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Turn Your Website Into a Virtual Office With Centralized Control

July 05, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 170

That may sound like too large a burden to impose on your new website. It's not. Indeed, it is exactly what every effective site should be doing to justify its existence. Let your webmaster or designer know right up front that you expect each of these tasks to be accomplished smoothly and accurately. If your choice is a professional, he/she will know that a site must serve two masters: the author and the book he or she has written.

Your goal as an author is to be recognized as an expert in your field, and that is important whether you turn out fiction or nonfiction. Novelists or short story creators must strive to become a household word for readers of the specific genre in which they specialize. Similarly, readers must become aware of the outstanding nonfiction thinkers/writers in the topic they hold dear. The quality of the content you produce will be the deciding factor in your ability to achieve expert status. So it certainly is essential to reinforce your expertise in the content of the website that represents you to the public.

There many tools available to you as you "control your literary empire" from your virtual office. Your main assignment is to write. To crank out articles and write books. You can't afford to spend a great deal of your time on other details. Technology today can assist you with a number of tasks. To begin with, a well-planned website contains all of the relevant information a buyer needs to purchase the books and/or articles you are selling. It has a functioning shopping cart and/or a sales page that is simple to navigate.

New communications technology makes accepting orders automatically, relieving you or a staff member of answering the phone and talking with a customer. That order can be relayed to the fulfillment component of your company, whether it is in-house or an outside fulfillment/mailing house. You will have no need to become involved at any stage of handling those incoming orders. The price of an auto responder to add to your website is minimal in comparison to the time and money it will save you.

Making Pertinent Decisions

It makes a great deal of sense to take an active role in the development of your website. Most of the readers and other folks who visit your site will never see you in person. Aside from the quality of your work, the only basis for judging you is your website. It must reflect your beliefs and your ideals and demonstrate your ability. These judgments by the public-known in our industry as "branding"-are critically important for an author. A book has a defined active shelf life. You, hopefully, will go on to write many more books. The reputation you develop is vital to boosting sales of those future books. Think of it this way: they may both begin with "b," but a book generally has a limited popularity while the reputation with which you've been branded will serve you throughout your career.

Your site is the central source for all contact with you, the author, or any member of your staff. The average surfer arrives on your site eager for information. A potential reader may visit to find out more about you and your thinking. A reader visits it to place and to order. It is the administrative headquarters to which a disgruntled reader can send complaints or a delighted reader can praise your work. It generally lends a professional air to your efforts. People recognize that you are a very serious and devoted professional author.

Some authors, I among them, believe great value is added to your website and to your reputation by making worthy information available on site at no charge. It serves a double purpose. While adding substantially to a visitor's knowledge by offering a number of informational articles or tips at no charge, it adds a degree of gratitude to that visitor's opinion of you. In addition, there is an excellent chance that having found some of your articles helpful and well written, he/she may be motivated to invest in one of your books.

Use Your Site to Build Your Platform

Your website offers a unique opportunity to enlarge your mailing list. Few things are as important to a publisher when choosing books to produce than the size of the author's platform. Invite visitors to the site to list their name and e-mail address by offering a gift as a thank you for visiting the site. Or go further and invite them to join a group you have formed to receive regular e-zines packed with information or to be the first to receive an e-mailed copy of articles that you write for public distribution. All at no cost to you and none to your reader. Of course, you are welcome to devise any legitimate inducement you wish to obtain the info you need to promote future new books. Remember to include a statement that the information will be kept complete secure.

Ultimately, the most important role your site must play is to serve as a bookstore exclusively for your output. It gives you a superb opportunity to sell without competitors distracting your customers on every side, as they do in a retail or online bookstore. The copy you place on your selling pages must be convincing. Be cautious not to step over the line with such high praise that it makes your potential customer wince and disbelieve. Your task is to intrigue your customers; make them eager to turn to the shopping cart and order your masterpiece. It is, in the vernacular of our profession, to convert your customer's interest into a paid sale.

The sale, of course, is wrapped up in the shopping cart. This basically is a format that reveals the item your reader is shopping for, the cost and the quantity. It gives you the customer's shipping information needed to send out the book(s) as well as the source of the payment. Will you be compensated by Pay Pal, a charge card, etc. Since there is no way for your customer to send cash or a check unless you provide a mailing address (I recommend strongly against that), your best bet is to enroll in Pay Pal, which can process all of the major credit cards in addition to extending its own line of credit.

Whatever way you choose to collect your monies, the great benefit of selling on your own site is that you keep all of the profits. There is no other entity with which you will be forced to share your profit. It is all yours.

Charles Jacobs is an author, writing instructor, coach, ghostwriter, editor and "Best Book of the Year" author who devotes much of his time and effort to helping other writers improve their skills. His award-winning book "The Writer Within You" has been praised as one of the most comprehensive guides available on writing, publishing and promoting your book. The more than 60 original articles found on his website covers these subjects in depth and are available free.

Source: EzineArticles
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