I’ve been pretty quiet here lately, but that doesn’t mean production is slowing down. In fact, quite the opposite. I have big things planned and currently in production. For now, if you’ll notice, there are several changes to the site. Let’s go through them!
- Shipping costs have changed. It used to be free, but I can’t make a profit if I’m going to be providing tracking numbers. Now shipping in the U.S. is free for orders at least $11. For orders under $11, there is a flat rate of $8, so I’m at least making some profit. For other countries, there are extra fees added to all orders for shipping. It depends on the country. See the About page for details.
- There is a Gallery! This is for customer photos and external reviews. Here you can see what products look like when they arrive and how people use them. (And beautiful photography.) If you submit (email) a photo (or several) to me and I put it in the Gallery, you will be entered into future giveaways. It doesn’t matter how many photos you have in the Gallery- one entry per person. But I do like having more photos. You will be credited.
- The front page has changed slightly! This is a minor change. Instead of the ugly old product slider I had, I switched to this new one. I think it’s much nicer to look at. The only problem is that some of the longer product titles cut off, but you’ll get the idea. It’s now towards the top. Later I’ll move the Shipping Info section below it so the slider will be the first thing you see.
- I changed the ‘Shop’ page to ‘Bookshop.’ This is strategic because I’m trying to establish a certain feel with the website. There will be other sections later, and other types of shops. This is where you get excited. For instance, there will be a section ‘For Bookbinders.’ Then, ‘For Authors/Designers.’ (What will those sections hold? You’ll just have to see. I’m not revealing everything all at once.)
- I also added a Classics section to the Bookshop. Seems kinda obvious, doesn’t it? Like something I should have already had. Well, it’s there now. No new books to that section (yet) but it’s separate now. (Several books fall into multiple sections though. For instance, horror classics. Why don’t I also put Harry Potter into the fiction section? Well, there are a lot, and they really deserve their own section, don’t they?)
- When you go to product pages, you’ll see more options before the ‘Add to Cart’ button. One of them is for customizations. You know, like when it’s a custom book and I ask you to provide me with a link to the cover you want, for example. That’s where you’d put that so you don’t have to wait all the way until you get to the Checkout page. There is also a gift wrap option. I know some people buy things for themselves and things for others in the same order, and I try to combine them in the same box if I can, but if you want something wrapped in its own box, I can easily do that as well. I always wrap each order as if it’s a gift anyway though- pretty silver box and silver bow.
- There is also another section on the Checkout page where you can put info on how you found out about my shop. It’s optional. I’m just curious to see what advertising methods are working.
- In the sidebars, there is a Product Release Calendar. Days marked in blue are dates that I’m releasing a new product or product line. You can click on the day for details. These dates may be subject to change, but they’re good general guidelines. Exciting, huh?
- I installed a PayPal Currency Converter widget. It says it will ‘convert any currency to allowed PayPal currencies for PayPal’s Payment Gateway within WooCommerce.’ I’m not entirely sure what that means, since I think you can pay in any currency in PayPal anyway (like if I’m buying something on eBay it’ll show up converted to my currency, but it’ll also show the original currency. Wait- are they using the same system then??). Either way, it should be useful somehow, so if anyone wants to let me know how/if that works, please do.
- I have a new automated system that includes your shipping/tracking info in your automatic email when I mark your order as complete. I put in the shipping info on my end, mark the order as complete, and it sends you an email saying ‘hey, your order is marked as complete. Here’s the carrier I shipped with, here’s the tracking number, and here’s a link for you to track it.’ Neat, huh? No more manual emails.
- There are now User Badges! Once you hit a specific threshold (such as certain # of orders, # of days being a member) you automatically get badges. They show up on your User Account page. Just a fun thing. I like badges myself, and I’ve got it set up so they’re automated. Just gives you a minor feeling of accomplishment. (:
I believe that’s all of the recent changes! In the future, I’ll be implementing more. I will be providing Alicia Craft Gift Cards (virtual). There will also be free gift options with a minimum purchase amount.
Also, tiny little note- and a hint of things to come. I will soon be working to phase out all of the current designs in the shop. That means sales- sales of the Everything Must Go variety. That will also mean that all of the designs will only be available as free items in the future- items you must win. If you are a Representative*, you will be able to request them. Otherwise, you must try to win them in giveaways. Giveaways abound, bringing us to the next section….
*Representative applications are closed as of now, but they will open again during the summer. There are currently 3 spots left.
Bring on the giveaways!
FREE STUFF GIMME. Everyone loves free stuff, right? Well, there are a few types of giveaways that I am currently hosting.
- Blog giveaways. I sometimes participate in Giveaways Hops on my book review blog, Awesome Book Assessment. I always offer one free item from this shop. (Any item, no matter the price.) You can keep an eye out for giveaways by subscribing in whatever fashion you choose. I may also start having giveaways on this blog here, the Alicia Craft blog, but those will be considerably more rare. (I do prefer it when you buy things, after all. (: Plus there are already so many ways to get things free or discounted.)
- Giveaways on other sites. A few of my Representatives host giveaways for items from my blog. I know there will be one towards the end of the year. (Don’t worry, I’ll let you know.) Sometimes I participate in events and donate my products as giveaway prizes. (Example: the Love-a-thon earlier this year.)
- Gallery. I already explained this. You send me pictures, and BOOM! Free automatic entry. If for some reason you don’t want the entry, just let me know.
- Newsletter giveaways. You’re going to want to subscribe to my newsletter. Which brings us to the next section…
Big things are happening around here. If you’re the type of person who likes to be ahead of the crowd and know things and get sneak peeks before anyone else, then you really should subscribe to my newsletter. You can do this in the right sidebar. (Plus you get a coupon code!)
Thing is, I’ve got a lot of big plans. There are going to be a lot of new products and product lines. It’s going to be crazy. I’m thinking about taking pictures of things in progress and sneak peeks of things. I was going to post them on Instagram, but I thought it would be a better idea to give that privilege to my newsletter subscribers.
PLUS there will be awesome opportunities. If you keep up with the shop, you’ll get access to subscriber-only sales and sales before the public knows about them. You’ll get subscriber-only discount codes. You’ll get access to videos and downloads that no one else will. You’ll get the opportunity to vote on what products you’d like to see next and which ones you want first. And of course, you’ll get plenty of giveaway opportunities. It’ll be amazing. It’s like Patreon, but you won’t pay regularly. You’ll just get regular emails. How awesome is that?!?
This sort of brings us to the next section…
what am i working on?
If you’ll look at the product release calendar on the right, you’ll see that coming up, at the end of April, I’m releasing two new related product lines. It’s sort of a new product option. I’m working on increasing the customisation options tenfold, starting with this. I’m adding the option of having the pages gilded. You know those beautiful books that have pages with gold edges? Real fancy? That’s what I’m talking about. What’s more is the pages are actually straight-cut. I know the messy cut edges are really fun, and unusual in the real-life-size bookish world (I only have a few myself, including the Spiderwick Chronicles books). And they’re incredibly easy considering my paper trimmer blade only does messy cuts for paper that thin. It’s much harder to cut straight edges, considering I have to break out the big trimmer and cut through multiple pages at once without leaving marks. It’s a process. But it’s the only way to have the gold-edge effect, and I think it’s worth it, especially since after the initial bulk stock (in order to have product photos for the shop) I’ll only be making them on an individual order basis. Much easier. But since I know it’s now an option, I can offer it as an option for any book. You can have paper with straight or messy edges. If it’s straight, you have the option of gold edges free of charge. (It might not look great with all book covers, though.) For either option, you might (in the future) be able to have the pages aged. I’ll be experimenting to find out how best to do that.
In addition to the gilt edges, I’m including the option to have an attached ribbon bookmark. Another real fancy customization. I’m offering 3 colors: red, gold, and silver. For the pre-made books, I’m doing which one looks best with the cover/endpapers. Keep in mind that the red one is a lot smoother and heavier so it looks more natural in the book and stays in place more easily. I think I’ll add the option of having the bookmark glued in the pages though (so you can’t take it out and place it in whichever page you want). If it’s on a necklace, this might look a little better.
These will be separate customisation options, but all of the books in my 2 upcoming lines will have both features already. The first line is gilt classics- classic books with gilt edges and bookmarks. The second line is gilt notebooks- the same, but these are part of my larger notebook line. These notebooks do not have titles, so they are not associated with any publisher or cover artist. (They are vintage.) Certain notebooks of this line are also more intricate and have additional layers (literally). There will also be a lot more ways to customize these. The ones in the upcoming Gilt Notebooks line will only have a few of these options, but there will be more in the future. (Again, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up.)
I HAVE been adding new items here and there to the shop. Nothing too big. I think the most recent one was a box set of Neal Shusterman’s Unwind dystology. I’ve yet to read it though. Sounds good!
I’ve also started making the super minis with headbands. There’s no real reason not to. (:
The biggest change of all…
…will remain a secret until its big reveal soon. I have been hinting at it throughout this post. But you probably won’t guess it exactly. I’ve been learning a completely new skill in the past few days, and I think I’m pretty good at it. But this is a completely new type of thing that I will be incorporating into the shop. The thing is though it will also be something I can do separately. A new sort of…service, if you will. If my skill ever gets that far. We shall see. I’m halfway to the point where I have enough of this thing to start incorporating it into the shop, so come May all shall be revealed. (Newsletter subscribers will get early access!) It’s very exciting. It will get rid of this haze that’s been hanging over the shop. What’s that? You didn’t notice the haze? There are people who definitely know of this haze, and the pressure’s been getting to me. But it will soon be removed. It’s time to launch this shop into a new era.
Wow. This post is SO FULL of information. It’s a lot to take in all at once! I’ve already said quite a lot, but there is even more that I haven’t said. Expect great things in the (near) future! Thank you so much for reading this blog and supporting my shop.
Love you all,