Payhip? As a Website!?
My journey as a self-published independent author has been a strange and twisty path. I started writing in 2016. Then I thought I was ready to publish in 2018. (It took two weeks to get a book posted on Amazon KDP. Laugh. That’s nuts.)
My books languished in the Kindle Unlimited program for a while with off-and-on fits and spurts. I kept writing and publishing (and working the full-time day job which I still do). Figuring out what to do to get my books noticed seemed to be a real problem.
I began looking into marketing and good Indie author practices. Sitting here in 2022, I can honestly say that I know more, and still know not nearly enough. It is very much still an ongoing Author’s Walk. I share my experience in the hopes that it might aid someone else and offer insight into the behind-the-scenes work of the Draoithe Saga.
I realized in 2018 that a website was necessary. I firmly believe that Indie authors need a base of operations. I need a place for my digital creations to ‘live’. Draoithe and the dream needed a home. It matters for several reasons such as direct sales, merchandising, blogging, email collection, etc… But more than that, it needs to be a place where readers can be immersed in the author’s world and they can recover from the book hangover.
First, I went to a platform I was familiar with and built my website because that was the only platform I could easily grasp. (I’m not tech-savvy.) It cost nearly $500 to set up the site (2-year plan) and buy all the extras (some of which I never understood how to use or integrate).
It took me weeks to build. Lots of things never worked right (probably part user ineptness and part outdated tutorial videos). I’m not berating that platform. Many people use them with great success. I simply am not qualified for that task. So I admitted my weaknesses and chose to build with my strengths.
When it was time to renew, I had also decided that being exclusive to KDP wasn’t in my best interest and I needed to be able to sell my books from my platform as well as other platforms. I begged my more astute younger brother for help with my book business, and he agreed to aid me with my website difficulties.
In 2020, we undertook the arduous task of migrating everything from my first platform to a new one. Many self-published authors used the new platform with great success, so we took our cue from that. It was cheaper, so that helped. My brother’s skill had it running smoothly.
Things were much better, but still not a cakewalk. All the upkeep was driving us both crazy a year later as I once again proved to be inept at dealing with even minor issues.
We were constantly having to fix something that I screwed up, an update messed up, or deal with hackers and scammers who attacked the site even with safeguards in place. Even with a brighter mind to help, it seemed that maintaining a website home base for Ophelia Kee was more than I could manage.
Once again, some things were always not quite right. Mine and his full-time day jobs along with family needs meant that I needed something less hands-on. It was back to the drawing board by the beginning of 2022. (I’m not bashing any platform. They were great, just not for me. Once again, it was me who wasn’t competent to navigate their system. Even with help, I remained frustrated.)
I promised to speak the naked truth about my author’s walk. So I’m not shying away from my lack of skill when it comes to coding or website building. All of that is just as Greek to me as internet marketing is. When I started my blog, I made a promise to my readers that I would not lie about my journey (even if it didn’t paint me as the smartest person.) The truth is all there is even if it is colored from my perspective.
I concluded that I needed something different. I needed something easy for people who don’t write code and can’t afford to pay a web designer to constantly troubleshoot everything to keep all the connections running smoothly.
Then, the light shined down from heaven so to speak. Along with the bright light I was sure I could hear the voices of angels, “AAAAHHH”.
I came across Payhip as a storefront option on my Books 2 Read dashboard with Draft 2 Digital. I had built a storefront on Payhip when I moved my book catalog wide over the 2021 summer. So I added those links to my books’ universal links. Then I went back to Payhip to learn why Draft 2 Digital thought so highly of them as to include them in the universal link.
That’s when I realized that Payhip could be used as my website, literally! (There are some restrictions, read the fine print carefully.) I could have my domain name pointed at my Payhip store. Payhip would host my blog, allow me a storefront with all the online safeguards for customers, and best of all there was no upfront fee.
Payhip gets a flat fee of 5% when I sell a book or other digital item and some incidental fees that equal about 2% for processing the transaction. (Disclaimer: There are paid versions that reduce these fees if you sell very high volume and you will want to investigate the pay methods depending on where you are in the world. I’m not a paid spokesperson for Payhip so please verify the truth of this blog for yourself. I am human for all that I look like a tiger.)
An approximate 93% profit seemed like the best royalty rate out there. Payhip was far cheaper than hosting a site on some platforms and well worth the money for me to be able to delete the hassle of maintaining my site on other platforms. I was almost sold so I ran it by my little brother. I would lose the blog RSS feed, but as I copy it to Blogger, that was a nonissue. We decided to once again migrate the website.
It was easy!*** No coding, no integrating things I didn’t understand, and no worries about hackers. I just had to upload my content, decide a few things, and my books were for sale directly to the public.
It felt like a relief. I could have a home base for my books and my self-publishing business was open to the public around the world without all the stress. I could finally focus on learning about advertising rather than feeling frustrated about hosting websites.
Low and behold, the more I played around the better it got. I found upsell tools along with discount coupons as well as the ability to link my Mailer Lite email landing page for my newsletter subscriptions. (They have other sales tools for paid subscriptions and affiliate programs that users should check out. I will be getting back to those when I get the next paid vacation time.) My storefront looks modern and super sharp.
What was the one thing that made Payhip stand above the rest? The “foot traffic”. People were already on the Payhip site, looking for things like my ebooks. Readers could search and stumble over my books even if they may not have been looking for me. Other platforms didn’t seem to be able to offer that.
It’s a bit like putting my little online Indie book shop in a strip mall filled with other similar online businesses that people were visiting rather than building my storefront in the middle of the internet desert hoping my social media presence or a Google search would send a few stragglers out along the dusty road. And the analytics about that traffic tell me exactly where that traffic comes from. Both on the internet and where in the world they are from.
The volume of curious readers visiting my site from places like Germany, South Africa, and Russia, was astounding. I expected lots of traffic from Facebook. It was overwhelmingly coming from Twitter. Having access to my followers and the analytics giving me detailed information about traffic to my site makes Payhip lightyears above all the other platforms on which I sell my books.
So without further adieu, allow me to introduce, the new and improved OpheliaKee.com. If you haven’t checked out the blog where I share some of my works in progress as serial publications, the exclusives page that is holding all the video content, or the storefront where all the books including all the boxed sets and exclusive reads are located, allow me to extend a personal invitation. Welcome to the dream…
As always, when you read be kind and leave your review.
*** When I say it was easy, I mean in the use. It did take a lot of work to get everything up and running and there are likely things I should look into. Set aside a few hours or maybe even days depending on how much content you want to upload.
About the Author
Not who everyone thinks she is.
The product of someone’s imagination.
The end result of a lifetime wishing to get out.
Do not buy the lie.
If you live in fear, you give up freedom.
Taking the risk and making the leap.
Too much of anything is a bad thing.
Innuendo floating on the mist that rises above the water.
Walk away and leave it all behind.
Telling the story that haunts a fantasy.
Catching a dream.
She does not exist.
-Ophelia Kee from Longview, Texas, USA
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