New Print Bundles in the Store

The Crusader's Bride, a medieval romance by Claire DelacroixIt seems I’m always playing around in my online store. What’s new now? Well, I’ve added some series bundles there, with special pricing. This is how I sell books at signings and other appearances, so it made sense to me to do the same in the store. Essentially, if you buy trade paperback copies of all the books in the series, you get a better price and a tote bag to carry them in. Some of the series with OOP covers are really discounted—they’re called Bargain Bundles. You’ll find these series in print bundles in the store:

The Bride Quest II
The Rogues of Ravensmuir
The Jewels of Kinfairlie
The True Love Brides
The Champions of St. Euphemia (the series so far)
The Coxwells
The Prometheus Project

The True Love Brides Boxed Set of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixI also created some new categories and rearranged the virtual shelves. You can find digital copies of the Dragons of Incendium books there now, as well as the print ones.

The True Love Brides Digital Boxed Set is in the store because it’s only available at Kobo and Apple—if you have a Kindle, you can get a MOBI edition in the store. Of course, the EPUB is there, too.

I’ll add some more digital bundles that aren’t available in wide distribution over the coming days. I’m waiting, for example, on the new cover for the Prometheus Project Boxed Set, and will add it to the store’s virtual inventory when it’s done.

Beguiled, a collection of short stories and novellas by Claire Delacroix and Deborah CookeBeguiled wasn’t there, for some reason, but now it is.

You can find all the old editions of my books in the new category called Collectors’ Editions.

Also, an astute reader found some inconsistencies in the Kinfairlie and Ravensmuir family trees, so those PDF’s have all been updated in the store. You can find Family Trees right here.

New Layout at the Store

Having an online store really keeps me hopping, and not just with orders to fill. The application I use (Selz) has been growing and offering new functionality at a dizzying pace. I think it’s wonderful how they listen to their customers and add features to serve our needs. I tend to fall behind in integrating the cool new stuff they introduce, though, because the new features are coming fast and furious. (And I have, you know, writing to do.)

Wyvern's Prince, #2 in the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeBut a week or so ago, I finally dug in and updated the store. I changed the theme and added new graphics, and am quite pleased with the result. As mentioned previously, the store pricing is in Canadian dollars, and all physical items will be shipped from Canada. Right now, the shipping calculator is set up for US and Canadian destinations—if you live elsewhere, I’m happy to fill your requests for signed books, but you’ll need to email me to have a shipping cost calculated for your order. Please include which books you’d like and your mailing address, and email me at
chestwick AT bell DOT net
(You know what to do with those caps and spaces!)

You can visit the store right here.

What’s in the store?

• My online store is the best way to get signed print copies of my books, because you order them directly from me. See all the available signed print books in the store. If you’re interested in discounted titles and editions, visit the Sale Book category.

Knights and Rogues of Medieval Romance by Claire Delacroix• You can download free samples of my books in the store, and read a longer excerpt on your e-reader rather than the short ones on my website. See all the available book samples in the store.

• You can download free family trees for my book series in the store. Note that these are PDF’s and won’t display well on your e-reader. You can download them to your computer or tablet and print them out. See all the available family trees in the store.

• You can download free reads in my online store, including free titles like The Beauty Bride and Double Trouble, as well as samplers. See all the free reads in the store.

• You can download five-minute audiobook samples from the store or buy audiobooks on physical CD’s directly from me. Visit the Audiobook Sample category, or shop the Audio Boxed CD’s category.

That’s a summary of what’s currently in the store. Is there anything you’d expect to find in my online store that isn’t available there?

Changes at the Store

My online store is going The Snow White Bride, book #3 of the Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy of Scottish medieval romances by Claire Delacroixthrough another change. Or maybe it’s a revision. 🙂 The update is based upon what you all DO in the store. The most popular items in the store are the free  excerpts that you can download. You also like the family trees (also free) and some of you pick up copies of my free books there. Quite a number of you buy signed print copies of my books in the store. Very, very, very few of you buy digital books in the online store, probably because you have a favorite portal and like to shop there.

The store currency was US$, because I had to adhere to Amazon’s pricing policies and ensure that the list price in the Amazon store for my digital books was equal to or lower than the price on that same digital book at any other portal. Some of you in Canada questioned why the print books were priced in US$ (and the postage was converted to US$) since we were all in Canada. The Amazon TOS was why.

One More Time, book #3 in the Coxwell Series of contemporary romances, by Deborah CookeBUT, I’ve removed the digital books from sale in the online store. Now the store offers free content and signed print books. The store currency is now Canadian $ and I’ve used Selz’ new postage calculator to make the postage charges more accurate. (You’ll find the postage works out best for three trade paperbacks instead of just one.)

AND EVEN BETTER, there’s a sale in the store. 🙂 The covers have changed on some titles, so the older editions are on sale. I also have far too many print books in my inventory, and they need new homes. There will be more books added as I dig into the boxes, but there are lots listed already.

Check out the sale books right here.

 

The Store and The Newsletter

Yesterday, I told you about my online store being open again, and about some content that is already available there. There are some groups of content you’ll find in my store – today we’ll talk about them and why they’ll be in the store, often exclusively.

1. Free stuff is easily downloaded from the store. The family trees and excerpt files are there to stay. There will be more sampler books, including a new one coming next week.

2. Orders for signed print copies of my books are easily managed by the store. We’ll work out the postage issues – I don’t make money on postage, but simply charge you what it costs me to send the books to you. Also, the books in the store are now offered in series bundles – this is how I sell them at booksignings, and you get a free tote bag with your order, too. We also include postcards and other free stuff in all print book orders.

3. The Selz store works in concert with my newsletter – when you buy something from the store, your email address is added to my newsletter subscriber list. This means that my news will reach you in future. Also the Selz store integrates with my Facebook pages, which means you can visit the store, download free content or buy stories without leaving Facebook. As the market evolves, authors and readers need to find new ways to stay in touch – I think these are good additions.

Harmonia's Kiss, a Dragonfire story by Deborah Cooke4. You’ll also find digital content in my store that is priced below $2.99US. This week, for example, I’m removing many stories that are less than $2.99 from the other online portals and making them available exclusively in my store. Right now, those include:
Harmonia’s Kiss
An Elegy for Melusine
Kiss of Danger
Kiss of Darkness
Kiss of Destiny

The reason for this is simple: at the online portals, digital books priced below $2.99 earn a lower royalty rate. The portals pay me 35% on those sales, while books priced at $2.99 or more pay 70% royalty rate. So, if a book is $2.99, I’d receive roughly $2 for each sale. If it’s $2.98, I’d receive roughly $1 for the same sale. (!!) The portals do this because they think the ideal price for a digital book is in the range of $2.99 to $9.99. That might be true for books (although we can debate it) but for short stories and novellas, that might not be true. In my online store, I pay a % commission for the processing of payments, which is the same regardless of the price point of the book. I think there are a lot of quick reads that are well-priced at 99 cents, but writing and publishing those shorts makes more sense for me if I receive more than 34 cents on each sale. As a result, these stories are on the move to the store, and there will be more short stories offered exclusively there. I have a hard drive chock full of extra stories and out-takes – this is a good incentive for me to sort it all out and share the best of it with you.

5. Serializations make more sense through the store, for exactly the same reasons as above. I’ll continue The Crusader’s Handfast in its current distribution pattern, but will also offer it simultaneously through the store. My next serialization, though, will probably be all in the store, with only the full book available at the online portals.

The True Love Brides Boxed Set of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix6. Books priced over $9.99US also earn a royalty of 35% at major portals except iBooks and Kobo. Again, this pricing might make sense for individual books, but for bundles containing multiple books, that price point might be too low. I like to price my bundles that you get one book free if you buy the series: my books are usually $4.99, so a three-book bundle works well at $9.99, while a four-book bundle should be $14.99. My three newest book bundles each include four books, and so they have been available to date only at iBooks and Kobo. This means that Kindle readers are missing out, but there’s no advantage to me in listing those bundles at Amazon – a 35% royalty on $14.99 means I’ll earn less on the bundle than on the sale of two individual books. Dropping it to $9.99 would ensure that the individual books no longer sold at any portal, because it would be price-matched everywhere. The store offers an ideal solution: the MOBI versions of these boxed sets will be available directly from me at the $14.99 price point. Right now, those bundles are:
The Prometheus Project Boxed Set
The Coxwells Series Boxed Set
The True Love Brides Boxed Set (coming in February).
(The files for these three boxed sets are being formatted for MOBI. I’ll post here on the blog when they’re live in the store.)
There will be more, since pricing is no longer an issue. I’m thinking of a seven book (and one short story) bundle for Kinfairlie so far, for example. There are lots of possibilities!

Kinfairlie Knights boxed set of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix7. Short term boxed sets might work better published through the online store. Right now, I’m moving Kinfairlie Knights and Highland Heroes to be available exclusively at the online store.

8. And this brings us to promotional codes. One of the handy tools offered by Selz is the ability for me to generate promotional codes. It means that I can give you a discount or a free download or offer some kind of a special, and do it quite easily. (A LOT easier than getting all portals to display the same price at the same time in the same territories for any given book. Trust me on that.) Also, it gives me a way to reward my best readers. 🙂 I’m going to start experimenting with those codes in my monthly newsletter – this would be a good time to subscribe. Also, if you do subscribe, you’ll want to open the newsletter when it lands in your e-mailbox. 🙂 (If the newsletter ends up in your spam folder or doesn’t arrive, try adding my email to your address book: the newsletter is sent from newsletter AT deborahcooke DOT com) I have a number of ideas and over the course of this year, we’ll see which kind of store promotions work best. This is exciting!

The Store is Back

My online store is back in business again. You can find it right here.

The Prometheus Project Boxed Set of urban fantasy romances by Claire DelacroixYou might remember that I had planned to dismantle the store and only offer free downloads there. As is so often the case in this market, I’ve changed my mind, and here’s why. First off, I discovered that disabling the payment options at the store meant that it didn’t work at all. If payment options aren’t enabled, then you can’t even download free stuff. I’d disabled them because all the content there was free, so that was an oopsie on my part. Selz isn’t a portal designed for delivering free content, so in hindsight, this makes perfect sense. Several of the popular portals designed for delivering free content don’t work for people outside the US (ha! Like me!) so reconfiguring my existing store was the simplest solution.

I’d also disabled the payment options because they require me to pay a monthly subscription fee. That’s okay if I’m selling content and can cover the cost as an expense, but when the content is free, it made little sense to me. (I didn’t realize the store wouldn’t work at all without them.) So, now that the payment options are enabled again, the content for sale is back, too.

I could have just put the PDF’s – like the family trees – back on my website, but several other cool changes have happened since I put the store on hiatus a few months ago, and those changes meant the store was a good solution. First of all, Selz now integrates with Facebook. You’ll be able to shop from my store on either of my Facebook pages, either Claire Delacroix or Deborah Cooke. See? The Store is on the tab under the banner, after Timeline and About. Click through and you can shop from within FB. I think that’s very slick!

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah CookeAlso, Selz now offers the Send to Kindle app which I’ve enabled at the store, so this should mean that those of you who read on Kindles won’t have to figure out how to sideload content. Anything you buy in my online store should be delivered right to your Kindle for you to read. This is also pretty cool.

There are still a couple of challenges that are ongoing. One is sales tax calculation and submission for other territories. Ugh. If you remember, the EU began requiring ALL parties to submit sales tax for each territory in the EU last summer. (There are a lot of them!) There’s no way I’m undertaking that kind of paperwork, so for the moment, the store is configured for sales to US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand only. I’m hoping that the EU – or at least the UK – comes up with a better solution for small businesses that sell online (like me!). Fingers crossed that we can open up in other territories soon.

The Crusader's Handfast: Part Two by Claire DelacroixThe other challenge, which is the calculation of shipping costs from me (in Canada) to you (wherever), remains a bit complicated. Shipping calculators are scarce for these kind of store facilities – those with look-up tables that give accurate results seem to be part of custom store software. For the moment, this is partly solved by restricting the territories of sale at the store, and partly by my listing bundles of books for sale instead of individual titles. The bundles come out to weights in the same price class this way. The postage should work out pretty well for US and Canada, but when you order through the store, I’ll let you know if you’re getting a refund or need to pay a bit more. I don’t make money on postage, but I don’t want to lose money on it either. The book bundles include a tote bag, too, and are similar to the show specials that I offer for booksignings. I think this is a good compromise and hope you do, too.

So, what’s in the store?
• Free downloadable PDF family trees

• Free downloadable excerpts for upcoming books, in both EPUB and MOBI

• Signed print copies of my books for sale, specially priced in series bundles

• Downloadable audiobook samples, which are MP3 files. You can listen to these 5 minute samples online here on my site or my Soundcloud page, but if you want to download them, they’re in the store.

The True Love Brides Boxed Set of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix• Digital copies of my books for sale. Although I’m loading the same individual titles you can buy at major online portals in my store, I’m also including content that isn’t available everywhere. There’s going to be more of that. For example, the new $14.99 boxed sets which are available at Kobo and iBooks – The Coxwells Boxed Set, The Prometheus Project Boxed Set and, coming in February, The True Love Brides Boxed Set – are in the store now. If you want a MOBI version of any of these boxed sets, you’ll need to buy it from me. 🙂

Also, I’ll be moving some content into the store that I’d like to price below $2.99US or which is already below that price. The individual Dragon Legion novellas are currently on the move, and will soon be available individually only from my store. The Dragon Legion Collection will remain in wide distribution. An Elegy for Melusine, Kinfairlie Knights, Highland Heroes, and Harmonia’s Kiss will soon be available exclusively from my store.

Check back tomorrow for more about my plans for the store!

Guest Blog Post at StoryFinds

Recently, a group of writers were talking about selling content directly to readers, and I mentioned that I had opened an online store. Renee Fields at Storyfinds was intrigued and asked me to write a guest post about the store—and my reasons for setting it up—for their Insight blog.

The post is live today, so come on over and say hello. Here’s the permalink.