Starting an Online Bookstore for Self Published Authors

Entrepreneur Interview with Jexbo Founder Jill Exler

Self-publishing authors have trouble getting into large bookstore chains, but there's a vibrant outlet for self-published books online. was founded by Jill Exler, and she was kind enough to share her experience with us.

Jill Exler runs her online business out of her base in Dearborn, Michigan.

We asked her to tell us what she is doing and how her entrepreneurial adventure is going so far.

Jill, thanks for joining us. Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?

My website,, is a place for self-published authors to list and sell their books themselves. It's similar to eBay where people list and sell their things themselves, or, where artists and craftspeople sell their works themselves. Readers can also find unique books and communicate directly with authors.

When did you start the business?

I started my business in 2007 after I couldn't find a site to sell my own book.

What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?

Before starting my company, I was a housewife raising a young son.

Where did you get the startup money?

I got my startup money from my savings.

Who are your main competitors? How do you compete against them?

We are very different than other sites. I set our prices to list and sell books competitively, and we work hard to make sure runs smoothly. To be different, we take great pride in customer service and return emails and phone calls promptly. We also have a great publicist working to get my company's name out to the readers and writers who are looking for a place for their books.

How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?

It has taken much, much more work, time and money to get started than I expected.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

I should have learned some computer programming both so I could work on the site myself, and so I could understand better what the web developers were doing for me.

What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?

Absolutely hiring a PR firm has helped me. They have the experience and contacts I don't have and it's great to have someone point you in the next direction to go.

What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?

Be patient. There are going to be plenty of great moments, but there is a lot of hard work you'll need to put in to get your business to run smoothly.

That's great advice. Thanks so much for sharing your entrepreneurial experience with us, and good luck in growing your business.

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