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Help the helpless Rocket scientists set up an online store.  RSS feed

 
Ernie Wisner
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Ok I have been ordered by our illustrious leader to put this thing here for all to read, point and laugh. I used to be pretty good with this computer stuff but things have gone far beyond me in the internet stuff.

Erica and I need to set up an Online store to sell PDF's from. These PDF's are the Plans for ovens and stoves that we have drawn up and basically written step by step instructions for.
Now this store needs to be SIMPLESTUPID for Me to use (and i do mean simple to use... Really. think of me as a gorilla without hair OK). I will need to upload Future plans and add things and be able to post previews and have some kind of security both for the PDF and the Transactions. Now I dont know how to set this stuff up and the last try i made was an Epic fail cause it needs to have ten thousand typed things on this sort of special form that you then upload and it does something and is supposed to up load the files to be served from the online store. bla bla bla ..... It didnt work and i dont have a bunch of time to spend fiddling with it. Any of you Good Compu brains know how to do this stuff and if so Do you want to work a trade?

Thanks in advance
 
Chris Stelzer
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Hey Ernie,

You have some options. I think your best option is Paypal. All you have to do is set up an account with them. You put a button on your website for each product, and it will direct them to the Paypal website. Paypal takes a commission on each purchase, but it's low. You do need a website in order to put the Paypal button on it. Do you have one? You could make one, with hosting for about $4/month, plus $12 to buy a domain name, for a grand total of $16!!! If you need help on the specifics I could help you.


Chris
 
Jesus Martinez
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Do you have hosting for your website already? There are several off the shelf e-commerce systems that can be employed fairly easily, but it depends on what your hosting or access to hosting is.
 
Cameron McKenzie
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A super-huge congratulations with regards to the book. That's a massive accomplishment.

I wrote my first book a few years back. It was about something called WebSphere, and tt was so bad that nobody wanted to publish it.

I took the pdf and went to a self-publishing site, and within a week I actually had a hard copy of the book, a listing on amazon and every other online bookstore, and the ability to sell pdf files through amazon or on my own through PayPal. And a few months later, I had the best selling WebSphere book on Amazon.

The cost was really small to set things up. I'd be more than happy to lend you some of my time, look at your project, and tell you what it would take to actually get a real book made, and have a pdf available for download. Plus, you can charge an outrageous price for the print book, and a low price for the pdf, driving people to do the download instead of wasting trees and forests.

 
Kane Jamison
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Location: West Seattle, WA
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Hi Ernie,

The two most common distributors for eBook sellers that I'm aware of would be eJunkie and Clickbank. This page lists a few alternatives: http://topalternatives.com/shopping-carts-for-selling-e-books - Essentially, these companies will act as the shopping cart, you just link to your product page from your website or wherever you're looking to sell from. A few of them will also handle affiliate sales, which means if you want to offer somebody like Paul a commission to advertise/sell your ebook on one of his articles, Paul would just have to sign up as an affiliate, and put up a few links of his own, and the companies will take care of his commission and pay you the rest.

There is one on that page labeled http://payspree.com that appears to not charge a monthly fee, only a transactional fee, which is a nice way to go if you're not certain how many copies you'll sell.

I can't vouch for them personally, but their fee structure looks fairly reasonable and simple: http://payspree.com/vendors.php

I'd highly recommend going one of these routes if you're not into setting up websites. The technical aspects of setting up your own shopping cart are far more than you should be looking to deal with to sell something as simple as a PDF file. Yes they charge a fee, but most of the time it's very much worth the headache so you can get back to doing whatever it is that you're good at.
 
Luke Baker
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI - Zone 5b
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The one site that I've heard the most about is Lulu.com. You can offer the PDF for sale and I believe people could also choose to purchase a printed version if they wanted.

I'm not sure if it meets all your requirements, but it'd be worth checking out.
 
Brice Moss
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Location: rainier OR
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security on PDF's if a bit of a joke as in any other electronic format that can be printed, I think the best way to keep the thievery down to a minimum may be.

I have to second the notion that papal buy it now buttons embedded on your website are probably the easiest and most accessible means to take small volume payments.

I could forward your request for website design help to the environmental club at Portland state, one of my fellow college students may well be willing to help just for the glory of being able to add it to their resume/scholarship apps.

another thing to consider may be a print on demand service to provide costumers with paper copies the cost would be a whole lot higher to both you and costumers but the chance of them going all over the internet via torrents is less

If you can't come up with anyone else I'll consider setting aside my aversion to situations that may result in me being asked to provide technical support, I am close enough to come down and help out in person an evening or two a week until you have it all happy, but I'll be learning with you I am not yet real experienced at the whole e-commerce thing.

Happy hunting and may you be the next rock stars of the green movement
 
Ernie Wisner
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Thank you all I will be scratching my head for a bit while i go over this stuff. keep it coming please.
 
Ronen Hirsch
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Location: Romania
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Hello Erny,

I have a lot of experience working with WordPress though not much experience implementing eCommerce on it. Two things you need to know about WordPress so that you can continue reading through my reply:

1. Plugins - are additional software packages that can be added to it to provide additional functionality.
2. Themes - are additional software packages that dictate how the website looks to visitors - they are the part of the software that can be "designed"

To make WordPress into an eCommerce system it needs a plugin. I did a little checking around and it seems that most of the Plugins are not quite reliable and mature. However a new one was recently released by a prominent and quality provider in the WordPress community: http://www.woothemes.com/woocommerce/

Their plugin is free however to use it you would need someone (like me - or thousands of other in the WordPress community) to create a Theme for you so that the store would actually work and look like you want it to. Therefore WooThemes also offer reasonably priced Themes that include the Plugin and are ready-to-go (assuming you find one you like): http://www.woothemes.com/themes/woocommerce-themes/

The shop can (most probably) be installed within your website (as you have currently tried to do).

You will probably need some help to get it installed and setup (how much help depends on how much of a ready made solution you choose). Beyond that, with a little initial guidance, you should be able to operate it easily and comfortably on your own.

More about me and my ability to help with this issue: http://www.odharma.com

Good luck with getting your work out there
 
El yaakoube
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You can self publish and sell on Amazon on Kindle format.
--> http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html?topic=200260520

IF you make instructional video or audio files they can be distributed also on Amazone also.
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Hi Ernie , I am someone who would be strictly a consumer with nothing to add to the computer technology debate. When buying information, I prefer to pay once and then be entitled to free updates just as happens with computer programs and security stuff. I'd rather pay a little more upfront and then have the right to future updates. These could go out as bulk emails.
 
Erica Wisner
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Chris Stelzer wrote:Hey Ernie,

You have some options. I think your best option is Paypal. All you have to do is set up an account with them. You put a button on your website for each product, and it will direct them to the Paypal website. Paypal takes a commission on each purchase, but it's low. You do need a website in order to put the Paypal button on it. Do you have one? You could make one, with hosting for about $4/month, plus $12 to buy a domain name, for a grand total of $16!!! If you need help on the specifics I could help you.


Chris


Thanks Chris - and everybody! Looks like Jesus posted a similar starting point within the same minute.

We have two domain names, I got both of them through Google at different times:
http://www.ErnieAndErica.info is already up on the web, and working pretty well, hosted through Google Sites.
But I'm having trouble getting www.ErnieAndErica.com set up, though I purchased it through the same process. When I attempt to run through Google's series of 'get started' screens, one of the pages just freezes. I've worked around it using a different page I can access once logged in, to set up a basic website, but it seems it's only viewable to people signed in as members of ernieanderica.com, not to the general public, despite changing the setting to 'public'. So that is pretty useless to us.

We had intended to use ErnieAndErica.com as the site for sales, etc, leaving our free info on the .info site.
I believe the PayPal buttons are supposed to work within the Google Sites restrictions, and we could try setting them up on our already-working site at ernieanderica.info. But I'm seriously considering finding another host and/or paying a little bit for technical support to get away from these glitches. Like Ernie said, we just don't know enough. The problem may be us rather than the host, and it would be frustrating to pay more and still not be able to set anything up.

Cameron, Kane, Yacoube, Ronen -
Thanks for your tips on e-book sales. Paul said something similar during his visit, about people seem to like Kindle for self-publishing.
In my mind building plans seem to be a little different from e-books; though maybe we can sell them the same way. In the building industry you find plans for anywhere from $45 to $1000's of dollars, even more for a custom engineer or architect's plans. These are off-the-shelf, fully detailed plan for complex projects like boats or masonry heaters, or the ASTM standard or building code that applies to such things. Our plans are intended for that market niche: they include a lot of scale drawings like a blueprint, plus design and building instructions that can run to 16 pages or more. The larger-format plans are multi-page documents that print on 11x17" paper. Not quite a book, but still a lot of detail, and I'm using a book- or zine-type publishing program to do the graphic layout. They're formatted so buyers can print a copy or two for personal use: probably at a copy shop or library or on a big office printer, but no need for an expensive architectural plotter. I envision the plans and diagrams being shared with co-owners, taken to meetings, tacked up on the wall of the building site, and blown up to create scale templates for specific parts of the project.
It sounds like it might be well worth our while to also offer e-books (these same plans, or other instructional content that's more book-like) through existing sellers. I imagine e-books to be something people read on the bus, or while researching a project, not something you'd take out on a muddy building site for quick reference.
It does take a fair amount of time to work the information into a printable format, so I'd love to get what I already have up and selling while I keep working on additional units for sale.

Kane and Luke - thanks for the links, I am loading them to peruse. Those sound like good resources.

Dale - Thanks for the 'customer comment.' At present I have been offering our first purchasers a discount plus a commitment to send them any improved versions we might make in the first year. It sounds like a bit of work to email people about updates, but maybe there's a tool out there where customers 'subscribe' to a page and get automatic updates if we change something. That would be a pretty cool feature.

Brice - Yeah, I don't think it's possible to completely prevent theft using electronic document security. Going to all-paper sales seems like thowing the baby out with the bathwater. But maybe it is worth arranging to sell some physical versions for more, as you say, if only to support folks that are homesteading with limited internet access.

Some people just seem to believe that if it's easy to steal the info electronically, it's not a crime like it would be if you had to actually walk into my house and take a copy from my closet. This seems to be a particular problem among youth who have been entertaining themselves electronically while going to school, and they get used to the idea that it's their 'job' to learn things and not a privilege that they should respect or pay for. And then they get released like crippled butterflies and have to earn money for things that they are accustomed to being force-fed for free. I think they somehow associate 'providers of information' with 'the establishment,' and ripping us off is some kind of outlet for their frustration with their parents or schooling.
Most people we deal with do seem to outgrow this attitude. We recognize that we are responsible for building the world we wish to live in, and that means reciprocating when others help us. Offering gas money when you hitchhike, or borrow a car; that kind of basic courtesy keeps others willing to trust and help each other. Most people who are thinking of building an earthen masonry project have a work ethic, many own property they've had to pay for somehow, and most realize that stealing the plans would be an abuse of trust that ultimately leads to a tragedy of the commons. Not everyone can afford to pay cash for everything they want, but honorable people usually offer something in exchange. Our lives are richer for the dried nettles, buckskin, tomatoes, and alternative healing treatments we've received, as well as the cash contributions that let us travel and pay the Internet bill.

We do offer a lot of free information to help others get started experimenting on their own. The best form of reciprocity for this is sharing your own information - post project pictures, blog and cite us, email us about your project, write a testimonial we can post on our website, tell people how excited you are.
And then we also offer these carefully-prepared professional documents that are specifically geared to save an owner or contractor time and money (using skills we paid in similar coin to acquire, like my college education and Ernie's industrial training and years at Cob Cottage Co.). We ask money for these things, because they are designed to be valuable within the money economy: permit inspectors, weekend projects, hourly labor rates.

Ultimately, thieves and freeloaders don't make good clients. I don't suppose we are going to get any money from the parasites even if we beef up security. It feels like it's not worth spending a lot of effort on either stopping or accommodating them.

Straw poll: Do you pay money for a book, if you can find it online for free?
My own first preferences are to use freely offered information, to buy directly from authors or local bookstores, or to use shared subscriptions at the local library. There are plenty of legal ways to get free information. I am wary of 'free' downloads / pirated material, that might be virus-bait or get me associated with someone else's copyright lawsuit. I generally ask authors' permissions and cite my sources in our presentations. I research through free info online, but I don't try to hack their sales pages. I think most of our customers are like me, and I'd rather cater to this level of responsibility.
I think a fair number of people recognize that as you spend your time and money, so grows your world, and it's degrading to buy only tampons and gasoline and let everybody else whistle for their living.

So my preference would be to go on the honor system, making it clear how we want our copyright to be respected, and then making it easy for legitimate customers to enjoy their purchases conveniently. We could take legal action to protect our copyright if someone tries to re-sell our creative property, but I hope we don't have to. It's like having the lunch lady watch the door, rather than padlocking the snack cart.
This 'choose-your-own-ethics' approach to security would allow us to locate the files on a particular server, and provide the links only to those who have purchased the product. Then people like Dale could go back with the same link, and download it again if they lost the file or if we updated it. If we have a problem with the links getting re-sold or published, we could go to a login system if necessary.
I'm almost tempted to sell a simple 'ernie and erica Membership" where you get access to ALL our published plans, and we don't have to mind the store.

Is this naive? If we take a middle road on document security, are we leaving ourselves open to some massive failures of a kind I'm not seeing? Or is this middle road a practical choice, given our skills, lower budget, and the general decency of our customer base?
(Payment security is something we do take much more seriously; we will be using a trusted service to handle transactions).

I'd particularly appreciate the opinions of the website professionals who've done us the favor of contributing, since this seems like a common problem that your clients would need to resolve according to their own judgment or yours.

In case it isn't obvious, we are way more into the research and teaching, than we are into the commerce aspect of this business.

So: next steps - try the PayPal button on ErnieAndErica.info. Read up on other options.
Look into moving ErnieAndErica.com somewhere more user-friendly, where we can serve PDF's and/or login membership links.

Please keep the advice coming. We will have a little cash to spend on this the first of the month, or can offer a greater value in professional services for trade.

-Erica
 
Ronen Hirsch
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Location: Romania
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Hello Erica,

Without going into a long and drawn-out speech about it I would urge you to leave Google's (or any other) free hosting. That places you in an unhealthy online ecology where Free usually comes with a hidden price tag. Hosting with Google is (I don't use any Google services), in my mind, like sleeping with the devil ... nice and warm ... but ...

I wish I could help you with your technical glitch .... but I am totally unfamiliar with Google's products.

On the other hand an open-source project like WordPress comes with a totally different karma: http://www.odharma.com/2008/07/wordpress-karma/. I am also pretty sure that you would have an easier time authoring your website and adding content to it using WordPress and though that may seem off-topic - that (fresh cotent) is probably the greatest online marketing tool you have.

When you pay for your own hosting you are also usually free to do whatever you want there. For example, it would be possible to explore something like a "product" page where people who have purchased access (a password) could check back in, get updates and even have a conversation around the plans

Regarding copyright and security ... there is a lot to learn from the WordPress ecosystem - where even though the code is free there are thousands of people making a living off it. The most common approach is to create added value beyond the initial purchase. In your case that could be joining the conversation (so instead of offering private email support that conversation could be had on the product page - this way others can benefit from it and you don't need to answer the same questions again and again) or access to more information that is not available to the public, etc. Don't be protective ... be creative

Finally I would urge you to have everything on one domain (and redirect all traffic from the other domain to the one you choose to use). All content that you publish tells people and search engines about you. The more content (shop included) you publish the more clear you become. If someone comes to your personal website it is not sensible that they may want to purchase something from your shop? If someone arrives at your shop is it not sensible that they would want to know who you are before buying something? The same goes for search engine rankings. Breaking yourself up into two pieces weakens your online position.

All Things Good

Ronen
 
paul wheaton
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Definitely ditch the google hosting crap.

How about setting up shop at wordpress.com? It's free and takes less than a minute to set up. And there seems to be inter-wordpress connectivity. Plus, wordpress can be a security risk and if you set up at wordpress, they update it themselves all the time.

Another option is that I could host a domain for you. The trade off is that you have to know HTML and do that stuff yourself. And you would have access to blow up a bunch of my other stuff - so when things go wonky, the stink eye will go in your general direction.

It might be wise to pursue more than one avenue. Kindle and some sort of thing you can download from your site. It would seem that there would be something for wordpress that would make it so that somebody pays via paypal and then can download a pdf instantly.
 
Michael Skowronski
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Hi Ernie,

Unfortunately nothing in life is free. Except life that is, otherwise it takes effort, our effort. That effort can come from you learning HTML and all the online stuff or from your other working efforts bartered or cash-exchanged for what it is you desire, which is a safe and working online ordering system for your book, videos, plans whatever it is you wish to sell...and by the way I am very intrigued and would love to get my hands on whatever research notes, ideas, plans and how I did it videos I can get so put your site together!!!

The point I want to make is PAY someone else to do this work you just don't want to do. A cheap way to get this done is through "online outsourcing sites" (search that). Two sites I have used are elance.com and odesk.com. I have had some successes, and some failures. I've gotten some really good work done for very little bucks considering the vast amount of work that needed to be done, and this is no small job you want done if you are going to do it yourself. (You might think of it as slave wages, but I bet the person on the other end is happy to get the work!)

The thing I like about "Permies" is it is all about self-sufficiency. I am all for that. But once you step into the "modern and complex world", you find you need to branch out, interact in the world of commerce, which is still very much the wild-wild-west...

Good luck with it all and do get your info out there. I want it!

Sincerely,
Michael Skowronski
 
Ernie Wisner
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Thanks Michael
that is exactly what we are trying to do is find someone to pay or trade to do this. we are not looking for a handout. I learned long ago that i cannot be a pro at everything (not that i want to be). I have two massive skill sets already and dont need another (its hard enough to keep up with these). I am A sailor/boatbuilder, and a natural builder specializing in appropriate tech/RMH development and design and i have a large bit of permiculture/ecological restoration. I dont think i can have too many more skills My brain is full. the web hosting we got years ago and so far it worked fine now we want to do more with it and need to move things around a bit to get ernieanderica.com setup and working (thats why we bought the URL. We are now in need of someone who has the knowhow to do what we need doing.
 
Rory Beck
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Sign me up - I will gladly buy one of these books as soon as possible, and really look forward to being able to do so.

Perhaps not the right place to ask Ernie, but I"m curious if you're available to teach courses on RMH design and build? I am starting a permaculture business this summer, and next year we hope to put on some courses at our farm, and I'd be interested in having you perhaps be the keynote speaker.

 
Neil Evansan
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Location: Valley of the Sun
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I'd suggest you contact Lloyd Kahn at Shelter Publications, and ask him if he'd be willing to share some of his considerable experience and knowledge. As the Author and Self-Publisher of "Shelter" (one of the 70s great 'alternative dwellings' books) and publisher/distributor of dozens of other Books, Journals and Magazines over the past 40 years, Lloyd has no doubt tested quite a few website systems, and could probably offer some valuable insight as to what might work well for you. (He might even be a great partner, offering rocket stove information to his customers)

http://www.shelterpub.com



re: "free" web presence. I agree with the "ditch the free website" comments, for a couple reasons:

First, You have little actual control of a whole-package display and delivery system. As has been demonstrated more than a few times, Google can change offerings and policies at a whim, usually with little or no notice. Imagine loosing your only connection to potential clients overnight, and having to figure out how to do "it" all over again, but in a new different format.

Second, Google typically offers very little if any support to help you succeed with your projects. They may "give" you tools to use, but then, it's totally up to you to make'em work.

Lastly ..... You want to ask from your clients a top-dollar price for a single set of plans, but you're unwilling to spend a couple bux for a professional presentation and delivery. I'm not suggesting to go out and spend $4,000 on a turn-key website, but most major providers offer very good (and tech-simple) packages for about $75 to $100 to $150 per year.

Good Luck!
 
Erica Wisner
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I do think we're ready to move to a better-supported (paid) hosting service. A few dollars a month isn't bad; if we can get the online store and web hosting set up for under $20 per month, that should work for us. But I don't want to disappear our existing pages until I have something like them set up elsewhere.

Ernie is looking into the Kindle option and setting us up an account. The terms sound OK, not as good as eBay but better than most paper publishing houses. But the format doesn't seem to be intended for image-rich material; they talk about problems converting PDF's, and recommend a simple Word format with images centered between paragraphs. I can cut and paste parts of the designs into flatter formats that will read OK in grayscale, but I think we'll still want another option to sell the designs directly as PDF's.

I checked WordPress a little; it looks like a good vehicle for writing and web pages, but I didn't see any obvious signs of online store capabilities.
Could someone point me toward an online store that is hosted through Wordpress if you know of such a thing?

It's a little frustrating when they say 'you can create X in five minutes,' which might be true for some definition of 'you,' but it takes us hours to try to understand whether X is going to get us any closer to the Y we actually need.

If it's just that WordPress allows you to write your own HTML, we will definitely need someone with better skills to make it all work properly. Maybe we can get lucky using PayPal's do-it-yourself code chunks, but it would go faster and better with someone who's done this before, I'm sure.

I can do basic web graphics in HTML, but have never gotten as far as building successful forms, integrating with a database, or understanding the procedures for uploading and downloading to remote servers. I'm sure it's all very straight-forward once you've been doing it for a while. Whether we stay with a free host or go to paid hosting, the place where I get stuck is making a doggone button that actually does something. Hell, I'd be happy if it just emailed or texted me to take care of the order manually; it would be a step forward. Half the 'web designers' we know don't do stores, they just do layout and graphic design.

So given that I can do layout (well enough to suit myself at least), how do I get things set up so I can hand it all over to someone and say "make me some actual working pay-me buttons please?"
I guess we could set up the store in some retail server somewhere and I could just make a link. I think there was some advice up the thread that I should look at more closely, on places that do just that.

Should I be getting a spreadsheet ready with the details we'd want on each order?

Thanks,
we appreciate the time and encouragement,

- Erica
 
Ronen Hirsch
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Location: Romania
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Hello Erica,

re:Kindle - I do not own a Kindle and since I work on an open-source operating system (Ubuntu) I don't have access to reliable Kidle software and I do not want to be connected to Amazon in this manner. I've already "not purchased" a product that was released this way and I feel that doing so, especially with an ecological-mindset is ... not ecological This is true for any product that forces me to register and participate in a such a commercial system and proprietary format (but that's just me).

Yes "the create X in five minutes" is a false promise (I've actually tried communicating that to the WordPress folks). Figuring it out requires a learning curve. Having someone walk you through it can make life that much easier.

You can try out WordPress for free by opening an account at WordPress.com - just to get a feel for what publishing content can be like with WordPress (you don't need to know any HTML). You can even create the website in private mode so that only you can see what you are doing.

As for WordPress and eCommerce you would need to look at Plugins. From my latest review, the most mature one seems to be this one - it's by a well reputed service provider in the WordPress community: http://www.woothemes.com/woocommerce/

If you want to see example of WordPress based eCommerce, this is one showcase with a different plugin (though very popular, has a shaky reputation among WordPress professionals) - though it should answer your question if this is possible: http://getshopped.org/showcase/ .

The way I (and I believe any professional does) build websites is to work on a temporary site that you can tweak and change and author until you feel it's ready to launch. Only when you decide to launch, the new website replaces your existing one.

If you are looking for a way to make a "doggone button that actually does something" then you are looking in the wrong direction (unless you are looking to advance your web-development skills). Whether you choose to integrate Paypal buttons (the code for which is generated by Paypal and copied into your WordPress pages) or use a commerce-plugin - you should be able to do so with much less effort then coding it yourself.

By the way, if you want to stick with your own web-pages than you can simply paste into them the same button code generated by PayPal (the same code you would paste into WordPress).

You can start making a spreadsheet for your products ... but it may need to evolve and change once you choose how you want to actually sell them products.

All Things Good

Ronen
 
Neil Evansan
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Location: Valley of the Sun
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Aloha Erica!

I'm going to be pretty insistent that you contact Lloyd Kahn, to at least have a preliminary discussion with him.

I'm also going to suggest you contact several providers, to see what they can offer compared to what you tell them you need. I know this will not be the absolute least expensive route, but, that route is only enJoyed when you can handle ALL facets of a project. Imagine someone calling you and saying "Well, I've decided to build a stove! I've got some old stove pipe and a nifty barrel and some bricks, and I can get some adobe ..... whats next?" They might be able to piece somethign together, but, as you might imagine, it will probably not work well, certainly not with any level of efficiency or effectiveness.

Network Solutions is an excellent provider, and has very good Customer Support. www.NetworkSolutions.com Their eCommerce starter package is about $30 a month.

NameCheap.com is another to consider, with a "Starter" package at $25 a month (paid annually). www.NameCheap.com

Both are good options for what you want to do. You can "live chat" either companies, but i'd suggest you call them to say the typing.

One thing I'd HIGHLY suggest is to get a domain name descriptive of the actual book. You can still use ErnieandErica.com and .info, but for a wider draw (and better SEO & Google results) something like RocketStoveDesign.com would work far better. While I'm certain you're both great people, people looking online for "Stove" information are looking for Results to their particular issues, not looking for relationships. a relationship might indeed develop, but that will be after they get the results they want.



not related to online sales, but here's another way to get your word out ..... Direct Sales.
You appear to be in or very near Portland. Have you considered going to places people like to hang out, like McMenamins (and other Brewerys & Taverns), to the Vineyard Tasting Rooms out in Wine country, to Timberline and Mt Bachelor and other outdoor activities centers, and pitching them on building a Stove (or three) at their locations? Not only would you get to install some Thermal Mass Stoves, but you'd get excellent exposure to people who might otherwise never see or hear about what you can do at their properties.

Imagine doing a Stove workshop at McMenamins Edgefield location in Troutdale one weekend, and over the next 6 months, having 10,000 people enJoy warm butts during a night out? How'bout a workshop at Timberline in August?. Maybe Britenbush and other weekend/conference Center destinations too. (don't forget about OMSI too!) I'm guessing there are LOTS of opportunities in the PDX area that would love to have something "new" and useful and "green" to add to their outdoor spaces. While some might have use of a inside stove, I think an easier sell would be to help heat their exterior public areas. (I plan on adding one to the patio of my next home here in the Valley of the Sun)

Good Luck with your Book!

 
Lori Moore
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PAYLOADZ.COM Stop the madness! All you have to do is upload your documents and create/sell them at PayLoadz.com. You can either create a link to your products from your current website or you can sell and market them solely through Payloadz. Payloadz works in conjunction with PayPal. It's super easy. I sell one set of my Lori Wall Bed plans per day on average...I don't have to do a thing. When someone purchases my plans I get two email notifications: one from Payloadz telling me a sold a product, and another from PayPal telling me a received a Payment. I'm only pimping Payloadz because its all I know, but I know I'm glad I use it. -Lori
 
Brice Moss
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Answer to straw poll:

I consider the things I can find for free on-line much like a library that which I lose interest in before I finish just gets deleted when it comes to my attention again instead of tossed in a bag to take back next time I head to town. I did read ghia's garden a peruse the designers manual via illegal electronic copies, but purchased both as soon as I realized how often I would want to refer to them, Unfortunately I don't think my attitude towards the matter is common. I also donate a percentage of what it would cost me to stay up to date with MS office and MS operating systems to various open source projects every year.

One thing that dies frustrate me is when I want to thank some genius whose work I have acquired an illegal copy of and I cannot easily find where to buy a legal copy or donate to their cause, So I ask that you do include you name and website info conspicuously in several locations on each of your works. A short blurb about who you are and what you do may also guilt some folks who are slightly less enthusiastic than me about paying for the sort of world they want to live in into looking you up and buying a copy.
 
Erica Wisner
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Lori Moore wrote:PAYLOADZ.COM Stop the madness! All you have to do is upload your documents and create/sell them at PayLoadz.com. You can either create a link to your products from your current website or you can sell and market them solely through Payloadz. Payloadz works in conjunction with PayPal. It's super easy. I sell one set of my Lori Wall Bed plans per day on average...I don't have to do a thing. When someone purchases my plans I get two email notifications: one from Payloadz telling me a sold a product, and another from PayPal telling me a received a Payment. I'm only pimping Payloadz because its all I know, but I know I'm glad I use it. -Lori


Thanks Lori, I've heard of PayLoadz. Ernie actually got us an account a couple weeks ago, but we are still stuck on how to implement it. How do we upload; where do we store things; how do we display things online?


* * * New development: * * *
OuR PAgeS Itz WorRrKinG !!!
* * *
We are currently testing out a PayLoadz link setup with our cob oven plans. It appears to be working from our computers. We've gone ahead and plopped it into the magical InterWeb, so everyone can see us working out the details.
If anyone wants to help us out by testing the purchasing process, we've dropped the price to $25 through March. (The intended price is $35). http://www.ErnieAndErica.info/shop

It is incredibly helpful hearing from people who do sell small documents online, or who have helped others set up an online store. I will also be re-reading this later, in case we do get ready to publish full-on E-books.

So our current project more precisely defined was:

Selling PDFs and other small items online,
- through an online store that we can either host or link to from our website,
- which are mostly not books as such, but graphic documents that can be printed by the purchaser (5-20 MB PDF's)
- starting immediately (within a few days or weeks),
- for fixed costs that start under $20 per month (or a percentage of sales) since it's an unknown sales volume;
- and we are willing to pay for initial setup or support, but would like to learn how to add items and adjust prices ourselves.
- where financial transactions are handled by a reputable third party with good security
- and where we have the option to collect other information from customers on a voluntary basis, like a name, email, registration details, or comments from the purchaser.
That is the current goal.

It looks like we are pretty close to meeting this ourselves, thanks to all your help and advice.

Things we'd still be willing to pay a more savvy web person to help us set up:

- Web hosting that allows for a more integrated customer experience

Other kinds of purchases associated with our business:
- Online registration for workshops,
- selling physical items like printed plans, other people's books, craft supplies, or masonry tools,
- collecting 'donations' of varying amounts (could also be done through Kickstarter etc) for research.
- offering incentives to affiliates or advertisers with a non-obnoxious tracking mechanism that involves only short pieces of code. (If you're interested in helping sell plans, we've set the affiliate price at $3, about 10% give-or-take on the current oven and plans' prices. Other plans will have similar incentives, around 10%. I don't know whether PayLoadz makes it obnoxious for affiliates to help sell materials, but if you want to try it please let us know how it works for you.)
- allowing some limited advertising for books or websites we personally recommend, but don't directly sell in our store.
These are not essential, but would be nice upgrade options.

Thanks again,

-Erica
 
Susanna de Villareal-Quintela
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Straw poll may be over but I'm going to put in a strong vote for printed copies, too. I have vision issues that make a book a requirement if I'm really going to study something. Plus, I'm rather old school... I like to curl-up on the couch with a book. My laptop just isn't as cozy.
 
Ernie Wisner
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Oh yes we will be doing paper copies. there is nothing that would keep me from providing folks with outhouse material. The almanac is just to spendy these days
 
paul wheaton
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This payloadz stuff sucks from an affiliate perspective. Surely there must be something better.
 
Ernie Wisner
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What like i need to pay you or something? I have it set up for once a month cause i thought that was reasonable. should i set it for a weekly or immediate?
 
Erica Wisner
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paul wheaton wrote:This payloadz stuff sucks from an affiliate perspective. Surely there must be something better.


I'd love to hear from anyone who has used another online store that is awesome, or who could explain how PayLoadz works to both us and Paul so we don't feel so much like mushrooms.

PayLoadz does seem to be working from our end, though it's nerve-wracking wondering if we got things right so everything flows smoothly.
We are excited to have things to sell (and thank you for buying them if you are reading this!) and a way to sell them.
I think we're going to stick with it for now, but please let us know if you can recommend an online store that you, personally, have worked with and had good experiences. We got some technical support already by email, so their response has been OK from our end as the paying seller.

Amazon sucks from a seller's perspective - essentially they are the seller, and authors only get a few bucks or 30% for original Kindle content. Does anyone here use Kindle? I've never seen one and not sure who is currently in that market or what they are willing to pay for.
Not sure about their terms for selling physical books, but I don't have books yet, only 11x17 documents that I'd prefer to mail myself for now, to ensure they are well-presented. Large-scale printing is up-front spendy, micro-runs are more so, so I think I'll focus on the electronic versions for now.
I might ask Powells' if they'd sell our physical stuff rather than use Amazon, they have a good website but I don't know if they do affiliate sales.

I will check if PayLoadz offers an option to sell a paper version of the same thing.

Susanna, I can also have a copy sent to your local copy shop or FedEx for printing on site, costs about the same as shipping, and we would have them professionally printed here anyway as my printer only does small-format. I will get a few done to have on hand for workshops and mailing out, but let us know if you want anything right away.

Yours,
Erica

 
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