My head was pounding when I went to bed last night, and is still pounding as I write this, seven hours later. I had one of those nights where I couldn’t get comfortable and woke up about once an hour,
so I finally decided to just give in and get out of bed about an hour ago.
I still have the headache that I kept waking me up all night, but I did get to watch a beautiful sunrise while my coffee brewed.
Why do I have a throbbing headache that kept me up all night? Oh, this is just fantastic . . .
I took a box of books to the post office yesterday, so about 100 of you guys who placed orders in the first couple of days can start checking your mailboxes on Friday. I understand that many readers who bought The Happiest Days of Our Lives are starting to get their books, and it looks like it’s taking about a week for them to arrive. If you’ve gotten your book and had a chance to read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts, either in a comment, an e-mail, or via review at Monolith Press.
Speaking of the book, I wanted to clarify something about the signed, numbered, limited edition hardback: it hasn’t arrived from the printer, yet, so we can’t start taking orders. I can’t even do pre-orders, because I don’t know how much it will weigh to calculate what we need to charge for shipping. Also, I’ve encountered two significant problems with the otherwise-perfect PayPal ordering system:
1) When I print multiple orders, it’s not passing the item number through with the address and buyer information. Until we can figure out why it’s doing this, we can’t take different orders for different products. We’re working on it, but the FAQs at PayPal are pretty goddamn useless. If you’ve had any experience with this problem and solving it, would you let me know what you did?
2) PayPal won’t let me automatically process Canadian orders along with US orders. That’s annoying, but it gets even worse: if I use the otherwise-awesome "print shipping label" option, which handles postage and addressing and all that good stuff, it forces me to buy an international priority mail envelope for 9 dollars. Since I’m only charging 5 dollars for shipping, I’d lose money doing it that way, and I can’t justify charging Canadian customers more than half the cover price to pay for shipping. It wasn’t like this when we did Dancing Barefoot, so I asked at my local post office, and the woman told me I can ship books to Canada for around 3 dollars, but to do that, we’ll have to process orders the old way, and I still have to fill out customs forms. By hand. For each fucking one. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this sucks, and how much work it’s going to be to handle Canadian orders, now. Thank you very much, stupid intrusive government regulations that waste my time and cost me money. I don’t know why the rules have changed so much since we did Barefoot, because we could just identify the books as "bound, printed matter" back then and avoid the customs hassle. This is the opposite of awesome, and I’d love any advice on dealing with this from indie sellers who have dealt with it already.
So what do these things mean for customers? Until I can figure out WTF is wrong with PayPal, I can’t take hardback orders. This isn’t an issue right now, because they aren’t even here from the damn printer, but it’s going to be a potentially disastrous issue for me and my business if we can’t solve it within a week or so.
I’m currently working on a backup plan to deal with this stuff, but I’m sure there has to be a way to make this work using the tools I already have. If you have a small business and handle payments and order processing the way I’m trying to, would you please get in touch and let me know how you did it?
Finally, I updated the FAQ at Monolith Press over the weekend, and forgot to mention it until just now.