Gumroad: An Alternate Distributor for Ebooks (And Other Products)

We all know about the main distribution channels for indie authors: Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google. But there are alternative, and potentially lucrative ways, to sell your work. One such alternative is Gumroad, which allows writers, artists, and others to sell their work.

It doesn’t have to be limited to ebooks either. If you’re a non-fiction author, you can bundle products and sell resources/checklists/PDFs, online courses, additional research, and even services to go with your books. And if you’re a fiction author, you can sell subscriptions to your work. You can sell anything on Gumroad, even templates for professional resumes.

According to the pricing page, it costs $10 per month to use Gumroad, plus a 3.5% cut and 30 cent charge per transaction. In exchange, when you sign up for an account, you can start to gain followers and get access to analytics on them. You can also import your mailing list. Other features include choosing pricing tiers for your products, selling memberships and software, charging in multiple currencies, offering presales and affiliates, automating workflows, and even selling physical products (in addition to digital). And if you want to further customize your Gumroad account, you can access their API (this is where knowing code can really help).

Gumroad even shares tips on how to be successful on their site. What are the secrets? They recommend selling products in tiers, building your audience via email, and making sure you offer value. They also share a number of case studies, which offer lots of helpful insights. Here are some of my favorites:

Gumroad Case Study: Ebooks

Authors and developers Sacha Grieg and Tom Coleman published their book, called Discover Meteor. The book is about building JavaScript web apps. They offered three packages for their book, and their premium package included code, a members area, live instances, APIs, migrations, integrations, and a t-shirt. They also had a lengthy pre-launch sequence and built up their audience ahead of time. And they hosted events and meetups to generate buzz and build excitement.

Gumroad Case Study: Photoshop Brushes

Artist Kyle T. Webster creates and sells custom Photoshop brushes. He is active on Tumblr and has gotten to know his audience well. He also posts content regularly and creates a sense of urgency to incentivize buyers. And he heavily uses video and images to attract new customers. As for pricing, he often gives away things for free, but he also experiments with tiered pricing.

Gumroad Case Study: One Month to a Product and Revenue

James Clear, an entrepreneur and travel photographer, does workshops. He publishes a blog and newsletter regularly, and built up an email list to over 100,000 subscribers. Then he launched a workshop and generated sales from his list.

Gumroad Case Study: Small Product Lab

Painter Dorian Iten teaches people how to draw. He created his product in a 30-Day “Just Ship It!” challenge, and got a great response to it from people on Facebook. He also let people choose how much they wanted to pay for his product.

Do you sell your work on any alternate channels? Share your experience in the comments!


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