Well ya’ll know what I did this weekend . . . I had this list of things I wanted to get done and none of them materialized. Everyone in the country must be on vacation. I haven’t sold anything in like 5 days. Without income I can’t do much about outgo so instead I made a large yet low cost to do list. Like every other thought that crosses my tiny mind, I figured I’d share.
Things to do when you have nothing to do. When there are no sales to process, and you have cleaned the top of your desk like five times, there are still things you can do which will effect your bottom line.
• Enter More Books – yeah that’s pretty much a gimme. but seriously i betcha a dollar you still have that box of books on the side of the room that have never been interesting or valuable enough to deal with. Sort the box, enter the books in order of value, at the point you think you are wasting your time, put the rest back in the box and DONATE THE BOX. If you don’t list them they are worthless anyway. Don’t worry, you will soon put another box of boring books in the same place. Nature abhors a vacuum.
• Shop – this one’s tricky, if you don’t have a daily income you feel self conscious about spending money you shouldn’t. But oddly when I am broke I always find the best buys. Really, cruise through the databases and ebay looking for good deals. and I mean the GOOD ones. You can blow 6 to 10 hours just looking up books have sold in the past and you know you can sell again.
• Reprice your stock – go through and mark down (or UP) the oldest items. Say the 50 or 500 things you have had the longest. Take them out of your database. Upload your stock. Put them back in tomorrow and reload your stock. Voila you have new books.
• Rewrite descriptions – Look at your BEST books, the ones you think should have sold but haven’t, rewrite the descriptions, make them jazzy, or funny, describe the book’s content some more.
• Repair some books – Start by doing a few facelifts while you are watching the View. Whip out your white erasers and go to town, you may get ambitious and want to do something about those OTHER books on the back shelf. The ones you could list, if you only tipped back in those loose pages.
• Clean your webpage –I’m not gonna say rearrange or redesign, most webpages have too much stuff on them as it is. Look at webpages you like, that you find pleasing to the eye, and then look at yours CRITICALLY. Are your fonts too small, too many fonts? (stick to TWO, one for text one for headers and emphasis – vary the color and size) Are the backgrounds too busy, too noisy, too loud? if you have them change the featured books – if you don’t why not?
• Start/restart a blog – I don’t mean a chatty-cathy bullshit blog like mine, I mean a blog where you can feature your books, what’s new, what’s interesting. I have said this before but not for a long time – you want to build your OWN customer base, and keep contact with your repeat customers. If you don’t have enough interesting things to say to use a blog like a NEWSLETTER, then DON’T. Use it like a FRONT WINDOW, feature things you have for sale that you think are special and cool, and for gods sake be enthusiastic about them! Your job is to SELL, any penny seller can just freaking type. Post on a regular basis, add it to your calendar with a reminder – once a week, once a month – but do it regularly, or not at all. (yeah, like I should talk!) Put a link to your blog on your webpage, above the fold where they can see it. Most of the time you can embed your feed right on your webpage – so they don’t have to even leave your site to see what’s new.
• Make a catalog – yeah, i know it’s been on your to do list for like 3 years now, ain’t it? mine too. Start small, it doesn’t have to be printed, you can do it as a PDF and email it to people; either on demand or have them sign up for a mailing list. (Assume only PDFs and TXT files can be opened by your recipient, anything with formatting will look wonky) Extract a short category of books from your database, use MS Word or free programs like OpenOffice Writer or Google Docs. You can even do double columns, and once you get the hang of it, you can import lists and spreadsheets into the document. The 1st one is the hardest – do all the formatting and finagly bits and then just change the content later on. Date the catalog, put it in your Calendar schedule for like 3 months from now to revisit the catalog and update it.
• Design a bookmark – the kind that the libraries used to give that had their address and hours on it. Just another simple thing you can do in Word or Docs or Writer. Set the page as Landscape, and select 4 or 5 columns. Make it simple or add your logo file. Put your particulars, your websites, your specialties, add a joke or a quote, just something- ANYTHING to identify the SOURCE of the book. Print it on index stock or even regular paper. Stick em in your books as you pack them, it is cheaper and works better than a business card. (i need to remember to do this)
I could go on but that ought to be enough guilt. I have kittens to feed.