A friend told me about a bakery she thought had the best bread. Then, she also saw that they were selling New Haven style pizza. But, they didn’t have any set hours posted, and it was serendipitous if you happened upon the bakery when it was open. Don’t make this mistake!
Sometimes an A-frame sandwich board appears on the sidewalk. As I drive by I can see it. I have gone past it several times. I am interested in trying out their bread, and the sign says they have New Haven-style pizza.
I saw the sign today and decided I would overcome my fear that they were only teasing me once again with the promise of being open for business. Traffic was light, so I pulled into the parking lot. I parked my car and walked up to the entrance. ￼￼
The time of my visit to the shop was 10:40 a.m. Based on their two signs, the store should have been open. It was closed, as it had been on each of my previous visits to this bakery.
I’d like to do business with them if only I could enter the store and find them open. I’ve had little success even with the newly posted hours of operation. My friend told me that finding them open was a bit random. I may give this business and another chance, but, maybe not. I don’t seem to be able to get there when they are “OPEN FOR BUSINESS.”
Perhaps the law scarcity is at work. I think there is a lack of awareness about serving people and being open and available for them to buy what they have to sell. I am not happy. I was drawn to their bakery by the sandwich board twice. Both times I was disappointed to find the business wasn’t open! Don’t make this mistake when you self-publish.
As an Author, Are You Open For Business?
If you’re wondering what this has to do with you as an author, I’m glad I piqued your curiosity. When you are self-publishing, you need to be open for business. What does that mean?
Here are 12 Things you need to do to be prepared and Open for Business:
Register your name or the name of your publishing company, your online home. It is your domain name, your URL. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It is the unique address of a web page. Consider registering your name as your primary domain which will allow you to gain recognition as an author and it gives you flexibility as you develop your author platform.
Set up a business bank account. Track all of your expenses for writing, publishing and promoting your work. Here is a step-by-step guide to setting up a book publishing company.
Set up your WordPress site using WordPress.org. The software is free and easy to use. If you aren’t comfortable with technology, many qualified WordPress experts can help you. With WordPress, you can be up and be running in less than an hour. In most cases, you will be able to add new content yourself without needing to hire a consultant.
Pick a theme for your website. There are many free WordPress themes available. There are many professional themes available from a few dollars to around $100. Take a look at the sites and themes offered by Studio Press, WP engine, and Theme Forest. There are themes specifically made for authors. All you need to do is search for a theme that matches your style and your intentions.
Pick an email service provider. Your personal email is for sending out and receiving email one message at a time. A service provider allows you to send out a message to a large number of addresses at a time. You want to build an email list and stay in touch with your audience. Building your list is crucial if you want to sell lots of books! You need an email service provider to send out email messages that are will be delivered. Constant Contact, AWeber, Mail Chimp, GetResponse are among the top email service providers for authors and small businesses. Infusionsoft and Salesforce have more features and can do more than manage your email list, however, they are pricey and probably not what you need when you are just starting out. If you want to read more, look at these are articles that compare and review these email service providers. Some services offer a free trial so you can see if what they offer is a match for what you need and your level of technical skill. Remember, you can always hire an expert to set up and run your email service and campaigns.
Create email opt-in forms for your blog. Every time someone comes to visit your website you want to give them a reason to give you their email. Make it easy, make visible, make it irresistible. Your lead magnet is the content you offer in exchange for your visitor giving you their email address. All of the services listed above will allow you to create a form you can put on your website where visitors can give you permission to send them emails by giving you their email address. Your opt-in is the gateway to growing your email list. Your email list is gold. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting from zero or if you already have an email list with thousands of names. Building an engaged email list will pay off when you publish your book and when you publish your second and third books. You may be planning to offer to coach or provide consulting services related to your book, develop courses, webinars, or sell products and services made by others. When you have an engaged email list, you have the opportunity to give away great content and get to know your audience so that you offer what they want. It gives you a way to develop trust and get feedback.
Your Lead Magnet is a Free Giveaway. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be a list of resources, a list of tips, a collection of articles you authored, and it could be a video, a recording, something that is valuable to your audience. Don’t spend a lot of time creating your giveaway. You can change it later after you have gotten feedback from your audience that tells you more precisely what they want or if they want something else. Think about what you know that other people don’t know and share that information as your lead magnet. Give yourself 24 hours or less to create your free giveaway to attract the kind of readers you want.
Start writing for your blog. Before you publish your blog, right 5 to 10 articles that establish who you are and reveal what people will find on your website. These foundation articles will probably be between 1000 and 2000 words long. They establish your point of view. Don’t be afraid to be controversial. The point of creating these foundation articles is to show how you think, how you write, and your message, your passion, and inspiration and why you write. Remember, you want people to read, follow, and trust you. These articles are like conversations you would have if you were dating your audience. Be authentic, be yourself, and write with intention as you picture who you are writing for and why. When you have your 5 to 10 foundation articles written, edited, and proofed for spelling and grammar, it is time to publish them on your blog. The best foundation articles are timeless also known as evergreen content. If you’re not sure what to write, take a look at authors and thought leaders in your genre. Study what is working for them. It’s okay to learn from others. Modeling your site on a website you enjoy will help you get started.
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