After some teething and technical hiccups, we now have established the Fantastic Realities Online Shop here on the Studio Blog. I plugged in the well regarded WooCommerce and the Fully Woo-compatible Astra Pro theme to get it up and running. The place was due for a bit of an update and facelift anyway. The primary aim is to give people a place to purchase the self-published book projects I’ve been publishing under the FRS imprint. The main incentive is of course to offer the most recent project A is For Art: The Digital Restoration, which I produced on Lulu, but the format does not qualify for Print on Demand on their site, unlike the softbound Fantastic Realities: A Life in Art & Design, but can be sold on an online store via their Lulu Direct service. So that seemed the way to go.
I did consider Blurb, BookBaby, and even Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, they all had either technical or budgetary issues. KDP was also not ideal for a picture books, they work best for text heavy trade paperbacks in the 6″x9″ format. Also Amazon’s royalty rates are brutal unless you are willing to really overcharge readers. Lulu allows me to publish a book without having to purchase a few hundred copies up front, then try to sell them. So we were off and breaking out the digital hammer and sonic screwdriver and building an Online Store, and the intricacies of products, pricing, taxation, shipping and payment systems.
To make it more interesting, for a while, Lulu Direct wasn’t able to “see” this site. NO IDEA why not, everything else seemed to be working. You can read more of the saga in the previous post, for a while it was a little frustrating. But after a support ticket and some back and forth – and some patience – they seem to have gotten the APIs sorted. Huzzah for that. Testing now. For the most part, things seems to be working as advertised, especially the tricky bits of moving money around between users, banks, and vendors. Test orders are in the pipeline. The new Astra Pro theme is working out well after a few hiccups and shakedown creaks, and looks quite presentable. Excelsior!
Down the road a piece, I hope to add more stuff over time. Merch. Possibly the Icon-o-ma-jig pins, artworkz, and of course future book projects. I am still hoping to produce a letter size hardbound version of Fantastic Realities at some point, maybe updated with more recent work. In my voluminous free time, of course. Just like this blog.
So be a chum, buy a book, they’re actually pretty nice.