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|