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How to Sell Ebooks and Audio Books from Your WordPress Website Using Paypal

shopping_cart_thumb2Want to sell downloadable e-books or audio books from a WordPress website using PayPal (not credit cards)? Then check out the easy-to-use and free WordPress plugin, Simple WP Shopping Cart.

At Tips and Tricks HQ you can watch a video explaining how to set up this plugin, once it’s installed.

To install the WP Shopping Cart plugin you can go to its home page, left click on the “download” button, unzip the downloaded folder, and then upload it by FTP to the plugins folder of your WordPress files. That plugins folder is found inside the “wp-content” folder of your WordPress files, and those are generally found inside a folder labeled "wp".

Here’s a much easier way to install the Simple WP Shopping Cart plugin:

  • First, log in to the back end of your WordPress website.
  • Hover your cursor over the name of your site, found in the top left of your screen, and click on “Dashboard” in the drop-down menu.
  • Hover your cursor over "plugins" at the left margin, then left click on "installed plugins".
  • Left click on the "add new" button at the top of that page, and type into the search window, "Simple PayPal Cart" and press the "search plugins" button.
  • In the list which comes up, scroll down to "WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart" and under that entry, left click on "install now". The plugin will install. Click on "activate plugin".

You might also want to install another plugin, the UI for WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart plugin, which makes setting up your selling pages a little easier. However, the steps in the how-to video above are quite clear, so you may not need to install that second plugin. Your call.

To sell downloadable products you will first need to learn how to use an FTP (file transfer protocol) application, because that’s what enables you to place your products on a server (from which they can then be downloaded by customers). This CyberKenBlog post explains how to install and use the free FTP application, CORE light (for Windows).

Please note that the byte size of an audio book is likely to be very large, so you might want to sell your audio books by chapters, which will decrease files sizes and download times. If you want to sell audio books in their entirety, suggest to your customers that they use BitTorrent for downloading.

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Eight Easy Steps to Posting a Book Review at Amazon’s Bookstore

Image representing Amazon as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Below, in eight easy steps, is how to post a book review at Amazon.com. Happy customers sell products, and unhappy customers protect other consumers from unsafe or unworthy ones.  So, your review is counts!

  1. Log into Amazon.com.  If you don’t have an account there, open one.  It’s free.
  2. When you are signed in to Amazon.com, go to the page of the book you want to review.  You can find that page by typing its title into the search window at the top of the page you are now on.
  3. There may be several books listed bearing the title you searched for.  In this list, click on the link of the book you want to review.
  4. This brings you to the page where you can buy and review that book. If someone else has already reviewed the book you will see a link to his/her review directly below the book title.  There may be more than one review.
    If no reviews for that book have been posted yet, you will see a link that says “Be the first to review this book”.  Click on that link.
  5. If at least one review has already been posted, click on the link to see those reviews.  On the page that comes up you will find a button that says “Create your own review”.  Click on that button.
  6. Give the book a rating by clicking on a star (one star is very poor, five stars is top rated).
  7. Type your review into the text window.  Actually, it’s a good idea to have typed your review beforehand in another application. You can copy and paste it from there onto your clipboard and paste it from your clipboard into the review’s text window.  That way, if you take a long time composing your work, you won’t lose what you’ve written if the Amazon site times out.
  8. Once you have entered your review into the text window, click on the “preview” button at the bottom of the page.  This will show you how your review will appear on Amazon.com, among the list of other reviews.  If you are satisfied, click on the “publish” button.  Otherwise, click on the “edit” button and continue to perfect your review.

Now that you know how to do it, please post a review of my ebook, Double Exposure:  A Veteran Returns to Vietnam.  It’s a memoir of 22 exciting and provocative reflections about my combat tour in Vietnam in 1970, my return to Vietnam as a tourist last February, and memories in between. It’s a good read for veterans.  Click on the book cover above to get the book at Amazon.com.

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How to Publish Your Own E-book in 10 Easy Steps

Publishing your own e-book is a bit tedious, but not technically difficult, if you follow these ten steps:

1.  Write your text:  Type the text for your e-book.  Don’t worry about how it looks.  You’ll format it later.  For now you’re better off using a simple text editor like Notepad ++ because it saves files with no formatting, that is, as .txt files, and that’s what you want.  If you do use a word processor, like Microsoft Word or Open Office Writer, make sure to save your copy as .txt.
2.  Prepare your images :  If your e-book will have illustrations, save these as .jpeg files and size them to 500 pixels on the longest dimension. If you don’t have a photo manipulation program, use the Paint application to size them, which is found in the Accessories folder of a Windows PC. Keep in mind that in portrait orientation (where the longest dimension is the vertical one), an illustration displayed on an e-reader like a Kindle or Nook, will take up a whole screen.  On the other hand, landscape oriented graphics, if they are displayed at the top or bottom of a screen, will allow some text to be displayed also, but not much. If you want captions for your photos, make them part of the picture itself. The Google app,Picasa, will help you do this, making a broad border area at the bottom of a photo, where, using the “text” button in Picasa, a caption can be added. (See an illustration of the result to the left.)

3. Place images in the copy. Format the text of your e-book first; then put in your pictures or other graphics

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

4. Submit your copy to an editor.  He/she will not only correct grammar, and the spelling or typing errors you missed, but may also suggest ways to improve your copy by reorganizing it, striking parts, or adding others.  Accepting an editor’s’ critical suggestions is likely to be painful.  You may not want to change what you’ve worked so hard on, partly because you don’t want to write anymore!  But if you’ve found a good editor, follow his/her recommendations.  And how do you find a good editor?  If you know a published writer, ask for a referral.
5.  Rewrite your copy, according to your editor’s suggestions.
6.  Format your copy.  Hooray!  The hardest part is over.  Now you’re ready to format your e-book.  There are basically two kinds of e-book files, one for the Kindle (.mobi), and one for all other e-readers (.epub).  There are many ways to produce .mobi and .epub files.  I like to upload my formatted copy to Smashwords.com, which has an automated e-book maker called “the meat grinder.” This turns a Microsoft Word file (.doc) into several formats, including .mobi, .epub, .pdf, and several others.  One advantage of publishing your e-book at Smashwords is that it provides formats for a wide variety of e-readers, computers, and smart phones.  Be advised, however, that the meat grinder is very picky and won’t give your e-book a “Premium” rating unless you follow all the steps in the Smashwords style guide.  Download the Style Guide and follow it carefully.
7.  Prepare a clickable table of contents.  (The Style Guide tells you how to do this).
8.  Upload your formatted .doc file at Smashwords.com.  Very shortly you will see a report, telling you whether your copy cleared the “auto vetter” without needing corrections.  If your copy does require corrections, follow the auto vetter’s directions.  Then re-upload the corrected copy.  You may need to repeat this step several times before your .doc file finally passes the auto vetter inspection.  Then you can submit it to human beings at Smashwords, who will give it, in about three days, a Premium rating (the token of a well-formatted e-book!)  Smashwords distributes Premium-rated e-books to a very wide group of affiliate marketers.
9.  Check the Smashwords .epub file.  Smashwords advises you to check the .epub file generated by the meat grinder, to make sure it looks right.  Smashwords recommends that you use the free program, Adobe Digital Editions, to view the .epub file.  I discovered, however, that Adobe Digital Editions does not present accents over letters correctly (as are used in many languages besides English).  So I recommend you download the free app, Calibre, to check your .epub file from Smashwords. Calibre converts e-reader files from one format to another, a very handy tool!
10. Upload your well formatted  .doc file to Amazon.com.  Going through the Smashwords.com submission process will give you a well formatted .doc file, which you can then upload at Amazon.com’s KDP department (standing for Kindle Direct Publishing). Before doing that, however, take off the “Smashwords Edition” notation on your title page. The process of Getting your e-book published at Amazon.com takes twelve hours at the most.  KDP would like to market your e-book exclusively, but don’t check the box that gives them exclusive marketing privilege for ninety days.  Especially at the beginning of your marketing, you will want your e-book to be available for the widest variety of reading devices, and Amazon services just one:  Kindle.  So leave that KDP box unchecked.  KDP will bug you by email to check that little box, but don’t.  Wait a while.  Save exclusive Amazon sales for a later stage in your marketing strategy.

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