By M.J. Rose
There are women who have lingerie shops in the living room, photography galleries in the kitchen. And I have a bookstore in my bedroom.
The one thing we all have in common is a computer, a product (or several products) and a website.
For me it started when I worked as chief copywriter for a top New York advertising agency. One of my accounts was Harlequin Books. As part of my job, I met with over five thousand women to discuss their reading habits. Listening to these women talk about both romance, commercial and literary fiction opened my eyes.
Over and over again, women complained they wanted smarter, sexier books to give them much needed escapes.
Men have Playboy and Penthouse and x rated videos. But for women, the best erotic stimulation comes from. Yet most books, readers explained, are only mildly titillating, and highly improbable.
Few are downright erotic. Fewer still are believable and intelligent.
And so, based on what women wanted, Lip Service was written.
I got an agent without any trouble. And she got the book to the big 12 New York publishing houses. Within six weeks we had two offers. Editors – who were women – loved the book and wanted to publish it. But once the marketing departments got a hold of the book, the deals were dropped.
The (mostly male) marketers told us bookstores don’t have erotic sections and to put Lip Service on the shelf along with general fiction would be to ignore one of its main selling advantages.
But this was 1997 and the Internet offered a different solution. I was ready to work from home and take charge of my own destiny. I spent six months researching r all kinds of selling techniques on the web. Then I sold my ex-wedding ring and put Lip Service on the Web.
For me, it’s been worth it.
You too can find a product and set up a website and sell it on the web.
But let’s take books. They are an easy item to sell because people don’t need to feel or see a book to buy it. Let’s say you don’t want to write your own book. Just come up with an umbrella concept that can handle twenty to forty books. Let’s say it’s cookbooks.
Now come up with an idea that ties all the cookbooks together.
Say its "Cooks make happier people."
First get a website via your provider. Some are as low as 6 dollars a month.
Then pick out the titles you want to sell from www.amazon.com and read about their associate program on their web site. They’ll tell you everything you need to know to sell books from your own website via their via their website. You don’t need inventory or invoices. Just a good idea and a lot of energy to market your store.
Come up with an interesting angle for a list. For interest - "Does cooking make you happy?" Go to http://groups.yahoo.com and start your list. Make it sound appealing. Send welcome messages out to people who join up. And talk up your own web site at every opportunity on the list.
Next search all the ezine search engines for ezines that might be interested in your subject matter and write to them announcing your link. Write articles for ezines – they all need editorial content and don’t mind giving your site a plug.
Go to http://groups.google.com and discover the thousands of newsgroups you can post messages on – all for free.
In the beginning plan to spend about four to six hours a day searching the web for sites, zines, llists,newsgroups and engines you should link to or be listed on.
It takes time, but slowly you will build up a presence on the web and sales will start coming in. And other than the web hosting fee all it costs to have a bookstore - on the web and in your bedroom - is the time it takes to set it up and market it.
M. J. Rose is the author of Lip Service which has gotten rave reviews from the editor of the Herotica series, the editor of January Magazine, Jim Cox of the Midwest Book Review, as well as dozens of readers who say they can’t put the book down. To read about Lip Service, hear the author read an expert, or download the prologue for free, go www.ReadLipService.com To read reviews of Lip Service go to www.amazon.com and type in: Lip Service by MJ Rose.
This article belongs to M.J. Rose and cannot be reprinted in part or whole without the author’s agreement. Copyright 1999 – M.J. Rose