Defining a Virtual Business

tool theme for publishingpioneer

Creative explortation takes me further into the virtual world—and though my eyes bore into my computer screen way too much, my concerns have betcome both more wide-ranging and focused. aving explored the path of builders, shop owners, service workers (like bartenders, bouncers, or police), I have decided to go straight-line publishing. It is tempting to try a different profession than my own such as gallery dealer, tour guide, bookstore owner, coffee house owner, interior deisgner, or fashion desiger, what good is that going to do me in the long run?

Rather, building on what I am trying to do in real life is the only way to go. The integration of the two is part of the discovery.

It is with great optimism that I launch my first virtual publication in Second Life: Legacy Ladies: Reliable Relationships. The only publishing in the virtual medium that I have found are a few magazines poorly done, fantasy or science fiction novels, or bookcovers with Amazon links. But no one doing nonfiction or gift books. To start, I have converted one chapter from my Legacy Ladies book into pages designed specifically to be read in virtual reality:

Legacy Ladies

First spread from the virtual book.

Trying to work in virtual reality is a challenge: the division between work and entertainment is blurred and must be exploited. Although guilt prevents me from too much frivolity (although of late I have tried to drive a virtual car and accidently ran over the guy who gave it to me, obtained a baby horse that I unfortunately now have to feed to grow so I can virtually ride her, and went to a Birthday beach party and danced with avatar friends from all over the world).  However, all that fun takes infrastructure and there is a subculture of those doing business—selling products, supporting the clubs, performing, and working to keep the atmosphere free of disruptors. Tying into those with experience, they all have marketing plans. Most techniques are the same in virtual reallity as they are in actual reality. So to promote and sell my book product(s), I am following those with experience while my product is unique. My promotional plan includes:

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian1. Bookstores. It seems every sim and most business areas have virtual bookshops. The Amazon connection supports most of them. But I see the potential of a bookstore selling inworld titles that have an outworld equivalent. Legacy Ladies: Reliable Relationships it is the beginning of a series where each chapter from the print book becomes a separate 38 page inworld book. The outworld version has all of the chapters in one book with full biographies and writing space. The two are different but can support one another.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian2. Coffee shops. There are even more of these than bookstores and they all have posters on the walls that sell the shops or products. Many have communities surrounding them that are anchored by events or discussions.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian3. Tea shops. This has great potential for discussions as ladies’ teas are growing in popularity. After a few general meetings, they start looking for themes. Legacy Ladies is perfect for a discussion of six to twelve participants which is the level of these mini-events.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian4. Book party. Invite a show-and-tell forum. I rent a large and beautiful space for my virtual studio. It is also a place where other creative types can bring their work to rezz and discuss. Formal events cost almost nothing and until there is more competition, there are more advertising opportunities for free than in real life. Groups of like-minded people are very easy to form.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian5. Kiosks and carts. The larger commericial islands have places for small vendors to display. Though these do cost, it is nominal. In high traffic areas, they change often. Like teasers, the idea is to interest customers to seek the larger stores.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian6. Book Island display. This is the most expensive route for a significant presentation. Authors display their wares, costing about $10 a month. Here are novels that have settings in Second Life, poetry, and children’s titles. Set up as a community, the most serious writers need to have a presence here.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian7. Advertising. Because I am involved with virtual periodicals, I can place ads strategically. There are sims that fit my topics. Legacy Ladies can be promoted in niche market magazines and newspapers. Ads can be interactive billboards in high traffic areas. Ads can also be at news venues.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian8. Displays. Because I have friends who own property, many have offered to have a bookshelf of my books for sale. Super nice, these most talented individuals have much more experience in virtual reality and enjoy helping me. I am really grateful to have the short-cuts from such generous and fun teachers.

Judging the potential of selling virtual books, active avatars have to acquire a place of their own to keep virtual possessions. In the sims, the players all have apartments where they can visit with friends, work on their avatars, check out products, build their own objects. My friends tend to all have studios where they spend serious time creating environments and products. All of these residential and creative spaces can use “coffee table” books to leave open to favorite pages, enjoy when they are waiting for replies, and that can be given as gifts to friends.

If you want to see and/or purchase Legacy Ladies: Reliable Relationships, go into Second Life and IM Eleanor Medier who is my avatar publisher.

Liane Sebastian, illustrator, designer, writer, and publishing pioneer


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2 Responses to “Defining a Virtual Business”

  1. Betty Butler Says:

    Let us know how it’s going.

  2. Betty Butler Says:

    Let us know how it’s going

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