Luckily I signed up when I did, just a week before a special launch offer ended. StoryOrigin was free while it was in beta but recently switched to having a free version with limited features and a paid version with more options. You all know me, I’m super frugal, so I like free. But I am willing to spend on something if it provides value. The sign up offer was to get a locked in lower price on the standard subscription for life or three months for free. So, usually I would go with the lower lifetime rate, but I still didn’t know if this would be worth it for my business. Could this service actually grow my email list and get me more reviews? Do reviews actually generate more $$$, even if it can help me get more reviews?
My goal was to increase the number of reviews (and therefore number of people reading) The Infinite-Infinite ahead of The Alpha-Nina launch. Since the clock was ticking on the 3 free months I signed up and got to work right away. I offered up free audiobook codes for The Infinite-Infinite and a free eBook version as well. Posted these freebies on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads (both a blog post on my author profile and in Indie Author groups)
I also set up The Dora Diaries, my added short story from The Project Collusion series. I already had this as a PDF, but I then had to upload it to Smashwords to get it as an ePub and Mobi to make it so I could upload it to the Story Origin System. This was fine, but I didn’t like the extra step. But I get why I needed to have it in all the formats.
- I had to start sending my fiction newsletter again (oops, stopped when baby girl was born and was never very regular with it to begin with)
- I treated this trial like I would an actual book launch. I wanted to get traffic for The Infinite-Infinite, but I also knew I had to pull my weight on the group promos and drive more people there as well so everyone could get more readers. Especially if my audience had already read my books, it was best to tell them about the other books since those authors were telling their audience about mine.
- As more people claimed their review copy they were added to my fiction mailing list. So I have two mailing lists, one for people who like my fiction (based on them subscribing to my fiction bonus reader materials) and those who subscribe to my Author Your Ambition website, bonus book material, self-publishing news and tips, etc. Everyone added to my fiction mailing list got information on the promos/newsletter swaps. But they also got updates from me on The Alpha-Nina and reminders to post a review for The Infinite-Infinite.
- Signed up right away for Sci Fi Freebies, First in Series, Kicka$$ Females SciFI, Post Apoc Babes (Nailbiters for that one). I specifically wanted to find readers who wanted to start a science fiction series with a strong female lead. That was perfect.
- Got several people to download the freebie review copy of The Infinite-Infinite right away. Then it was a game of waiting for the reviews to come in.
- My mailing list grew the most from the group promos. I had a hundred new subscribers within a few weeks. Then it really slowed down.
- I noticed with the group promos that I would get subscribers from people claiming the review copy, but then I would see unsubs from my newsletters. As in, people just subscribed to get the freebie and planned to unsub. Not cool, but I’d rather have my newsletter going to people who want it, but then I can’t remind them to leave a review.
- So I thought it was time to dive in on Newsletter swaps.
- Tried one in June and focused on only these in July as the group promos seemed to only be attracting freebie seekers.
- I saw a good amount of clicks on these, but not nearly as many downloads.
As I was trying out the membership Evan and his team were adding new features and I was engaged in the Facebook group where other authors were sharing their success. I did notice that the authors who shared those success stories were in very popular genres like science fiction romance or just romance and that a good portion were in KU. Evan did add an option to note if you were a wide or KU author in the group promos and swaps, which was helpful.
Overall, this wasn’t a slam dunk, it wasn’t a press of one button and expect lots of new reviews or sales. I spent a lot of time and effort to give this my true best effort and got meh results. For you, if you think this service, or any one service, will magically turn around your sales and reviews, you’re fooling yourself. It is always a balance between how much time you want to spend marketing your book and how much time you want to spend writing your next book.
- Did I grow my email list? – Yes, again not sure how many are freebie seekers, we’ll see how many stick around.
- Did I get more reviews? – Yeah, like 2 on Goodreads. So definitely not a silver bullet to thousands of reviews. The majority of people who requested review copies of the eBook or audiobook review codes did not leave a review. The StoryOrigin system sends automated reminders and … crickets. The people who requested to review all have 0/0 review history, so I should have said no, but I wanted to make sure I gave them time to read and review before the trial ended. No bueno.
- Did I get more sales? – Not that I could tell. My sales have been consistent for the time that I was in this trial.
- Is it worth the $10/month moving forward? – No, at least not right now.
Check out the service for yourself. I have an affiliate link below if you want to sign up for a paid membership it will support this channel, but for myself, I’m going to go with the free version for a few more months. https://storyoriginapp.com/blog/email-marketing-guide?via=mk
I scrutinize every dollar I spend on my business and $10 a month or $100 a year on maybe getting people to signup for a newsletter who may or may not just want something for free who are unlikely to leave a review isn’t a good ROI in my opinion.
I think I’m going to check out some other services, but I know the Wide for the Win newsletter swap group specifically only wants to use StoryOrigin links because of the ability to track clicks, but I can only sign up for NL swaps via the paid level so we’ll see how well that pans out for my plans. If I upgrade again I’ll let y’all know.
What are your thoughts? Have you used StoryOrigin? Does it work for you? If so, what is your genre and do you publish wide? Share some tips below and we’ll keep the conversation going.
M.K.’s Fiction Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/6f9b4c7ce458/readersubscribe
Author Your Ambition Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/52c7cd246b5b/authoryourambition
Check out StoryOrigin for yourself: https://storyoriginapp.com/blog/email-marketing-guide?via=mk
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