Essay – Phase One Setting up WooCommerce

It is still early days in our adventures with setting up a WooCommerce store on the Knotted Road Press (KRP) website. You’ll find it here:

Before this, Blaze and I had each set up a shop on our own, individual websites. Neither of us was doing too great at it, and though he pushed his more, mine barely got off the ground.

We decided that in 2023, KRP would go all in on having a webstore. In 2022, I hired someone on Fiverr to do some backend work for the website, to get it all in shape for the WooCommerce store.

Then, it’s been up to me to upload everything. And arrange it. And everything.

I have broken this task into several phases because trying to do everything at once would be foolish.

First, I need to back up a couple of steps.

Why WooCommerce?

There are several plugins available for setting up a shop on your website, particularly if you have a WordPress site. The two leading ones at this time are WooCommerce and Shopify.

The reason I went with WooCommerce at this time is because it doesn’t cost me money every month.

If (when) the store starts generating significant income, I can upgrade from WooCommerce to Shopify if I so choose. Or I can get a fancier, paid version of WooCommerce. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

In the meanwhile, on my website, I have WooCommerce.

Book Delivery

I am not requiring readers to download books from my website, though. Instead, I am using BookFunnel (BF) for the delivery of my books. BF offers lots of advantages for this service, such as the books are then automatically added to the user’s library, so they can access them at any time. BF also has great videos, showing people how to download the book. (I don’t want to have to do customer service, do you?)

Additional Catalogue

In addition, I originally had all of my books in a catalog generated by MooBerry Dreams. I am still using MooBerry Dreams for organizing my books. They provide better searching/categorization tools than WooCommerce does out of the box.

It does mean more maintenance, for example, if I update a blurb, I need to update both the “book” (MooBerry Dreams) as well as the “product” (WooCommerce).

Phase 1 Process

I currently have 137 products in the store.

That is JUST the novels from Blaze and me.

It took me four full days to get all of those uploaded and hooked up. Again, phase 1, is just the ebooks. Phase 2 is the paper books, a process I’ll describe later.

Because I have SO MANY books to upload, I paid a one-time fee for a WordPress plugin called WP All Import, their WooCommerce Import Add-on. (They’ve now gone to a subscription model, instead of a one-time purchase, so you may want to find a different solution if you need to mass import things as I have.)

Using this plugin, I could create XML files that contained all of the data for every book.

The properties I used were:

  • Product—one per book
    • Title
    • SKU
    • Price
    • Image (book cover)
    • Description (blurb)
    • Series

I could have created CSV files—I personally find XML easier to work with.

Since Blaze and I tend to write in series, I created one XML file for each series, which gave me small batches of books to work with. Then I created a “Misc” file for all the individual books that aren’t part of a series.

The way to match a product to the BF upload is through the SKU assigned to the product. I came up with naming schemes for every series/book that I found easy to remember.

With the WP Import plugin, I only had to assign properties in the XML file to WooCommerce product fields once. Then I could save that as a template, and apply it to every other XML file I uploaded. This speeded up the process.

The import process created a WooCommerce product for each product I had listed in the XML file.

The next steps for my process were:

  • Edit the product and update the description if necessary (italics in the descriptions didn’t upload, and in one file, most of the covers didn’t get attached properly to the product).
  • Edit the matching book in Mooberry Dreams and add a “Buy from us” button linking to the product.
  • Upload the book files onto BF.
  • Create a sales page for that book on BF using the SKU.

None of this was very difficult to do. Just time-consuming.

The next step was organizing the front of the store into categories, which for us, is primarily series.

Phase 2

The second phase is to load all of the novel print titles into our bookstore.

Once the print titles are all loaded there, then I will go into the Mooberry Dreams books and add links to the print versions. Will add other links to the print bookshop as appropriate.

Phase 3

Non-fiction! Both the ebooks and the print books, as there aren’t as many of these.

Phase 4

Collections and omnibuses. This step will take longer, as there will be a lot of omnibuses that I’ll need to generate from scratch, as we plan to only offer these in the store.

Phase 5

Blaze’s short fiction. Ebook only. Ugh. So many books.

Phase 6

Leah’s short fiction. Ebook only. OMG, SO MANY BOOKS!

Phase 7

Collapse. Celebrate.

Phase 8

Optimize WooCommerce with additional emails, addons, etc. Though honestly, this will happen in between the other phases as well.


Yes! Just for you lovely people for reading this essay! We’re offering a 20% off deal through the end of March 2023. Use the coupon code GRAND-OPENING-2 for your deal!

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