Building Your Shopify Site: How it works

What I do

I design Shopify sites for authors, which means I create sites which primarily sell ebooks, paperbacks, hardbacks and audiobooks that are printed/produced on demand and shipped directly to the customer.

What features will be included in your site?

  • Each product will have a product page for customers to buy the book.
  • I will add any other pages you wish, such as About Me, Blog, etc.
  • The site will be branded with your colours, fonts and images.
  • I can set up sale items and product bundles of your choosing.
  • I can copy over any information from your existing website, and add links to other stores such as Amazon, if you want to offer your readers a choice of retailer. You can also add links to KU ebooks on your site in the same way you do on your current website.
  • I can add links to your newsletter sign up.
  • Your site will be functional and ready to take orders from customers.
  • I will help you ensure the sales tax side of the site is set up correctly.
  • I work very collaboratively and will keep in touch with you throughout the process to check that what I am building matches your expectations.
  • While I have experience in using Shopify, I cannot re-write Shopify’s code to fulfil all your wildest dreams – we’re going to have to stick with what we’ve got! Having said that, Shopify is extremely customizable, so I should be able to provide you with what you want, especially if you add additional apps, as mentioned above.


What I don’t do

I can’t manage stock for you, post out items, or keep track of stock for you. If you wish to sell items from your store that are not print on demand, I can set up the product page for you, but the rest is up to you. You will have to decide how you are going to stock these, manage the stock levels on Shopify to ensure that it doesn’t go out of stock, and add the correct shipping information. Shopify has the ability to restrict items to certain countries, so if you only want to sell your merchandise in the US, this is possible. (Meaning you don’t have to deal with international shipping and customs.)

My expertise is in books, not other merchandise.

What is out of scope?

  • Any products not included in the list you give me before I start working on your site.
  • Writing product descriptions/blurbs and proofreading of copy.
  • Organisation of images and copy. Please ensure that images are shared with me in an organized manner so that I can find them easily. Dropbox/Google Drive is ideal for this. I will let you know what images and text I need.
  • Once the site is up and running, your customers are your responsibility. You will deal with your own customer queries. I will design the site, but I will not manage orders on a day-to-day basis for you. If you need to add new books/products or make any changes I am happy to do this for you at my usual hourly rate, and during the design phase I can teach you how to do this yourself. I will set you up with how-to guides.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with sales tax in the countries in which you sell your books. I can help by suggesting popular apps that people buy to calculate tax, but I am not a tax specialist or accountant so cannot take responsibility for your sales tax compliance.

Reviewing and approving designs

If I ask you to approve a change and I don’t hear from you within 4 working days, I will assume that the design is considered “approved”. This is unless the change adds a cost to you, in which case, I will not make the change until I have your approval.

Be aware of potential extra costs with Shopify

On top of the monthly fee you pay to Shopify, it is likely that you will want to add additional features to make your site do more things and there is an app for anything you can think of. It is perfectly possible to make a store to sell your books that doesn’t use any additional apps, but you might want to consider adding apps to help with calculating sales tax, creating pop-up email sign up forms or offering discounts, integrating your newsletter sign up, customer reviews, etc. The costs of these vary from free to one-off payments or a regular subscription. We will discuss your needs as we go along, but be aware that some of the things you might want to copy from other people’s shops do incur additional costs. I won’t install anything that incurs extra costs without your agreement.

Termination of the project

If, for whatever reason, you do not wish to complete the project and launch your store, you agree to compensate me for the hours I have worked. I will keep track of my hours on a shared Google Sheet.


If you infringe copyright by using images or fonts that you do not own on your site, I cannot be held responsible for these. I will use what you send me and it is your responsibility to ensure you have permission to use these for commercial purposes.

What I will need from you:

  1. You will need to do the initial set up with Shopify – sign up, add your details, name your site, add payment settings, etc. You will need to give me your login details. (Shopify’s Basic plan used to allow you to have staff members, but unfortunately they scrapped that!)
  2. Any paperbacks or hardbacks need to be set up on Lulu or BookVault for printing and shipping. (I am very familiar with BookVault and highly recommend them for quality and ease of use.)
  3. Any ebooks or audiobooks should be set up on BookFunnel.
  4. You will need to provide your own store policies: Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, Refund Policy, Shipping Policy and Contact Information.
  5. I will then need to know which of your books you wish to sell on your store.
  6. It is very helpful if you give me any logos, fonts or images you wish to use – I’ll assume anything you give me you have the licence to use commercially.
  7. If you already have your own website, I will match the theme and feel of this to your Shopify store, unless you want something different! Please let me know exactly what you want and I will do my best to create it.
  8. You might want to create a new domain name for your store. The default from Shopify would be along the lines of You might like something better, like, or You can buy a domain through Shopify or through a third party like GoDaddy. If you buy a new domain name, I can connect this up for you.
  9. Please keep in touch! You will be able to view how the site is coming along any time you like so let me know what you like or don’t like, or anything I need to include. I completely understand that your design might change once what you envisioned in your head becomes real. 

What happens next?

If you would like to go ahead, we will finalise what needs to be included in the site. I will then create a folder where we can save shared images. I will let you know what I need from you in the way of images and product information. We’ll chat about your ideas for the design of the site and how you would like it to look and feel.

You will need to set up your own account with Shopify to add your bank details and other important information. Once your site is set up you can make me a staff member and give me permissions so I can work on your site using my own Shopify login.

You will need to share with me your login information for BookVault, BookFunnel, and/or any other printers that you will be using for connecting products to Shopify.

Keeping in touch

I am in the UK, so because of time differences, email is the best way to contact me with any queries: and I will use email to contact you, too. I’m happy to call by Zoom/Skype/Meet/whatever at any point, and you will be able to see the progress of your site as we go along. I’ll charge the hourly rate we agreed.

How long it will take to build your store depends on how many books you want to add and what you can already provide in terms of images and design ideas. As a rough guide, it will take me two or three weeks to create the basic design and have your books uploaded and ready to go. Adding extra merchandise and things like pop-ups and discount codes will take a bit longer. Please bear in mind that I have other work and family responsibilities, and it’s tricky for me to put in loads of hours during school holidays. However, I will always be upfront and honest about my availability, and I am not one to miss deadlines. If you have a launch date in mind for your store, please let me know at the outset.

When your store is up and running, I can provide support to add new books and make changes to your store, charged at my normal hourly rate. I will also leave you with how-to instructions and am happy to talk you (or your assistant) through how to add your own books so that you are able to do most things on your own.

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