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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I'm developing an author cross promo platform.

The idea is to allow you to find other authors in your genre who will promote your new release to their list.
And you can return the favor.
It's not actually a favor. You pay them to do it and they pay you.

Ideally, we can keep more of our launch budget in the hands of other authors, and send less of it directly to Amazon and Facebook for ads.

The beta is working successfully for about 200 contemporary romance authors and I'd like to get authors of other genres to try it out and give me feedback.
Is anyone willing to go over to bookclicker.com, set up a free account, and feedback their experience?

If you're a romance author, especially contemp romance, there will be an active marketplace for you to buy and sell promos already.
If you're in another genre you'll probably be the first or one of the first to set up your list.

I'd like to post screenshots to give instructions but I can't figure out how to embed an image in a post. Can anyone tell me how to do that?

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Perfect! It worked. Okay I'll post a few screenshots so people know what to do.
And the homepage copy needs to be updated so ignore the part where it says $50 per month. There's going to be no monthly fee.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So currently you have to have a mailing list on one of these four providers to sign up.

Mailchimp
MailerLite
Aweber
ConvertKit

I'm really sorry I know it's inconvenient for people who don't use those. It's just this is a new product and I had to limit the functionality to get it off the ground. It can be expanded in the future if it takes off.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And that's basically it.
If you need to launch a book. You select the authors you'd like to help you. You see if they have a free date when you need it. And you book a promo.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Payments are all handled within the app.
The sender must confirm they sent out your book or you will be refunded.
You can keep track of the people you like working with and the people you don't with a private thumbs up, thumbs down rating.

It's not a magic bullet but it allows you to get a good group of authors in your genre to announce your book to their fans. You'll be in their alsobots and they'll be in yours. Amazon will know exactly what kind of book you've released. You'll have a higher rank. And your ad budget will be in the pocket of other authors instead of in FB's or Amazon's.

 

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I didn't want to interrupt your tutorial. But now... I'm sold!

Especially when it's free and not 50$! But how are you going to profit? Will you take a % from the swap deals?

It's about time lists swaps are automated like this. I think you have a great idea and I hope I can use it in the future.

How are the payments handled? Paypal? Is there a way to filter the authors, for example by genre, list size, cost, etc.

Just a little nitpick - the font gives me headaches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
snk said:
I didn't want to interrupt your tutorial. But now... I'm sold!

Especially when it's free and not 50$! But how are you going to profit? Will you take a % from the swap deals?

It's about time lists swaps are automated like this. I think you have a great idea and I hope I can use it in the future.

How are the payments handled? Paypal? Is there a way to filter the authors, for example by genre, list size, cost, etc.

Just a little nitpick - the font gives me headaches.
That's awesome SNK. I'll see what I can do about the font!

So regarding monetization, I was going to charge a monthly fee for it. It cost a lot to develop and I always had the intention of making a viable business out of this.
But I discussed it a lot with romance authors while in development and it just seemed it would grow faster if there was no monthly fee.
Also, the more people who use it, the more useful it is, as it's essentially a marketplace. I could get a critical mass of contemp romance authors at $30 a month, but it would be next to impossible to get say a cozy mystery writer to sign up at that price, when they're the first cozy mystery writer and there's no promos for them to buy, or anyone for them to sell to! So it would never catch on in genres outside romance.

So I decided to drop the monthly fee. I have no idea how things will go in the future regarding pricing but for now you can use the platform for free.
You can swap for free.
Launch as many books as you like for free.
And if you sell promos, a 2% transaction charge is added.
A lot of romance authors use Personal Assistants to handle swaps. And personal assistants can bill their clients weekly through the software. If they do, the author is charged 2% on those payments also.

The 2% fees don't add up to nearly as much as the monthly subscriptions would have, but I don't want to price it out of the market.
 

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The transaction charge is fair, with 50$ it's too much. Maybe in the future offer a premium account with more features for a monthly fee, but like you said - the market place must remain free to grow.

Another feature that I think is important is to add a field about whether the author is in KU or wide and where their books are on sale. If I'm wide, I don't want to advertise on a list that's full of only KU readers. Or I might want to give a boost to my Google Play books and search for authors that also sell there.

What's that about Personal Assistants?
 
G

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Just want to throw out a little information to help keep people legal.

FTC rules regarding paid endorsements require disclosure of paid ads in situations where it may not be obvious to the average customer that a placement or endorsement is paid. If you are swapping promos with another author as a matter of courtesy, there isn't a problem. But if you are charging a fee to promote a book, you will need to make sure the placement is clearly an ad.

This only applies in situations where it is not clear to the average customer an endorsement is paid. Bookbub doesn't have to explicitly state its placements are paid because people know it is a promotional service. But if your newsletter is traditionally just stuff you find interesting and your own book announcements, you will need to disclose if a placement is a paid ad. It does not have to use the exact words PAID AD, but you need to make it clear this is not an organic endorsement.

Whenever I have ran paid placements in my newsletter, I have identified them as sponsors. I will normally include a header like "This Month's Sponsor" or something (depending on the nature of the promo) so that it is clear that the placement is not an organic endorsement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
snk said:
The transaction charge is fair, with 50$ it's too much. Maybe in the future offer a premium account with more features for a monthly fee, but like you said - the market place must remain free to grow.

Another feature that I think is important is to add a field about whether the author is in KU or wide and where their books are on sale. If I'm wide, I don't want to advertise on a list that's full of only KU readers. Or I might want to give a boost to my Google Play books and search for authors that also sell there.

What's that about Personal Assistants?
Yeah, I agree. At first I thought people would hate the idea of a transaction charge but so far it seems a lot more popular and will help the marketplace get traction.
I've got the KU/Wide tag on the development list but it will take a while for it to get implemented. I want to see if this takes off before signing up for another development round.

The Personal Assistant stuff isn't a huge deal. If you are a virtual assistant you can create a special VA account that allows you to manage accounts for multiple authors at once. And optionally charge them a weekly fee to do it.
if you have a VA who's on the system, you can select them and give them access to most of your account, minus the payment and admin areas.

Since we have the authors' credit cards on file, the VA can request a weekly fee.
The author can accept. And payments will happen automatically until cancelled.
If you currently pay your VA manually every week this is a convenience.
For VA's it helps them get some predictability and automation in billing clients.


gif image hosting
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
Just want to throw out a little information to help keep people legal.

FTC rules regarding paid endorsements require disclosure of paid ads in situations where it may not be obvious to the average customer that a placement or endorsement is paid. If you are swapping promos with another author as a matter of courtesy, there isn't a problem. But if you are charging a fee to promote a book, you will need to make sure the placement is clearly an ad.

This only applies in situations where it is not clear to the average customer an endorsement is paid. Bookbub doesn't have to explicitly state its placements are paid because people know it is a promotional service. But if your newsletter is traditionally just stuff you find interesting and your own book announcements, you will need to disclose if a placement is a paid ad. It does not have to use the exact words PAID AD, but you need to make it clear this is not an organic endorsement.

Whenever I have ran paid placements in my newsletter, I have identified them as sponsors. I will normally include a header like "This Month's Sponsor" or something (depending on the nature of the promo) so that it is clear that the placement is not an organic endorsement.
Absolutely crucial, Julie. Thanks for this.
Paid promos have to be marked as such. This is something I'll have to fix on my emails I think.
Also, all the rules on not spamming would apply.
My platform puts two authors in touch and allows for payment of the promo and scheduling. It's still up to the authors what they send, but if they send emails to people who have not agreed to receive them, they'll be breaking spam rules.

If you have never promoted other authors to your list on a regular basis, it is very important that you put thought into the best way to do it before you start. You can send an email to your list asking them to opt in or out of receiving such communications. You should also think of how you can present these promotions in a way that is attractive to readers.

Readers of active, popular genres are usually happy to receive book recommendations from authors.
They currently receive them from Amazon, Facebook ads, and marketing services. Receiving them from authors makes sense to most readers.
But you still have to come up with a way to present them with courtesy, in a way that is attractive to readers.
Things like Pick of the Day, or Weekly Reads or sponsored book of the day etc. are accepted by readers in romance so far. I'm sure in other genres readers would accept them too. If they took the time to subscribe to an author, they're indicating they like this genre and would like recommendations. But we can't take it for granted and once any of us starts accepting payment for book promos, we have to think of this new aspect of our business in a new way.
Obey the rules.
Apply the best practices.
Make our newsletters engaging.

Just like people buy fashion magazines for the ads as much as the articles, they can read our emails for the news on new books as well as the updates on our own writing progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I should also say it's worth the effort.
As well as launching your own books higher, a list that sends daily book recommendations in an engaging manner is worth about $300 per month per 1,000 subs on the marketplace at the moment.

So if you're a serious author or self-publisher, it's a significant income stream to add to your business.
 

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I have checked out your site and it's exactly what I need to take the next step with my publishing business - I love it! Especially the payment model is more than fair.

The only thing that irritates me is that the percentages of the open & click rates is very different between all the mailing providers, e.g. mailerlite seems to show always higher numbers than mailchimp, and convertkit doesn't show any - any advice on how to put these numbers in perspective?
 
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