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Thread: [Display site] Book Birr

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    [Display site] Book Birr

    Thank you all for your comments.
    Last edited by M.R.; 06-01-2013 at 02:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    This looks like a display site to me. Moving to BR&BC.

  3. #3
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    From Book Birr's home page:

    Without further ado, lets get started with a our first promotion. The first 25 writers or publishers to join Book Bier will get to try Book Birr's inspection process free. What you'll get at no charge:

    • Your book or publishing house listed on our book's page free with links to your site and places readers can purchase.
    • The book Bier badge:
    • Opportunity to participate in the Book Birr promos.
    In that brief extract I see poor punctuation, inconsistent punctuation, inconsistent capitalisation, sloppy construction, extraneous words, and two references to "bier" instead of "birr", which makes me wonder if the people behind this site have not yet decided what to call it.

    I note that writers and publishers have to pay $20 to $70 to have their book assessed for acceptance by Book Birr/Bier.

    Writers and small publishers who don't qualify for the by pass must pass the review process to participate.

    Step 1: Thirty page inspection $20.00
    We will look at the first thirty pages of your manuscript for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.

    • This is a pass or fail.
    • Books with more than five typos in the first thirty pages fail.

    We think five typos is very generous as issues generally become more prevalent the further you read. We will ask that you send us 30 double spaced pages in standard manuscript format.

    Step 2: Book inspection $70.00

    Our staff will look at the entire book and grade it based on six key elements.

    • Story arch
    • Pace
    • Plot
    • Character
    • Format
    • Spelling, grammar and punctuation
    Judging by the number of errors I've found on the Book Birr website I have little faith in their ability to judge the work of others, and find it disconcerting that they're charging money for this.

    This assessment is explained here:


    Book Birr offers an affordable vetting service for writers and publishers that sets a minimum standard for books. It's not a typical ranking service in that, we don't judge the literary merit of your work. We ask questions like, does it have plot? What is the pace? What is the story arch?
    I'm not entirely sure how asking about a book's plot, pace and story arch [sic] differs to judging its literary merit, and would welcome an explanation of this point.

    On that same page we are invited to

    List your book on our site at introductory rates!

    • Weekly banner slide show ads are just $5.00.
    • Twitter adds are just $1.00/ 5 tweets
    • Blog ad $5.00/ post
    • List a qualified book on Book Birr $5.00/ month

    If you want to purchase more please change the quantity.
    So we are being asked to pay our assessment fee and then pay for our book to be listed on the site. Right.

    They offer to sell books for writers, but expect those books to be provided for free.

    The book promo is pretty simple. You send us free copies of your book and we sell them to readers.

    What? Why would I sign up for that?

    Have you ever bought into one of those timeshare tours? Okay, that doesn't matter. Our point is that timeshare companies don't give away hotel stays because they know costumers who pay nothing don't value their experience. We don't sell timeshares but we believe the same holds true for every product, even books. Customers who something invested, even a dollar. more are likely to give your book consideration because of that investment.
    If timeshare doesn't matter, why mention it?

    We sell your book anywhere from $1.00 to a maximum of $5.00 at public events, flee markets, book fairs... it doesn't matter. We find creative ways to distribute your book to readers. However we are not a book seller in any sense.
    I regularly flee markets. I find them terrifying.

    And if Book Birr is selling books then how come it's "not a book seller in any sense"? There's no sense in that sentence.

    There's a lot more I could address but I see little point in doing so. The website is chock-full of errors, the logic behind its systems is heavily flawed, it's a display site with nothing to suggest it's going to do any better than any of the other numerous display sites which have started over the years, and it charges people to use it.

    I won't be using Book Birr.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW Toni1953's Avatar
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    Nor will I.
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  5. #5
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    "Story arch."

    This makes my teeth hurt.
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  6. #6
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsmig View Post
    "Story arch."

    This makes my teeth hurt.
    Likewise! I'm afraid Book Birr has failed my book-related-professionals-who-can't-spell-or-punctuate test.

  7. #7
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thank you all for taking a look.

    You didn't have much good to say... I suppose I'm supposed to stick my head in the sand or something, but I'm not ashamed of my site at all. In fact, I very proud of what I accomplished in thirteen hours. I admit I jumped the gun on going live immediately. I was excited and wanted to share this site.

    I have a very clear vision and perhaps it is crazy, but one thing I do know, the errors you found... well thank you. I was really, really tired last night. As far as the book promo goes, I renamed it the Harebrained Book Promo. I think it's a very affordable marketing option for writers. And yes it is outside the box, but that doesn't make it bad. The sales from the promo offset incentives and other operating costs.

    There is currently no risk at trying the Book Birr minimum standards badge. As I mentioned, I'm waiting on the Brenda Novak auction before I announce review incentives. I accept that some haters are just going to hate, but you don't have to be one. Book Birr is new and harebrained, and that's exactly why you should try it.

  9. #9
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.R. View Post
    Thank you all for taking a look.
    You're welcome.

    You didn't have much good to say... I suppose I'm supposed to stick my head in the sand or something, but I'm not ashamed of my site at all.
    You're not supposed to do anything at all, but it would be nice if you reacted honestly and courteously to our comments.

    In fact, I very proud of what I accomplished in thirteen hours. I admit I jumped the gun on going live immediately. I was excited and wanted to share this site.
    So you slapped something together in thirteen hours and expect writers to hand over their hard-earned cash as a result? That's not showing much respect for your fellow writers, nor is it a professional attitude.

    I have a very clear vision and perhaps it is crazy, but one thing I do know, the errors you found... well thank you. I was really, really tired last night.
    You're welcome. The errors I highlighted were only a few of those I found. Your site is stuffed full of them, but I'm not going to point out any more: it's up to you to ensure that your site is professional and clean, and you shouldn't depend on strangers on the internet to give you free advice to get you there. And being tired is not an excuse.

    As far as the book promo goes, I renamed it the Harebrained Book Promo. I think it's a very affordable marketing option for writers.
    It's only affordable if it provides good results for the financial investment required.

    Having seen many other display sites make similar claims over the years, I suspect that Book Birr is unlikely to do so.

    And yes it is outside the box, but that doesn't make it bad.
    What makes it undesirable is that it is very unlikely to be effective.

    The sales from the promo offset incentives and other operating costs.
    That's a benefit for you, though, and not for the writers who might use your services. What's in it for them? Very little, I'd guess.

    There is currently no risk at trying the Book Birr minimum standards badge.
    A "minimum standards badge" sounds so very appealling, doesn't it? It's available for free right now, but you've restricted that free offer to just twenty-five writers. Once those twenty-five places are used up, writers will have to pay to join the scheme.

    As I mentioned, I'm waiting on the Brenda Novak auction before I announce review incentives.
    Your link isn't working. I think this is the page you intended to link to. I see no indication on that page that the Brenda Novak auction there is linked in any way to Book Birr: could you please clarify how it's linked, or why you keep referring to it if there is no link? Thanks.

    I accept that some haters are just going to hate, but you don't have to be one.
    I see no one "hating" in this thread. I do see writers questioning the value of the services you're asking them to pay for, and analysing where the problems might lie, though.

    Book Birr is new and harebrained, and that's exactly why you should try it.
    I'd rather invest in schemes which have proved themselves to be effective and successful, thanks.

  10. #10
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.R. View Post
    Thank you all for taking a look.
    I accept that some haters are just going to hate, but you don't have to be one. Book Birr is new and harebrained, and that's exactly why you should try it.
    Okay, I was cutting you some slack because you're clearly enthused about your new project, but when you made this statement it got my back up.

    The reactions you're getting have nothing to do with "haters" and "hating." They have everything to do with the fact that you've hung out your shingle as a business offering services to writers for a fee. If you expect people to pay you for what you're offering, then you'd damn well be able to deliver. The sloppiness of your website, coupled with the fact that you admit you launched your business in a hurry - is a red flag to me that you're not ready to deliver.

    That's a considered opinion. It's not hate.
    Last edited by mrsmig; 05-23-2013 at 05:29 PM. Reason: I corrected my grammar. Because that's what you do.
    KINGLET: Coming in August 2017 from Fiery Seas Publishing!
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  11. #11
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Perhaps you should donate more than 13 hours to a site that is soliciting paid membership.

    And a lot longer to developing a YADS that delivers some kind of value for the money. As far as I know in hundred of attempts, this has yet to happen for a fee-charging YADS. (As opposed to some of the free ones like Goodreads).
    Emily Veinglory

  12. #12
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
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    Let me see if I’m reading this correctly:

    I do Step 1 and you “pre-screen” my writing for $20. For that, I receive a pass or a fail. From the way it’s written on the webpage, I pass as long as I have fewer than ten typing mistakes in the first thirty pages--is this correct? I’m paying $20 for spell-check?

    Next, I do Step 2 for $70 (I am now down $90). You say that your, “readers are readers”; are they random people pulled off the street? Volunteers? Members of a particular writing group? I’m not finding what qualifications these readers have, if any, or how they are selected anywhere on your website. I’d appreciate it if you could point me where that’s stated since I may have missed it. Most readers who are not also writers likely couldn’t tell a story arc from the Arc de Triomphe. Nor are they familiar with book formatting in any technical sense of the word. They can tell you whether they liked the pace, character(s) or plot(s), but that’s going to be a very subjective thing. As for spelling, grammar and punctuation, well. Most of those readers would give a pass to, “I haz a confuzed,” which about sums up my current state.

    So, to sum it up, for $90 I get a button that I can post on my blog/website/wherever that links back to the Book Birr website which displays my book, which, if I have half a brain, was already displayed to death on my own blog/website/wherever. Plus an additional 30 bucks if I want the book displayed for a full year, so $120. I’m honestly not seeing the up-side to me here. A button...pardon me, badge that will mean bupkis to the average person reading my website unless I have explanatory text near it: "See that? Yes! I meet minimum standards on this website over here that I paid for! Woot!!!11elebenty!! Now, buy my danged book!"

    As to the “Harebrained” scheme (I have sworn not to pick nits and point out that the picture is of an agouti Lionhead and not, in any sense of the word, a “hare”): I send you a swack of books or pay for a swack of branded thumbdrives. You sell them at a discount and keep all the funds as far as I can make out. This benefits me how, exactly? And what is an “instructional insert”? A synopsis of the book? A survey for the reader to fill out--is that where the readers from Step 2 come from?

    Free pro-tips from someone who’s designed webpages:
    Do not, under any circumstances, make a webpage live just to make it live. Save it as an HTML file on your own computer.
    Open it in your browser and look at it over the course of a few days--do you love it? Do you need to tweak the format?
    Check it obsessively for typos, particularly when you’re attempting to sell a service to writers, let alone publishers. And especially check for typos of your own website name. When you referred to your own site as “Book Bier”, it made me think of, “a place where books go to die”. Not good.
    Drag over several friends and make them all read it, also checking for typos.
    Make your site live and then check it again, verifying that all links work the way you want them to and checking, yes, once again, for typos.
    Do not make “cute” comments slagging off some of the very people you’re attempting to sell to--”I left publishers out of this here, because, while to some extent publishers are gate keepers, they are primarily concerned with making a profit. Their concern for wordiness, misused modifiers and the like is in direct proportion to how much profit they stand to make. (Which ever way you think I meant this flip it over and you'll see this concept travels all directions.)” (bolding added) Really? You don’t think a publisher might look at a page marked, “Writers” just out of idle curiosity? "Damn those publishers! Damn them all for knowing that a professionally produced product sells better because, oddly, people like professionally produced products. Damn them all, I say! Wait..what?"

    This? This is not hate. What this is is a cold, impersonal look at a business attempting to sell me something. A business which hasn’t laid out any of the qualifications you or your employees (if any) have to do what you’re telling me you will do. Nor are you explaining how, exactly, any of this will be a benefit to me.
    Last edited by FluffBunny; 05-23-2013 at 08:24 PM.
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  13. #13
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FluffBunny View Post
    This? This is not hate. What this is is a cold, impersonal look at a business attempting to sell me something. A business which hasn’t laid out any of the qualifications you or your employees (if any) have to do what you’re telling me you will do. Nor are you explaining how, exactly, any of this will be a benefit to me.
    This.

    Once you start a business that will be soliciting either others' money or their intellectual property, you leave the realm of "You go girl/guy!" ra-ra positivity, and enter the realm will people not just will, but need to evaluate your business in a dispassionate manner based on cold, hard reality.

    M.R., I understand the thrill of getting exited about an idea, and pouring huge amounts of effort into it. Back in 2003, I spent hours planning a YADS of my own. It was brilliant! It was going to revolutionize publishing! And thank ye gods, it never went live.

    If it had gone live, and i had received feedback like this, it would have stung. Heck, it probably would have been devastating.

    But it also would have been completely accurate.

    Caught up in the thrill of an exciting idea, it's easy to lose track of crucial facts. We've all done it -- at least everyone who's let themselves get swept away by an idea, and I feel sorry for anyone who hasn't felt that thrill.

    But alas, when those ideas hit reality, the results can be harsh. The key to continuing to be able to follow ideas with passion is to know when to let one go, and move onto the next thing.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  14. #14
    Magically delicious TheCakeNovelist's Avatar
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    Twitter adds are just $1.00/ 5 tweets
    I just checked to see how far this dollar would stretch. All the way to seven followers. I have over six hundred that I can tweet to for free.
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  15. #15
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    By the way, MR... you owe Old Hack $20 for spell-checking your website.

  16. #16
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.R. View Post
    I accept that some haters are just going to hate, but you don't have to be one.
    Trust me: there are only four people in the entire world AW members hate, and you aren't one of them. We actually want you to succeed in your endeavors because nobody else has with the particular ideas you have in mind. Go ahead and prove us wrong. We're more than willing to eat our hats when that happens. Otherwise, accept the advice purely from a business standpoint. Again, many a similar service has tried and failed miserably. Be one of the few that actually lives up to the promise.
    Book Birr is new and harebrained, and that's exactly why you should try it.
    Book Birr is hardly new. Read through this thread and note how many businesses are highlighted in grey. That means they're no longer operating. They set out to be new and exciting but somehow, somewhere, their vision never came true. While it's great you have the desire and enthusiasm, you really need the acumen and tools to make this succeed when everybody has failed. There's too much at stake here; you'll be working with other peoples' money and intellectual property, which will get tangled up in court if something happens and your venture fails.

    Many of the people who have replied have years of experience in the publishing business and know what they're talking about. They aren't setting out to be mean and prove they know more than you or to push you out because they don't want you encroaching on their turf. They've seen this sort of business fail one too many times. Now, what you do with the advice is up to you. We can only hope you'll pay attention and act accordingly.
    I still poop rainbows.




    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.


  17. #17
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Guess the auction results weren't good, because the home page's been stripped. (A few sub-pages still exist for a look at what was on offer (example).)
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