The mystery magazine that I edit, Mystery, Crime, and Mayhem (MCM) is stepping into new territories, and will soon have subscriptions available on the MCM site.

In addition, readers can now purchase individual issues of MCM from the site.

I’m doing all of this work to get ready for Bouchercon, a mystery convention, that takes place at the end of August.

I am very familiar with WordPress, and I’m pretty technical. In addition, I already use WooCommerce on the Knotted Road press shop. This meant that installing WooCommerce on the MCM WordPress site wasn’t difficult. It’s a free plug-in, and it walks you through all the steps, such as adding a product, setting up payments, and adding tax rates.

Setting up WooCommerce on a website has gotten so much easier than it once was. I remember in the bad old days, several years ago, when I tried to set up WooCommerce. The experience today is nothing like how it used to be. It is so easy in comparison. Don’t be afraid of doing it yourself.

Once I had WooCommerce set up, I added a free subscription plugin called Yith. Yith integrates well with WooCommerce.

When you set up a product in WooCommerce, there’s a section on the page called Product Data. After I installed Yith, there was a new Subscription checkbox.

Once you click that, another box opens up and you can add more details to your subscription product, such as the number of months before the user is billed, etc.

Because this is the free version, I have to specify 12 months. If I installed the paid version, for $199/year, I’d be able to specify an actual annual subscription.

I figure specifying 12 months is good enough.

Configuring WooCommerce, getting it installed, and setting up Yith, probably took me about three hours. That also includes setting up the integration with BookFunnel to deliver my books.

Was I then finished?

Not just no, but hell no.

After that initial three hours, I spent three days customizing everything and loading up the books. The actual work took some of that time. However, I also had to make decisions on how the store and the site would operate, and those decisions also took time. I would reach a decision point and then have to think about it for a (short) while, maybe go take a walk while I pondered.

Some of the additional things I needed to do include the following.

I needed to create an image for the subscription product, as well as for the issues. (I have all my products in my store divided between issues and subscriptions.) I needed to create customized emails for the subscriptions, one for when someone subscribed, and another to send out when I send all subscribers an issue.

I needed to update my privacy policy, to let people know that hey, we’re now selling things. I needed to update the front page, to give people access to the shop, as well as update the menu, so the shop was included.

I had to go into my theme and update the WooCommerce settings, so that product images have a custom 2:3 ratio. I also tweaked a few other settings so things looked the way I wanted them to.

The MCM newsletter was originally set up on Mailerlite, which, as you might have heard, is going to start charging people for previously free newsletters. With WooCommerce, I installed MailPoet, which is a mailing service. The plugin integrates well with WooCommerce. Then I had to move all my newsletter subscribers from Mailerlite to MailPoet. As well as create new subscription forms on the website, using MailPoet instead of MailerLite. (This was work that I’d need to do at some point anyway, so I figured I’d do it now as part of this general store creation.)

When someone buys a subscription, they’ll get an email notification from MCM (a form I needed to create). Once they confirm their email address, you’ll have to manually add the person to the subscription list (that I set up on MailPoet).

I have Yith configured so that the person will automatically get an email when they get added to the Subscriptions list. Then, I’ll have to manually send them the first issue that they’re getting as part of their subscription, as well as manually send out the quarterly subscription emails.

So the subscriptions don’t happen automagically. There’s still a lot of manual work involved. Is it too much? Too early to tell. We’ll see how it all goes.

Here are the links:

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Thank you so much for being a patron of mine! I truly appreciate you.

If you’re reading the free version of this, posted two weeks after the Patreon essay gets put up, maybe think about supporting me for as little as $1 a month.