In the interest of being transparent with you, I would like to share that I started an online business recently. Following the publication of my book, I realized that I hardly knew anything about social media, how to be an “authorpreneur” or even how to get my book marketed (though I read countless books on the topics, it didn’t feel like enough).
Initially, I started to take note of what I could observe. After noticing some spikes in sales after my book ran on a few bookpromo sites, I got more interested in how those sites could help my exposure. Further, I became particularly inspired when my book was rejected from a few bookpromo sites! I thought “Wow, I worked really hard on my book. If my book is getting rejected, what is happening to other new authors who are in the same boat?”
I began to study book promotion sites/book marketing even more deeply and realized there were three main problems with a few of the big promo sites:
1. Some sites ask for very exorbitant prices to list your book ($75 – $400!)
2. Some sites reject your book based on number of reviews, which is a “Catch-22.” If you are a new author and don’t have a following yet, how are you supposed to get reviews if your book can’t be listed?
3. Some sites are very “picky.” If they don’t believe they will make enough in affiliate commissions, they won’t bother featuring your book (if their business model is mostly based on commissions).
Then I thought, “I should start my own site…maybe I could help others who are in the same boat as well!”
So, to the surprise of some people, I set out on my journey to create a site called: BookWerm.com! Note that I also had two friends who passed away (friends who adored books); part of pursuing this project included the idea that I could honor those friends in a way, too, since they loved to share information on great new books/authors.
Building this site consisted of several main phases:
1. Learning how to build a website (this was another reason I was interested in this business; to become adept at hosting websites)
2. Learning how to build a Twitter following
3. Collecting email subscribers for the business
4. Establishing relationships with authors and featuring their books
5. Getting over my own fears and doubts, as well as negative comments by other people. Many people said “You have a Ph.D. in chemical engineering…what are you doing?” But I felt strongly about the need. There is a surge of new authors that need help, and this can be my way of helping them. Also, challenging myself this way helps me grow and expands my skillset in the online area (something I did not have before).
Initially I assumed my business model would be similar to others, where the primary focus is email subscribers. Though I gain more subscribers everyday, where my business really took off was my twitter following (as of this minute I have over 13,500 twitter followers! @TheBookWerm) Therefore, I realized I should focus on where I have been successful. I list a featured book on the website and email; however, the strength of my business is in the “book tweeting” area (tweeting people’s books or products has become very popular lately if you have a good following!)
At first it felt scary to take on something new. But after experimenting with the website design, daily email, and tweet format, I am happy with where it is. It is now taking off a bit and I have found that I have a new focus: I am more interested in helping other authors with high-quality ebooks get more exposure!
So if you are an author or reader, feel free to check out the site! I am currently giving away a $100 Amazon gift card. You can enter the giveaway by registering here: BookWerm (no purchase necessary).
In terms of other things — there are other areas I am exploring right now in the area of writing/teaching. On that topic — I was wondering if any of you have anything in particular that you are struggling with? For instance — some people struggle things like: feeling overwhelmed, time management, job change, interviews, mindset, habits, focus, discipline, etc. Getting your feedback would help me concentrate my efforts in the right area! Feel free to comment below or send me an email through the contact form!