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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. 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. 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 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 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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The Riddle Report 05 17 2021

These days the author has more responsibility than ever before and more opportunities! Indie Publishing plays a big role.

In days gone by the author wrote a novel, submitted it to a publisher, and once accepted, relaxed. But Indie Publishing has changed all of that !

There are all kinds of publishers out there. But here I want to present you with a different perspective. In a previous blog I have mentioned that there is a better way than self-publishing. You are about to see what I was talking about.

First a brief history. I published my first novel in 2003. Since then, I have written a number of books. The first four books were all published by self-publishers. But in 2013, I discovered and published my first eBook. (My other books are also in the eBook format, but the publisher did this because I paid for it.)

This discovery has changed my life and now I am about to reveal to you what I believe is a better way to publish.

That better way is simply: You are the publisher!

At the time there was almost no information on the subject but today there’s considerable. It is called Indie Publishing which tells you right off the bat that as a publisher you are independent. This is an important distinction.

More about this issue on the other side of this break. 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. is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live 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 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.

Indie Publishing is the author taking ultimate charge. Basically, it means selecting a printer or publisher to print our books. And there are publishers out there willing to be our printer and even our marketer.

The one I am most familiar with is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). CreateSpace, whom I was with, merged with KDP so now all my print books are with KDP. Plus, I have eBooks with KDP and a few with Smashwords.

I will discuss KDP more in the example. I have also located at least one other printer called Best Value Copy. They are an online printing service that provides quality work at reasonable prices. However, I have not used them or any other publishing platform because KDP has proven to me that they are very capable and affordable.

In looking for a quality printer you can try your own neighborhood. For example, there is a Staples store not far from us that gives business discounts to authors using their printing services. That suggests the possibility that other office supply stores may offer the same services.

But assuming the role of publisher is more than just getting a printer. You literally take on the responsibilities of a publisher. You may have to seek your own ISBN, copyright, and other important items.

In our case, we listed ourselves with the State of Florida with a DBA (Doing Business As) name of T&R Independent Books. Because we use KDP we are able to use their ISBNs which are free, although they also sell other ISBNs for a modest price. Copyrights are free.

It is both exciting and scary. But the rewards can be awesome. For example, a self-publisher may give us anywhere from 8% to 40% royalty depending on volume of books sold. But as our own publisher the percentage jumps up to 60% and more (before costs and taxes).

In addition to that, we have virtual control over every aspect. It is true that with Kindle Direct some control lies with them, but it is also true that such controls are limited.

In establishing our own publishing business, we also took on the marketing of the books, which I may discuss in a future blog.  But in short, we will now be able to use the marketing tools that we used to buy from the publisher. Now we will have the authority to market the books as we see fit without incurring exorbitant costs.

Tip: As a publisher you pay the ISBN, the copyright, and other legal fees.                
Tip #2: Indie Publishers can get gross royalties of 60% or more. Even after taxes the profit is excellent.                


I promised to discuss Kindle Direct Publishing and here we go.

When my wife first expressed the desire to start writing her own novels it fitted right in with the idea of T&R Independent Books. So, we immediately began researching what the costs would be to publish.

We searched the internet for both local and online printers. Eventually we settled on KDP because of three primary factors:

  1. We would retain ownership of all rights.
  2. Costs were reasonable.
  3. KDP would provide us worldwide marketing.

(At this time, we were dealing with CreateSpace but in 2018 they merged with KDP. KDP is virtually the same as CreateSpace and both are owned by Amazon.)

These are career changing factors. Although we have and will do our own expanded local marketing, being in the KDP loop will expand our marketing a thousand times over!

While the KDP name will be on our books, there will be no question of the identity of the real publisher which is T&R Independent Books.


In establishing T&R Independent Books we also took over what was formerly known as RFrederickRiddle’s Bookstore. Initially, we closed down the store and opted to direct all potential buyers to Amazon and Kindle. However, in 2021 we opened a new store called T&R Independent Bookstore. In both cases, we have control over the marketing, including tracking of sales. Our initial relation with Amazon was the familiarity of Amazon for customers and KDP’s powerful tracking tools.

But our association with WordPress and Woo eCommerce has enabled us to set up our store using WordPress’s Storefront theme. It is another game changer and fits right into our Indie persona.

When using KDP, it enabled us to exercise several marketing options, some being free. Does this guarantee sales? Of course not. But it did give us, a relative newcomer maximum control and flexibility. And we still have them by our side with the primary difference that the controls, tools, and products (books) reside in our store while the eBooks are on Amazon.

When we started out in 2014 Indie Publishing was rather new and unknown, at least to us. But now becoming your own publisher is no longer a new idea. It has the potential to change the publishing landscape in years to come.

Not only the publishing landscape, but our future and yours. You should seriously consider this avenue. I can almost guarantee you that your book will be published sooner than traditionally, and it will cost you dramatically less. Quality is another story as it will be up to you to either do the editing or hire a professional.

Getting published doesn’t guarantee sales. But once again being an Indie Publisher involves great responsibility and great rewards. Being an Indie Publisher has great potential! If you are listening to this podcast, it is being brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at Drop in and check us out.

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TR Bookstore Opening Soon

The Riddle Report 04 9 2021

In my last blog I talked about brick and mortar bookstores and the fact that brick and mortar stores, bookstores in particular, are making a comeback. While that is true, Teresa and I are excited to announce that we are opening an internet store where book lovers can purchase our books at a discounted price.

While it is true that we’ve had a catalog allowing customers to purchase their book through links in our catalog, we thought our customers deserved better. Thus, we made the decision to offer our books, which are growing in number, to our customers at discounted prices and right on our website.

We have a grand opening tentatively scheduled for May 3, 2021, but TR Bookstore is ready now. There may be some tweaks needed here or there which is why we are going for a “soft” opening right now.

I thought it would be nice to let you in on our journey. I do not have affiliate accounts with any of the products I will discuss nor am I reimbursed or paid for my comments. I will tell the story in Steps.

Step #1 – PayPal

I mention this first because we have had a PayPal account for several years. While there are other vendors out similar to PayPal, we prefer PayPal. You need a method for your customers to pay for your products. One of the things I like about PayPal is that customers do not have to have a PayPal account. If they have one, then great.

But if they don’t have an PayPal account, they can still purchase their book(s) using their credit card. We accept most major credit cards.

Step #2 – Hosting Website

We currently use WordPress and we are very happy with it. Previously I have used Godaddy. And, yes, there are many good website hosts out there. Get one of them.

With WordPress I upgraded to Business. To have a storefront you must have either the Business Plan or the eCommerce Plan. We chose Business because it provides what we need and costs less than the eCommerce Plan.

Step #3 – WooCommerce

This is a plugin for WordPress that really makes a difference. It gives the look and feel of a bookstore. I have only recently installed it and started working with it, and I can tell you I am very pleased!

The fact that it is “free” is always a blessing. Along with that it is a powerful program that works well  in the Storefront Theme.

Step #4 – Appearance

Don’t feel obligated to follow the same steps I took, but I choose to have Step #4 be appearance. I started working on the appearance as soon as I could. And I have tweaked several times and maybe I will do more in the near future. The more I learn the better the appearance gets.

Step #5 – Add Products

I expected this to take days, maybe weeks. But the Add Products (WooCommerce) aspect has been very easy. You can assign your product ID (default is ISBN) according to your needs or desires. You can determine currency, retail price, sale price, inventory, and more

Step #6 – Product Pictures

At the moment I have continued to use the product pictures that I have also used in the catalog. I may choose to update the pictures to a more unified look and feel. That will be looked into for sure.

Step #7 – Cart

I have chosen to use the default Cart which is tied to my PayPal account. It is plain and simple which is what I want. More important, it is quick and easy for customers, and that is very important.

Step #8 – Testing

Technically, the store is operational right now. Customers can access and use the site. However, it is always as good idea to test the site. So, we are doing a “soft” opening which allows us to test the site and make any improvements necessary. If customers use us during this time they become part of the testing, but we are hoping that everyone will be happy and experience “zero” problems.

Step #9 – Grand Opening

The Grand Opening is scheduled for May 3, 2021. By that time all “bugs” should have been found and removed. It is also possible that at least one more book will be added to our inventory. We are starting out small, but intend to continue adding more of our own books to the bookstore.

It is also possible that other authors’ books might be sold sometime in the future, but these are unlikely to be discounted. There are a lot of decisions that we will have to make, but we anticipate are own published works will continue to grow.

Step #10 – Directions

I like to say that we are located on Internet Hwy at When people come there they will find our bookstore and our writing services where we edit, proof, and publish the book within.

I am seriously thinking of providing directions right on the site as a separate page.

Perhaps you want to build your own publishing business or bookstore. If so, I hope this blog gave you some encouragement and some constructive ideas.

Get free Guide to Writing at

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

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


ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at 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 His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld and his Parler page is authorriddle.

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I Need Your Help!

For a variety of reasons I have begun working on a new website for our T & R Independent Books. The current website is located at It has served us for awhile now.

The new site is right here at I have been working on it and would like to know your opinion.

The purpose of this effort is a general feeling of discomfort with the current site, plus a desire to cut costs. Using WordPress as the home for my blog and my website brings everything under one roof.

Please give me your comments.

Thanks for your help. I am going to go with WordPress.

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Update on Authors Resources Part 3

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing to update my blog on Authors Resources Part 3.
In response to my blog on Authors Resources Part 3 I received an email from Robert Mening. I have never met or previously heard of this gentleman, but his email intrigued me. Now I have to confess I love my website with Godaddy, but Robert has some good points and I thought you might want to check him out.
Robert has a Website Guide that you might want to read and apply. He also has a special offer (I receive nothing for this update, nor is this an approval by me – I just felt led to offer this additional information.)
Before deciding to do this update I first went to his website and reviewed the content of his guide. I only found one minor thing I would disagree with. I use Godaddy’s Website Builder and have been very pleased with it. Robert indicated that Website Builders are limited to one page, however Godaddy’s has multipage capability, which I use. Just a minor disagreement.
I have notified him that this update was forthcoming and he was pleased. As a blogger I think providing good, solid information is always right. Whether you use this particular information or not it is your prerogative. As stated above I make no approval or disapproval, but I do consider it valuable information that can help you make decisions going forward.
Building a website is something that is critical.
When I first started out I knew some code and actually used it. But I have found that making use of good software, whether a website builder or WordPress, you find the going much easier and more professional in appearance.
One thing in reviewing his three step guide I found he covers some pertinent material that is helpful for the newcomer and his 3rd step is on how to Set Up & Customize Your Site.
Let me know your thoughts.
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), or Task Force Hunter (Book Three), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at 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).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical 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 You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.