Monthly Archives: July 2015

Meet and Greet Mondays: an Interview with Mike Eidlin from Bookmarq

Screen shot 2015-07-20 at 2.12.01 PM

1) When did you come up with the idea for Bookmarq and where? 

My sophomore year I realized how much more I learned from reading books that weren’t required of me, like: The Lean Startup, Talent is Overrated, Options as a Strategic Investment, rather than learning by sitting in 300 person+ lectures. I observed that I was really addicted to Instagram at the time, and thought to myself, ‘Interesting… I’m connecting with friends and influencers over photos on this magical app. So why isn’t there one for books?’ I knew if I wanted to become a VC or someone like Elon Musk, there’s no doubt I would need (or want) to read the same books they read. But it’s actually fairly hard to discover books your friends and influencers are currently reading, or the books they have read in the past.

2) How did you form your team? 

I came up with a few mocks and found a hackathon that was taking place in Sacramento in July of 2014. I went to UC Davis and I pitched my idea to the UCD Computer Science club Facebook group. Raymond (our back-end engineer) and Thomas (our front-end engineer) were recruited from there, and I contacted Igor (designer) from a previous freelance relationship.

3) What has been your biggest achievement in the past year?

Our biggest achievement in the past year has been getting into the 500 Startups pre-accelerator program. We’d been working on Bookmarq as a side project, and the weekend right after our fourth co-founder decided to quit his job to join full time, we received our first investment (institutional, woo!) and we got to work in the 500 Startups SF office.

4) How does Bookmarq plan to stay ahead of the competition? Do you consider yourself on the same playing field as Goodreads?

I believe our biggest strength, considering the stage our company is in (very early) is our team. We have two developers (back-end/front-end), a designer, and I focus on the business side of things. How do they say it – a hacker, hipster, and hustler? We have the ability to move quickly and adapt to our surroundings. One example is a potential pivot we’re experimenting with. Because we have the energy, speed, and talent, we were able to assess that the market was signaling demand elsewhere. If our team didn’t have quite the same skill set, we may have decided to call it quits, or take longer to successfully pivot. As for Goodreads, of course they’re a fantastic company. Bookmarq and Goodreads both engage in peer-based book discovery, but the main differentiator in all platform businesses is typically the community. While we have similar features as Goodreads for now, we’ll focus on the one feature we can do 10x better. Perhaps once we figure that out through more customer discovery / PMF, we’ll hone in on it.

5) What is the biggest struggle you’ve had since launching the app? How did you overcome it/ are you overcoming it? 

The biggest problem we’ve had thus far was the fact that we were a very solution-based startup, meaning we were a startup with a “solution”, in search of a problem and people with that problem. Of course there’s a lot of factors that influence a startup’s success or failure, but typically it’s a lack of reaching product market fit (PMF). We built a pretty app, but the real question is, what would get someone to switch over from Goodreads to Bookmarq? Is pretty design enough? We’ve had some minor success here and there, but we’re still figuring it out. It’s funny because we hustled our asses of at the 500 Startups pre-accelerator program for Bookmarq, but the weekend after the program ends, we decide to enter a book/publishing oriented CODEX Hackathon, hosted by Jenny 8 Lee (CEO of Plympton). We went into the hackathon with the mindset of working on something new just for fun, and actually decided to start with identifying a problem. We built up Streaq, an app that will help people build better reading habits, by reading one chapter a day. Even though we only had a very rudimentary prototype, we seemed to get more excitement from the eight or so hours we spent working on Streaq, instead of the 2 years we spent on Bookmarq. We kept asking ourselves, is this what we call a pivot?

6) What are your goals for the next year?

Our goal for the next year is to focus solely on reaching product market fit – whether it’s with Streaq, our new pivot, or Bookmarq.  As I mentioned previously, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of building a product because it’s pretty. Or because that’s how YOU envisioned it. It takes a lot more discipline to go through the customer discovery process, and really apply design thinking principles as you “lean startup”. Buzzwords, am I right?

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

Mike Eidlin, Co-founder of Bookmarq

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The Bookmarq Team

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By |July 20th, 2015|Interviews|0 Comments

Why Social Media is Important for Self-Publishing

Social media concept

We’ve witnessed a lot of changes in the last 8-10 years since the social media craze started sweeping out from underneath the doors of tech startup companies and making its way onto the scene. Since then, we’ve seen a variety of social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, transform into versatile, user-friendly networks that nearly all of us make use of and engage with in some form or another. The use of social media platforms has completely revolutionized the ways in which we communicate and interact with each other as a culture, a society, and as a global nation. The ability to create and cultivate community engagement on a much larger scale offers opportunities for relationships to bloom in all kinds of unexpected ways. It should come as no surprise, then, that for the self-published author, social media is perhaps one of the most important tools and resources that one can utilize.

What are some of the benefits of using social media for self-publishing?

  • It is an effective and inexpensive way to market your book.
  • It allows you to connect with other authors and publishing companies.
  • It allows you to communicate with fans and identify potential readers.

And most importantly:

  • It allows you to engage and build relationships with your readers.

Below you’ll find a list of 6 Social Media Tips for Writers:

http://writerscircle.com/2014/10/6-ways-writers-can-use-social-media.html

Sincerely,

The FMA Curation Team

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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By |July 14th, 2015|FindMyAudience|0 Comments

Meet and Greet Mondays: An Interview with Ricardo Fayet from Reedsy

Reedsy

1) Before launching Reedsy, did any of you have experience working in the publishing industry? What caused you (and the rest of the cofounders) to come up with the idea? I assume there was a passion that sparked the idea.

There was definitely a passion for books that sparked the idea, but more from the consumer side. In our founding team, we’re all avid readers of different genres, and it i s from this perspective that we approached the publishing industry.

We adopted the digital formats very early on, and were incredibly excited about what this disruption in the distribution models meant for the content creators, i.e. the authors. We started investigating the rise of independent publishing, and came up with this idea of building an intermediary model, fairer to the authors but keeping the highest standards of quality.

 

2) Can people view books that have been published as a result of collaborations that took place on Reedsy? If so, where?

We don’t yet track the books that come out of our numerous collaborations — that will be part of an ulterior development of our model. However, we do often get thanked via email, Twitter and Facebook for our great marketplace and also sent the book we have made possible.

So we’ve started publishing some “success stories” on our blog, highlighting some cool projects that our editors or designers worked on through Reedsy. Here are a couple:

Life in the Loop (1)

 

3) Do you have any well known success stories? (book titles)

We’ve had some fairly famous authors use Reedsy to find a new editor or designer: Brant Cooper, co-author of The Lean Entrepreneur, or Janice Graham, NYT bestselling author Janice Graham, who wrote The Tailor’s Daughter.

We’ve also recently started working directly with some UK-based agencies to help them rebrand literary estates for re-publication, and we’ll soon publish a wonderful “success story” about that.

 

4) How does Reedsy plan to stay ahead of the other marketplaces for freelance writers and editors?  

Though we’re still quite young, we have built an editorial/design network and a reputation that really set us apart. On Reedsy, authors know that they are guaranteed to work with a talented professional, whomever they end up choosing.

But we’re not stopping there. We’re currently building some amazing tech tools to help authors write, edit, collaborate and publish more efficiently. We believe we are about to change the way authors and publishing professionals work together to create beautiful books.

 

5) What is the biggest struggle you’ve had in launching the service to authors and editors? How did you overcome it/ are you overcoming it? 

The biggest challenge for us is that we operate in a space where authors are quite suspicious of new players. And they should be, considering the amount of “wannabe” editors/designers out there — on top of the websites that are just plain scams…

This is why we’ve spent a lot of time softly building a reputation through our blog, through our presence at writer’s conferences, and through our transparency. We prefer authors telling other authors about us and growing through word of mouth, which is what we’ve been doing quite smoothly.

 

6) Where do you see the future of the company going? 

We will continue growing our marketplace, and adding new categories to it: book reviewers, marketers, publicists — as always, all carefully selected and pre-vetted. Then, there’s the collaboration tools I mentioned earlier that are going to make a big difference in this industry.

But a bit like Find My Audience, we also want to connect rising authors with great stories to avid readers in their genre. This is why we are slowly dipping our toes into publishing and marketing right now, before making a big splash after the Summer — more on that then!

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

moi

Ricardo Fayet is a co-founder of Reedsy, an online marketplace that enables authors to directly access the wealth of editing and design talent that has been leaving major publishers over the past few years. A technology and startup enthusiast, he likes to imagine how small players will build the future of publishing. He also blogs about book marketing and conducts weekly author interviews on the Reedsy blog.

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By |July 6th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments