Sunday, 12 October 2014

Payhip: A Handy Sales Website For Indie Authors

A review of the benefits of Payhip.

The 'How To Save The World' books,
now available in epub format from Payhip.
For the first couple of years on sale, my alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books were available exclusively from Amazon.  I had always planned to make them available from other ebook stores, but somehow I never got around to it.

However, earlier this year were four months late in paying me my royalties, and their disinterested and tardy attitude to resolving this late payment finally prompted me into action.  As a result, all six books in the 'How To Save The World' series are now available in epub format from my Payhip sales page.

My experience with Payhip so far has been very positive, so I thought I would write a blog post on the benefits of self-publishing with Payhip for any indie authors currently considering expanding the number of sales channels where readers can buy their books.

Here are some of the advantages of Payhip:

1) You are paid automatically directly after each sale.  This compares extremely favourably with, where their contractual terms state a waiting period of 60-90 days for payment, and where in reality earlier this year I had to wait an additional four months, i.e. over six months in total, to get paid my royalties!

2) Payhip charge only 5% per transaction.  After the commission from paypal, you receive 95% of the remainder.

3) You can offer your books for sale in epub, pdf or mobi format.  This offers more flexibility for readers and it gives them an ebook file which they can read in the ebook reader or app of their choosing.

4) Payhip offer a variety of promotional sales tools, such as:

Tweet the sales link and get a discount.
i) You have the option to offer your customers a discount in return for sharing your ebook sales link on twitter or facebook.  This gives readers an incentive to promote your book, as everyone likes getting things cheaper!

I've made the first book in the 'How To Save The World' series available for free, but you can offer whatever percentage discount you prefer.

Download 'How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy from Payhip for free

ii) Payhip also offer a 'pay what you like' option, where you set the minimum price (starting from £0 upwards) and your customers can pay whatever they want from this price upwards.

iii) Another sales feature is the option of discount codes whereby customers can enter a code at the check-out to receive a discount.  You can promote the codes on your blog, twitter or wherever you want, and you can include an expiry date for discount codes, or also limit them to a set number of sales.

5) You can choose the currency, allowing you to target sales at your primary market.

6) Payhip is a more direct method of selling to your customers which gives you greater control.  You decide the price and format of your books, and there's greater freedom to offer the promotional offers which suit your sales strategy.  Selling via Payhip also means you're less dependent on any one company.  The success of various corporations varies from decade to decade and even from year to year, so it makes sense not to be dependent on one single company, i.e. Amazon, for all of your ebook sales.

For example back in my youth the Sony Walkman was the portable music device of choice for cool people to be seen with.  However, with the transfer to mp3 Sony failed to capitalise on their market dominance and allowed Apple to become the dominant market leader in the portable music market.

Amazon are currently the market leaders in the ebook market with an estimated 60-70% of the US market, but recent reviews of Amazon on Trust Pilot suggest their customer service has dropped significantly from the high standards offered a couple of years ago.  Complacency can often be a precursor to failure, and in this modern internet age an increasing reputation for poor customer service can spread much faster than in decades gone by.  It therefore makes sense to take control of your own sales, rather than rely on one company who may not be the market leader forever, and who could change their terms or sales strategies at any time.

For example, in a recent email sent to indie authors, Amazon openly admitted to taking 'action to reduce sales of (Hachette's) titles in our store.'  Whatever your opinion on the Amazon/Hachette dispute, it's worrying that Amazon have openly admitted to deliberately taking action to damage a specific publishers' book sales, hurting many innocent Hachette authors in the process.  Given Amazon's stance, it therefore makes sense as an author to at least have a back-up plan and diversify your distribution channels, and Payhip offers authors the chance to sell their books without fear of corporate strong arm tactics.

Payhip: Worth checking out for indie authors.
Getting back to my own experience with Payhip, all in all the whole set up process was extremely user friendly, and all six of my books were uploaded and available for sale in less than a couple of hours.  It's early days, but I have to say that getting paid immediately when a sale is made certainly appeals to me, and my overall initial impressions of Payhip have been very positive.

Different authors may have different requirements and preferences for their sales outlets though, so here are a couple of minor points worth pointing out...

1) Websites like Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Amazon, etc, will convert your book file from a Word document into epub or mobi format.  However, with Payhip the file you upload is exactly what the customer will receive, so you therefore need to have your ebook file already converted to epub, pdf or mobi format.  That's not too much of a problem though, as the excellent ebook conversion app, Calibre, is free to download and is ideal if you want to convert Word documents to the most popular electronic book formats.  You can download the Calibre app for free from the following link:
Download Calibre, the ebook conversion app

2) At online ebook stores such as Smashwords, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Kobo or Amazon, there's a chance that new customers might discover your book while browsing their website for other books, but Payhip is a direct sales store for electronic products.  This has the benefit that you keep more of the sales price for yourself, but it also means that you have to generate sales yourself, via your blog or twitter/facebook account.  Some authors may find that many of their sales are self-generated anyway, so in that case Payhip is ideal.

However, if you're just starting out as an indie author and don't have a blog or twitter account yet, then publishing on an ebook store like Amazon may be the better option.  In most cases though, the best option is to offer your readers as many purchase options as possible, so Payhip is definitely worth considering, in addition to the likes of Nook, Kobo, Amazon, etc.

Once you sign up for a free Payhip account you get an author page which displays thumbnails of all your books.  Check out the link below to see how my author page looks on Payhip:
Charles Fudgemuffin on Payhip

And you can find out more about the features available on Payhip at the following link:
Payhip features: Everything you need to promote and sell your ebook to your social networks

In addition to Payhip, the 'How To Save The World' books are available from various other ebook stores, so in a future blog post I'll also be writing about my experience with ebook stores such as Smashwords, Kobo, Nook and iBooks.

. . . . . . . .

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  1. Thanks for the great and detailed post on PAyhip, I agree it kick-ass. Regarding the late payment from Amazon I would not be too hasty to slam them. Being from South Africa you were probably waiting for your royalties via posted check. My first few checks took forever (have to meet $100 threshold) and then still got lost. Would recommend you have a serious look at using a service like Payoneer with Amazon to collect your cash. (I use it, it works)

    Dave H

    1. Glad you liked the post, David. Payhip are great.

      With reference to Amazon, I wasn't hasty to slam them ... they were four months late in paying me! Four months is the very opposite of hasty.

      Also, I'm from the UK, not South Africa, so Amazon pay straight into your account (well, they were supposed to). Also, this was not long after I had published the final three books in the 'How To Save The World' series, so my royalties were well over $100 in any case (although that was irrelevant in my case because for payments to the UK, Amazon don't have a minimum threshold).

      Anyway, even after I raised the non-payment with them it still took them almost a further month and a half for them to eventually pay my royalties. This was despite me repeatedly emailing them every few days to chase them up.

      About four years ago I was a massive Amazon fan, and they had one of the best customer service departments I'd ever experienced. Back then, I had nothing but praise for Amazon. However, not long after that they obviously made dramatic changes to their customer service department because their staff went from one extreme to the other - from brilliant to disinterested, unknowledgeable and tardy. I'd love Amazon to one day return to their former excellence, but sadly judging by the latest reviews on TrustPilot I'm not the only person to experience shoddy customer service.

      On the plus side, since this incident they've subsequently paid my royalties on time, i.e. payments sent 60-90 days after a sale, so payments reach your account 63-93 days after a sale. And to look at the positives, at least this bad experience motivated me to publish my books with other publishers, so from a personal point of view there were some positives to take from it.

      Anyway, sorry for the rant. Thanks for your reply and other self-publishers from South Africa may find your tip useful.


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About The Author

The 'How To Save The World' books
by Charles Fudgemuffin
Charles Fudgemuffin is the author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books which are available for Kindle from Amazon.  The first book in the series is available from the following link:
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy

As with all Kindle books, you can also download a free sample of the first few chapters.

Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books contain material suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.