Return to IBPA’s Ask the Experts
Topics Discussed Below Include:
Separate Webpage for Copyright
Recommended Book Sale Platform, Widget, Or Shopping Cart Technology
Building a Professional Looking Website Using an Author Website’s Template
I had a question about the copyright page. I am self-publishing my book under a dba publishing company and I have legit address for that. Do I need a separate website for that? Lightning Source will do all distribution POD. I will have my own author website. Do I need book website and publishing website or is author website enough? Do I put Ligtning Source info on copyright page?
It’s not necessary to list Lightning Source on the copyright page, though the author can certainly include it if he/she wants to. Many books will say “Printed in the USA” without identifying the printer.
It’s always a good idea to publish a book within an LLC to shield the author’s personal assets from business assets in the unlikely event of a lawsuit. I’m not qualified to answer whether one website or three is better for SEO. If the existing author website has a significant following, then it would seem to make sense to keep it going, but a lawyer may see that as a breach of the corporate structure in the event of a dispute. It would be best to consult an attorney before making the decision.
~ Michele DeFilippo owns 1106 Design, a company that offers quality cover design, beautifully typeset interiors, manuscript editing, indexing, title consulting, and expert self-publishing advice with project management and hand-holding every step of the way. Please visit http://www.1106design.com to view samples and build an instant quote, or contact Michele at email@example.com.
Can you recommend a book sale platform, widget or shopping cart technology designed specifically for books, to use on a corporate website?
And by “designed specifically for books” I mean that incorporates a book selling widget with the “Look Inside this Book” functionality, similar to what is used on Amazon.
I just checked with one of our experts, Adam Salomone of Harvard Common Press and he recommends a company called Ganxy <https://ganxy.com/> .
Here is some information about Ganxy that references other companies as well: http://www.forbes.com/sites/suwcharmananderson/2013/01/26/ganxy-and-dpd-showcase-and-direct-sales-for-self-publishers/
~ Adam Salomone is the Associate Publisher of the Harvard Common Press, overseeing all aspects of the digital and social media strategy at the company. He’s also involved with acquisitions, marketing, ebook conversion/distribution, and more. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Harvard Common Press online at hcpdishes.com.
I’m not happy with our Website. It was put together with help from Go Daddy, an unreliable web designer, an even more unreliable brother-in-law, and my own blundering attempts at HTML. I think it looks amateurish. it’s not generating many sales, and I would like to be able to make regular updates myself rather than having to rely on someone else. For now, we’re a one book publisher and don’t really have the resources to hire a website designer. I’ve looked at the many sites that promise author websites that anyone can create in a few hours. I’ve also read that the templates offered by these companies are complicated and the end results still look amateurish.
My question: Can I, without any programming skills, build a professional looking website using a template offered by one of the author website companies? Or, should I use our entire marketing budget to hire a professional?
Before you get too frustrated by your experiences, as well as the overwhelming process of re-building a website, I would like to ask a few questions regarding strategy and also ask you to consider what your goals are:
· Are you using your website for sales only?
· Are you selling direct? Via links to retailers? Both?
· How user-friendly is the ordering experience?
· What about traditional media? Are you engaging them from your site?
· Any social media?
· Connecting with readers? Professionals?
· What is your primary goal for having a website? Secondary?
· Are those goals being met at all right now?
The answers to some of these questions should guide your decisions.
If your primary goal is direct sales to readers, you do want a website that looks professional and instills confidence that credit card data is indeed safe. Are you offering multiple ordering sources (direct, local stores, and online vendors)? What about payment methods (e.g. credit card, order form for checks, and PayPal)? Offering consumers the best experience possible would be one reason to consider outsourcing your website to a professional.
All that said, there are some basic solutions to your problems. Most people know WordPress as a blog site, but you can also create websites with their templates and tools. Last winter I was home sick and a dog rescue group asked me to help them put some basic information online so shelters could locate them. Three hours later I had a basic site with seven pages up – and trust me, I’m not a master of writing code. The tools WordPress offers also helps with discoverability.
WordPress has free options, but you may want to look at some of their modestly priced paid services: http://en.wordpress.com/products/ <http://en.wordpress.com/products/> . You can, of course, keep your existing domain name.
They make it very easy to add widgets – like a Twitter feed – and other add-ons that will enhance user experience: http://en.wordpress.com/features/ <http://en.wordpress.com/features/> .
Furthermore, they offer themes: http://theme.wordpress.com/ <http://theme.wordpress.com/> . Designers have created templates that you can use (and even modify) for your website.
The WordPress dashboard makes adding pages and updating content very easy. If you can use MS Word you can use WordPress.
Lastly, there are books explaining how WordPress works and they have extensive support and forums online. It may take longer to do it yourself, but if you have the time to learn you’ll be self-sufficient and hopefully save your marketing budget. If you do decide to outsource the (re)build of your site you want to make sure that the web designer explains the structure and how you can make changes on your own in the future.
The truth of the matter is your website is going to be a primary place of discovery for your book for readers, media, and more. It should represent the content of your book and support your efforts offline. Navigation should be easy and buying a book should offer the fewest clicks possible. Have you had your site evaluated by a few colleagues and your primary audience? Again, you want to decide if it is a matter of updating the site or starting over from scratch and to do that you need to assess what the real problems are with the site.
I hope this helps.
~ Davida Breier is the Manager for Hopkins Fulfillment Services (HFS), the distribution division at Johns Hopkins University Press. She’s previously worked for NBN, as Marketing Director, and for Biblio Distribution, as Sales and Marketing Director, managing over 500 independent presses. She is also a board member for the non-profit publisher, No Voice Unheard.
We hope you will find this program useful, but as with any advice, we recommend that you make sure it fits your specific business needs. IBPA does not specifically endorse or support any particular group or service.