Selling direct has never been more relevant than right now. As Amazon cracks down on spam, it often affects legitimate authors in bad ways. Authors are losing their Amazon stores left and right, and it is very difficult to do anything about it.
But when you sell direct, not only do you control the user experience, but you also give valuable data about every single person who buys your book in your store, something that you simply don't get on Amazon or any other retailer.
By getting to the point where you can have a profitable store selling direct can be difficult. For that reason, I recommend going through a online course or two when you are getting started.
- My three biggest course recommendations
- Why you would want to take a course on selling direct
- Which course is best for whom
Table of contents
- Why Take a Course on Selling Direct?
- The Best Courses for Selling Books Direct to Readers
- Which Course Do I Recommend?
Disclaimer: some of the links in this article are affiliate links, but I had already selected the top courses before I even asked for an affiliate with them, so you are getting my unbiased opinion. Plus, everything goes to the Kindlepreneur coffee fund, which I greatly appreciate.
So let's dive right in.
Why Am I Qualified to Talk to You About Websites?
It's totally understandable to ask, why is this guy talking to me about building a website? How can he prove the he knows what he's talking about?
Totally understandable question.
Well, for one, I've been the content manager for Kindlepreneur for many years now, and in that time I've learned from the best, and built Kindlepreneur up to the point where it gets more than double the organic traffic that it received when I started.
Additionally, I've built a variety of author websites in my time, including MythBank, which is for my fiction audience.
But before Dave and I even started writing this article and all of the other related articles, we put our heads together to figure out the best approach, then surveyed hundreds of thousands of authors to learn what they do when building author websites.
When putting all that expertise together, I believe I have a good idea of the best routes authors should take to build their website.
So let's dive in.
Why Take a Course on Selling Direct?
Firstly, you might ask: “why do I need to take a course? Can't I just figure out all of the stuff on my own quest? After all, you can learn anything on YouTube.”
And while that's true, you can learn a lot on your own, you will learn far faster and more efficiently by taking a structured course.
Selling direct is a very different ballgame, and most of the skills you have learned for marketing on Amazon will not work here. Let's take a look at some examples:
A New Ad Skill Set
Most of you are probably familiar with Facebook ads to one degree or another. They have long been used by authors to gain traffic to their Amazon store.
What you might not know, is that Facebook ads to your author website are an entirely different skill set.
When using Facebook ads on your own site, you're going to want a Facebook pixel that can then re-target those who have visited your site before. Plus, you can inform Facebook about every conversion you make, meaning Facebook knows who bought your book and who didn't, meaning they can show your add to more people who are algorithmically similar to the people that bought your book.
In other words, the Facebook ads going to your own site are far more efficient, but require a completely different approach from the ads you send to Amazon.
When selling direct, there are a whole host of new tools that you will have to learn, tools that are fantastic for building your direct business, but require a whole new skill set for each one:
Some of these tools may include (depending on your approach):
- Shopify: the most commonly used platform for selling your books direct.
- Woocommerce: a more complicated platform similar to Shopify that some people use because it is cheaper and integrates directly with an established WordPress website.
- Klaviyo: the most commonly used email marketing platform for e-commerce websites like Shopify or Woocommerce.
- Unbounce: A commonly used platform to create landing pages for your store.
- Plugins: whether you use Shopify or Woocommerce, you are going to be using different plug-ins that add different functionalities to your store.
As you can see, this can get overwhelming very quickly. For that reason, I highly recommend picking up a course if you can. If you are financially unable to do so, start saving what you can, and paying instead with your time spent learning as much as you can with free resources.
But for most people, I recommend one of the following three courses.
The Best Courses for Selling Books Direct to Readers
I've identified three courses/course providers that I believe to be of exceptional quality, and if you follow their advice exactly, you are likely to find some success.
These courses include:
- Author Marketing Mastery through Optimization (AMMO), by Steve Pieper
- Authors Selling on Shopify, by Morgana Best
- 7 Figure Book Business, by Pierre Alex Jeanty
Each of these has different advantages that authors can use in their business. Let's walk through the strengths of each one.
Author Marketing Mastery through Optimization (AMMO), by Steve Pieper
AMMO is a fantastic course established by USA Today best-selling author, Steve Pieper. With the system that Steve has put in place, he has generated tens of thousands of sales of his books, and his system has been replicated by many of the students who take his course.
Steve boasts that, of all of his students that take the coursework seriously and actually do all of the steps correctly, every single one of them eventually achieves profit in their store. And of those, a whopping 38.9% of them are able to quit their jobs within a year.
Those are some pretty impressive numbers.
This course walks you through a very systematized process that will show you:
- How to create a profitable Facebook ad
- How to create a landing page that converts
- How to create a Shopify store to increase your revenue
- How to nurture your buyers within an email funnel
Where This Course Excels
Steve Pieper is fantastic at helping you understand the technical areas of Facebook advertising, and increasing your conversion rate in your Shopify store, as well as on strategically constructed landing pages.
In fact, I found the systematic approach to Facebook ads to be absolutely mind blowing, and it became obvious why my previous Facebook ads had all failed before I took this course.
Steve's course lacks a little bit on the Shopify end of things because his focus is more on conversion. If you are looking for more on setting up your Shopify store, and other marketing methods besides ads, then I'd recommend Morgana Best's course as well.
But if I could only start with one of these courses, this is probably the one I would start with. Why? Because you learn so much about not just Facebook ads and conversions, but about how to find out what your readers want and what resonates with them.
Authors Selling on Shopify, by Morgana Best
Morgana Best also has a course that is quite different from what you get with Steve Pieper’s AMMO, but is equally as compelling.
Morgana’s course focuses more on the Shopify end of things, and while it touches on Facebook Ads, that is only one part of the marketing options that she talks about.
Some of the features that she covers include:
- Setting up your Shopify store
- Optimizing Facebook Ads and Email Marketing
- How to handle sales taxes worldwide (this is a big one)
- Which apps you should use in Shopify
- How to optimize for SEO
- Adding unique merchandise to your offerings
And that’s just a sample.
Where This Course Excels
Morgana’s course is one of the best for learning how to set up your Shopify store correctly. It doesn’t just stop at setting it up and learning how to create ads that convert. Instead, it walks authors through some very real questions that many have, such as taxes, the best apps to use, etc.
So if you want to really create a robust Shopify store, this is the one I would point you to.
7 Figure Book Business, by Pierre Alex Jeanty
Pierre Jeanty is a legend in the selling-direct space. He has create a 7-figure business for himself, but also manages to teach and replicate that success with others.
Pierre’s approach is slightly different from Steve and Morgana’s courses, since he actually has two courses that cover two important aspects:
So if you’re only interested in getting help with one of those areas, then you can spend a little less money than the other courses on this list and only get the one. If you buy them both together, it will be about the same
Where These Courses Excel
Pierre’s approach is slightly different than the others, although you will find a lot of overlap between his courses and the other two on this list.
One thing that sets Pierre’s courses apart is that he has a personal focus on selling inventory that you fulfill, unlike all the print on demand selling that most authors use.
This is a valuable skill to have, as it can save you money on large orders of print books, but is also useful (even for smaller authors) who want to sell signed copies of books
Pierre also knows a lot about the psychology of customers, which is a valuable skill to learn if you want to know how to sell to readers directly, or want to run any business online for that matter.
Which Course Do I Recommend?
If I’m being honest, I would recommend all three of these courses if you have the money to pay for all of them. However, I would not go through them all at once. I would pick one, go through everything they suggest, then move on and see what the next course recommends, test those ideas, and go with what works best (testing is key in all three of these courses).
So which one would I start with? For me personally, I would go with AMMO by Steve Pieper. However, there are pros and cons to starting with any one of these:
- Steve Pieper’s Course: I think this one is the best for learning how to convert readers into buyers.
- Morgana Best’s Course: I think this one is the best for creating a robust Shopify store.
- Pierre Alex Jeanty’s Courses: These kind of the best of both worlds, as he has a course on both Shopify and Facebook Ads. If you buy just one individually, you’ll save money. Though keep in mind that you might need both. These are also the best for understanding reader psychology.
But ultimately, all three are really great investments if you are serious about turning a profit on your own web store.