particular headache.

Setup: I followed Wendig’s lead in creating each file as a .zip file that contains an .epub, .mobi, and .pdf version of the story or book in question. The biggest hassle was updating my files and getting them all prepared. The second-biggest was updating my website with the additional links.

Actually uploading the files for sale was ridiculously quick and easy.

Creating those “Buy Now” widgets for this blog post wasn’t quite as straightforward, but it wasn’t a problem. And creating coupons is a piece of cake.

Potential Headaches: Payhip has monthly sales reports, which I won’t get to see until next month. But the Amount Earned on the dashboard goes by cover price, and doesn’t include Payhip’s 5% or PayPal’s fee. For tax purposes, I need to know the amount of money that actually ends up in my pocket. This may require a bit more recordkeeping, and one more spreadsheet to play with come tax time next year.

Payhip also includes some basic analytics, but I’m not sure how accurate or useful they are. I posted about the first two ebooks on Facebook and Twitter. The analytics on referrals show:

  • Direct – 291
  • Facebook – 128
  • Twitter – 119
  • Google – 3

Since I hadn’t shared any direct links yet, I’m a little skeptical. Still, it’s better than nothing, and might help if you’re trying to track marketing effectiveness and such.

Finally, I wish there was a page on Payhip that would show everything you’ve listed for sale, instead of having to go one at a time. You can probably add links to the Product Description, though. Not perfect, but maybe better than nothing?


The only downside is that I tend to get a little obsessive when I’m doing stuff like this, which means today’s wordcount suffered. But now that everything’s set up, I can pretty much leave it alone, and get back to to the Very Important Scene in which my protagonist learns how to use a Space Toilet. (I may or may not be making that up…)

If anyone has any trouble at all with the Payhip links or the files, please let me know so I can make things right.