Starting a New Venture

During the last two weeks of August, I began to work on a new venture. Along with my editor, we decided to open our own on-line store, using Shopify to run it. Since my editor was busing doing editor-type things (not sure I want to go there), I was left with the task of watching YouTube videos about how to set up a Shopify site.



According to most of these videos, setting up a Shopify store is easy-peasy, something you can do in a day or two. Well, darn! They didn’t count on my Boomer mind, filled with cobwebs that catch and retard every thought, or on my total lack of computer expertise. It often took me a couple of viewings just to understand what the presenter was describing.



But, day after day, the site began to take shape. Shopify really does make it easy to set up a store, even for a Bumbling Boomer like me. We had the beginnings of a storefront, a list of products, a variety of ways to show those products.  We finally had a way to deliver those products (BookFunnel), and at long last, we had a way to collect money for our products.



Then, finally, on August 31, I told my editor that we were ready to start. On September 1, we wanted the site to go live.

Our new store,, was up and ready to go.



The question both of us had was…would anyone come to our store? The next question we had was, would anyone buy anything?



The advantage of a brick and mortar store is that you can see the customers as they come into your store.


Unfortunately, you can’t do that with an on-line store. Yes, Shopify allows you to see how many links there are to your store, hour by hour, but you can’t actually see anyone. 


Not until they do something. 


Then you can see them!

For the first time, we knew who our customers were, what they bought, and what other genres they might be interested in.



Instead of having one of the “big empty box” sites control our customers, we could relate to them directly. In fact, the very first day, I was able to have a detailed email discussion with one of our first customers.



It’s an amazing feeling when an author suddenly realizes that her readers are real!


We set up our store because we had a few simple objectives.


  1. We wanted to interact with our customers directly, offering them special deals when we wanted to.
  2. We wanted to control our own prices. For example, we wanted to make the first book in each of our series free. Amazon wouldn’t allow that, and while we could do that on Draft2Digital, that put our vast majority of readers on Amazon at a disadvantage.
  3. We wanted to reward really loyal customers with continuing discounts and specials. 
  4. And finally, we wanted to publish what we wanted to publish. Amazon is getting too restrictive. As an example, we have a book that teaches authors how to use emerging technology to their advantage. Amazon and Draft2Digital are reluctant to embrace new methods of writing, such as AI tools.

Our opening strategy was simple. We wanted to offer a lot of our books for free in the simple belief that when someone reads the first book in a good series, they will want to read the second, then the third, and so on books in the series. We also offered steep discounts of other books to encourage buying behavior.



Did our strategy worK? Well, the jury is still out on that. In the first two weeks, we got one hundred and fifty customers signed up for our site. We have no idea if that is good or bad, but to my editor and myself, it was reassuring. We started getting repeat customers who came back and bought additional books.  Quite frankly, we didn’t make a lot of money. but we did pay for the cost of Shopify, and we accomplished one of the dreams my editor and I have shared for a long time.


We set up our own store.



Come visit us at and find your next great story to read.

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