Beyond Amazon: The Power of an Author Website

Filed in Author Websites — July 11, 2024

One of the most common dismissals I hear of author websites is, “Why would I need one, when I can just send them to Amazon?” And I will absolutely grant that this does get your reader to the “buy page” more quickly, and it saves you the cost of a website.

But hear me out:

When you rely solely on Amazon, you’re essentially renting space on a platform you don’t control. While Amazon is a obviously powerful marketplace with a vast audience, it’s important to remember that you’re subject to their rules, policies, and algorithms.

Authors love creative control; admit it, you know you do. Would you ever let someone else choose your book cover without your say? Or hand over your manuscript and let someone make all the final decisions? No? Then why would you relinquish control of your online presence to someone else?

Here are five reasons NOT to rely solely on Amazon.

Design and Branding Restrictions: Amazon’s pages follow a uniform design and layout, limiting your ability to customize and showcase your unique brand. You can’t personalize the look and feel of your book pages to reflect your brand’s personality and style. On Amazon, you’re a product; their product. On your own website, you’re the owner.

Competing Ads: Amazon’s product pages are littered with paid advertisements to other people’s books. Below is my Amazon page for Miranda in Retrograde. I count eight different things readers can click on other than the Buy button. On your own website, the focus is 100% on your book; this gives you a chance to sell your readers on your book, with no distractions for them to click away. Amazon doesn’t care about selling your book, they care about selling a book.

Algorithm Dependence: Amazon’s algorithms determine how your books are displayed and recommended to potential readers. Changes to these algorithms can affect your book’s visibility and sales, and you have zero over these changes. 

Policy Changes: Amazon can update its policies at any time, which might impact how your books are listed, priced, or promoted. These changes can happen without prior notice and can significantly affect your book sales and marketing strategies.

Limited Interaction: On Amazon, your interaction with readers is limited. You can’t collect email addresses directly from your book pages, engage with readers through comments, or offer exclusive content and updates. This limits your ability to build a direct relationship with your audience.

Owning your own website gives you complete control over your brand presentation, allows you to engage directly with your readers, and provides a stable platform that isn’t subject to the whims of a third-party marketplace.

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