How to Gumroad (and Why)

I want to be very clear about this, because I feel strongly about it. In fact the reason I chose Gumroad last year, when I was looking for the best payment system to publish a novella under my own steam (While You Are Over There, which continues to be a brisk and robust proof of concept) was twofold: The lean, smart, flexible architecture and the focus on security, including the way they handle the payment procedure itself.

What I wanted, first and foremost, was a “pick your price” element that would even allow readers to set that price to zero, if they needed to, and nobody was really offering that, except this one beautifully designed payment site. If you took a little tour around their website you’d probably see what appealed to me about it, but the basic definition is that they sell specifically digital products—ebooks, video, music—in a clean and quiet way.

On your side, you can order stuff right from here on the site, the transaction goes through their secure servers, there’s no shopping cart or strange currencies or even the third-party delays of a Paypal. It sends the Kindle format, among others, in an email you can forward directly to your Kindle without even touching it, so there aren’t really any convenience concerns either.

Now on my side, I prefer Gumroad because they take a lower cut, to the tune of double the royalty even at a buck a pop from you. I also get an unbelievably larger amount of data to crunch when it’s time to figure out what you want and how to give it to you, which is now literally my job and something I always enjoy. I get to put my money where my mouth is, w/r/t to building toward a future for artists that makes sense and that I can respect. And finally, I get to integrate with a system that started out beautiful to me and is quickly moving toward becoming a market standard.

So those are my reasons. I wish there were more of a How-to element I could show you, but honestly just try it out. It’s all pretty intuitive. If you haven’t ever emailed a book to your Kindle, it’s also surprisingly simple. If you have other questions or concerns, or have suggestions on how better to provide this stuff at a price that makes sense to you and doesn’t mostly go to Amazon for no real reason, let me know. Part of doing this myself is staying limber, so we can work something out.

JAC


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