Independent authors can count on more resources than it seems, sometimes. The latest advice of the day is that your author website needs to be a sales portal. I don’t mean a check-out cart. The landing page for your site should have links to your sales outlets, though. You don’t have to take orders from your site. At the least, you should point to Amazon (where many of us sell books) and collect the sale there.
Amazon’s not on the list of links at the website of Juliet Marillier. She’s got a fleet of award-winning historical fantasy novels, having written since the early 2000s. The Big 5 publishing house imprint Tor publishes some of the books that run in excess of 700 pages each. Such a book demands a lot of resource to put into print. Macmillan, one of the Big 5, is Tor’s mothership company.
A Big 5 deal is supposed to include the full outfit for an author: website, reviews, publicity, editorial direction, sales resources. Marillier is a generous and accomplished author, and one whose website has no links to a sales outlet. Oops.
Fair enough oversight, and if you have 23 novels and 20 years of career, you can be excused for not driving sales. That’s supposed to be the publisher’s job, right?
Except the publisher seems casual about driving a sale, too. Marillier’s landing page at Penguin Random House doesn’t include any link to purchase a book, unless you click on a cover.
What the publisher is doing is collecting email addresses for the author. Sign Me Up for News, says the box on her Penguin Random House webpage. (It’s not clear who’s holding and using those email addresses.) It’s one more click onward to get to the Penguin Random House purchasing page, where this morning the checkout through the publisher’s sales cart is down for maintenance.
You can do better yourself. Put a link on your author website’s landing page that directs readers to an outlet to purchase. Get your book for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, iBooks, and more. (Bookbaby and Draft2Digital sell books, too.) Take care of your author webpage at Goodreads as well.
You might be an independent author who wants to sell books more easily than the Big 5 do. Retail booksellers stock just a fraction of the titles available, though. An agent can argue for better sales resources on your behalf, but it’s up to the publisher to sell your books. Indies take care of their own careers. Give yourself the leg up on sales from your author website.