Authors and Selling Online

Authors Selling Online

PayPal: Basic Facts

Here’s a great article for adding a simple PayPal Donate button to your site (this article covers WordPress .org and .com options). Whether to have a personal or business account with PayPal? As far as I can see the drawbacks to a personal account are that the email address associated with your account will be visible in your code (visible for spammers) and your payment buttons won’t be protected from fraudulent changes. The business account allows you to do more customizations, track inventory, customize  your buyers’ checkout experience, and view a profit and loss report. You can, however, use dropdown selections in both types of account: for example, if you offer a hardback or a paperback version of your book, or a printed book or an e-book. Also, if you don’t like the design of the PayPal standard button, you can design one to suit your needs and upload it to your site in WordPress (you’ll just need to paste the location of that image on your WordPress site into your PayPal block of code).

Don’t forget, you can also add a payment button to your emails (along with a photo of your book of course), and to your Facebook page (under your profile > about me section, or add as a status update and share with others).

Note: The PayPal dropdown selections, for various options (such as the type of book: hardback/paperback) will not work in email, Facebook, or on

Payment Plugins/Shopping Carts

Here’s 10 plugins for handling payments on your site (and this article covers some e-commerce shopping cart options too).

This evening we installed the Easy Digital Downloads plugin (free) and tried it out in an example on our site. This plugin added a shopping cart and was fairly intuitive. The only downside is that it only works for digital downloads and not for physical products. If you’re looking for a plugin to handle physical products, take a look at the WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart plugin.

More resources

More on author/writer themes, marketing, design, book covers, and writing for the web:



3 replies
  1. Lorelle
    Lorelle says:

    Thanks for including my site among the resources for WordPress information. And hello to my friends in the club. Been a while!

    A note about using PayPal embeds. On, all the user can do is create a link to the PayPal account, thus the email address and other issues you bring up do not apply. The same is also available as an option on self-hosted versions of WordPress.

    As for security, that lies within the bounds of PayPal, not WordPress. There are ways to obfuscate emails and such in the code that PayPal will still recognize, but I’d like to see what the actual numbers are for security risks associated with embedding PayPal buttons and carts in any website, not just WordPress. I think the numbers are very low, and it is a convenient way to include purchase points on a site.

    In general, I recommend to students and clients that they use PayPal instead of a shopping cart until they have 20-25 items that need catalogs and inventory management control. A book or three doesn’t require the power of a full shopping cart, and only adds a burden to the user, often more involved with running their business than tweaking their website. For those with a higher inventory, they have to make major decisions on which shopping cart to use as it may need to integrate into their existing inventory and invoicing structure.

    Now that Automattic has purchased WooCommerce, expect to see improvements in shopping cart features coming out of their offerings, I think. Shopping carts have been clumsy and broken for a very long time, a huge hassle, and I’m eager for them to come into their own and make the experience easier for everyone involved to sell their wares, aren’t you?

    • Julia Wren
      Julia Wren says:

      Thank you Lorelle for your great site, which is full of useful resources, and for taking the time to comment on the post from our last meeting this Wednesday. Are you local to the Victoria area? Julia

  2. Lorelle
    Lorelle says:

    I’m in Portland, Oregon. I’ve worked with the Vancouver and Victoria WordPress groups in the past. Great people.

    We have three WordPress Meetup Groups in the Portland/Vancouver (WA) area that are rocking. One thing that we’ve created with a couple of our groups is to have a more social style meetup where there is little or no lecture and the focus is on helping each other solve their problems. It’s a great model and very successful. If you’d like more information on the structure, let me know. It’s wonderful to watch the confidence building that comes from helping people solve their WordPress problems, and inspires people to learn more about how WordPress words. We love it.

    Keep rocking with your group. Looks like great fun. I’d love to come visit sometime. I’m working on heading up for a conference in Vancouver, BC, this fall, so that would be a great time to catch up with everyone.



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