MyBookTable – A Better Way To Sell Your Books

My Book TableThis is a guest post from (@ThomasUmstattd). Today he’s introducing a terrific new idea for authors that I thought you all should know about.

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Most publishers require authors to have a website before they will publish them. The reasoning behind this is simple. The purpose of the website, for the publisher, is to sell books.

The problem is that books can be really hard to sell on your website.

 

 

5  Problems With a “Books” Webpage

Most authors add a “books” page to their website, listing all their books along with links to buy them on Amazon. It sounds like a simple solution but it often creates problems, such as:

  1. Bookstores get mad. Barnes & Noble gets ticked when excluded from the list. They have threatened to pull the books of any author who doesn’t link to their online store. Now other bookstores have started asking for links too. This causes clutter and confusion. It is hard to make every bookseller happy and still have a page that looks good.
  2. Books pages don’t rank well on Google. Putting all your books on one page pretty much guarantees your website won’t rank on Google for any of those books. Don’t believe me? Google your book and see what comes up first.
  3. A books page gets crowded if you have multiple books. We work with professional authors. Many of them have 12+ published books that they want to sell. When using the traditional book page approach, the older books (the ones that need the most promotion) tend to get lost in the noise.
  4. A books page is hard to use. Website visitors want “buy buttons” to buy your book. Many authors don’t know how to add buy buttons for every store that wants one. So, they end up using text links instead. These don’t work as well because that’s not how people buy. It may have worked in the 90s but not any more.
  5.  Book pages tend to look messy. It is hard to keep things looking consistant when you do the page by hand and each book is by a different publisher. It can also take a long time for authors to resize their book images by hand so that all the graphics are standard, not skewed.

 

MyBookTable – The Better Way

MyBookTable is a plugin for WordPress websites that makes listing your books on your website easy. It gives you the flexibility  and uniformity of a bookstore without needing to do any of the shipping yourself.

This one minute video explains MyBookTable.

 

Some details:

MyBookTable Makes “Buy Buttons” Look Good (& Easy!)

You can easily add “buy buttons” for any store you want and MyBookTable keeps them all looking nice and uniform. No coding needed.

MyBookTable Makes it Easier to Rank on Google

We built MyBookTable from the ground up to be Search Engine Optimized (SEO). If you don’t know anything about SEO, MBT will handle the basics for you automatically. If you do know SEO, MyBookTable integrates with popular SEO plugins like Yoast SEO.

MyBookTable Works With Amazon Affiliates

Most authors don’t use Amazon’s affiliate program. This makes me sad because this is one of the easiest ways to make extra money on your books. Amazon gives its affiliates a commission on the entire shopping cart.

You read that right.

The world’s biggest online retailer will give you a cut on everything.

So if someone clicks your book’s buy button and then does their Christmas shopping while on Amazon, you get a commission on every gift they buy. Most authors who use Amazon affiliates report that they make more from Amazon than they do from their publisher. That’s not a typo. It’s a hidden treasure trove.

You don’t need MyBookTable to use Amazon Affiliates, but MBT makes it easy.

MyBookTable Is Affordable

MyBookTable has three versions:

  • Basic (FREE!)
  • Professional
  • Developer

The basic version is a free download and will come with the SEO but not Affiliate Integration. This is a great option if you just want to sell your books.

If you want to take advantage of the Affiliate Integration, you will want to look at the different paid packages, which also offer more shopping cart options — like Barnes and Noble and CBD.com. The paid versions are available at AuthorMedia.com/mybooktable.

How do you sell your books now? What are some of the common frustrations you deal with?

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My Book TableThomas Umstattd is CEO of Author Media, a team of expert web-designers, social media managers, and coders who are dedicated to making online platform building easier for writers.

Thomas built his first website at the age of 13 and has been helping people with the web ever since. Thomas is an award-winning speaker on the subject of marketing and technology.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading, volunteering for pro-life ministries, and blogging at his personal website, ThomasUmstattd.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ThomasUmstattd.

Tweetables:

  • Is MyBookTable a better way to sell books? You decide. Click to Tweet
  • This could solve a lot of my problems when it comes to selling & shipping books. Click to Tweet
  • MyBookTable – a better way to sell books. Click to Tweet
  • Finally, a way to capitalize on my Amazon affiliates account! Click to Tweet
  • Amazon affiliates + books + MyBookTable = happy writer. Click to Tweet
  • MyBookTable is so simple! Why didn’t someone think of this sooner? Click to Tweet
  • I’m glad Rachelle featured MyBookTable. I’m going to get this plugin! Click to Tweet
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  • http://claudenougat.blogspot.com Claude Nougat

    Thanks Rachelle, that’s really good to know. My experience with my blog is that no one appears to buy a book from my site (as far as I can tell) and I seem to sell only from Amazon itself.

    A question: can such a book table be adapted to Google’s Blogger or do I need to abandon my blog and set up a separate wordpress website? I’m leary of doing that since I’ve got a fairly good ranking for my blog (indeed, very good for a writer!) and as a result I’ve never yet gotten to the trouble of setting up a website at all…

    • http://www.authormedia.com Thomas Umstattd

      Blogger doesn’t support plugins like MyBookTable. This is yet another reason to move away from Blogger. We moved Rachelle away a year or so ago and her traffic has doubled since then. The good news is she was able to keep all her posts, comments and traffic.

      • http://claudenougat.blogspot.com Claude Nougat

        That’s certainly good news! Because it’s one of the main reasons I’ve stayed with Blogspot: the fear of losing my traffic. Also, at Blogspot, they have a very cool template they call “dynamic views”, clean-looking and professional, plus it allows for an amazingly easy way to navigate the site: my traffic has doubled since I moved to dynamic views!… But a plug-in like yours sounds very enticing!

  • http://queendsheena.blogspot.com Sheena-kay Graham

    Cool plugin. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  • http://www.christianmamasguide.com Erin MacPherson

    Ooooh, interesting. I’ve been waiting to hear more about this and was excited to see the email announcing the Kickstarter in my inbox yesterday. I love that this plugin makes it so easy for authors to have links and affiliate links on their site… it took me a LONG time to figure out how to do that the HARD way (a.k.a. by tinkering with WordPress). If only this had been around before! I’m wondering if you could go into a bit more detail about the differences in the versions. I get that the “professional” allows for affiliate links and additional stores, but why would one buy the “developer” level?

    • http://www.authormedia.com Thomas Umstattd

      Erin,

      It is easier to “show” than to “tell” :-)

      There is a great explanation of the packages at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/authormedia/mybooktable-wordpress-bookstore-plugin/. Just scroll down and look for the package comparison chart.

      • http://www.christianmamasguide.com Erin MacPherson

        Very cool, Thomas. Thanks for sharing. This is going to make a HUGE difference for a LOT of authors.

        One more question: Do you think this would be a good plug-in for people who aren’t authors but who recommend a lot of books? Like someone who has “recommended” reading and would like to give people easy access to the books?

        • http://www.christianmamasguide.com Erin MacPherson

          I meant “two more questions”: This seems like it’d be a good plugin for corporate sites that refer to a lot of books as well? Does it only work on the WordPress platform?

          • http://www.authormedia.com Thomas Umstattd

            It only works on WordPress, but a lot of corporate sites use WordPress. It is the most popular CMS in the world with more market share than its next two competitors combined.

        • http://www.authormedia.com Thomas Umstattd

          Yes! In fact that is how I intend to use this plugin on my personal site. I haven’t published a book but I read hundreds of books and people are often asking me for recommendations. With MyBookTable I can make money off of recommending books.

  • http://carradee.blogspot.com Carradee

    I’ve actually started using Ganxy, which lets you sell direct or put other links in the widget.

  • http://writtenbyjessica.blogspot.com Jessica

    While I do have a blog, I hadn’t really thought about selling books on it. I’m not published yet, but this will be a nice tool to have in the future.

    Thanks!

  • http://samanthaclark.wordpress.com Samantha Clark

    Great tool. And I agree that it’s important to have options other than Amazon for readers to buy your books. I design WordPress websites for authors and that’s always in my advice to them. You can even include indie stores by using IndieBound.

    Thanks for posting this, Rachelle.

  • http://rmabry.com Richard Mabry

    Thomas, As usual, great advice–but, like Claude, I’m one of those people who still use Blogger for my blog. Any chance there’ll be a version for those of us stuck in the 20th century?

    • http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/authormedia/mybooktable-wordpress-bookstore-plugin/ Thomas Umstattd

      Unfortunately no. Blogger just doesn’t have the technology to support something like this.

  • http://www.danerickson.net Dan Erickson

    I’m a self-published writer by choice at this point. My plan is to write at least three books before even seeking an agent or publisher. (Unless one approaches me first, ha ha). I’m releasing my second book, “At the Crossing of Justice and Mercy” in a few weeks.

    For writers like me, a website is imperative. It gets our name out there (at least a little). It give us a platform for our writing. I don’t sell books from my site. I lead readers to Amazon and Ibis Books. My site is not cluttered. I’m a minimalist and appreciate a clean look. No matter how many books I publish, I know I can find a way to keep the site clean. I don’t get much traffic, but as a writer, blogger, and social media practitioner, that can change over time.

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  • http://marlataviano.com Marla Taviano

    Well, this is funny stuff. Because just TWO HOURS ago, my self-employed web designer husband came down the stairs and said, “It’s time to update your books page on your blog.” And I said, “Okay. Go for it.” Who knew 15 years ago, way before I had a book published, that I was so brilliant to marry a web designer??

    So, he’s been working on it this morning, and we had a talk about how many “buy” buttons I need and do we want separate buttons for hard copy and digital editions and do we want to include B&N or just make it simple and go with Amazon?

    And then I see this post.

    Gabe (my husband) works exclusively with WordPress and is good at convincing people it’s the way to go. So this is perfect. He had heard of MyBookTable a couple weeks ago, then forgot about it.

    Thanks for the post!

  • http://www.mktheodoratus Kay Theodoratus

    Okay, I understand the blogger bit … but I’ve never understood how to change my blog site to WordPress.

    Also, both of my websites are hosted by another company. Can your ap be used on websites hosted by other services?

    • http://www.authormedia.com Thomas Umstattd

      @Kay

      My company moves authors from blogger to WordPress all the time. So you could hire us to do it for you. Or you could google “how to move from blogger to WordPress” it and do it yourself.

      You don’t need us to build your site to use MyBookTable but you do need to use WordPress.

  • http://moonbridgebooks.com Linda Austin

    I assume this is for WP.org, not WP.com? How difficult is it to move from .com to a .org – I have my own .com domain name I want to keep. The yearly cost of having a WP.org has to be worthwhile, which it might be if I can become an Amazon Associate.

    • http://www.authormedia.com Thomas Umstattd

      Yes this is only for WordPress.org. It is not hard to switch. A quick Google search will give you a lot of guides.

  • http://valeriecomer.com/blog Valerie Comer

    Thomas, I understand there will be a free version and a more definitive paid version. What I haven’t seen is how the paid version works. Is it a one-time buy or is there a monthly or annual fee?

  • http://www.rpbook.co.uk Russell Phillips

    I find the claim that “Most authors who use Amazon affiliates report that they make more from Amazon than they do from their publisher.” surprising. Do you have a source for that?

    • http://www.authormedia.com Thomas Umstattd

      I should have said, “most of our clients.” According to the New York Times, 7 out of 10 books don’t earn out their advance. This means that the only money 70% of authors will get after publication is from some sort of affiliate program like Amazon Associates.

      • http://www.rpbook.co.uk Russell Phillips

        Even the 70% of authors that don’t earn out their advance would need to earn more than their advance from affiliate sales before they made more from Amazon than from their publisher.

        Thanks for the clarification.

  • http://www.amberargyle.blogspot.com Amber Argyle, author

    Ugh! I hate having to have books on hand. The upfront expense, trying to store them, the hassle of hauling them around. But a lot of venues (conferences, library events, etc) want you to bring your own.

  • http://noneyet JoySue Ruterman

    I am new at marketing my book. It came out in Feb.2012. I published through CreateSpace. It is on Amazon, however I haven’t sold very many there. I sold 150 myself, I still have some here at home I haven’t sold yet. I have given several books away as gifts or for promotion. I know I should be promoting it more. But I don’t know how. I would appreciate any help I can get.

    • http://www.authormedia.com Thomas Umstattd

      You should subscribe to the Author Media blog. All it talks about is book marketing. http://www.authormedia.com/blog

  • http://www.brendanomeara.com Brendan O’Meara

    I use PayPal and sell some directly out of my house. PayPal has a nice “Buy Now” button I embed right on the page. I get an email with the address and I ship it away.

    No bookstore in my area expressed malcontent, but I’m not exactly a super sized fry.

  • http://theotherstephenkingonwriting.blogspot.com Stephen H. King

    I hate advertising that’s wrapped up like a blog post.

  • http://www.laramsey.com Lori @LARamsey.com

    The reason I don’t use Amazon affiliates is because I live in a state that doesn’t allow it. There are several that don’t, unfortunately, otherwise I would.

  • http://www.amazinggraysministry.com Lynn Baber

    It would have been nice to know from this post that the product is not yet available. No wonder there was no link to the MyBookTable site… interesting, but a waste of time at the moment.

    • http://www.authormedia.com Thomas Umstattd
      • http://www.amazinggraysministry.com Lynn Baber

        I understand that the Kickstarter fund raising program is live, but is the My Book Table widget available for use? If the product itself is available would you please include a link to it? The only opportunity I found on MyBookTable.com was to invest, not to use the widget.

        • http://www.authormedia.com Thomas Umstattd

          Lynn,

          Kickstarter Backers (even at the $1 level) will get the beta within a couple of weeks. Everyone else will get access to it sometime after that.

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  • http://alefba.us/ Alefba

    Ok, I am convinced this is a great plugin. Where can I get it?

  • Patricia

    Could you provide an author website where this plugin is in use? Thanks!

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  • maggie

    This is a lovely idea, but for the life of me, I can’t find plug-ins on my wordpress blog in the dashboard.

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