Thursday, 27 October 2011

Battling modernity.

Blogging will be a little random until I have a story for Halloween - I have a few days left.

I've also looked into using PayPal for direct sales of EBooks but that's bewildering and complicated. Not just on the PayPal side. Unlike real books, Ebooks attract VAT and if I sell them direct I'll have to deal with that. It's easier to point to the online selling points so I don't have to risk doing a Vince Cable on VAT. I wouldn't want to be seen to be as dim as a Cabinet minister.

I could also sell signed copies of the real books by post - I can match Amazon for price including UK postage. Even then, inserting PayPal into a blog isn't easy. Might be easier on a proper website.

As for a tips jar on here - how? The nearest I can find is a 'donate' button which implies I'm a charity, and I'm not.

There's one good result. I have managed to get money from PayPal into my bank account. Only a little bit so far but the principle is important because it's how the American publisher pays me. In the past, PayPal money mostly accrued from selling old junk on eBay and I used it to buy more junk on eBay. It never reached levels worth taking out as cash. If that book, or one of the later ones, should go all Harry Potter (fingers crossed that the Bible Belt get hold of it), well, eBay just doesn't have enough attractive junk for that sort of money.

Anyway, I'm wary of eBay these days. Apparently the latest scam involves someone buying your stuff and paying with PayPal then claiming it's not what they expected and sending it back. Once you sign for the parcel, PayPal take that as proof you've had the goods back and refund the buyer. However, the parcel just contains a few lumps of wood. So the PayPal/eBay link isn't as good as it sounds.

I'm still battling PayPal's site for something I can understand but when I've grasped the technospeak, I'll be able to sell books direct. Signed by the author with his own nicotine-stained fingers complete with whisky tremors. I won't bother selling eBooks direct because of the VAT nonsense and because I can't add anything to them by signing them.

The good part about modern publishing is that you can buy just a few books at a time. There is no 'print run' where someone with racks of metal letters assembles the book in reverse, page by page, so there's no minimum order to make it cost-effective. Now, someone calls up a file on a computer and presses 'print' and you can buy just one. In the old days, if I had self-published books, I'd have had to buy a few hundred. These days I buy batches of ten and buy the next batch when the previous one is sold.

Okay. Between thinking up a non-cliche Halloween story, which is a lot harder than it sounds, and swearing at the PayPal site, things could be quiet for a few days.

Or I might say 'To hell with it all' and post something anyway.

You never know.


Andrew said...

"Even then, inserting PayPal into a blog isn't easy. Might be easier on a proper website.

As for a tips jar on here - how? The nearest I can find is a 'donate' button which implies I'm a charity, and I'm not."

All you're doing when you insert Paypal is just placing a link on your site.

You can use whatever graphic (or even just a plain text link) you want as the button.

The process is the same regardless of whether you're using a blog or html.

(Word verification - reamme)

Andrew said...

I've just been and checked on Paypal to make sure nothing's changed since I last set up buy buttons.

Here's the process:

1. Log in
2. Go to "Merchant Services"
3. Select "Sell single items" from the far left table.
4. Don't worry about the button type
5. Give it a relevant item name (e.g. your book title)
6. Set the price and postage.
7. Go to the "Step 3: Customise advanced features (optional)" and make sure it asks for your customer's address and set a page to go to when the transaction's complete (a "Thanks for buying, it'll be with you shortly" type page)
8. Then hit the "Create Button" button at the bottom.
9. Select the "Email" tab and inside will be your Paypal link ready to deploy on your blog.

I think that's everything, if I've missed anything out I'm sure you'll be able to work it out.

Oh, and make sure you test it so you know it actually works.

SBC said...

"Between thinking up a non-cliche Halloween story"

If anyone can manage it, you can. You have rather a talent with new twists on old characters like demons and Santa with the Stocking-in-the-home Syndrome.

W/V humopest (Ricky Gervais?)

Anonymous said...

Here, Lew Rockwell online today has an article by a self-published author who sells through Amazon but had a hard time with the publishers who try to pigeon-hole someone into a genre that can fit on a bookshelf at a typical Barnes and Noble bookstore. She says the writing had to fit a formula that the publishers called for, so she ended up self-publishing instead.

Here is the link, you may find this most interesting:

Anonymous said...

By very strange coincidence today, the Lew Rockwell website features an article by a self-published author who decided to do so using Amazon online, which prints and ships on an as-ordered basis.

She dealt first with conventional publishers, but they would only consider printing books that conformed to the categories laid out in existing main brand bookstores and only written in mechanical styles they felt were most profitable to the publishers.

The link to how she confronted the self-publishing question is below.

spark up said...

dear mr leg-iron,

being myself a purely mercenary (although as yet utterly unpaid) blogger, i hold both you and your altruistic amateur on-line scratchings in the highest esteem, however, i am truly concerned to note that, on the provision of attaining the 1000 visit-a-day scum-mark, you are currently entertaining the impending possibility of entering into business with mr skidmark staines, the cheerleader of the gazan pogrom, and indeed, whilst contributing to the comment section of this blog, i greatly intend to persist in the convinced endeavour of ensuring that underdogs bite upwards visits stay well short of the aforementioned danger-level - this circumstance being largely due to the fact that, on the last occasion i lent my talents to a messagespace website, i was compelled, in the year of our lord 2008, through pecuniary necessity, to enter that sallow and seedy company's office, whereupon, after the minimum of civil ceremony, i was duly and uncouthly expelled from the very same place of dubious industry by a wholly unmannered thug belonging to a certain mr jag singh, an incident which, it later transpired, simply constituted an ungainly prelude to being electronically insulted by the notorious guido fawkes, and all because i had the peak of temerity to desire proportional remuneration for my ink, sweat and tears. marvellous.

Dioclese said...

Actually LI inserting PayPal into anything is a piece of piss. You just tell the buyer which e-mail address you want the money sent to. He logs into PayPal and sends you the money. Simples.

Problem with PayPal is that they take the piss on commission which is why eBay isn't the force it used to be.

Anonymous said...

That is true actually. I remember someone I used to buy from on eBay, later we got to know one another and I bought direct from her. When it was time to buy we'd agree by email, she would send me an invoice using Paypal, I'd pay, she'd ship, nice and simple and did not require using the Paypal button or eBay. I don't know if Paypal took a commission off her but eBay certainly could not. I would stipulate 'non-returnable' on the sales contract to avoid anyone even attempting to ship something back as Paypal wouldn't reimburse them if you have evidence showing it's non-returnable once shipped.

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