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How Can I Create a Bookstore?

The big question is how can I create a Bookstore? The answer is that there are a number of ways to do so, but I will focus on how I did it.

In a previous blog I discussed A Business of My Own. That focused on the founding of T&R Independent Books by my wife Teresa (Tess) and myself (R. Frederick). Today, I take a deeper look into the website itself.

But before starting, let me say that there are professionals that will design your website for you. These are available online and the costs vary. I chose to build my website, but you might want to consider a professional. Even so, reading this blog may give you ideas that you can convey to that professional.

I love writing and in many ways creating a website involves writing. There was a time when I worked with BASIC engines to develop programs designed to help me do a job. I no longer do that since the coding has far outgrown my abilities. But it did provide me a foundation knowledge of what can be done. So, I have used the tools available to build my own website.

More about this on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live in and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

There are a good number of fine website hosts which I believe I have previously discussed in some detail. Check the archives for more information.

I chose WordPress for my host because of the ease of use and because I was already using it for my blog. So, I moved to WordPress and began building my new site. This began a few years ago, but last year (2020) I really made a big upgrade!

Let’s take a look at some of the tools I used and still use.

Plan – WordPress offers four plans: Personal, Premium, Business, and eCommerce. Up until last year I was using Premium, but I upgraded to Business. One of the reasons was that I wanted to have an online bookstore providing visitors with a easy to view and use website. Someday, I may upgrade to eCommerce but to tell you the truth, I am very pleased with Business. If you read their descriptions, Business is considered best for small business, which I am, on the other hand, eCommerce is considered best for online stores, which I have. But I opted for the Business Plan, and I believe it was the best choice for me.

WooCommerce – Shortly after upgrading I got the WooCommerce plugin. This is a very popular plugin that is designed to work with either WordPress Business or WordPress eCommerce. I only began working with it this year and I have been very impressed with the ease of use. I am still in the learning curve, which might mean future changes to the website.

This tool enabled me to create a bookstore, but more on that later.

StoreFront – This is the theme. It is available for either Business or eCommerce. This is an important theme in that it enables you to create a site that looks and feels like a storefront. Products are categorized, priced, and displayed along with a Shopping Cart.

The Shopping Cart interfaces with my PayPal enabling me to receive, process, and fulfill orders.

All-in-One SEO (AiOSEO) – If you are building a website of any size that you need good SEO designs and tools. I downloaded and installed this tool and have seen my pages and posts improved dramatically in appearance and other factors.

Simple Banner – This is another plugin that enables me to let my customers know about a new deal, a discount, featured books, etc. It is easy to use and allows me flexibility in positioning and readability.

Products – This tool gives me complete control over my products. I can control the image, category, stock availability, price including discounted price, item number, whether a book is featured or not, date, stats, likes, and AiOSEO. Plus, I have control which of these are shown to me in a glance and I can change the view whenever I want.

Categories (under Products) – I can create new categories with a hierarchy. This can be important.

Discounts – All books in our bookstore are discounted. I want people to know that T&R Independent Bookstore is a discount store. Not only are all books discounted, but we have times when selected books or book have special discounts.

Shipping and Taxes – Being able to control shipping costs and taxes is something I value. It gives me greater latitude to offer customers special deals.

Obviously, I didn’t do this all-in-one day or even in a relatively short span. It took most of last year, plus there were upgrades previously from my original WordPress website. It involved dedication and hard work, but I am extremely pleased with the look and feel of my storefront.

Come on in and explore the site. We not only have a bookstore that features our books, but we also have a place where you can learn about writing, publishing, and marketing your book. It is called TR Services and it is aimed at the first-time author, the experienced author, and the struggling author. We believe that everyone has a book within them and deserves the chance to publish their book. Our motto is: We edit, proof, & publish the book within You! See you there!

If there is the slightest chance that you might write a book, whether many or just one, visit us and take advantage of our knowledge. The information is free and helpful, and our plans are designed for your budget. Periodically, I will either upgrade the videos or add additional ones for your perusal.

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

Oh, and if you email us inquiring about our services, we will provide you a free copy of our book on writing plus a brochure about our business.

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Truth on Trump

09 28 2020

Welcome to News which is published every Monday and Friday.

Today’s news regards President Trump’s accomplishments and the facts regarding him, his administration, Covid-19, the economy, and more. If you didn’t watch the video please do so, it gives an overall view.

Soon the first debate will take place. I have no qualms about Trump vs. Biden but hiding in the reeds are network ‘bobbleheads’ and so-called factcheckers that will attempt to discredit anything the President says. Not that Trump will be clobbered, after all he did survive 2016 and won the presidency.

But the NeverTrumpers are not above using lies and distortions to discredit the President. That means that all of us have to be alert to the truth, which is one of the reasons I wrote Trump an Outsider’s View. Although conservative and a Trump supporter I have done my best to present the facts and let the reader decide what is truth and what is not.

There is an argument out there that this is not the most important election. I’ve read it and don’t buy into their argument. This election is critical because most of the gains that President Trump has achieved for our country are by decree. The next President can override them.

What Does That Mean?

It means that the next president can issue his own decrees which would supersede whatever President Trump has done. That covers a lot of ground including our economy, the wall, immigration, and more.

Are there other reasons it is critical?

Yes. The swamp still needs drained. The House Democrats in particular have shown that they are not fit for office. Good people elected them to do their job which is to legislate. Instead they have used government time, energy, and money to undermine and try to destroy a duly elected President. The American people see through all their actions and need to sweep them out of office!

In addition, while President Trump has accomplished much, he still has more to do. One thing is to rebuild the economy from the shutdown. He is already doing that, but he needs more time. Further, he also has more to accomplish both domestically and internationally.

The First Debate is About Taxes. What about them?

I expect to hear the same old Democratic arguments that are always made against Republicans without supporting facts. That is that the tax breaks are just for the rich. Tell that to the mom and pop businesses that were thriving in the Trump economy prior to Covid-19 and are beginning to get going again.

But this is a good time to take a critical look at the plan that Biden/Harris have put out there. We don’t have enough rich people to pay for that! Soak the rich historically hurts the middleclass and the lower-class workers. Why? Because just as profits trickle down the food chain so do taxes. Or the rich close up shop and leave the country which leaves us with fewer high paying jobs. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

Wouldn’t the Government Step In?

Of course, they would. It is what the liberals want. But how many governments have taken over the economy and prospered? Some have experimented and seemed to prosper for a while, but it never lasts. Eventually you run out of rich people’s money.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices

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Is Democratic Socialism the Hope of America?

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Monday’s I try to focus on issues. This week I am taking a look at Is Democratic Socialism the Hope of America?

That question actually opens up a Pandora’s box of questions, so let’s dig in.

What is Democratic Socialism?

Well, it isn’t your traditional socialism, that’s for sure. Let’s start with a few definitions:

Democratic or democracy simply means political power resides with all the people and that that power is exercised directly by the people. Sometimes we in America get confused and call our American system of government a democracy, but it isn’t. Our government is a Republic where the political power resides with all the people and it is exercised by representatives elected by the people. Thus, we live in a Representative Democracy. Pure democracy is dangerous and can be demonstrated in mob rule.

Socialism is the public collective ownership or control of the basic means of production, distribution, and exchange, with the avowed aim of operating for use rather than for profit, and of assuring to each member of society an equitable share of goods, services, and welfare benefits.

Social Democrat is a socialist; especially, a socialist who emphasizes gradual reform.

The above definitions are according to the dictionary.

It would be easy to confuse Social Democrat with Democratic Socialism but I think you will see that they are not the same. Below is a definition of Democratic Socialism found on the internet.

Democratic socialism is a political philosophy that advocates political democracy alongside social ownership of the means of production, with an emphasis on self-management and democratic management of economic institutions within a market or some form of decentralized planned socialist economy.

The key difference between socialism and democratic socialism is that democratic socialists don’t want the government to own the means of production and socialists do. They believe that certain general social goods like health care should be run by the government, but otherwise support capitalism.

Are you confused yet?

What Benefit is there to Democratic Socialism?

I read an interesting article that listed the pros and cons of this new concept.

Pros

1. It reduces classism within local societies.

In Democratic Socialism, there are not “haves” or “have nots” because there is a sense of community ownership in all things. Private production is used for the public good. At the same time, individuals within the society are able to elect their government officials freely, without fear of political reprisal. That means the differences in wealth and culture are reduced because everyone is working toward a common good. (Emphasis is mine)

2. It gives everyone an opportunity to pursue success.

In a truly capitalistic environment, only those with means and opportunity can pursue options like good healthcare coverage or a college education. In the U.S., there is already a form of Democratic Socialism in place with the public schools offered in the K-12 grade range. This form of governing simply extends the concepts which are already working in a democratic society and applies them to other components of it. Each person has an opportunity to pursue their own definition of success. (Emphasis mine)

3. It eliminates the threat of price fixing.

In Democratic Socialism, the government either controls, owns, or monitors every organization that provides goods and services. Instead of using free market demands to raise prices or form mergers or monopolies, the society is able to govern pricing and regulations to allow access to anyone who may need those items. There is no structure available that allows suppliers to alter pricing simply because there is a high demand for what they have.

4. It creates income equality within society.

In the United States right now, the inequality gap has been growing for more than two generations. In 1980, only 50% of children earned more than their parents. In 1940, 92% of children were able to earn more than their parents. The Top 1% of income earners in the U.S. bring in more than 20% of all income. In 1970, the bottom 50% of earners brought in more than 20% of all income. Adults in the top 1% earn 81 times more than adults in the bottom 50%, on average. Under Democratic Socialism structures, these gaps wouldn’t fully disappear. They would, however, become greatly reduced.

5. It reduces the threat of economic cycles.

During the Great Recession years of 2007-2009, many families around the world struggled to make ends meet. Jobs were lost. People were forced to find underemployment opportunities just to pay their bills. Since then, wages have exploded for the upper income tier, growing as much as 230%. For the bottom tier of income earners, some individuals haven’t seen a pay raise since 2007. Democratic Socialism reduces the threat of these economic cycles, making it easier for households to take care of their basic needs while still having income access to pursue opportunities.

6. It creates an economy that is more efficient.

Within the structures of Democratic Socialism, there is no longer a push to sell unneeded goods or services to consumers. That means less money is spent on marketing, allowing for more to be spent on production, innovation, or wage growth. People still receive what they need for comfort and daily living without the constant brand messaging demanding to be heard.

7. It offers more room for value judgments.

Products can be offered in a society based on Democratic Socialism that are based on value judgments instead of profit judgments. Even if production creates a loss, the government can subsidize production to make needed items available to everyone. In a structure based on capitalism, goods and services are based on profits first and value second.

Cons

1. It cedes more control over basic needs to the government.

Even though officials may still be elected, Democratic Socialism is still on the socialism spectrum. That means the government is given more control over how lives can be lived. There may be added benefits to social access, but that requires money, which means higher tax rates. Then there are fewer options available because the government is in control of the competition. At the end of the day, in its extreme form, the government would be telling everyone what they can do, where they can work, and what they can purchase. (Compare the highlights here to the highlights in Pros #1. Whenever the government is in control of commodities increased taxes seem to be the result.)

2. It could cause a net financial loss instead of gains for families.

Even Bernie Sanders admits that higher taxes are required in such a system, with a 25% tax rate proposed for the median income earner in the United States under his plan. In the Sanders plan, the top tax rate would still be under 40%. That means a greater tax burden, relative to available income, is given to the middle- and low-income earners instead of the higher income earners.(as noted in #1 higher taxes; not only that it is higher taxes for the middle and low income people!)

3. It would limit the influence of unions, civilian oversight committees, and similar institutions.
Democratic Socialism would cede the rights of workers to the government through employment. If the government decides that having a union is not in their best interest, then they can get rid of it. Public employees have already experienced this in government structures that are closer to capitalism. That means there is a greater potential for unsafe work places, lower wages, and less overall incentive to work if all the physical needs of an individual are automatically met by the government. (Unions aren’t perfect and don’t always represent their members, but do you really want to do away with them?)

4. It can reduce innovation.

There may be an advantage in Democratic Socialism in that people with specific skills or talents are placed into jobs that directly benefit from that experience. At the same time, however, production within a socialism-style government structures tends to focus on domestic needs instead of new opportunities. That limits innovation because there is little, if any, competition with the government to develop new ideas. Over time, that means the society can lag behind others that incentivize innovation. (In other words, no mom and pop stores, no inventions occurring in the basement; all of which has had a strong vibrant history in America. It will disappear!)

5. It can create more bureaucracy.

The government will want to determine who is eligible to receive specific benefits. Applicants must fill out paperwork to prove their eligibility. Ongoing renewals must be processed. The goal of Democratic Socialism may be to streamline society and equalize access to services, but more bureaucracy is created in doing so. That means it could take much more time to make services available to those who need them. (Another word describing this is Big Government.)

6. It creates more government spending.

For an economy to grow, there must be a balance between domestic and foreign trade. As innovation declines and manufacturing grows stagnant, fewer international opportunities develop. That means the government may be forced to import more items, creating trade deficits with their neighbors. Without innovation, maintenance and repairs overages become common as equipment ages. In time, the government spends more than it would if it had simply invested capital into existing systems to upgrade them. (Speaks for itself.)

7. It can create a lack of societal motivation.

There will always be people within any society that do not participate in the workforce. In the United States right now, about one-third of all people who are of a working age are choosing not to join the workforce. Under a system of Democratic Socialism, those figures could increase even further. If there is no reward for producing more than someone else, yet both individuals have their basic needs met, the individual working is more likely to give up than the individual not working choosing to join the workforce. (Democratic Socialism fails to take into consideration our human nature. If we don’t need to work to eat, then why would we work?)

8.It cannot prevent a corruptible government.

Human beings are fallible creatures. We are prone to mistakes. We are also capable of doing abhorrent things to one another in certain circumstances. Under the structures of socialism, no matter where it happens to be on the spectrum, there are fewer checks and balances in place to limit the effects of corruption. New leaders can be elected by the people, but not immediately. Hierarchies tend to emerge under this structure, with leaders working to shore up power where they can. (Where absolute power exists absolute corruption also exists. While the love of money is the root of all evil, power is the driving force in our world. And Democratic Socialism breeds a very powerful government sector supposedly representing the people but actually controlling them to a severe degree.

In researching this subject I ran across an article put out by the think tank called niskanen center. This article referenced Kevin Williamson who wrote for the National Review. Apparently he is a conservative although the article doesn’t reflect that tag. His ideas and the ideas of the libertarian quoting him seem impractical and naive. For any political system to work well you need to consider human nature.

But I would like to respond to one of the ‘Pros’, namely #2 – It gives everyone an opportunity to succeed. In that item those supporting Democratic Socialism made this statement: In the U.S., there is already a form of Democratic Socialism in place with the public schools offered in the K-12 grade range.

Now I find that interesting. The United States is nowhere near the top when comparing our education with other countries. And when you dig down you find that Christian or private schools as well as home schooling outperform public schools! And that is in spite of billions of dollars being poured into our public schools! Is that really an argument for any form of socialistic governance? Not only outperform but provide a better quality of education instead of the revisionist education dribble being called education today.

Democratic Socialism may not be communism but it still represents Big Government, still rewards laziness, suppresses innovation, and would eventually destroy our country.

So Capitalism is our Hope?

Capitalism is ‘An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are for the most part privately owned and operated for private profit’. (Dictionary definition.) Unfortunately Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and, I imagine, those who agree with her, apparently failed or outright skipped any education relating to capitalism. Her characterization of Capitalism is outright buffoonery.

Still pure capitalism is not desirable. There needs to be basic regulation and by this I mean ‘basic’. We live in a world where unscrupulous people live. So I would be in support of reasonable laws (most of which I believe are already on the books) designed to protect the people or consumers. The problem as I see it is not capitalism (capitalism allows me the freedom to write and sell books), but rather men and women who abuse others. Interestingly enough there are such people on both sides of the political spectrum. Proper enforcement of the existing laws would go a long way toward leveling the field.

But we also must deal with the moral problem. Bringing us back to the school issue you can trace much of the problems we have today to the misguided action to kick God out of our schools. Today we are constantly hearing reports where Christianity is being opposed by our school system when they actually need more Christianity. It is very telling when you see that the teaching of the Bible, which is both a holy book and a very practical instruction on proper behavior, is forbidden while other ‘religious’ material is allowed.

Today our school system is exploring a laundry list of immoral acts and doctrines. To make them palpable they call these immoral acts moral. This is Democratic Socialism in action! And what are the results: unwanted pregnancies, shootings, suicide, and more. Yes, we had those back in the 50’s but nowhere near to what we have now.

In my opinion Democratic Socialism is far worse than Capitalism. Capitalism can lead to price gouging and many other crimes. But Democratic Socialism when taken to its ultimate source will steal our economic success, our economic freedoms, our privacy, our health care, and ultimately our morals.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), or Black Death (Book Four), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.