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Thread: [Display site] Hunt to Read

  1. #1
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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    [Display site] Hunt to Read

    They appear to be a new review site. Anybody know anything about them? From a quick glance, I didn't see any red flags.

    http://www.hunttoread.com/index.php
    Cameron Bane

    PITFALL now out through WildBlue Press, August 2015

    www.cameronbanebooks.com



  2. #2
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravity View Post
    From a quick glance, I didn't see any red flags.

    http://www.hunttoread.com/index.php
    "Now offering free 6 month listings for a limited time only!" This is for "new authors and publishers." Yog's Law in reverse, to my mind.

  3. #3
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
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    It looks more like a display site to me. From their FAQ for authors and publishers - http://www.hunttoread.com/FAQ#faqwriters

    Hold on. Monthly Fee? Yearly Fee?
    We're currently reviewing our pricing tiers; for a limited time only, six month listings on Hunt To Read will be free.

    Back to top
    What do the different levels of book listings get me?
    We take our role as curators of the site seriously, which means that new features are added all the time for our Gold members. Additionally, during launch, for a limited time (likely a couple of months), we’ll offer free listings and analytics to all those who want to be listed on the site. However, the current breakdown is as follows:

    Bronze Member:

    Listing on the site, getting your book in front of readers.
    A captive, well-read audience that’s already looking to buy new books.
    User feedback in the form of ratings.

    Silver Member:

    Listing on the site, getting your book in front of readers.
    User feedback in the form of ratings.
    Limited analytics from our full suite of analytics to better target your marketing efforts.
    A captive, well-read audience that’s already looking to buy new books.

    Gold Member:

    Listing on the site, getting your book in front of readers.
    User feedback in the form of ratings.
    A captive, well-read audience that’s already looking to buy new books.
    There are no reviews, only "ratings" and readers rate the cover, the blurb, the title page, ad infinitum. Ugh. These gentlemen are trying to "...duplicate the thrill of hunting for books among the shelves" online.

    From the looks of things, you have to sign-up to actually find out the pricing. It's free for readers, but as they say in the quote above, they're "reviewing our pricing tiers".
    Last edited by FluffBunny; 07-04-2013 at 06:58 AM. Reason: Forgotten info
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  4. #4
    Heckuva good sport frimble3's Avatar
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    What do they mean by 'captive' audience? That is sort of a strange concept. Are they locking people up and not letting them out until they do some rating? Or is it like work, where you stay because the pay is good enough that you can't be bothered to leave? How are they going to stop people from just clicking onto some other activity?
    And what is the point of having your title page and cover and blurb 'rated'? If your book is already published, readers can surely judge for themselves, and if you got the Amazon 'Look Inside' feature, wouldn't that be more useful?
    Last edited by frimble3; 07-04-2013 at 08:01 AM.

  5. #5
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frimble3 View Post
    What do they mean by 'captive' audience? Are they locking people up and not letting them out until they do some rating? Or is it like work, where you stay because the pay is good enough that you can't be bothered to leave? O
    I think they think (how's that for convoluted?) that their site is a) a brand-new, never-tried-before idea and b) they're unique on the Internet, so where else could the poor, benighted readers go to look at books online? *eyeroll*

    I like your thinking on the "captive audience" idea, though. Maybe they send the readers remote-controlled shock-collars?
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  6. #6
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FluffBunny View Post

    I like your thinking on the "captive audience" idea, though. Maybe they send the readers remote-controlled shock-collars?
    (unsuspecting reading opens box from ACME SHOCK COLLAR company, puts on collar, begins reading about books at Hunt to Read, begins to write review, leaves computer to make a sandwich --- and then screams and grabs own neck as the collar delivers the volts).

  7. #7
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    For a second it looked like the bronze and gold members got exactly the same thing. gold members get "ground-breaking analytical data," which looks to be about as ground-breaking as what I get with Google's stats for my site or Facebook's stats for my fan page.

  8. #8
    Disapproving plot bun disapproves. FluffBunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieB View Post
    For a second it looked like the bronze and gold members got exactly the same thing. gold members get "ground-breaking analytical data," which looks to be about as ground-breaking as what I get with Google's stats for my site or Facebook's stats for my fan page.
    There isn't a huge amount of difference between the levels and this wasn't very encouraging:

    ...which means that new features are added all the time for our Gold members.
    Why would people want to sign-up for bronze or silver levels if only the gold folks will be getting new features "all the time"? Where's the incentive for people that don't want to pay for a gold level membership to join?

    Personally, I don't see any incentive to join in any case. As a reader, I can already go to Amazon or B&N if I want to look at a book online. I'd much prefer to hold the book in my hands and look at what I want to look at rather than what someone else has decided I should want to look at. As a (future) author, I've got nothing. Most books are still being sold by people seeing them in person whether they then go on to order it online or buy it in the store.
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  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm D.J., the CEO of Hunt to Read. First of all, appreciate everyone taking the time to visit the site; my co-founder, Rick, and I appreciate all of the feedback, good and bad.

    One of the things about starting a new company is that there's so much going on that it's easy to overlook certain items not directly related to site functionality. One of those overlooked items was the FAQ, which hadn't been updated since we incorporated in April. As a result of some of your feedback, I've taken the time to update it again; the new document is now available on our site.

    Basically, I'm an indie writer just like you guys; released my first book in December, and have released five more since then (mostly novella-length stuff and a box set). The first few months "in the biz," a few things frustrated me:

    1) The scammy, "give us $30 and we'll tweet about your book once every three months" sites. Obviously not worth it! Not only that, but there are all kinds of scams geared toward authors, from contests to those abhorrent Vanity Presses looking to suck the life from unsuspecting would-be indies.

    2) The incestuous nature of the Amazon rankings. By that I mean that it seems like popular books get noticed, but some hidden gems might go undiscovered. I'm not talking about my own; I'm not THAT megalomaniacal (grin), but rather other indie writers I knew who put out good, professional-looking products but who weren't gaining traction, when in the past they might have gained some sales just by being on the shelf in a bookstore. Of course, the big chain bookstores are nearly extinct, and the indie bookstores that survive tend to be smaller stores with a more hand-picked selection of books.

    3) The lack of detailed analytics for my book pages. True, there are ways to get some analytics on various retailers' sites, but certainly not all of them, and definitely not on discreet items like "is my cover decent or not?", and "could my blurb use some work?"

    I got in touch with a friend from college and we came up with Hunt to Read. As some of you noted, we want to make browsing for books fun again, like it used to be to go through bookstores, hunting for that next hidden gem.

    Simultaneously, we can provide value to authors through our analytics, (in the future) premium listing options (including author mailing list integration in the future among others), and plenty of other "value add" propositions for paying members.

    We've changed our business model from the much-derided Bronze/Silver/Gold system to just a "free listing/pay for analytics and extras through membership" plan. I cannot reiterate this enough: your book can always be on the site for free. It's up to us to convince you that site membership above and beyond that is worth your while by providing the commensurate value.

    To those ends, I encourage you to list a book or two on our site to gain access to the analytics for six months, absolutely no-risk. You don't even need to enter a credit card number or anything--six months FREE. What's better than free?

    And yeah, though I don't envision putting our readers in A Clockwork Orange-style setups to get a "captive" audience (I admit--poor phrasing on my part!), we do have a number of solutions that we're implementing over the next several releases to drive reader traffic to the site in a manner that will make the experience fun and enjoyable for them, and will provide meaningful data to our authors.

    I just ask you to check out the site, poke around, throw up a book or two and explore our interface. And, by all means, I'm happy to pop back in from time-to-time to answer questions or address feedback that you might have.

    I just wanted to make it clear, yes, we are running a business, but one of our core goals is to listen to our readers and writers, and really build a site that both groups can thoroughly enjoy and from which both can benefit. It wouldn't do us any good to run a scam because our plans for the site are big; well beyond the scope of the current set-up.

    Thanks for your time, and by all means, I'm happy to address questions, comments, concerns, and criticisms.

    Happy hunting,

    D.J. Gelner
    Chief Executive Officer
    Hunt to Read LLC
    http://www.hunttoread.com

  10. #10
    Heckuva good sport frimble3's Avatar
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    How many 'indie writers' were ever getting shelf space in bookstores? It's not like they lost that space, if it weren't for Amazon and other on-line retailers, they'd chiefly be selling out of the backs of their cars.

    Also, isn't it a little late to be giving feedback on covers and blurbs after the book is published and up on sites? Changing covers and blurbs is likely to annoy people who buy the book a second time, thinking it's a new book, only to find out that it's the same old one, with a few cosmetic changes.
    Big chunks of 'See Inside', that's what's wanted!

  11. #11
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJGelner View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I'm D.J., the CEO of Hunt to Read. First of all, appreciate everyone taking the time to visit the site; my co-founder, Rick, and I appreciate all of the feedback, good and bad.
    Hello, D.J! Welcome to AW, and thank you for taking the time to post in this thread.

    Basically, I'm an indie writer just like you guys; released my first book in December, and have released five more since then (mostly novella-length stuff and a box set).
    Good luck with your publishing endeavours: that's a pretty hot schedule you've held to. But don't assume that the people here are all self-published like you: AW has a lot of members, many of whom are published by trade publishers.

    I have a couple of questions for you: what makes Hunt To Read different to all the other many display sites out there? And how are you going to make Hunt To Read a success, when just about all other display sites have failed to have any significant impact on the sales of the books they showcase?

  12. #12
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I am more of a 'lie in wait' book predator. Amazon and Goodreads are pretty good at serving appropriate books (often self-published books as I buy heavily in this area) to me via their various algorithms. So I am curious as to how this system will be less 'gamed' than theirs given that self-publishing heavy sites suffer more from these problems and new site don't have the base of disinterested customers to draw on to balance that.
    Last edited by veinglory; 07-08-2013 at 06:33 AM.
    Emily Veinglory

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for the great responses already! I'll address each poster's concerns in turn:

    Frimble3: Thanks for the feedback! Your point about visibility for indies is well-taken, but we aim to not only take that a step further, but also provide increased visibility for traditionally-published authors in a cost-effective manner. Though I am an indie writer, I realize our analytics could be a valuable source of information for both traditional publishers and their authors, so by all means, all are welcome.

    As far as changing the cover/blurb "after the fact" goes, a couple of points. First, I think the main problem isn't people who have bought the book previously taking umbrage with a new cover design; rather I think it's trying to capture those who may have been interested in the content of the book, but who were turned off by a poor cover design, blurb, etc. Additionally, publishers (indie or traditional) will be able to see data about what people think about their covers and blurbs, which should lead them to be able to determine whether to work with a given cover artist again, how to improve their covers and blurbs more generally, etc.

    Secondly, while we haven't broadly publicized it yet, A/B testing before release is absolutely one thing that the site could be used for; we were hoping folks would discover these things organically on their own, but I guess you beat them to it! We're planning on rolling out a way to make this and other cool uses for the site more clear in the coming weeks, as well as providing new tools for authors to discover all of the interesting things they can do on our site.

    Old Hack: Thanks for the warm welcome, and point well-taken! This year has been a whirlwind, but I'm definitely excited both about HTR and my fiction. Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to provide feedback; we love hearing from all kinds of different writers.

    I guess my response to your question is that Hunt to Read isn't only a book display site. Sure, that's part of it, and I'll address the display aspect of the site's functionality in a minute, but more than anything the site is a powerful marketing tool to gauge how books are received by the buying public. The analytics dashboard is really something else; I don't think you can fully appreciate all of the information on it until you take a look for yourself. Thankfully, our Chief Tech Officer and co-founder, Rick, is an analytics and security programming genius, so he adds cool new stuff to it all the time. We provide enough information so that even the trad-pubbed author can take a look and say "Yes--I want that cover designer to work on my books in the future," or "A lot of people in XYZ region of the country seem to like my books based on click-throughs--maybe I should focus my promotional efforts there (or elsewhere if you think the market is saturated)."

    Of course, we know the site won't be worth anything at all if we can't attract readers. We have a concrete plan in place to do so; unfortunately, I can't reveal too much about it at the moment (even though it kills me not to!). What I can tell you is that we are working on a variety of new systems, hunts, and just plain old fun ideas to get readers on the site and rating books. Rest assured, as we implement them, I'll keep making the rounds and letting folks know.

    Veinglory: I think I answered your questions tangentially in the above responses, but let me reiterate that we don't wish to cater exclusively to indie authors; though they can certainly find a lot of direct value in our analytics, I think traditionally-published authors and publishers of all sizes could learn a lot from our data as well.

    As you astutely mentioned, we're building that base of customers. Unlike some of the retailers directly, though, we're planning on implementing ways to engage readers, and build more of a community on the site. That's our job: to bring those readers to the site who are excited about reading and interested in the incentives we will provide. Even though we're not specifically marketing to readers yet, early returns have been encouraging enough so that we can simplify our membership to a single tier, and allow folks to list a book for free permanently. Consequently, there's no risk to the author, and if folks sign up now, they get six free months of access to our analytics, to try them out and see if the value is there while we continue to build functionality into the site.


    We really do appreciate the feedback thus far, especially the more skeptical questions and concerns; I realize authors are a suspicious lot by nature, but we're just trying to meet a need in the marketplace we saw. Any feedback that you folks have to offer is much appreciated; we've already incorporated many suggestions from authors and readers alike into recent builds. We hope you'll consider trying the site out, and seeing if our functionality provides value to you as an author.

    Happy Hunting!

    D.J. Gelner
    Chief Executive Officer
    Hunt to Read
    http://www.hunttoread.com

  14. #14
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Thanks for your response, D.J. I remain skeptical about the use of your site, but I do hope you prove me wrong.

    Meanwhile, I'd be really grateful if you'd rethink your use of the terms "indie" and "traditional" publishers. Yep, I know many people use these terms: but they're problematic for all sorts of reasons, and strictly speaking, "self-published writers" and "trade publishing" are far better terms to use.

    It's a small thing, but it's like fingernails on a blackboard for me, and for many other people who've worked in publishing for as long as I have. Humour me, please!

  15. #15
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Hmm. Site was okay last month, but is now 404 all over the place. (Blog page still up, FWIW). Recent FB activity, yet Tw ceased back in Dec. Revamping, maybe?

    ETA: Nope. Per LinkedIn, closed Sept. '14.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 11-28-2016 at 11:55 PM. Reason: updating w/o bumping
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