For all of you who are looking for a reader by July, this is a great option! [object Window]
CLICK HERE to read my review of the Amazon Kindle and why it’s nice for writers. Also read the comments as well!
Now Amazon has a Kindle Fire HD.
It’s like The regular Kindle on crack! Including a camera, better pixels, faster WiFi.
I’ve seen and handled one and for the price, I would say if you really wanted an iPad, I’d still wouldn’t invest in one. Just get the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8 inch LTE for $499, which has a bigger screen and all the comforts of a regular fire plus a little bit more. Click here for more information about this device.
But if you want to save $400 of the 699 you would pay if you bought an iPad plus get a tablet you can utilize as a writer, without breaking your bank, get the Amazon Kindle HD.
To help you really see the potential and comparison, see the picture Amazon put together.
(I would sure love one too, so I don’t mind a gift, hint, hint, HINT!)
- Amazon sees Kindle Fire HD sales peak following iPad Mini launch (HEXUS.net)
- Amazon pits Kindle Fire HD vs. iPad Mini (news.cnet.com)
- Amazon sold more Kindle Fires after iPad Mini was released (gadgetynews.com)
- Amazon Kindle Fire HD Much Better than Apple’s iPad Mini: Amazon Home Page Proclaims So (devicemag.com)
- Got A #Kindle? Loan My Books plus firstname.lastname@example.org book news 4readers!
Like I wrote before, being an author is like being a small business owner. You have products (books) to sell and its up to you a lot of the time to get the word out (marketing) about how awesome your product is! If you are a self-published author you also spend a lot of time selling the product too!
So its important to know about PayPal, Google Checkout, Square Up and any other easy payment gateways out there because you want to GET MONEY!! Right?
So here is my official review of Square Card Reader for SMART Phones (Androids & iPhones, sorry Blackberry peeps). Now if you’re reading this I HOPE you have taken my advice (from previous articles) and picked up your SMART Phone and Optimized it! So now you’re ready to do business on the go!
I signed up for the Square Card Reader for a couple of reasons.
- I am an author and need to sell books on the fly or at book signings and other events
- I do home parties and sell products and services out and about
- I wanted to try a cool new gadget to review for you all!
While I already had a mobile payment solution , it was for another business account and I wanted an alternative to keep funds separate and the money straight. Also with the other solution I have to key in all the info which can be a pain. With this reader, it’s swipe & go! You can also capture their signature using the touchscreen, this is good as a secondary way to prove they were really there in case of a dispute (always a concern when using plastic).
After opening my account (very simple, but you do have to give your SSN & link it to a bank account for payment), I thought my reader was on the way and would arrive within 2-5 days (as promised), but either I missed some instruction or there was a glitch in the matrix b/c a couple of weeks went by with no reader. So I logged back in to see what was up and lo and behold there was a “ship another card reader option.” My reader arrived within a week! (Yay! It looked so cute, nestled in its little box & protective foam).
I put the unit into the audio jack (3.5 mm only) on my phone and then headed over to the Android Market Place and downloaded the Square App. Once installed I simply entered my username/email address and password and I was pretty much up and running.
The interface is pretty simple, key in the dollar amount and then add the description by typing or (this is really cool) TAKING A PICTURE! How awesome, especially if you sell physical items! Next SWIPE THE CARD to charge and it will tell you immediately if its approved or not. Finally the person signs using their finger (pens don’t work) and you choose whether the receipt is texted or emailed and input the appropriate information. What’s cool is that there is a option for tips & taxes and you can eliminate the signature option for payments <$25 (but that also eliminates the tipping option). What’s nice is that you can pull up your sales history right from the app or via the online account management tool.
Pretty simple right? What’s nice is there is no worrying about paper and pens, but if you’re in an area with spotty reception, you may be cash only! Also keep your charger and/or extra batter handy.
So next up is getting my money! This Diva does not like to wait to get paid. My favorite thing about PayPal is INSTANT access to your money if you get the debit card. Too bad they don’t allow swiping yet :-( . With Square, you do have to wait a couple business days to get your money. I did a transaction Friday night and the funds were available today (Tuesday). The delay I am sure had to do with it being the weekend. Yes they took out their 2.75% fee (as was expected), but overall the experience was simple and my money is now safely home with me :-)
I just put in request to REFUND one of my test payments and will update this post with how long it takes to complete.
Overall so far Square is alright with me, but its still pretty new and some people have had negative experiences. I know there are some limits in how soon you can get your cash for transactions over $1000 in a week AND getting to customer service is only available via email so read the fine print and be aware. It also records the GPS location of each transaction which is kinda creepy to me.
I prefer to collect cash and will still use my PayPal Virtual Terminal for payments over the phone or other keyed in methods b/c I want access to my money quickly, but this is a great tool to help increase profitability because you can take deposits, retainers, or sell products via credit card wherever you are that has reception! The only thing I need now is a cute little carrying case to protect this baby!!
|Kania “TechnoDiva” Kennedy is a graduate of Duke University and holds her B.S.E. in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In addition to being a self-published author she is a life long fan of technology, loves “gadgets,” and she has always been the “goto” girl when technological things need to be “hooked up” or “figured out.”Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Google + | LinkedIn|
I am a technology consultant and coach for small businesses and as I said before EVERY AUTHOR should consider themselves a small business. Now if you’re lucky and get a great publishing deal maybe you can outsource everything and simply focus on writing. However even New York Times bestselling authors have to go on tour and show up to sign books right?
I’m willing to bet however that MOST of the authors reading this article have to do some/most/all of the work of getting their product (book) and brand (name) known to the world. Here is the good news, you can reach almost anyone in the world these days without ever leaving home. Here’s the “bad” news, you have to use technology to do it.
Its my job to help small business owners get themselves out there within budget and looking like a million bucks. With that being the case there are a few foundational items I cover with new clients. The essentials that I say EVERY business should have, so take a moment to rundown my checklist and see how you are doing.
Small Business Essentials
- Domain Name
- E-Commerce enabled Website
- Facebook Fan Page
- Twitter Account
- Youtube Channel
- Paypal Account
- SMART Phone
- Linked In Profile
Are you a yes to all of the above? If not, it seems like you have work to do! Today I’m going to start with the first two items on the list.
You want to get a personal domain name. Not your book title, your actual name. If you have decided to publish a book and put yourself as the author, guess what? You are now a “personality.” People will start to look you up and that’s a good thing! We want to make sure they find you. So visit a domain name registrar like Go Daddy or my personal favorite Name Cheap and spend the roughly $10 to buy http://www.YourName.com. Hurry you don’t want someone to beat you to it!
There are two reasons for this
- If you publish more than one book, you want a single location where people can go to find out about you and all your work
- We need to build your home on the web i.e. your website
Website (E-Commerce enabled)
If you are reading this, you already know what a website is, but you may not understand why you need one OR why it should be e-commerce enabled. The short of it is that websites are the number one way people get information about you on the internet (with Facebook running a close second these days). Let’s say you want to have your book published by a major publishing house and you are sending off manuscripts and proposals, they are not only evaluating your work, they are evaluating you! So being able to send them to a professional informative website about their next potential author will work in your favor! If you are self-publishing, your readers will want to find out more about you too, make it easy on them. Now this site does not have to be complicated but it should have an about you page, information about your work, a way to purchase your work, and a way to contact you.
This brings me to the second part of the site, the E-Commerce. End of the day, you want to sell books right? You may even want to consider offering your services as a speaker, if so you want to make it EASY for people to buy from you. Having a merchant account and a shopping cart and/or purchase links on your site means your visitors can purchase books or book your right there versus having to contact you via phone and then sending in a check or arranging to meet you somewhere. A wise business owner once told me to remove as many barriers between you and your customer’s money as possible!
Don’t worry getting a merchant account these days is easy check out PayPal and Google Checkout for free easy ways to get started. Both these services make it easy to accept credit cards and other forms of payment online, as well as offer tutorials on how to add their “buttons” to your site.
So where do you get a site, if you don’t have a website designer? I’m going to give you a few EASY resources and I encourage you to use one of them or something very similar.
- Webs.com: This is a great service with both a free (ad supported) as well as a low cost pay option (no ads).
- Intuit Websites: Low Cost ad-free option
- WordPress.com: WordPress is a free option, BUT it is not easy to add the e-commerce option. There are work arounds, but it will take a little effort.
I am sure there are plenty of other options out there, but these are three that I can recommend. While all three of these options are designed to be user friendly, I highly recommend working with a professional to make your site look its best. The great thing about these tools is that you can put up all the content (information you want to share) and then bring in someone (like me) to “tweak” it. Its a way to save time and money.
We will tackle the rest of this list in my upcoming articles so check back soon!
|Kania “TechnoDiva” Kennedy is a graduate of Duke University and holds her B.S.E. in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In addition to being an author she is a life long fan of technology, loves “gadgets,” and she has always been the “goto” girl when technological things need to be “hooked up” or “figured out.”Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Google + | LinkedIn|