To improve visibility of my author website (which also serves as a book publisher), I signed up for the Google My Business program. This is a free service that Google provides to improve their search engine’s ability to connect customers to businesses. The program came recommended by a musician friend who runs a successful small business in the Denver area in audio production and guitar lessons.
The first step in setting up your business with Google is selection of a business category. Naturally, I started with Author. No match. Odd, I thought, but undeterred, entered Writer. No match. Really? As a check on whether any creative art professions were recognized, I entered Artist. Google had that category, as it also did for Musician. Google also recognized Entertainer, though not Actor or Thespian. Dancer? Sorry.
Thinking surely the inconsistency had to be a simple oversight, I looked for a customer support option – which of course does not really exist – and thus resorted to a Google search of “Why no author category on Google My Business?” I found others had posed the same question, but without much in the way of answers. The only one that even seemed to come close was some guy saying that authors don’t interact directly with customers. What??
Curiosity getting the better of me, I went back into the Google business categories and started typing partial entries to see what would auto-populate. Of course, Basilica is recognized as a business. Basilica?? Maybe Google should Google what that word means. Or how about Priest? Yep – a Google-recognized business category. Nothing for Pastor, mind you, so apparently Catholics have a lock on the business angle here. (I wonder how many entrepreneurs missed out on the burgeoning priest business?) Or maybe Erotic Massage? At least that could be a real business, right? Oh – wait – that’s an actual option.
Returning to my own business, I stared for a while at the Book Publisher category. Okay – I do have a micro-publishing company operated mostly for my fiction books (Malius Press), so I am not being dishonest about making that my business category. But it is not really what I want my name most associated with. More appropriate descriptors, in the absence of writer or author could be Public Speaker – no match, or maybe Freelancer – no match, or at least Professor – sorry, no match.
With a heavy sigh, I picked Book Publisher. But I’m telling you, Steamed Bun Shop was awfully tempting.