Updates! Dug myself into a very big (and fun) programming hole

One of the things I wanted to accomplish this week (in honor of the Patreon launch) was an update to one of the zines; either getting the art done for the Windows or Linux command line zine or working more on the content for the git zine.

BUT that programming project I mentioned in the last update is STILL ONGOING. It has been the giant-est of giant yak shave-y projects.

Turns out replicating Gumroad's functionality isn't a week-long project! (Duh.)

I'm having a ton of fun with it, even though it's taking a lot of time. I lost my love for programming last fall and it lasted up until this project. The funk I was in meant I didn't feel like working on book stuff either. Now I'm super excited to figure out how to make my own coupon system and get Stripe Checkout to work and oh lordy I started all this work and then realized there is a whole new version of Stripe Checkout and WHAT Stripe has an Orders API when did that happen? This is basically my brain every day.

Stripe Checkout on HelloWebBooks.com
Since the last update, I ripped out that custom credit card form and started using Stripe Checkout. Probably will launch with this, and then migrate to Stripe Checkout Beta.

In other news...

The Command Line Zine can now be ordered as a physical book from Amazon

Back in the fall I chatted with another self-published author who made the very good point that, while my physical books are gorgeous, I probably could have saved a ton of money and pain if I went with print-on-demand, like he did. I grumbled and got defensive, and then thought about it, and then realized he was probably right.

Going forward, I'll probably do a small print run (500, likely) for Kickstarter and pre-orders using my fancy pants custom designed books, and then use Amazon's printing service (CreateSpace, though I think it's now bundled under Kindle Direct Publishing now) for orders after launch. This'll save me the pain of having a fulfillment warehouse that I pay minimum $22 weekly (UGH) and returns and re-orders and damaged books and all that.

To prep for this, I decided to make a print-on-demand version of my zine and see what the Amazon process was like. You can see it on Amazon here.

Really Friendly Command Line Intro on Amazon
Really Friendly Command Line Intro can be ordered as a small paperback on Amazon

Pricing is hard. It's only 24 pages, but Amazon's greediness means I actually only get about $1 per sale when it's sold for $5.95, so I can't really do less. Also, will probably update the cover design with color — currently it is black and white for people to print at home, but that doesn't look too snazzy on Amazon. Also also, the description needs a huge revamp.

(Also it's driving me nutty that the product page isn't connected with the Kindle version but apparently the automated system needs more time and I can't complain for another 48 hours. Sigh, Amazon.)

Traveling for the next two weeks

I'm off traveling for the next couple weeks! I had hoped to get my MVP version of the new hellowebbooks.com out before I left but there are still big things to do, so hopefully I can get some work done while I'm away from home.

ALSO: I owe a few packages of the physical command line zine to a few of you. Since I'm coming to the US in the latter half of the trip, I'm hoping to ship them then. Stay tuned!

(This post was originally published on my Patreon account.)

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