I love to ship things. That's likely the nerdiest thing you've ever heard, but let me clarify: I love to ship things that people have purchased. It's still nerdy, I know.
After seven years of selling items from the Rising Village website, I'm a semi-pro at this. I have a scale, all the appropriate mailers (bubblewrap, poly mailers, boxes of various sizes), a Pirate Ship account, an e-commerce website, and thank you stickers for the mailers. Also, I love menial tasks.
Last week, I posted about buying direct from my website and sold almost $150 in books in a day. And yes, that's taking out the shipping costs (free shipping forever!) and brightly colored mailers. I won't bore you with the math, but I don't make a load more money shipping directly than when Amazon ships my book. The difference is about $2. If I was selling a thousand copies a month, it would pay off, but I'm not. So why not save myself the headache and put all my publishing eggs in one Amazon basket?
The difference is in the connection. I can't see who has purchased my book on Amazon, unless you leave a review. When I ship my books from my upstairs office in the Rosedale house, I know who has purchased my book, I can thank them personally, and savor the feeling of having a small tribe of people who read my words. For a writer, this is the kind of high you can't replicate. And for someone who thrives on connection and relationship, it is validating. And yes, writers need to be validated; don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
And yet, I sell more books on Amazon and that's great, too. I need the reviews to kick around the algorithms so shoppers can find the book. No, I don't like Jeff Bezos either, but realistically, authors need to make money, and we aren't going to make as much if we refuse to sell on Amazon. It's complicated and can bring about a small existential crisis if I think about it too deeply.
It comes down to this: if you love Amazon and want to buy my book on their platform, it's fine (just please leave a review!) But if you deeply dislike Amazon - or are ambivalent - and choose to buy directly from my website, I'll sign your book, slip it in the colorful bubblewrap mailer, and whisper a prayer of thanks for you.