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M T McGuire said:
I like the idea but it won't let me sign in unless I give it my password for google, facebook or twitter. I'm not too overjoyed with the prospect of sharing those and usually, where given the option - goodreads for example - I decline and use my email and password. This one gives me no option to decline so it's already a pain in the arse because I have to contact them and ask why there isn't a normal sign up option.

With regards to the search engine: It still has a lot of trouble differentiating between writers with the same name. I think I was the first McGuire to publish indie (2010) but more McGuires have started since then, two at least, way more successful than I am: Seanan and Jamie. This means my comedic science fiction fantasy books don't appear under fantasy at all because Seanan's do instead. They do appear under humour though, with some joke books. A partial success then.

The usual method I advise to get round the multiple McGuires problem is for my followers to enter the name of my series: K'Barthan. However, the search on Booksniffer has trouble with an apostrophe so if you do that you just get a lot of nekkid manchest/bikini clad female books in Spanish.

They've listed my first in series, which is cool but not the free short story ... or anything else, to be honest. Which is a bit less cool.

So I've emailed them ... I'll be interested to see what they say.

Cheers

MTM
I am wide but the book they have listed from me is only listed on Amazon.
Hi MT. Thanks for the comments! I'll tackle 'em one by one:

The reason we require you to authenticate via a third party platform is for security, both for you and for our readers. For one, we don't get your password when you authenticate via Google, Facebook, or Twitter - their internal authentication systems handle it; that way, we never see or store a password for you anywhere. More importantly though, authors have the ability to message their fans in our app. We have to have a way to make sure we can authenticate a person's identity in case they abuse the system - for example, say someone signs up and pretends to be Stephen King with a fake email address. Then they send a bunch of abusive stuff to Stephen King fans. Having a third party authentication in the chain (which will be way more sophisticated out of the box than anything we can yet build) helps discourage that sort of thing, and also gives us a way to find the abuser through those partners.

If you sign up on the platform, you get a "follow me" link that takes your fans directly to *your* books in the platform, so you don't have to worry about the name search issue when directing your fans to follow you. Our search is getting smarter, by the way - we have a machine learning system that is crunching data as people search more and more on the platform, and as it learns what people are really looking for, it will improve over time.

Specifically with regards to the apostrophe issue - that one is on the list. Not to get too far into the weeds on it, but that's kind of like a whack-a-mole problem; we handle apostrophes one way, it breaks how something else works. We have some logic built to handle it, but it runs slow, so we're trying to speed it up before we roll it out. I expect that fix to be out soon.

We JUST built a new function to find books on other retailers besides Amazon, which will go through our library of the millions of books we have in the system to add those other retailer links. Last I heard from our dev team, that's in QA and just about ready to roll out, as early as tomorrow.

I hope all this is helpful - I was going to reply to your email but I figured I'd just reply here, so everyone can benefit from the response :D
 

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CassieL said:
Feedback: The first listing I saw under fantasy showed a book on sale from $4.99 to 99 cents. Problem is that price had last been updated at least a month ago. Other listings I saw the information had last been updated back in April. No way that's useful to anyone if a book happened to be on promo when they scrape the info from wherever they're scraping it. They need current pricing info on that site if they have any hope of readers or writers supporting it.
Thanks for the comment - where did you see that? I just checked the app and I only see deals from today in there. If it was on the desktop site, that could be wonky today - we're migrating the web experience to more closely align with the apps this week and we might be tied to old data during testing.
 

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Jeff Hughes said:
So the Booksniffer team thinks all those millions of readers out there are going to happily install their app... a portal through which those readers can then get spammed with all the same social media junk they already get from all the current main players.

And somehow that's better than a direct connection to an author they like?
Thanks for the comment Jeff. Think of it in comparison to something like BookBub. You could sign up for a bunch of newsletter sites like that, or just log in to our apps, and all those deals are in there already, sortable and searchable. And instead of signing up for 20 newsletters, you can follow an author on BookSniffer, and you'll get the stuff you want - new release notifications, deal notifications, and direct messages from the authors you follow, no more than once per month per author. If they like what an author puts out, they continue to follow them. If they don't like what an author put out, they can unfollow them. The reader is in control of what they see and don't see, and the author is in control of what they share with readers.

We also have a lot of really awesome features that improve on the library and sharing stuff you'd see on something like Goodreads.

Give it a try, play with it, see what you think. You might find you like it :) Here are links to the apps:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.booksniffer.bksapp

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/booksniffer/id1524983177
 

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Trioxin 245 said:
I would assume the monetization that will eventually take place will come through ads....by other authors.?

A couple of questions. The first being, my open rate is above 20 percent by quite a bit. Even if it was not, why is your open rate/notification going to be better? Any early data you can share that validates this?

How are you securing readers? And what is the projection for the next year of number of readers? At this point I see it as a way for an Author to send their readers your way.

Lastly. If I send out a notice through newsletters, social media etc, that basically says, Hey come over to booksniffer with me. Those that do follow are already engaged. Why have those fans that are responsive happy head somewhere else ? In other words you have not solved the problem of the non responsive fans/those that don't open emails etc.
All fantastic questions. Thank you for these.

Open rate metrics on messaging run in the 80s and even 90s, and click rates run about 30-70%. Those are early metrics though, so I wouldn't tout them as gospel just yet.

I can't share specific projections with you for number of readers next year, as it's too early to predict this. I can tell you that we've got a very aggressive marketing plan to get users, and we're raising capital for this phase of our growth now. This past year has been all about getting the apps built and building our data and corporate infrastructure so we're properly positioned to do that. Now we're just getting into audience building.

I can tell you, for example, a major player in this space raised about $4 million dollars to build its audience in its first round, and another $7 million a few years later. That data could give you some idea of what our near-term future looks like. Not saying it that way to be cagey - there are very specific SEC rules we have to follow when it comes to talking about raising capital, and to talk about our marketing plan, we have to talk about capital. So I'm a bit stuck in what I can and can't say just yet.

The real advantage to getting everyone (authors and readers) on board to building BookSniffer is this - there's really only one BIG promo platform out there that does what we do, and they reject 80% of those who apply, even more. That's got to change, but there's the chicken/egg problem, of course. Can't sell promos without fans, and can't market without money. So, we're going after it in two ways: first, rewarding authors who help us build this thing with something that has real value - marketing dollars. We know not everyone will jump on board with us right now, and that's OK. But those who do - over 600 authors so far - will be well taken care of when we succeed. They'll be the first to be able to use our platform to reach more fans in their genres. The second prong is just buying advertising to tell the world we exist. If we capitalize the way we expect to, we'll spend millions in 2020 and 2021 on marketing alone to introduce readers to our apps.

The apps themselves are pretty cool, too. You can do things like share an entire library, or a section of a library, with someone. (on iOS right now; Android is about a week behind). That opens up some great doors for people - imagine if you could send a link to a fan that they could import your entire library into their TBR, and readers can share those links. Or a list of your favorite authors - think of the cross promos you could put together!

We also tear down all the walls that other sites have. Take a look at this profile, for example:

https://booksniffer.com/angela-j-ford/

Angela has all her social media links in there. Imagine if you could put all your SM links on your Amazon page, or on any other platform, for that matter. We're not trying to be a "walled garden" like the other platforms.

And it's just a better experience for readers. What do readers like to do? Browse deals. Follow authors. Build libraries. Share memes and quotes. Start book clubs. (That comes soon.) What they don't like to do is sign up for a gazillion newsletters, and with every newsletter a reader signs up for, it becomes that much harder for authors to cut through the clutter.

We know adoption will take time. We know we'll have to continually improve our platform to give readers and authors the stuff they want most. And we will.

And, not for nothing, we're going to do a great deal of good in the world as we succeed. We'll be donating 10% of our net mobile ad revenues to libraries, literacy programs, and classrooms.

When we started this, we had 100 reasons why we might fail. We're down to one: building our audience. Given all the obstacles we've knocked down so far to build this thing, I like our chances :D
 

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SeanHinn said:
OK got it, thank you! I'm seeing what you're seeing, I'll have this fixed in a jiffy :D
This is fixed. We're still doing a TON of updates this week on the website itself though, so bear with us please. We're trying to rebuild the website experience to mimic the app experience. Big project, as you might imagine!
 

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Trioxin 245 said:
So, to say all this in another way.

When we take away the customization for the reader , that is their own library shelf, meme sharing, messaging, we are left with them finding a deal on a particular day. So Jane Doe goes to Sci-FI category and sees x amount of deals. Its fun searching at first but how long before she gets burnt out and no longer goes past page one?
Tell me where I'm wrong but you have taken the simplification of curated deals and made it more complicated for the reader.
I think we make it simpler, but we definitely want all the feedback we can get on how we could improve the interface. Let me show you what it looks like now, these screenshots are from the iOS app:



The first shot is the home screen. You click the "Shop for Deals" button (1), and you have two ways to view deals, either in a scrollable left-to-right list of books, or, by toggling the button on the top right (2 and 3 in this image) you can see all the deals in bookshelf view. Each of those shelves are scrollable, so if you're looking for, say a 99c book, you can just scroll left and right until you see one that catches your eye and then click it to either add it to your TBR, add it to your library, or see retailers where you can go buy the book.

We plan to have a "BookSniffer Deals" button in the future which will host our own curated deals if someone just wants to see deals from BookSniffer authors. We haven't sold promos yet, though, so for now, we just make everything we can find that's on sale available in the app, so folks don't have to sign up for multiple deals site emails.

How would you improve it? Would love your ideas!
 

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K'Sennia Visitor said:
I really, really hate the name. It makes me cringe every time I see it. :-[ :-X :-\ :'( :mad: :(

Was your site started by Carmelita Spats? :p

The site itself seems harmless and possibly interesting. If readers actually use it, it could be okay. I like that you can tick books as already read so that you aren't constantly bombarded by books you've read before. How about a "I'm not interested?" option, or a "don't show me this ever again!".
Great idea, now on the list! Thank you.
 

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CassieL said:
I'm trying to think through how this impacts other deal sites. At least preliminarily it will boost their results because you pulling in their deals list for your site will make each of those promos look better than they would've done on their own assuming you have active users. But then if people really buy into what you're doing they will start unsubscribing from all the other list-based deal services to just use you, probably the smaller ones first. That could potentially put those smaller lists out of business. Maybe? If their lists are too small for people to want to use them. The death knell will probably come when you then set up a competing service with your own promos and thereby bury promos from other lists who have shrunk to the point that their own list doesn't justify the cost and whose own results will plummet.

Which means ultimately authors could be down to applying for a Bookbub or you and not many other choices. And there's no way for any list-based service to prevent you taking their promo lists for yourselves every day so ultimately nothing to be done to stand apart. Which means the more successful you are in your argument of one-stop-shopping for readers the more you eliminate the list-based promo market. So say two years or so from now that means authors are down to you, Bookbub (who is probably too big to do that to, but who may decide to compete with you if they feel threatened), CPC/PPC ads, and maybe one or two niche lists that somehow have subscriber loyalty...

Hm.
This is an astute observation. We've talked about this. Yes, it is possible that our growth becomes disruptive to promo list businesses. But that's not the goal - in fact, what we'd REALLY like to do is partner with the smaller promo lists, so we can all benefit as the whole thing grows. There are lots of ways that could be done that benefits everyone - the smaller promo list companies, our company, and most importantly, authors and readers. We haven't started outreach on that yet, as until we have enough momentum, we'll just be dismissed as an upstart. We think it is necessary for the industry to evolve, though - email, for the most part, sucks, and the ones who are making the real money are the email list providers - MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, et al. We're hoping that we can provide a free alternative to authors so they don't have to pay to maintain lists - they can just message their users on BookSniffer for free regularly.

I think there is plenty of room in the market for everyone, though. There's SO much demand for cost effective book advertising, the market is completely upside-down right now. When people are paying $1 a click to market a 99c book and try to climb the charts HOPING they break even, it's just insanity. I think the market really needs a cost-effective alternative, badly - the question is, which authors will help us build it? Those who do will be really well rewarded for it.
 

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Trioxin 245 said:
Just an observation but it seems like you guy are saying one thing and implying another. First the original post about the 80 percent rejection rate on BB, and how its implied your going to beat it. Sure you could accept more for your curated list but if I am competing against ten other authors on that day what is going to be the realistic value of that?

You guys keep throwing out this one million dollar in advertising to be spread around. Its a great hook but what is its value? Whats the cut off date? Or number of users? Is it this first thousand, ten thousand users? If its insanity to pay 1 buck a click, how will your platform stop that rising cost? Are you going to cap it? Because if not, if five thousand authors have loads of ad spend to use from the million dollar giveaway, its going to soar past a buck a click.

This is not a knock and you do not have to respond but the plan for book sniffer seems to appease everyone. -We are going to stop the clutter for the end user by showing them hundreds of deals a day, plus a curated list as well as ads. For authors we are going to show improved open rates...somehow...because that really hasn't been explained why your notification will be better than ours.

The problem an author faces is being lost in the clutter. Or search engine. The screen shot you posted above shows a category of deals of 1 in 148.
Its the same problem all over again for the author. they are going to get lost in the clutter/search engine.

The thing about BB or any other list is simple. If chosen, your book will be seen alone (perhaps one or two other books beside it) by users of their list. With yours, it one of a hundred or more.

And with everything else new and shiny, people run to it, the cost skyrockets (ads) and its back to square one.
You're really hitting the nail on the head Trioxin; these are the things our team been strategizing about since this company was formed last year. As you might imagine, a great deal of ongoing metrics analysis will drive the answers to these questions - and we know that if we don't get the formula right, our product will underwhelm. So that's the job - getting it right. It's helpful to maybe note that our team consists of authors who have all gone from obscurity in 2017 to making a living as authors in 2018 to earning millions in royalties together through today, and everything we've done has been data-driven. There are some extraordinarily smart, experienced, and accomplished people on our team, and I don't just mean our founders, whose job it is to get these metrics right and make sure we deliver a superior experience for authors and readers.

With regards to bid caps - we will be setting prices to ensure ROI for the average author. That is a moving target, of course - some books will sell better than others with the same advertising - but in aggregate, an author can expect that they're not going to lose money on campaigns with us. We've even put together an idea of an ROI guarantee. It's premature to define exactly what that will look like, but we've got a pretty good idea on how to accomplish it. It might involve bid caps, it might involve giving credit for additional campaigns if one campaign underwhelms.

There will be different levels of engagement depending on the mechanism used to promote a book. For example, a direct message to Fantasy fans on a given day that X book is a curated and recommended BookSniffer deal with a device notification will get far better engagement than the rest of the "ordinary" deals that are just searchable on the list, and as for whether those rates are better than email - they just are. By a lot. As much as 8x better. Those engagement metrics will depend on the number of followers in a genre, average open rates, click rates, etc. Conversion rates of course will vary. But our curated message-driven deals will be minimal. CPC ads, when those roll out, will be set at a price that delivers results, not an open bidding system. Demand will inform pricing to some degree, but not as much as results. Yes, we would make more money with open bidding, but then we're just like everyone else, and it defeats the purpose of what we're trying to build. Remember that our mission is to build a company which gives cost-effective advertising options to authors and publishers. You would be reasonable to be skeptical as to whether or not that mission is just a platitude, but if you personally knew the people who've built this company, you'd know it's not.

All along, our plan has been to help other authors succeed. We all basically got really sick of what the market looks like and decided we needed to change it, because while everyone else says "there oughta be a better way", no one actually stepped up to make one. The big companies don't want a better way to exist - why empower more little guys? The little guys don't have the resources to build something. So we went all in together and did something, at great expense and long hours and 7 day workweeks for a year to get to this point. Which, by the way, is NOWHERE NEAR how far we want to go with our platform. We're barely in the top of the second inning, from my perspective.

We hope lots of other indies will pull out all the stops and help us build this thing. That's better for everyone than us just spending a ton of money on advertising to build an audience - we'd much prefer to give a free ads to authors than to pay Facebook or Google for the traffic. But we'll see how it goes, both paths get us to the finish line.

I really appreciate you for challenging us here. You're a critical thinker; we'd probably benefit a great deal by having someone like you on our team. Feel free to reach out if that sounds fun :)
 

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M T McGuire said:
So I'm thinking that if you could manage a search algorithm that was as smart as say ... Spotify? Then I could see this being a game changer. It's a big if though. :) Is this the kind of thing you're aiming at? Not the Spotify corporate ethics, I mean, but a really smart algorithm that spots things people have enjoyed and offers them similar ...
This is a really big part of what we're building, MT. We've got a patent-pending machine-learning book recommendation engine at the center of all this. It will take time for it to get smarter - right now it's a complete noob - but yeah, since the very beginning, this has been something folks have been asking for, and I think we've invented something that has the potential to be groundbreaking. It's admittedly *the* hardest part of the whole thing on the technical side, but technology has come a long way, and our architecture is designed to accommodate some pretty fancy logic.
 
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