FAQ for Author Websites
- What is the recommended way to sell my book from my own website?
- Is there an alternative way to sell books through my website without requiring Merchant Services or a 3rd Party shopping cart?
- What do I get with the Standard shopping cart that comes with my website?
- What service(s) should I consider with Lightening Source?
- What is a Merchant Account and do I need one to sell my book through my website?
- What is a Payment Gateway, and do I need one to sell my book through my website?
- Do I need a third party shopping cart like 1ShoppingCart?™
- Do I need an SSL Certificate for my website?
- What do I get with my Standard Website Package?
- Now that I know what shopping cart I want to use, how does it get set-up?
- I just sold a book through my website. Now what happens?
What is the recommended way to sell my book from my own website?
- Sign up through Lightening Sources services for the “Print to Publisher” program.
- Sign up for Shopping Cart services to allow your book to be sold in any format (i.e.: Audio eBook, or Hardcopy, etc). You can sign up with either Quick Shopping Cart® or 1ShoppingCart™. If you go with 1ShoppingCart™ and plan to sell Digital Downloads of your book(s), then you will need to make sure you sign up for the “Professional” Package.
We will set up the different products that you are going to be selling. We will tie your website into your shopping cart with the proper “Add to Cart” buttons. You will need to get with your local post office to determine the best method(s) for shipping. Both the shopping carts mentioned have real-time shipping rate options. Also consult with someone who knows the local tax regulations for proper state tax charges.
These shopping cart scenario are better than the Standard PayPal Shopping Cart route as far as functionality is concerned. These shopping carts allow you to sell secure downloadable digital eBooks. The free Standard shopping cart that comes with your Standard Website Package is equipped to enable you to sell hardcopy books through PayPal without the need for Merchant Services. However if you intend on selling digital downloads the Standard Shopping Cart does not secure the downloads.
By doing your transactions through the 1ShoppingCart™ you do not need a SSL certificate. All of the money transactions are completed on 1ShoppingCart™’s secure website. The Quick Shopping Cart® does require an SSL.
Is there an alternative way to sell books through my website without requiring Merchant Services or a 3rd Party shopping cart?
Yes. There is an alternative. Using a business PayPal account, Buy Now buttons can be generated and placed on your website. All payments go through PayPal’s website. A Business PayPal account is required. For alternatives for selling your books check out the Shopping Cart Solution page.
What do I get with the Standard shopping cart that comes with my website?
The Standard shopping cart is the use of PayPal button on your website to sell hard copies of your book. Digital downloads can be sold through this method; however, each digital sale requires its own transaction separate from other book transactions. Important to note that the digital downloads are not secured. All payments are handled through a Business PayPal account. When a customer places an order, you will be notified from PayPal. At that point you simply ship out the book(s) to your customer. PayPal will hold the money in your PayPal account until you direct them what to do with the funds.
What service(s) should I consider with Lightening Source?
One of the reasons Lightening Source is recommend by Tom Bird is because of their customer service. Call them for the service plan(s) that suite your needs. It’s known that, you do not have to choose just one service. In fact, you can utilize several of there plans at the same time. It really comes down to how much you want to be involved in shipping out your book, and how much profit you want to retain.
What is a Merchant Account and do I need one to sell my book through my website?
A Merchant Account allows businesses to accept payment by credit cards. A Merchant Account is needed when you are using a third party shopping carts, like Quick Shopping Cart® or 1ShoppingCart™. You can check with your local bank to find out if they offer Merchant Services.
Silver Knight Industries LLC has partnered with e-onlinedata for their merchant services. Click on the link to find out about costs and fees. Silver Knight Industries LLC uses e-onlinedata for it’s merchant services and we wouldn’t recommend them if we were not happy with their services and support.
A couple of things to be aware of when shopping for Merchant Services.
- Make sure you find out the length of the contract. Some contracts may not allow you cancel very easily, or charge you a cancellation fee.
- Some application fees cost up to $300. Make sure you don’t pay that much.
- Find out all of the Fees and Transactions costs for both the Merchant account and the Gateway account. Typically there is a monthly fee for both and a % of each transaction on the Merchant account. If you are getting estimates from you bank, make sure they include the cost of the Gateway (Authorize.net) as well.
What is a Payment Gateway, and do I need one to sell my book through my website?
When you use a Merchant Account you will need a payment gateway. A payment gateway is similar to a Point of Sale terminal in a brick and mortar store, only it’s used in e-commerce transactions. It protects credit card details by encrypting data to ensure the information is protected as it’s passed between the customer and the merchant, and the merchant and the payment processor. Typically when you sign up for a Merchant Account you will be signing up for a payment gateway service at the same time.
As mentioned in the Merchant Account FAQ, find out about the Terms, Monthly Fees, & Transactions Fee. Use this link to e-onlinedata to see how much the Gateway Costs are for Authorize.net’s Gateway services.
Do I need a third party shopping cart like Quick Shopping Cart® or 1ShoppingCart?™
For the greatest flexibility of selling multiple types of products including Books (hard-copy, audio, eBooks, PDF’s), Marketing Materials (t-shirts, mugs, calendars), Photo’s, Posters, and running Promotions; these are preferred shopping carts.
Read more about each of the shopping carts on the Shopping Cart Solutions page.
Do I need an SSL Certificate for my website?
No, an SSL Certificate is not necessary when using 1ShoppingCart™ for selling your book. By using 1ShoppingCart™ the customer is taken to 1ShoppingCart™’s secure website for the financial transaction. You can tell it’s secure at checkout by looking at the beginning of the address bar and looking for https://. The “https” indicates that the webpage is secure and that any data that is transmitted will be encrypted. If you do not see the letter “s” in the “http” then the webpage is not secure and any data transmitted is vulnerable.
Yes, an SSL Certificate is required when you are using Quick Shopping Cart®. You can get a SSL certificate when you sign up for the Quick Shopping Cart®. Just check the checkbox to add the SSL when you select the package you want.
No, an SSL Certificate is not required when you are using the Standard Shopping Cart that uses PayPay. When customers pay using PayPal they are taken to PayPal secure website for the financial transactions.
What do I get with my Standard Website Package?
The Website design is based around a WordPress framework which utilizes a vast array of Themes and Plugins to help give your website the look, feel, and functionality you desire.
For more information follow the link to Website for Authors
Now that I know which shopping cart I want to use, how does it get set-up?
You will receive a Shopping Cart Info Form, which is in a format similar to the Website Setup Info Form. From that form we configure and setup your shopping cart.
There is a one-time fee to setup, configure, and test everything completely.
If you are using the PayPal buttons to sell your books, there is NO setup fee.
For more information on current fee and the steps performed for the setup/configuration of the shopping cart, check out the Shopping Cart Setup/Configuration Fee on the Website Options page.
I just sold a book through my website. Now what happens?
When someone orders a book from your website, you will get an email about the new order.
When you receive this email you have two options.
Option 1 – If you have extra copies of your book at home.
- Pack up one of your extra copies and mail the book to the customer yourself. Choose a shipping method that is cost efficient for you. Your local post office and UPS stores can give you details about their different shipping methods.
Option 2 – If you don’t have extra copies of your book to mail out.
- You need to contact Lighten Source (LS). They will print the number of books that you need, and ship out each book to the destination(s) you give them. When you have LS ship out your book(s) to your customer(s) they will charge you a fee. The last I heard it was $8.00 per book. Contact LS to find out exactly how much they charge to ship your book out to your customers.
If you want to ship out your books yourself, then I suggest you call LS to get a quantity discount and have them ship you a hundred books or what ever amount in which they will give you a price break. Last I heard was, if you ordered 100 books, you would receive a 10% discount for shipping them to one location, your home. Contact LS to find out exactly how much of a discount you can receive for quantity orders.