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Author Topic: We Need A Platform of Our Own  (Read 883 times)  

Online Felix R. Savage

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Re: We Need A Platform of Our Own
« Reply #25 on: Today at 01:01:53 AM »
I'll tell you what is needed for this to succeed. CURATION. This theoretical store will only work if it becomes a place where readers know they can find good books without digging through piles of [crap] <<-- this is the biggest frustration for buyers on Amazon. What's a good book? You know it for your genre and I know it for my genre. Yes, that means someone has to ruthlessly turn down those who don't make the cut, but that's life, and there are lots of experienced editors who are or soon will be out of a job in New York.

Check this out: http://www.bookouture.com/

They're a publisher not a store (and they also just got bought by a big fish, but oh well), but what they do brilliantly, that our theoretical store should do, is curate their offerings *really well.* Someone else would have to judge their romance selection but as a thriller reader, I've been highly impressed by the quality of their thriller offerings. Scarcely a dud in sight. It's incredibly convenient to be able to think, "What shall I read next? Well let's see if Bookouture's got anything new." And supposing I could buy from their site, pay with Paypal, and read it on my Kindle? I'd be happy to do that. As far as I know there's no law against non-Amazon websites offering .mobi downloads.

So have the authors put the name of the website prominently in their front matter. They carry on selling their books on Amazon (not in KU obviously). Reader finds a book on Amazon, checks out the site, and is hooked by the great, conveniently curated selection on offer. Next time, reader buys direct from the site, and is pleased to know that the author will be getting 90% not 70%. I think this could work, and it wouldn't take $100 billion or a PhD in computer science. But you would need a full-time staff, including one or two editors and skilled IT people.

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Online Modi Gliani

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Re: We Need A Platform of Our Own
« Reply #26 on: Today at 01:06:48 AM »
In all the time Ive been in this business, Ive never seen any one person or organization that represents authors that has enough credibility and skill to manage, control and coordinate this sort of effort in any large way.

Yes. The same for me.

Online Vidya

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Re: We Need A Platform of Our Own
« Reply #27 on: Today at 01:07:09 AM »
Hollis, I love your idea and agree it's worth discussing. Some suggestions as to how it could be made feasible:

1. outsource the tech work. hire techs from India to build and run the site. Or techs from any country where it will cost a lot less but where we know there are skilled computer engineers. I think this could be key because it sounds like we would have to do our best to keep building and maintenance costs down.

2. offer something that readers don't get on Amazon. I think this is also key to tempt readers to buy from elsewhere.

Some suggestions for that:

1. a box on the novel's page where the writer can list some of the best quotes from the novel. When I read Goodreads reviews, I often get attracted to a book when I see some witty quotes listed.

2. another box where readers can list some of the best quotes from the novel.

3. a more detailed rating system than Amazon offers. Readers can be invited to rate from one to five stars in various categories, eg: plot, character, originality of concept, quality of writing, quality of editing.

4. offers such as if you buy five of an author's books within a certain time period like a week or a month, you can get one more of their books for free. This could tempt both writers and readers. I know when I fall in love with a novel, I am eager to read the rest of the writer's work. It would be great to have a place where one can get a deal like this on a favorite writer's work. And writers could post on their blogs that if readers buy from this site, they will get this deal, which would help publicize the site.

5. authors should be allowed to make any book they want free for however long they want. And the same royalties for any price point, say 70% for all books no matter the price.

Perhaps we could use this thread for people to list their own suggestions as to what such a site could offer that would tempt both writers and readers to use it.

Online G.L. Snodgrass

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Re: We Need A Platform of Our Own
« Reply #28 on: Today at 01:08:30 AM »
As I understand it, you would like authors to come together to form a co-op to sell their books online. In and of itself not a bad idea. More places to sell my product is usually a good thing.

The problems occur when you get into the details.

Someone needs to spend the time or money to build the sight. Does each author kick in the same amount? And after it is built. Do they each spend the same monthly amount to cover expenses or is it based upon a percentage of royalties. If the later, there will be disagreements. All author's are using the same software. Why should I have to pay more because I sell more books. Or why do I have to pay the same as Author X when I only sold half as much. Either way, the question needs to be answered and drawn out in a legal contract. Don't forget, in a co-op we aren't vendors but partners. You will need more than a TOS

Expenses need to be paid before the Co-op owners. Who does that if their isn't enough money coming in?

Who runs the sight? Software upgrades. Security patches. Hardware upgrades? Who takes action when they get a take down notice on one of the books. Who handles the money? Who talks to the lawyers. Who answers the emails from customers. These issues can be resolved. But they take time and money.

There is a reason why in the old days. Authors did not form succesful co-op publishing companies. Or Co-op book stores. If they wanted to be business people, they would have gotten a real job. Less headaches and more money.

All of these are just the tip of the iceberg. This is why so many co-ops fail. No one wants to do the work necessary to run one. If they did, they would start their own business. The other option is to hire someone to do all the work. But to do that, you need to ensure the site sells enough books to pay the expenses. In today's world. I don't know if that is possible.

In all honesty, Unless the scale was large enough. The site and overhead would cost more than Amazon takes. I could easily see it taking 100% of my sale. At least for the first few years. Don't forget, salaries and expenses get paid before owners.

This is why it hasn't been done, the increase in income does not justify the risk and effort.

If someone was to form such a co-op I would be very interested in exploring the fine print. But, I am unwilling to spend the time or money necessary to create one.

You say that we need our own platform. I think a more accurate statement would be "We want our own platform." If it was a true need, then we would be working our butts off to make it happen. But it isn't really. To most authors such a co-op would be a nice to have, not a have to have. And, as a result, unlikely to come into being.

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