by Reesa Turner

#127, 25 August 2008

Selling on eCrater

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The Enforcement of Murphy's Law?

Hello, ladies and gentlemen; my book-selling compatriots. Today I'm going to teach you a lesson in futility. Perhaps you will teach me a lesson as well. One can only hope.

I have determined that it does not serve me well to take vacations. Pretty much everything that can go wrong upon return from said vacations will go wrong. Almost every year I am met with a similar fate. Luckily I did not return to a broken water heater, a leaky roof or some other such previously experienced disaster. Suffice it to say, my return from the summer vacation of 2008 has met with one dilemma after another in both my personal life and my business endeavors. Being anxious to get back into the groove with my new bookselling adventures, I jumped in with vigor, amidst the home front chaos.

Bulk Upload to eCrater?

The majority of my time over the first few weeks of my return was spent in trying to create a spreadsheet for bulk upload to eCrater. I am new to Excel, and to spreadsheets in general, so the learning curve would pose a small problem, which I was sure could be tackled in short order. Unfortunately, Excel has proven to be the bane of my existence. I don't want to talk or write about it. I don't want to talk about eCrater's bulk-uploader either. I'm having a slight fit, here. My heart races a little at the mere thought of it. This does not bode well.

I ask myself, is it essential to have this template? No, on the contrary, it would only serve as a slight convenience, were I able to get this spreadsheet properly formulated to do what eCrater expects from it. We, as creatures of habit, usually want to continue with the familiar. So I decide to do this absolutely foreign thing, and it backfires.

Booksellers enjoy the ability to load as many books as possible in one fell swoop, don't we? It is what many of us have become accustomed to. I thought this might turn out to be easy enough to accomplish using an altogether new format. So I jumped into Excel, created a template and found a useless .txt file once it was all said and done. It seems tab-delimited is not a "clean" file once Excel processes it. After several attempts to clean the file in notepad, I managed to get a .txt file that looks like it will load properly. Alas, it will not load. I failed on several levels, and on numerous occasions.

What would I give to be able to list to eCrater from HomeBase or BookHound? Or at least to have an eCrater generated template (fully formatted) in which to load my products, without having to be hooked up to the net. I don't know what I'd give. Is it really worth much? Is it really necessary? Nope, it isn't necessary to have bulk uploads, which places me miffed at myself once again. I've been making poor choices, by golly. Wasting time. At least I still managed to sell some books during this transition time. If I could get more books up at eCrater, I might actually sell some there. I wondered how I was going to write anything about promotion of my eCrater stores, when I haven't really worked on them.

Although my newest eCrater store has sat idle since the days when I loaded those first few books into it, I spent time manually loading items into some of my other online stores. eCrater's copy function works quite well for this, and I get some new listings up, but my lazy depression side starts to creep in. At this rate I'll have 39 items listed by the first of the year. Internet Scrabble, doctor visits, dirt bike riding, online chat boards, and my stagnant music career have drained me of my creative business sense.

My endeavors with Excel and the failed bulk-uploads to eCrater left me flat. I was down. Just tired, and feeling absolutely dejected. Imagine my wounded pride. I was marked a failure (in wonderful red lettering) several times! In the face of all this punishing demoralization, I still did not wish to give up, but my energy for this bulk upload project has waned. The swirling thoughts in my head reluctantly turned to other places for redemption.

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Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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