I’ve read about authors selling their books on eBay over the years. However, I was naturally skeptical. With all the books available on that site, what are the chances a buyer will find your book and buy it? Under which category do you post it? How does it work? How much does eBay charge? How could you possibly make a profit from doing this?
One rainy Saturday, I was surfing eBay, looking at dolls (I’m a doll collector), and I decided, since it was raining and we weren’t going anywhere, perhaps I’d register as a seller and see how things worked. Instead of listing one of my print books, I decided to list one of my ebooks, How to Reborn a Doll in a Day. I figured I’d pay a few bucks, list it and just see what happens.
Lucky for me, there is an entire community of reborn doll enthusiasts online – both artists and buyers – and many of them hang out on eBay. While I can’t go into the how-to of joining and listing with eBay here (there are plenty of books on the market covering that), I can tell you that it took me about 45 minutes to find my way through the process and place my first ad. I went ahead and splurged, buying an ad for a “featured item”, including some photos and a lengthy description, complete with table of contents, and more. The ad cost me $28.06. I listed several copies for sale under the “Buy It Now” option so people wouldn’t have bid on my ebooks. I had to get a paypal account, too, but it turned out to be worth it in the end.
I listed the book for $14.95, which is $2 more than I sell it for on booklocker.com. I made the price higher to help pay for the eBay ad costs.
I placed the ad under the Reborn category, where they sell dolls, doll parts and other supplies, and how-to information. And then I waited. I placed the ad on January 13th. I sold my first book on January 15th. And then I sold another, and another, and another. I was selling a couple of books a day and making quite a profit! I’d notice a spike in sales just after I’d list an ad and another spike just before each ad expired, sometimes selling up to five copies a day. We made several hundred dollars in just a couple of months. Whenever an ad would expire, I’d just put it back on eBay with one click and the orders would continue. I experimented with cheaper ads that ran more frequently, but none paid off more than the Featured Item ads.
After three months of basking in the gravy that ad was generating (86 copies x $14.95 = $1285.70!), I was stunned to receive a naughty email from eBay saying they’d received a complaint from another eBay member, claiming my book was in the wrong category. What?! I had 100% positive feedback from buyers praising my book on eBay! I was selling copies every single day! How could it be in the wrong category? Didn’t eBay look at this information before pulling my ad?!
It didn’t take long to figure out what had happened…
I’d received a few complaint emails from reborn artists over the months, claiming I couldn’t teach someone how to do what they did in just one day. These became especially harsh after my book was featured favorably in Doll Crafter Magazine last year. However, I’d anticipated a backlash from the reborn artists when first writing the book and had included a note in the introduction that stated, “I’m sure many reborn artists will be a bit perturbed by the information I’m going to share with you in this book. I only ask that they understand that most of us can’t afford to pay hundreds of dollars for a professional reborn doll, but we’d love to have one in our collection (or give one to a loved one) if we can do it inexpensively on our own!”
So, I was pretty sure an artist was angry that I was advertising a book about their craft where they were selling their wares, and had turned me in. No bother. I sent emails back and forth with eBay and they gave me another category where they suggested I place the ad. It was under Dolls & Bears – Dolls – Artist Offerings, OOAK, Reborn – Other.
I listed the ad under that category. Not surprisingly, sales slowed to a trickle. Instead of selling a couple of books a day, I was down to selling about 4 books per week. While disappointing, it was still gravy and I’d definitely recommend other authors try this method as well. Just be sure to list your book under your book’s topic on eBay, not under “books.” If your book is a how-to, so much the better!
I’d love to hear from other authors who have tried to sell their books on eBay, too.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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