Three years ago I made the heart wrenching decision to quit my job and start an online advertising company to promote ebooks.
I readily admit, I don’t have a business or marketing degree, and my computer smarts usually involved me yelling for one of my teenagers for help. But I had three secrets I’d love to share with my fellow women entrepreneurs.
One, I’ve been engrossed in the ebook world for ages. Think of a time when ebooks meant explaining at length to people that they could read your book on their computer. Yes, you can imagine the looks I used to get. Don’t forget, a decade ago, most readers didn’t know what a tablet or ereader was. Now fast-forward 10 years later, and the ebook world is taking the publishing industry by storm.
My second thing is I’m a writer. For close to 12 years I’ve been writing romance, young adult and now new adult romance. Being a writer has enabled me to make connections in the writing and publishing world, and I truly do care about an author’s book. My friends used to joke that I should have been an agent because I’m always promoting their books when I go to conferences, but nothing gets me more psyched then finding a local gem of a book. If that book is written by a Canadian or, better yet, an Atlantic Canadian writer, I will go that extra mile and yes, scream the virtues of why everyone should read their book.
And my third secret, which is a biggie and something most of you will get, is that I don’t give up. I’m willing to try new things. I’m willing to make changes to my website to maximize on better promotions and I truly care about ebooks.
StoryFinds.com started when a fan from the United Kingdom emailed me asking where she could get my ebooks. I thought that would be a simple, quick search but it turned out to be a lesson in book distribution. After I tracked down my own books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, I realized there had to be a better way for readers to connect with authors. And voila – StoryFinds.com.
When StoryFinds.com started we were first out the gate with promoting all ebook distribution sites: Kindle, Nook, Kobo & Audible. Three years ago most sites only promoted the mammoth site Kindle. I also wanted to make it easy for self-published “Indie” authors to promote their books. Three years ago if you were an Indie author (yes, we said that word quietly) to get your ebook promoted on most sites you had to have 15 five-star reviews. I viewed that as a gatekeeper move and guess what – we don’t have that as a requirement on StoryFinds.
The other big thing I thought was ridiculous was the price to promote. On average, a few years ago, it used to be about $100 for an advertisement online to promote your ebook, and I quickly realized most Indie authors don’t have big budgets, so we’ve kept our prices affordable. I like to say, “You won’t break the bank advertising with us.”
Today StoryFinds is the first online ebook promoter to offer an SMS feature for our authors. SMS is our move into the mobile market. We create 30, 40 or 60 second clips to entice readers to grab an ebook with a text message. Why? Dare I say this: “People are reading ebooks on their phones.” Who would have thought of that a decade ago? Okay, I might have thought that because I’m a trekkie fan.
If someone would have told me that within a few short years, I’d have over 2,000 author clients, a reach of 160,000 people daily through our social media sites and over 5,000 people on our subscriber list, I probably would have laughed. Today, the team of three who make up StoryFinds, continues to be innovative but budget conscious for our self-publishing authors. The dream continues because I’m a dreamer and, to me, that’s a good trait and a secret I’m willing to share.