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Thread: [Search engine] UNIVERSEindie

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dudekpj's Avatar
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    [Search engine] UNIVERSEindie

    Hi all, as a full time web developer, and part time indie author, I wanted to create a search site devoted exclusively to the works of independent authors. I'm hoping that at some point this site will be a premier location for readers to search for and find indie books that meet their current interests. But to do this I need some help.

    Please consider being some of the first indie authors at www.universeindie.com. All you need to do to sign up is create a new user, add a description of yourself to help readers get to know you and your books better, and begin adding books. I'm currently screening all users to ensure no spammers get into the site, and also validating all books to ensure they are indeed Indie.

    Once at the site, to sign up, just go to the "sign in" link at the top right, and then, at the sign in page, scroll to near the bottom where you'll find a sign up button. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know and I'll try to help out!

    A cool feature I've added is the ability for you to add your free KDP select dates to any of your book. After adding your book, you just need to go to the book edit screen, and add a date, and duration. Note, all books need to have a valid ASIN from Amazon to be approved (I want readers to be able to buy/download them quickly). I will be adding Smashwords and ISBN options soon though.

    Fee free to offer any advice or suggestions if you decide to check out the site. I'm hoping that it will be helpful to both Indie Authors and readers alike! Oh, and if you do like the site, please spread the word to other Indie authors. Thanks!

    Peter
    Writer and blogger at Christian-Fantasy.com, webmaster at UNIVERSEindie

  2. #2
    Writing! Writing! Writing! Requiescat In Pace
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    I don't understand the purpose of the site. Is it supposed to be similar to Goodreads, where people can rate books? Is it simply a listing of books? Why will readers use it over going to Amazon, B&N, Goodreads or Shelfari?
    [URL="http://www.amazon.com/author/merrihiatt"][SIGPIC][/SIGPIC][/URL]
    I'm a clickable link to Amazon

    [URL="http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/merrihiatt"]Smashwords[/URL] [URL="http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/merri-hiatt?store=allproducts&keyword=merri+hiatt"]B&N[/URL] [URL="https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/merri-hiatt/id458595119?mt=11"]iTunes[/URL] [URL="http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Merri+Hiatt"]AllRomance[/URL] [URL="http://merrihiatt.com/"]Website[/URL]

  3. #3
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Dude.

    If you can't read and conform to the stickies in the Self Publishing room, I'm going to assume that this doesn't fit there.

    So I'm going to move this to our BR&BC room, where I'm sure you'll get a lot of help refining your concept.

  4. #4
    Just the facts, please
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    What is your definition of "Independent Authors"? Do you mean people published through independent, non-Big Five companies, or self-published authors?

    I'm not sure I understand why I'd go here instead of Amazon, cutting out the middleman. Not do I understand how you're going to make this a sustainable business venture - ad sales? Selling email lists? Are you an Amazon affiliate? (If so, that needs to be disclosed.) If you're vetting all the books, it's going to take a considerable amount of time.

    I would suggest one improvement from a usability standpoint: Add tagging capabilities. If you get a few thousand books on there, searching for "fantasy" will become useless. With author-created tags, there can easily be sub-categories like urban fantasy, sword and sorcery, etc. Just limiting it to a massive keyword search based on summaries will drag the site down.

  5. #5
    in touch MoonStone's Avatar
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    I think it's an interesting concept. I have a hard time finding independent and self published authors on amazon through their searches. If there's a site that points to all of them for me, I would use their search engine. It leads you to the source: amazon to buy it. I don't find a problem with this idea. I think ideas should be encouraged, so few people bother with them anymore.
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  6. #6
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    If find it pretty easy to locate self-published books on Amazon. When you buy a bunch of them, Amazon starts recommending them to you.
    Emily Veinglory

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    If find it pretty easy to locate self-published books on Amazon. When you buy a bunch of them, Amazon starts recommending them to you.
    I don't buy many books from Amazon, but if I searched for a genre or sub-genre, wouldn't self-published books be listed? I admit my ignorance of their searches since I generally only buy books I've held in my hand. I don't use their search function other than for finding a particular title or author.

    Are there many people who buy a book primarily because it's self-published? I'm not being feisty here; I'm seriously curious. To me, it'd be a bit like buying a book because its sole criteria was that it was published by X publisher and not because of the content.
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  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dudekpj's Avatar
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    Answers

    I define independent authors as POD or self-published authors who are not published via large traditional publishers, which are organizations that can afford to invest their own money into their authors.

    This site is meant to be an extremely simple search engine that will allow users, particularly those on mobile devices, to find and search for independent authors and purchase their books on Amazon.

    I don't know why I would need to disclose that I'm an Amazon affiliate, but yes, the Amazon links do contain my affiliate ID. My ultimate intent of the site if firstly to help the independent author base as a whole, and secondly, to provide me with a few extra dollars via affiliate links and potential advertising some time in the future.

    The book description is indexed. So technically, each word in the description is a tag. That description, along with the book title, genre and author name have the highest precedence in the search. The description is secondary. As long as the author provides a valid description of the book, his/her book will show up in search queries applicable to the user's request. There are other special devices in the search engine to help the search be more accurate, but I don't think most people would care to hear a bunch of technical jargon on this forum.

    What makes UNIVERSEindie different than Goodreads, or Amazon itself, is that I will be screening all indie authors and books to make sure they are indeed indie authors, and that the books they post belong to them. If this workload becomes to much in the future, I'll add additional admins. I also only accept books that have a valid ASIN on Amazon not just so I can have affiliate links, but becomes it is the quickest way to get your book into the hands of interested authors. I will be adding the ability to add ISBNs so that the user can get instant access to paper books as well, but an ASIN will still be required. I'll also be adding Smashwords support in the near future to give the reader further buying/downloading options.

    So is this idea completely unique? Not necessarily. But I couldn't find anything on the web that is JUST an Indie Author book search tool. It's simplicity will hopefully define it, and that's what I'm hoping for.

    Thanks for the questions! I will attempt to add some of these answers at the UNIVERSEindie about page in the near future. And I hope to see some Indie Authors from absolute write take the plunge into UNIVERSEindie.

    Peter
    Writer and blogger at Christian-Fantasy.com, webmaster at UNIVERSEindie

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dudekpj's Avatar
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    I also forgot to mention that as the site gains more independent authors, that it will become a premier location for readers to find free Amazon ebooks via KDP select, as I offer all users the ability to add their free kindle dates, and duration, on their own. All other freebie sites, you must ask an admin to put you on the list. UNIVERSindie gives that power to its authors. Though, I will have a program that will daily run to ensure books added to the freebie list are "indeed" freebies, and it will remove them from the list if they are not to keep that page accurate.
    Writer and blogger at Christian-Fantasy.com, webmaster at UNIVERSEindie

  10. #10
    I haunt QLH AdrianLynn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudekpj View Post
    I don't know why I would need to disclose that I'm an Amazon affiliate, but yes, the Amazon links do contain my affiliate ID. My ultimate intent of the site if firstly to help the independent author base as a whole, and secondly, to provide me with a few extra dollars via affiliate links and potential advertising some time in the future.
    You obviously didn't read the rules. From the Associates Program Operating Agreement: "You must, however, clearly state the following on your site: “[Insert your name] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to [insert the applicable site name (amazon.com, amazonsupply.com, or myhabit.com)].""

    You better make sure you're legally squared away before you start making money.

    Good look on your endeavor.
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  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dudekpj's Avatar
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    I stand corrected, thank you for the info, I'll add the disclosure to the site about page tonight.
    Writer and blogger at Christian-Fantasy.com, webmaster at UNIVERSEindie

  12. #12
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudekpj View Post
    I define independent authors as POD or self-published authors who are not published via large traditional publishers, which are organizations that can afford to invest their own money into their authors.
    You might define it that way, but 'independent publisher' has meant something completely different within the publishing industry for a very long time. It means a publisher that is not part of one of the Big Five. For example, the publisher of my YA fantasy series, Llewellyn Worldwide, is an indendent publisher; therefore, by the long-standing use of terminology within publishing, I am an 'independent author', since I'm published by an independent publisher.

    If you want to work within an industry, it's good practice to become familiar with the terminology used within that industry.
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  13. #13
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudekpj View Post
    I define independent authors as POD or self-published authors who are not published via large traditional publishers, which are organizations that can afford to invest their own money into their authors.
    I don't understand the decision to call self-published writers "independent authors". Almost all writers work for themselves, no matter how they're published, so almost all writers are independent; if you're talking about self-published writers, why not make it clear and say so? And in trade publishing "independent" has for decades been used to refer to a specific category of publishers; it's all too confusing.

    Also, what do you mean by a "POD ... author"? I know very few writers who write for a specific format or business model, and doing so doesn't make them any more or less independent than the rest of us.

    This site is meant to be an extremely simple search engine that will allow users, particularly those on mobile devices, to find and search for independent authors and purchase their books on Amazon.
    How is this better than readers using Amazon directly?

    I don't know why I would need to disclose that I'm an Amazon affiliate, but yes, the Amazon links do contain my affiliate ID.
    Because it's a basic requirement of the affiliate scheme.

    My ultimate intent of the site if firstly to help the independent author base as a whole, and secondly, to provide me with a few extra dollars via affiliate links and potential advertising some time in the future.
    If you're focusing on helping writers, then you're going to struggle. You need to focus on helping your customers, which are (if I've understood this correctly) the people who'll be generating revenue for you: in other words, readers. Unless, of course, your site is going to be funded by the authors whose work you feature, in which case you're waving a whole bunch of red flags before me.

    The book description is indexed. So technically, each word in the description is a tag. That description, along with the book title, genre and author name have the highest precedence in the search. The description is secondary. As long as the author provides a valid description of the book, his/her book will show up in search queries applicable to the user's request. There are other special devices in the search engine to help the search be more accurate, but I don't think most people would care to hear a bunch of technical jargon on this forum.
    Tags would still probably be helpful.

    What makes UNIVERSEindie different than Goodreads, or Amazon itself, is that I will be screening all indie authors and books to make sure they are indeed indie authors, and that the books they post belong to them. If this workload becomes to much in the future, I'll add additional admins.
    Readers aren't going to care if the books you feature are written by self published writers or not. They're going to care about how good the books are that you're showcasing. And as I said before, if readers are going to fund your site, you need to give them what they want.

    And yes, if your site becomes successful you're going to need a whole heap of admins.

    I also only accept books that have a valid ASIN on Amazon not just so I can have affiliate links, but becomes it is the quickest way to get your book into the hands of interested authors.
    My bold. Did you mean "interested readers"?

    I will be adding the ability to add ISBNs so that the user can get instant access to paper books as well, but an ASIN will still be required. I'll also be adding Smashwords support in the near future to give the reader further buying/downloading options.
    If you're only going to index books with ASINs, how are you going to index books which don't have them?

    So is this idea completely unique? Not necessarily. But I couldn't find anything on the web that is JUST an Indie Author book search tool. It's simplicity will hopefully define it, and that's what I'm hoping for.
    Perhaps one of the reasons there isn't another site which lists only self-published works is because the people who browse for books--the readers--tend to be mostly interested in finding books they want to read, and don't care how those books are published.

    I'm not entirely sure there isn't already such a site, by the way: and I'm pretty sure that there has been another, but it closed because it didn't attract enough attention. I can't remember its name, though. I'll let you know if I do remember.

    Thanks for the questions! I will attempt to add some of these answers at the UNIVERSEindie about page in the near future. And I hope to see some Indie Authors from absolute write take the plunge into UNIVERSEindie.
    What are you offering writers apart from the possibility of more sales? Do you charge them for inclusion on your site? If so, how much and what for?

    I am struggling to see where the benefits lie for writers or readers, and I'm concerned that you've launched yourself into this scheme without knowing the basics: for example, your repeated misuse of "indie", and your ignorance of the Amazon Affiliates T&Cs. However, I wish you the best of luck with your endeavours, and hope that your site is a big success.

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dudekpj's Avatar
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    Old Hack, you raise some good questions, and though I don't have a lot of time at the moment, I'd like to try to answer a couple of the ones that stood out most to me.

    In regards to the site being a benefit to readers, again, it's simplicity. I'm trying to be "less" than amazon, basically, undersell the competition. I could never be an Amazon, so I want the site to do one thing well, find authors of an independent nature. Here is the book that motivated my business plan for the site: http://www.amazon.com/Rework-Jason-Fried/dp/0307463745

    Now in regards to the definition of independent author, you're correct, I feel I may have been too vague, and clearly need to clarify what I mean by indie author. Part of my use of this term is just for branding purposes for this site. If by a miracle, or luck, it takes off, readers will think of my site when they think of indie authors. An agent recently contacted me and suggested this definition, I'm currently using it on the about page:

    Independent Author: Someone who is self published or who is published by one of the small independent presses that do not have the resources that the larger presses have. These can include smaller POD publishers.

    I'm open to refining that definition further, suggestions are welcome.

    At this moment, there is absolutely no fee for authors, and the only potential source of revenue are affiliate links (which I'm now disclosing on the about page). I'm still considering future revenue opportunities if the site takes off, but again, part of making this site is just for fun. I thought it could be a useful tool to link readers to "indie authors", and still think it has potential "IF" if get enough authors to make it useful to readers.

    As for readers, I wrote the site to look good on mobile devices, so I'm hoping that readers, who are on a car trip, or away from a computer, will get into the habit of browsing the site quickly on their phone, and downloading books to read to fill in time. Have you tried it on a phone? I'm curious how well it works for those who haven't been immersed in it for months, as I've been. Does it let you quickly find out about a book, and that book's author, and download that ebook if you wanted?

    Again, thanks for the detailed feedback! Sorry if I've not addressed all your questions. I'll come back when I get a chance and see if I can clarify more.
    Writer and blogger at Christian-Fantasy.com, webmaster at UNIVERSEindie

  15. #15
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudekpj View Post
    I define independent authors as POD or self-published authors who are not published via large traditional publishers, which are organizations that can afford to invest their own money into their authors.
    That does not really answer the question. Do you exclude only the Big 5, or all trade publishers. Where do you draw the Line? Kensington? Midnight Ink? Samhain? Cobblestone Press? Banot Press?

    As for how many people specifically seek out self-published authors. Very few. As a self-published authors I see more benefit from blending in than standing out. I, personally, seek out self-published book because 1) I am a masochist and 2) I run a review site specializing in self-published books.
    Emily Veinglory

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dudekpj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    As for how many people specifically seek out self-published authors. Very few.
    Do you have the resource where you got this information?
    Writer and blogger at Christian-Fantasy.com, webmaster at UNIVERSEindie

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dudekpj's Avatar
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    I also wanted to note, if nothing else, UNIVERSEindie offers authors an opportunity to add their blog/homepage to their author profile, and those links will help boost their site on search engines. Again, risk to authors - none. And again, IF UNIVERSEindie were to do well, their links would benefit from being on a successful site.
    Writer and blogger at Christian-Fantasy.com, webmaster at UNIVERSEindie

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dudekpj's Avatar
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    One more benefit to authors I forgot to mention, I plan on doing some Facebook, and other advertising to bring readers to the site once I get enough books to make the site valid. So authors will benefit from FREE exposure to their books and profiles paid for by UNIVERSEindie. I also plan to tweet and FB regularly about new author signups and books. The twitter handle is UNIVERSEindie, and the facebook page is www.facebook.com/UNIVERSEindie.
    Writer and blogger at Christian-Fantasy.com, webmaster at UNIVERSEindie

  19. #19
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudekpj View Post
    In regards to the site being a benefit to readers, again, it's simplicity. I'm trying to be "less" than amazon, basically, undersell the competition.
    When I look online for good new books to read I don't want less than Amazon: I want to know that I'll be searching through all possible books, not just through a small subsection.

    Now in regards to the definition of independent author, you're correct, I feel I may have been too vague, and clearly need to clarify what I mean by indie author. Part of my use of this term is just for branding purposes for this site. If by a miracle, or luck, it takes off, readers will think of my site when they think of indie authors. An agent recently contacted me and suggested this definition, I'm currently using it on the about page:

    Independent Author: Someone who is self published or who is published by one of the small independent presses that do not have the resources that the larger presses have. These can include smaller POD publishers.
    What about writers who are published only in e-format? You don't include them but if their publishers were tiny, surely they should be included? How do you feel about the more successful independent presses such as Canongate? They're not part of a big conglomerate but they're big and successful: would you include their authors? Where do you draw the line?

    Also, I'm interested in the agent who suggested the definition. In my experience agents are knowledgeable and thorough, and that definition does seem to have a few holes in it.

    I'm open to refining that definition further, suggestions are welcome.
    It's not the definition that's the problem here, it's the term. I don't like the term "indie author". I think it's confusing, and tautologous, and unhelpful. It's beginning to attract quite a few negative connotations, too, which isn't going to help you or your business.

    At this moment, there is absolutely no fee for authors, and the only potential source of revenue are affiliate links (which I'm now disclosing on the about page). I'm still considering future revenue opportunities if the site takes off, but again, part of making this site is just for fun.
    That implies that you're planning on introducing fees later. Is this the case?

    I thought it could be a useful tool to link readers to "indie authors", and still think it has potential "IF" if get enough authors to make it useful to readers.
    Browsing readers aren't generally interested in an author's publishing status: they're mostly interested in finding good books to read. And in my experience, most self published books are dire. If you list self published books without any filtering, your site is going to be clogged with dreadful books and readers are not going to find that helpful. They might give your site a go, but after they've paid out good money on a few stinkers they'll take their money elsewhere.

    As for readers, I wrote the site to look good on mobile devices, so I'm hoping that readers, who are on a car trip, or away from a computer, will get into the habit of browsing the site quickly on their phone, and downloading books to read to fill in time. Have you tried it on a phone? I'm curious how well it works for those who haven't been immersed in it for months, as I've been. Does it let you quickly find out about a book, and that book's author, and download that ebook if you wanted?
    I don't use my phone in that way, so I can't help you there.

    Quote Originally Posted by dudekpj View Post
    Originally Posted by veinglory As for how many people specifically seek out self-published authors. Very few.
    Do you have the resource where you got this information?
    I don't have a source for that statement but I can back it up. Only a tiny minority of readers search specifically for self-published titles: and as you're including books from independent presses, you're not going to attract even that tiny minority.

    Quote Originally Posted by dudekpj View Post
    I also wanted to note, if nothing else, UNIVERSEindie offers authors an opportunity to add their blog/homepage to their author profile, and those links will help boost their site on search engines. Again, risk to authors - none. And again, IF UNIVERSEindie were to do well, their links would benefit from being on a successful site.
    If your site is successful enough for reciprocal linking to be worth anything, then all authors who participated would benefit from such linking, which would kind of cancel out any benefit overall, I suspect.

    Quote Originally Posted by dudekpj View Post
    One more benefit to authors I forgot to mention, I plan on doing some Facebook, and other advertising to bring readers to the site once I get enough books to make the site valid. So authors will benefit from FREE exposure to their books and profiles paid for by UNIVERSEindie. I also plan to tweet and FB regularly about new author signups and books. The twitter handle is UNIVERSEindie, and the facebook page is www.facebook.com/UNIVERSEindie.
    This won't be a big deal until you're hugely successful: it's not really an issue right now.

    Also, your name: UNIVERSEindie. It reminds me very much of iUniverse, which is a notorious vanity publisher. Which is another strike against your name, I'm afraid. Are you particularly fond of it?

  20. #20
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudekpj View Post
    UNIVERSEindie offers authors an opportunity to add their blog/homepage to their author profile, and those links will help boost their site on search engines.
    Um, only if/when UNIVERSEindie becomes highly ranked itself. Contrarily, if Google's algorithm thinks that UNIVERSEindie is a link farm, it could hurt the ranking of the sites it links to.

    It used to be that just having links -- any links -- pointed to your site boosted it's Google ranking. But that was ripe for abuse, (and highly abused). Google changed their algorithm to penalize old link-farming methodologies.

    I know it's not your intent to set up a link farm. But unless you get good traffic, it's possible that Google will think it is. (No one knows exactly how Google decides; they keep it secret to make it harder for spammers to game the system).

    Also, all of my research indicates that Facebook advertising accomplishes pretty much nothing, because people aren't open to ads when they are socializing on Facebook. YMMV, of course, but from what I've read, most advertisers have had exceedingly poor results.

    So, forgive me if I'm skeptical about your ability to boost the google relevance of the authors that sign on with you, sorry. Especially since you don't seem to be clear on how the Google system works.

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  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dudekpj's Avatar
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    Yes, there are indeed a lot of "IF"s, and I've done my best to at least present my vision. I'm not an idealist, having had many previous ideas fail. But my hope is that this site can get off the ground, and if so, authors will benefit. If not, the "risk" of having a link at UNIVERSEindie is probably minimal to new authors. And I've had luck with Facebook advertising when it comes to driving traffic to a site, and Google does rank high traffic sites higher. I've also done SEO optimizations that should help the site gain validity with Google and other search engines. I've been a web developer for 8 years and have some understanding of how search engines work, although Google has been implementing some updates to their algorithm over the past few years.

    Anyway, my plea is, if you are an Indie author (how I've attempted to define it), please consider giving UNIVERSEindie a chance, and try signing up. You could be pleasantly surprised. I already have 10 users sign up in 2 days, and over 20 books now, so it's garnering some interest.
    Writer and blogger at Christian-Fantasy.com, webmaster at UNIVERSEindie

  22. #22
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudekpj View Post
    Do you have the resource where you got this information?
    It is my opinion based on being a self-published book reviewer and commentator for eight years. I also noticed that if you look at 'also buy' algorithms on Amazon, that people buying indie are a bit of a low volume closed loop, except for the break out authors that sell to the general readership for their genre. So it is my impression. But it resonates with what I hear from authors and readers and my experience buying over 100 self-pub books. "Normal" people that I speak to barely know self-pub exists, and if they do are more likely to have a negative impression than a positive one (I do make a habit of asking random people about this).

    Do you have an answer to my question about where the cut off is for indie? Based on your indention I would guess it is somewhere between Midnight Ink (small but an imprint) and Samhain (independent and POD but gets distribution into Barnes and Noble) or between Samhain and Cobblestone (except Cobblestone is ebook only?)
    Last edited by veinglory; 07-16-2013 at 10:28 PM.
    Emily Veinglory

  23. #23
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudekpj View Post
    I also wanted to note, if nothing else, UNIVERSEindie offers authors an opportunity to add their blog/homepage to their author profile, and those links will help boost their site on search engines. Again, risk to authors - none. And again, IF UNIVERSEindie were to do well, their links would benefit from being on a successful site.
    IMHO a self-published specific YADS has an even tougher row to hoe than a general YADS. It might be helpful to look at the many other threads here that posited a similar idea. You need to find a way to do more of better than that (given that I can't think of one that became a notable success).
    Last edited by veinglory; 07-16-2013 at 10:29 PM.
    Emily Veinglory

  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin dudekpj's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thoughts veinglory. Your personal research definitely adds validity to your statement, and your 8 years of self-pub commentary, and I respect that, but I'm still hoping to buck against the trend. Again, I have a tall hill to climb, but I'm going to give it a shot. I think I have a super simple setup that will intrigue readers and help introduce them to more indie authors, although I think the ultimate key will be to get enough authors, who post their free Kindle days, to make the site a hotbed for readers looking for freebies. Then, I hope they will look around and purchase non-free books as well.

    In regards to the the cutoff, it's going to be more subjective on my part, and I think that 99% of authors will fit perfectly at UNIVERSEindie, including those who are doing well "on their own". Yes, the truly big pubs, and the uber mainstream authors whom everyone knows will not be included. What would be the point? And from browsing other sites describing Indie Authors, I'm having trouble finding a concise definition.
    Writer and blogger at Christian-Fantasy.com, webmaster at UNIVERSEindie

  25. #25
    Left-Handed Writing Fairy folclor's Avatar
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    I'm gonna step in here... I haven't really made a post in this section but have been reading a lot...

    I understand what you mean when you say "indie author." It's not really the most correct term and it's very vague and doesn't fit in with prior definitions but not all readers know (or care) about that.

    In fact... though there's some backlash to the whole "indie" term, a lot of people will support the model just because of that word. A lot of younger readers will support it because, to them, "indie" means someone who poured time, effort, and love into their work and had it rejected by bigger companies (whether or not that's true). Therefore, if this site is geared toward young adults or people with that mindset it could be hugely successful.

    All that being said, though, for those of us to whom "indie" isn't the automatic go word... the site needs to offer something special. I do agree with those above by saying if I want to find a book I'll just go to Amazon. To me "indie" in publishing doesn't have the same appeal to me that "indie" does in other media. So that might be something to keep in mind.

    As far as the name... when I read "UNIVERSEindie" the first thing I see or think is "University." That may be my own little issue, but it doesn't take much for someone else to see that and make an erroneous connection.

    The site itself isn't bad, but there's nothing that pops out and makes me want to stay on the page. Again, your logo reminds me too much of a university bookstore logo (to be fair, I just came out of uni), but that may just be a personal thing of mine. Looking at it on my phone I feel much the same... there's nothing holding me there.

    I don't know if you're still kind of trying to design the site, but it might be a good idea to have an area in which you feature the freebies for the day or something... have a 'feature' section that cycles through (at random) the books you have on your site. Ask the authors for their book covers and put those up. Visuals do absolute wonders.

    What I'm trying to say is that you have a decent concept that could take off... but you may want to refine things just a little bit. I think, and this is just an idea, what you need for your site to be successful is to keep the readers looking at the page and, right now, there's nothing doing that. A list of books in blue and gray letters will not keep the average reader looking at a webpage when they CAN go to Amazon and look at book covers and SEE which ones interest them.

    I do hope you're successful, though.

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