Last Update: 2010/04/08
Although I haven't updated much since the beginning of the month, that doesn't mean I haven't been busy working at distro stuff ;-)
Lots of good news down below, in the catalog section, so if you don't care for rambling site updating details, just scroll down to the Catalog Updates!
Lately I've been trying to find a better alternative to this blog to set up the shop for real, like those e-commerce websites and other similar online shops. I was recommended to check Storenvy, which I already had and even signed-up for a “test-drive” about a week ago. The problem is they only work with USA currency, aka American dollars, which isn't that much useful to me since I live in Europe and work in Euros. Even when I shop online with PayPal and buy stuff marked on other currencies, it's all converted into Euros and that's what goes out from my bank account anyway. The only advantage I can see in their store is that they don't have a limit for adding products to your shop (yet). And the way it works – adding products, managing product categories and stuff, it's quite user-friendly.
Before Storenvy, I had checked Big Cartel too, from seeing other distros having their e-shops on it. The problem with Big Cartel it their services plans... You can get a free plan there, but it only allows for 5 products, which in the case of my distro wouldn't do! Then the next plan ($9.99 paid monthly) allows up to 25 products, but if I put together all the zines-buttons-stickers, I'll easily get pretty close to 25, not to mention the books section! Their other plan, the most expensive one ($19.99 monthly), allows a maximum of 100 products. maybe that's enough for all the stuff I'm planning to stock, but the price is a bit scary, because I'm still gathering the zines & all the other items I'll be having in the catalog, so I don't see myself paying for the shop even before it's opened. I'm still working on writing descriptions, scanning covers and samples, managing catalog “database”, so I don't think it would make that much sense to start paying for a shop and having nothing there!
Then today I found Shopify, after seeing a distro that has gone too big for Big Cartel (over 100 products) and they decided to move to Shopify. The first problem I saw is that they charge “transaction fees”, which I suppose are charged over every order/sales a shop gets... Etsy, anyone? They charge those fees monthly, and the value depends on the price plan you choose, of course. Obviously, the most expensive plan charges no fees, zero, 0, niente! It costs $699 a month. Has the whole world gone mad? The “cheaper” plan before this one, charges a 0,5% fee, and it costs $249 a month. Again, are you kidding me??
With the cheaper plan, they will charge you a 2% fee over every sale. Now, with charging these fees, won't that make the distro have to price up their items to cover for the fees? I mean, really... If I wanted to pay fees, I would open a shitty store on Etsy or something. Not to bash on Etsy or Etsy sellers, because I'm a frequent buyer in there and I like it.
So all this leaves me full of doubts. I know I still have a lot of “pre-work” to be done before “opening” the distro.
The last few days I have been experimenting with PayPal 'Buy Now' buttons, and testing them on the blog and they just wouldn't work. But I'm a stubborn b*tch so I tried and tried and tried, and now I seem to have got it right! You'll see a “View Cart” button, though there's nothing available to put on the cart yet, but at least I know that button will work!
Also, don't be shocked by the 'Donate' button I added to the website... Well, if you're shocked, just drop me a line, or comment on this post and tell me your opinion about it. The reason why I decided to add the Donate buttons, besides being an experiment, is because I see those buttons around everywhere nowadays. and I've actually seen distros with a similar button, or projects that need an extra support to grow and/or keep existing. So the way things are right now for the distro, I thought maybe if I used some positive thinking this donations thing might work. If you got any spare change, like a dollar or something, then I will forever be thankful for you kindness!
And yes, I set the button for dollars, but if you would rather donate in other currencies, contact me or comment here.
On the good news, I've already been through my national postal services website and made some spreadsheets will all the major price tables for the most common shipping options, both for shipping local and internationally. I have a whole lot of different shipping costs, depending on the type of shipping service. As I had planned from the beginning, I'll leave the decision to chose which shipping service to the person making the order. I'll post here a a much more simplified table, with the different shipping services and their and estimated delivery times, for starters. Later on I can try to make a more detailed table, with the ranges of shipping weights for each service and their prices. This might look a bit complicated to understand, but in the end I'll be the one calculating the total costs, depending on the service that's chosen for each order, which is a decision I'll leave to costumers. I'll try that for some months, and if it goes well, maybe I'll stick with that system.
Also good news is more zines titles coming soon! Only a few copies at first, to see how they go. Most of these zines are personal choices, some issues/authors are even personal favorites of mine. I tried choosing a bit of varied topics I'm interested in, and hope you are too ;-)
Zines coming soon: Leningrad; Marbles; Mélange #2; Larry #1 and #2; The Juniper #12; Meat zine: You're right in Liking It!; Revolutionary Women Stencil Zine; Doris #15: The Anti-Depression Guide; Ker-bloom! #82; You Don't Get There From Here #1; Bad Lyrics Project; I Hate My Mom's Cat: And Other Tails; The La-La Theory! #1; and some issues of Brainscan.
Zines received for consideration: It's amazing how one can get anxious over mail! While I'm still waiting for the postman (or postlady!) to deliver some zines that are already in the catalog, I'm also waiting for other zines that were sent for consideration...
The catalog could use some other zines anyway, like your zine! If you don't have your zine in any distros yet, or even if you are in some distros, why not try your luck at Invicta Distro? So don't be shy and send me your zine for consideration! Thank you :)
Books about Zines - how-to make a zine, zine history & evolution: «Stolen Sharpie Revolution #2» by Alex Wrekk, «Whatcha Mean, What's a Zine?» by Esther Pearl Watson and Mark Todd, «Zines» by Liz Farrelly, Michael Dorrian and David Recchia, «Notes from Underground» by Stephen Duncombe, «Indie Publishing» and «DIY: Design it Yourself», by Ellen Lupton; and other books about Zines & the zine world.
Art history & women's gender studies: «Women Artists», by Uta Grosenick; «Women, Art, and Society», by Whitney Chadwick.
Other topics focusing on developing your creativity & exploring new writing/artistic techiques: «Kaleidoscope» by Suzanne Simanaitis, Keri Smith's books; «The Artist's Way» by Julia Cameron.
Comics books & Graphic novels: «The Last Lonely Saturday» by Jordan Crane, «Papercut Heart: a book of zines» by Ian Sullivan Cant.
Remember, if you're interested about any of the books mentioned above, be sure to get in touch with me as soon as possible, so I can work on a pre-order/reservation to stock them for you!
Everything else: the buttons I was expecting for this week arrived earlier, last week, so that was really cool! I've already scanned them and thankfully they turned out pretty good, so I just need to make some adjustments on the pics and they'll be up on the shop in a few days!
Expecting more “custom-made” buttons with exclusive Invicta Distro designs to arrive in the next weeks ;-)
In the meantime, I'm still looking for other zine/reading related buttons and also other buttons "about" the zine topics I'm interested in having in the catalog. Some stickers will be available, but if you make stickers yourself and have wholesale prices for distros, feel free to get in touch! Same goes if you make buttons, magnets, and bookmarks!
p.s.: see any typos on this post? could be possible, I've been using a different browser while working with Blogger to update, and this browser has no integrated spell-checker :( . Let me know if there's a typo or something, just leave your comment! Thanks :)