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 tr-writingservices.com. 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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld and his Parler page is authorriddle.