I would like to welcome to the blog today, Mark Stone, author of the Calasade Series, and he is stopping by to tell us about the Reader/Author Program!!
Thank you, Jenny, for giving me a chance to appear on your blog so I can explain a few things about the new and exciting Reader/Author website. Here are some common questions I’ve been asked and the answers I’ve given. These will hopefully shed some light on what Reader/Author is, how it can make readers’ lives easier, and the reviews readers give more rewarding for them.
Q. What is Reader/Author?
A. The short answer is that Reader/Author is an e-book distribution site similar to Amazon, Goodreads, and Smashwords, except with some significant differences. Among those differences are how readers discover new books to read and a rewards program for reviews.
Q. How will Reader/Author benefit readers?
A. One of the more critical benefits is Reader/Author will make it easy for readers to find quality books according to the readers’ tastes in genres. There will be no more sifting through tons of books and taking a chance on a book that sounds good only to discover after purchasing that the book is a mess.
Q. On sites like Goodreads and Amazon readers receive a lot of unwanted solicitations. Likewise, at the other end of the spectrum is Smashwords, which does almost no marketing of its books. How will marketing be approached for books at Reader/Author?
A. Intelligently; because of the way we’re designing Reader/Author, readers will face NO spam. A reader will see advertisements from only the genres they like and direct marketing from only those authors to whom the reader has subscribed or from whom the reader has purchased. A reader can at any time unsubscribe from an author.
Q. Many sites offer reviews, but a constant concern for readers is finding honest ones. What are your thoughts on this?
A. Quality reviews is a huge concern in today’s market wherein many authors employ a Mutual Admiration Society, providing reviews that are based more on friendships and alliances than the actual book in question. That approach is shortsighted on the authors’ behalves. A reader who reads stellar review after stellar review only to discover upon reading the book that those reviews were bogus is going to feel misled. Such a reader will be far less likely to return than the reader who simply made a blind purchase.
Q. How will Reader/Author guard against dishonest reviews?
A. The line between readers and authors has been drawn at Reader/Author. Authors can purchase books but are unable to review them, thus preventing one type of buddy-system. In addition to this, readers are encouraged to report bogus reviews. If we discover a majority of a book’s reviews are misleading, we will refund the reader’s money and further investigate the matter. Upon discovering that an author is intentionally bilking the system, said author will be banned and their books removed.
Q. You earlier alluded to a reviewer being rewarded for their reviews. How is this accomplished?
A. Through the Reader/Author Reviewer Rewards program. Readers accumulate reputation points based on the reviews they leave. When a reader gains enough reputation points, they are rewarded with discounts and free books. The number of discounts and free books escalate along with the reader’s reputation point level.
Q. In some ways, book distribution sites make readers feel almost as an afterthought compared to the attention given to authors, as if the reader is simply a means to an end or a purse to be fleeced. How would you say Reader/Author differs?
A. Simply put, at Reader/Author it is the readers’ reviews and ratings that determine a book’s standing in the community rather than sales’ numbers. Readers are extremely important to us for reasons other than their wallets, so it is imperative that we build an environment in which the reader does not just feel protected from shameful marketing practices but also critical to the book community. As an author, I value nothing more than the reviews a reader leaves; it is through the reader’s judgment that authors become better writers and produce higher quality books.
Q. Are there social aspects to Reader/Author?
A. There are. Readers can friend and message other readers, subscribe to and message authors, and participate in user groups. Each reader will be provided their own page on which they can post a profile photo, a short bio, share their links, and post status messages.
Q. Is membership free?
A. Yes. At no time will a reader be charged for membership.
Q. Where can readers sign-up?