Your Customer's Journey: Smooth or Rough?
Test every step of the customer's journey BEFORE you make a book live!
When you set out to sell your books, you are making a promise to the customer that you’ll provide a well-written, well-edited, well-delivered book. Are you keeping that promise? In this post, I’ll assume that you’ve done the writing, editing, and layout/design with quality. Instead, we’ll talk about the delivery process because that’s when the customer directly enters the process.
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Smooth Delivery of Print Books
Most indie authors of children’s books use a print-on-demand (POD) service to provide books for sale. If you POD with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or Ingram Spark, the distribution of books proceeds smoothly. You have little input on how and when books are printed and shipped.
But there are reasons to expand beyond those two programs. I operate a bookstore on the Shopify platform, MimsHouseBooks.com. The backend is connected to the Lulu Direct POD program. And I am responsible for everything that happens from the order to the delivery.
Here’s a quick checklist of things I must test before I put a book live:
Proof copy. I always order a print proof copy for every book, every format. If I use different printers (KDP, Ingram, Lulu), I order proofs from every printer. Why? Because each requires a slightly different file, and I need to be sure that everything looks great. Always. Order proof copies. Upload any needed changes.
Book page. The metadata needs to be accurate and up-to-date on the book’s sales page.
Checkout process. I have tested the checkout process through my website several times and will continue to test it periodically. The customer should have confidence that their privacy is protected, their financial information is secure, and the books will arrive in a timely manner.
Shipping. Strong packaging is needed for books. I’ve ordered several times with Lulu Direct fulfillment and their shipping is great. But I’ll continue to monitor this.
Smooth Delivery of eBooks
Recently, I loaded all my eBooks and audiobooks onto my grandson’s iPad. He’s old enough now to have an email address, so I downloaded the Bookfunnel.com app and signed him up for an account (with approval of his parents!).
As I downloaded various books, I was appalled by the inconsistencies in the files. The problem is two-fold: I’m in transition and I have lots of books. Late last year, I reevaluated how I create ebooks, and started the process of updating some files. Right now, I have about 40 picture books, and keeping all the files updated is a big job.
I have failed at this! Some books that I downloaded onto my grandson’s iPad had problems: old covers, front cover missing, or audiobooks were missing. For all of them, the basic file was intact and the book could be read! The customer would get what they paid for and expected!
But the errors are sloppy! It means I haven’t checked and rechecked the customer’s journey. Everything is smooth now through the purchase process, and what I need to do this month is smooth out the post-purchase delivery process. I need to make sure that everything is accurate.
Here’s a checklist I’ll need to follow:
Update ebook files. Upload ebook or audiobook files to Bookfunnel.com.
For each title, deliver it to my library on Bookfunnel. Check to be sure that everything is correct.
Sometimes, I think the upkeep is harder than the original setup. You follow all the current practices for setting up everything. After your first setup, however, companies add new features and the setup/delivery may change slightly. It will likely continue to work pretty well, but you’re likely missing some key features.
Therefore, try to set up a schedule to check on the customer journey at regular intervals. Twice a year should keep your process smooth. And that’s what we want, a smooth customer journey!