Friday, December 04, 2009

Google's Doing Valuable Free Stuff Again for Authors Again


Sometimes it is born of fear.

Sometimes it is caused because we feel as if we are doing just fine without taking action.

I am happy to report that at least one of the things I was putting off in 2009 finally got done. That is I now have a shopping cart on my Web site, only I'm calling it a Shopping Plaza .

And it was born thanks to Denise Cassino, marketer (book launch specialist) and the guru behind Long Story which you've heard about many times in this newsletter for its accessibility.

Anyway, Denise is doing a launch for my retail book ( and I've been documenting the process in this blog so those interested in a similar launch/blog tour can learn to do a launch on their own or with Denise's help. The Shopping Plaza was an essential part of the launch process. You can go to the finished Shopping Plaza on my site and click around on the buy buttons to see how it works. If you don't want to check out, you don't have to.

Maybe it's just as well it took me so long because Denise told me about Google's new checkout offering. There are lots of services out there but they all seemed a bit intimidating. Google's didn't. And once I finished the product I became award that there were other advantages to it over the others that had cowed me a bit. Here's what I love about it:

1. It's FRUGAL. There is no charge except for a small percent when someone uses their credit card to purchase.

2. It is quite user friendly to set up--it's that fear thing, you see. Easy is good for those of us without tech degrees.

3. It is fast. I had it up and running in just a couple days for Christmas buying. (There is a delay until Google gets coordinated with your bank.) One doesn't even need their own credit card acceptance account. A checking account is all that's needed and that's FRUGAL, too.

4. It allows me to ship out my books autographed, something that I never talked about much because it was such a convoluted process.

5. AND it allows me to give a f r ^ ^ something to people who buy any of my books. The beautiful (if I do say so) free gift is a chapbook of poetry I coauthored with Magdalena Ball, Cherished Pulse. BTW, it is also available on Amazon ( now as a "real" book for only a little more than what you would spend on a quality greeting card these days but why not get it free at my Shopping Plaza with a purchase?

6. By doing a shopping cart, I get to nag you all to do something similar. And help you through the process if you need me (at a special price of $50). But you won't need me. I'm sure. (The beauty of having a nontechy guide you through something like this, is folks like me use no tech jargon and we don't skip steps or details because the process is too familiar!)

And, sure. I hope you'll consider giving one of my HowToDoItFrugally series of books to one or more of your writing friends. And, if you should decide you want to give them in quantity--say to your whole critique group or if you're a publisher to your entire stable of authors--just let me know ( . I have a quantity discount for you.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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