Why every press needs a code monkey

By Greg Turnquist

Greg L. Turnquist worked on the Spring team for over thirteen years and is a senior staff technical content engineer at Cockroach Labs. He was the lead for Spring Data JPA and Spring Web Services. He wrote Packt's best-selling title, Learning Spring Boot 2.0 2nd Edition, and its 3rd Edition follow-up along many others.

September 30, 2017

It’s not secret that I’m writing a novel. (If you HAVEN’T heard this, then I’m just not communicating very well!) It’s scheduled for release in March with a relatively small press called Clean Reads.

And its owner wears many hats. An author herself, the owner of Clean Reads is also an editor, content manager, graphic designer, mother, aunt, and many other things. But I think you get the idea. She is fundamentally running the press herself with a handful of freelance editors and cover artists.

Anything missing in there? Oh yeah. Her press has a website. Did I mentioned she’s a code geek? A bit burner? A web designer? No? Well that’s because she isn’t. So what has happened because of this? What happens to every business caught up in the 21st century stuck with 20th century business practices.

She has been doing the best she can with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Ahh, the good ole social media triumvirate. We keep hearing word that you must get on social media if your business is to succeed.

Well that’s one big lie.

Social media is a channel to reach people, but since the inception of Facebook, it has steadily gone down hill. How? In the beginning, when someone “liked” your group, they would then get EVERYTHING you posted. Today? They might get 10%. Unless you pay Facebook a little deneiro.

People that built up empires of followers on Facebook years ago, watched their sales plummet as they could no longer REACH their followers. That is, until Facebook started extorted…err…charging money to reach YOUR followers. Evidence that they aren’t YOUR followers but Facebook’s.

My wife’s research into social media revealed one author that took a three month break from writing. To do what? That’s right, focus on facebooking, tweeting, and instagramming. And in three months of effort, got maybe a 30% reach of her social media followers. Yikes!

This is why it is SO important to build a mailing list. A website you control and a mailing list that reaches EVERYONE is the most important thing you can build for your business. And if you don’t know how to stand up a website and configure it to harvest emails, you will be left in the cold.

At the Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference, I met my publisher face to face. We chatted over lunch. And in the midst of that, is when I learned that Stephanie needed help raising her website from the ashes of a previous outage. They say never pass up an opportunity, so I haggled out a deal where she’d remove a certain criteria she had for going to paperback, and I’d get her website operational. With a handshake, I got on the ball.

Since then, we have loaded over four hundred backlisted titles along with cover art and e-books. Visit the site and you can BUY books. Join our newsletter (trust me, you’ll get the opportunity if you visit), and you’ll get a super secret coupon code to buy ANYTHING at 20% off.

I’m not here so much to hawk that site, as to instead hawk the idea that when you form a business, whether it’s a publishing press or ANYTHING ELSE, you need SOMEONE that can do this stuff. I know WordPress. I’ve used it to run my blog for years. It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done. With a little sweat equity and some time reading tips and tricks, you can really put out a decent store for your business. I also recommend using Cortney Fletcher eComBabes if you’re planning on starting your own online store soon.

If you are even THINKING of running a business in the 21st century you need to:

  • Learn how to standup and run a WordPress site (an independent consultant could cost you $10,000 easily)
  • Start building a newsletter
  • Use Facebook and Twitter. Don’t let them use you. The idea is to make money for YOU, not be the one making money for THEM.

Stay safe out there!


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