Support Write or Read, and Help Us Change Publishing!
Be a part of the e-book publishing revolution and join Write or Read!
With Write or Read (WoR) we can start a movement, one where authors and readers have a closer, more direct connection. We don’t want to simply collect data, we want to share our information so we all can learn and use that knowledge to make better books.
What’s in it for writers?
Write or Read is free to use for writers, plus we will pay authors for page views! That makes Write or Read another great distribution channel. More channels generally mean more exposure, which leads to more success.
Authors, wouldn’t you like to know what happens to your book after you hit the “publish” button? Pretty much all the major e-book retailers are able to collect valuable information about their readers, but currently authors don’t have access to any of it.
Data can be a powerful tool. It can help authors:
- write stronger works
- build their platforms
- research their audience
- test their market
- know where their book stands alongside similar books
- connect with their readers
- earn more money
Write or Read gives writers the data to boost their chances of success.
We also plan to make it easier for authors to update their e-books. For example, say there’s an e-book with a few typos. Readers will be able to correct the typos, and the writer can approve the corrections. Then the writer can update the e-book on the site, with the corrections, and download the newest version of their e-book. They will be free to use the new e-book however they like, including uploading it to other retail sites. It’s copy-editing, made easy!
Even writers looking to be traditionally published can benefit. By uploading books to WoR, new authors can test the market, and give agents and publishers proof that their e-books have market traction and are worth pursuing.
What’s in it for readers?
Right now, readers don’t really own their e-books. Instead, they purchase the right to license e-books from the major retailers. The downside is that retailers have the right to remove e-books from a tablet or e-reader, and this has been known to happen a few times (in 2009,1984 was erased from many Kindles). Since Write or Read is a subscription service, readers know exactly what to expect, and have access to all the books on the site.
Write or Read also lets users read in the cloud, so they can access our books on any device.
WoR offers a wide selection of e-books, and in the future we hope to offer articles, poems, short stories, and more. Our subscription model offers users a set number of “reader units” per month. This gives readers lots of flexibility regarding the books they choose to read. For example, a reader can opt for our 250 reader units per month plan. Each reader unit consists of about 250 words—the number of words on one page of an average book. Having 250 reader units is the equivalent of 250 pages, the average length of a trade book.
Sometimes it’s hard to know from browsing a small sample of a book whether or not you will actually enjoy it. Our system takes away this risk. If a reader decides to only read half the book, he/she is free to use the 125 or however many leftover reader units and find another book he/she might like better.
And in the long run, using WoR can be more cost effective, especially for heavy readers. For example, I personally read a lot. Usually I finish a book a week, and sometimes even a book a day. But buying all those books can get expensive, and though I enjoy most of them, I know I won’t re-read all of them. With a subscription model, I save myself some money and space on my hard drive.
Readers can also access over 40,000 public domain titles on WoR, for free, and in the future, readers will be able to rate and review titles, share recommendations with friends, and contact their favorite authors.
How did Write or Read start?
My name is Sabrina Ricci and I have a passion for book publishing. While getting my masters at NYU for digital and print publishing, I became really interested in e-books and digital technologies that have dramatically changed the publishing landscape over the past few years. I also worked for a number of publishing companies as an e-book developer, including Simon & Schuster, NBC Publishing, and The Experiment Publishing, where I learned all I could about the format.
Then I started to self-publish, learning the ropes of marketing and selling my own books. But after spending months researching, writing, editing, and then promoting my books, all I knew about my books were their sales numbers. I knew nothing about my readers, and I didn’t even know if anyone finished reading my whole book.
So I started working on the concept of Write or Read. There are ways for online writers to know their audience well, so I figured there should be ways for self-published authors to know what goes on with their e-books.
We’ve gotten some great feedback. In September, our WoR presentation was featured on SlideShare, and in one day we got over 20,000 views! You can see it here:http://www.slideshare.net/sabrinaricci1/write-or-read-mystartupstory.
And it’s a growing market. As of 2012, over 391,000 books have been self-published, and that number gets bigger every day.
What’s the plan?
Currently Write or Read is in open beta, which means the site is free to use for writers and readers. But we have a very small team, and not all the major features are yet in place. For example, though we have the ability to track important reader data, we still need to build the dashboard for authors to access it. And as long as the site is free, we obviously are unable to pay writers for page views.
Our major goal is to launch the full site. And if we raise enough money, we have many other exciting ideas in mind.
Already, we have:
- Over 2200 interested users
- 100+ new books on the site
- 40,000 public domain books (which will always be free to read)
In the future, we hope to:
- Create a native app version of WoR. We’re already a mobile HTML5 web app, but we want to make it even easier for you to read anywhere
- Store e-books for offline reading. Since WoR is built on HTML5, we have the capability, we just need to implement it
- Get more books to read, by reaching out to more authors and publishers. We also want articles, poems, short stories, zines, blog posts, chapbooks, fan fiction, comics, and more!
- Have the ability for writers to upload PDF, Word docs, and other formats, instead of just EPUB (and in the future we hope to make it easy to write on the site!)
- Support EPUB3 books, with audio, video, and interactivity (we’re already halfway there!)
- Allow readers to connect with authors directly
- Implement a ratings and recommendation system
- Get social, by connecting to popular sites like Facebook and Twitter
- Offer more data to writers
- Give data to readers, so they can save books in their library to read later and keep track of what they read and how much they liked it
- Tell readers how many pages and minutes left of reading are in a chapter, so they know where they can easily stop and take a break
- Have faster servers so everyone has easy access to the site
- Gamify Write or Read, so users can earn points and rewards for reading and reviewing books
We will work on a short two-month iteration cycle, so we can implement the features that will be most useful to our writers and readers. Our goal is to work together to create the best site possible!
Thank you for reading!
Write or Read would not be possible without the support of family, friends, and people like you who have helped us on our journey. We hope you find our site useful, and that you give Write or Read a try and share our story with family and friends.
Why would I want to subscribe to Write or Read since it doesn’t have most of the books from the New York Times best seller list?
Answer: A lot of it is for the same reasons people subscribe to Netflix streaming. You don’t necessarily get the newest releases, but you’ll discover great books you may not have found any other way. Plus, it’s convenient.
What about my privacy?
Answer: Write or Read does collect data via cookies and feedback, both automated and manually submitted. We share this data with authors, so they can improve their books. But, data we collect is kept anonymous and aggregated, to protect you. We also collect personal information, but only if you voluntarily give us that information, such as when you fill out your profile.
As an author, do I give up any rights to my work by uploading to Write or Read?
Answer: Absolutely not! We only ask for non-exclusive rights, which means you are free to upload and publish your book to any other outlet or retailer.
Am I only allowed to upload completed books?
Answer: You can upload anything that you’re working on or have completed. This means full books, unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles, white papers, novellas, poems, and more. We want to help you build your audience, whether that means using short stories as teasers, getting beta readers and market research to pitch to agents, or even sending links for reviews from bloggers. Write or Read can be your platform and your portfolio.
My name is Sabrina Ricci, and I’m the founder of Write or Read. I’m also a writer, wanderluster, UCSB and NYU alum, e-book developer, and obsessor of dinosaurs. Fascinated by all the changes in the book publishing industry over the last few years, I want to help other writers navigate their way through the publishing process and succeed. Past experience includes Random House, Simon & Schuster, LIFE.com, The Experiment Publishing, and NBC Publishing.
Learn more at http://writeorread.com!