Self-Printing: Ready, Set, Sell

Now that your book is available, you’re going to want to sell it and, in order to sell it, you’re going to want to make it as easy as possible for people to buy it. Making it easy means providing as many purchasing options as possible, making the purchase process as easy as possible and putting purchase points in as many places as possible.

(This might also be called ‘being annoying’ but don’t worry. They’ll get over it.)

When I launched Mousetrapped online, print editions were available from Amazon.com and my CreateSpace’s e-store; e-book editions from Smashwords and Amazon’s Kindle store. I didn’t want Irish, UK and European customers to have to pay the high shipping costs for deliveries from Amazon.com – or worse, decide not to bother buying because of them – so I also set up sales from my website.

DIY selling

It is surprisingly easy to set up the sale of your own books through your website.  You’ll need:

  • A website
  • An e-mail account
  • A box of your books
  • Envelopes
  • Customs stickers
  • Access to a post office
  • A Paypal account
  • A Paypal button
  • A printer
  • At least mediocre organization skills
  • Sharpies. (Optional; I just like ’em.)

But I’m on WordPress.com

I had an ickle problem with this system: I have a free, WordPress.com-hosted website, which doesn’t allow any selling. (This is the price you pay for fantastic themes and ad-free sites.) Therefore, I couldn’t have a Paypal button on it.* To make matters worse, I had just bought the domain ‘mousetrappedbook.com’ from WordPress and couldn’t transfer it for 60 days; I couldn’t go self-hosted with the same domain, the domain I’d already put in the book. To get around this, I ended up ‘hiding’ a secondary site (‘buymousetrappedbook.com’) inside my main Mousetrapped site. See if you can spot it in the buying process. (And while you’re doing it, BUY the damn thing! I mean, um, pretty please..?)

Paypal button

Sign up for a Paypal account and from the main dashboard, select Merchant Tools -> Buy Buttons. In a few simple steps you can configure your own button with price and shipping options and you can even configure it to land on your own ‘Thank You’ and ‘Order Cancelled’ pages. It’ll generate the HTML code for you, which you can copy and paste on your site. You can have the trademark yellow Paypal button, or design your own. Click here to see my pretty Paypal button.

Every time someone buys your book through the Paypal button, the money is deposited in your Paypal account and you get an e-mail informing you of the deposit and confirming that it’s okay to ship. You can even print packing slips from Paypal’s site.

Magic Buttons

I wanted something nice to link to my ‘hidden’ buy site, but I can’t write HTML. (And don’t want to…) There’s a super easy way around it though – just think outside the box.

You can upload images to WordPress, right? And you can hide links in them? So why not make a fancy ‘Buy Mousetrapped’ button and link it to my ‘Buy Mousetrapped’ site? Why, I think I’ll do just that!

Here’s one I made earlier:

I made this image in the most roundabout way I possibly could.

  1. I went through MS Word’s document/project templates until I found a suitable one to use in Events -> Flyers.
  2. I swapped out their stock image for my book cover.
  3. I entered my own info in the text book and changed their fill colors to co-ordinate with the book’s cover.
  4. I saved the document as a PDF.
  5. I opened the PDF, cropped the button and then saved it as a JPEG.

More Magic Buttons

I wanted to link to all the places Mousetrapped was available, but I didn’t want just a list of links. Again, I turned to my MS Word to PDF to JPEG method of button-making, only this time I used a cover image of the book and a logo I’d swiped off the internet. (I’m assuming they don’t mind me using it considering I’m linking back to their site.)

Here’s another one I made earlier (that really does link to Amazon):

Facebook FBML

So your book has a Facebook fan page. Whoop dee do. It’s a great way to keep fans/people you’ve brainwashed updated, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could sell your book on there too?

My 'buy' boxes on Mousetrapped's Facebook fan page

You can. Facebook has something called FBML. I don’t know much about it other than it’s a Facebook version of HTML and it lets you put cool stuff on your Facebook fan page (not, I should add, your personal profile). I barely know how to use it – and I do mean barely – but with the help of some discussion boards I managed to make a box with an image with a link or, in other words, I figured out how to put the buttons above on my Facebook page.

  1. Log in to your Facebook fan page (obviously, you have to be an administrator)
  2. Go to Edit My Page and add the ‘Facebook FBML’ application
  3. You’ll now be looking at an empty box into which you’ll insert your FBML code (see below).
  4. After you’ve saved all changes, go back to your page. Find your newly created box on the ‘Boxes’ tab. Click on the ‘Edit’ symbol in the box’s top right hand corner (looks like a little pencil) and select  ‘Add to Wall tab’ in menu that appears.
  5. Your box will now appear on your main page in the right hand column (where your fans list is). Drag and drop to move into desired position.

This is the code I used on my page. The links you’ll need to change to suit your own needs are highlighted – unless, of course, you want to sell my book on your page!

<a href=”http://bit.ly/97bTLh“><img src=” http://mousetrapped.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/mt-amazon-button-tiny1.jpg” border=”1″></a>

(Where this is the URL you want to link to and where this is the URL of the image.)

For the box with the Paypal button, I simply entered this code without the link, i.e. just an image, and then pasted the Paypal-generated code underneath it. Works like a charm.

Claw what you can back

Don’t forget to sign up for affiliate and associate programs wherever you can and then use those links in your Buy buttons. Then for every book of yours someone buys from, say, Amazon.com, you’ll not only get the sale but a tiny percentage will be added to your Amazon Associates program. You won’t get rich off these but you can set the system up so you’re paid in Amazon vouchers, and who doesn’t need those? You also have the option to tweet links to your listings.

Sign up for:

Happy selling!

*Wordpress allows ‘Donate’ Paypal buttons so you can buy the blogger the odd latte or whatever. But if you try to copy and paste the HTML for a purchase button, WordPress will ‘scrub’ the site info from the code, rendering it useless.

See all my pretty buy buttons (and hey, why not click one!) or read all my self-printing posts.

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