Let's see a raise of hands if you're interested in growing your email list...or in creating true fans...or in selling books!
I'm assuming that's everyone (unless you're in a body cast, or dual shoulder harnesses, or just too tired to raise your hand). Who doesn't want to connect with readers and sell books, right?
A few months ago, we found out about StoryOrigin and have been playing around with its abilities since then. It has so much potential, that we couldn't help but share what we've discovered so far (as a way to encourage all of you to go check it out for yourselves)!
Universal Links, Reader Magnets, Group Promos!
We started out by creating an account and integrating our email list. Then we created a couple of universal book links and reader magnet landing pages.
The above image is an example of a reader magnet page. These can be used to grow your email list by exchanging a free copy of your book for a reader agreeing to join your list.
What all is StoryOrigin capable of? The key features include:
- Reader magnet generation (see above image of a reader magnet I made): These are mainly for swapping an email address for a free ebook. Promote this via social media, or even gain some traction from other StoryOrigin users to grow your list.
- Universal book links: These are for giving readers a singular landing page from which they may buy your book via their store of choice. StoryOrigin also uses these links when creating or joining a group promo. StoryOrigin makes these super quick and easy to set up.
- Newsletter swaps: This is where StoryOrigin starts to get really powerful. Integrate your email list with StoryOrigin. Now you can schedule a straight-up newsletter swap with another StoryOrigin user. Or, you can either look for a group promo to join or create your own group promo.
- Group promos: This is so much fun! Now that you've integrated your email list, you can look for other StoryOrigin users with readers who match closely to yours. Join a group promotion (or create one) that will funnel everyone on all the combined email lists to the same landing page. On that landing page, the readers will find universal links for all the participating authors/books.
How the Group Promos Work
Being a collaborative site and a community of writers, the thing that got me the most excited was creating some group promos using StoryOrigin. So we did just that by starting several during the month of November and a couple more for December.
Real quick, I should mention that while we chose to run Group Promos focused around selling books, StoryOrigin also allows you to run group promos focused on giveaways.
One of the promos we ran in November was for the Sword and Sorcery sub-genre of epic fantasy. Below is a screenshot of some of the book titles that joined the promo and the number of click-throughs each book had. The screenshot also shows the date each author agreed to send out an email promoting the entire group of books.
As you can tell, some of the books had more click-through than the others. An interesting tell on Amazon is that several of these books show up in the "customers who viewed this book also viewed these books" carousel on the product pages of these books. This indicates that several of the people who trafficked this group promotion clicked on multiple titles. So that's a good thing!
The idea behind the group promos is to pool multiple audiences around a bunch of similar books that the email recipients are relatively likely to enjoy. That means that creating specific sub-genres is critical. A group promo for "Romance" is going to be way to general and include vastly different books and vastly different email lists.
But if an author who writes Vampire romance joins a group promotion for vampire romance, it's a pretty sure bet their email list will include a bunch of readers who will enjoy several other vampire romance books in the group promo.
The basis of the group promo is that every author who joins the group commits to sharing the event with their network. This should result in some splash over for the writers and provide value for the readers at the same time!
Basically, if everyone in the group promo carries their weight, then everyone in the group promo reaches some new readers and makes a little scratch along the way.
What We Discovered Running Our Group Promos
Of the four promos we ran in November, three of them had several unsolicited but highly qualified books apply. Our Clean Fairy Tale promo ended up being mostly just authors we invited to join. But the Space Opera, Sword and Sorcery and Apocalyptic had previously unknown-to-us authors join. This means that our books were exposed to new readers completely outside of our circles.
While we did see some sales for every title we had in the group promo, we didn't have any way to deduce if a sale came from the StoryOrigin group promo. We definitely didn't have any way of telling if those sales came from our own email list or from one of the other author's lists. In this sense, there is no hard evidence that these group promos moved the needle when it comes to sales.
But the time of investment was low (around a couple of hours) to set up the promo and then send out an email and post to social media. And this is mostly stuff you should be doing anyway.
What I Will Do Next Time I Run a Group Promo
To get the most strategic advantage out of a group promo on StoryOrigin, I would recommend seeking out several target authors who create great stories in your sub-genre and sign them up to do a group promo with you. Sure, you could do this without StoryOrigin. But StoryOrigins tools will save you time and energy which have a real cost in the real world.
By recruiting several strategic authors to join the promo, you're essentially hand-picking the books you want in your "also-boughts" and "also-viewed" carousels on Amazon. And this can be an extremely valuable accomplishment. In addition, you will hopefully develop good relationships with several great authors in your genre while expanding your readership!
Lastly, it's exciting that StoryOrigin is only a beta product currently. As the platform grows and continues to add features, its utility will most certainly grow as well.