In “Company Snapshots,” we pose a series of questions to leading providers of digital products and services and let them speak for themselves about what their company does, how they benefit publishers, and what they believe the biggest trends in the industry are. In today’s entry, we have Written Word Media.
What does your company do?
Our mission is to empower authors and publishers to reach their audience and help readers find their next great book. We do this through our portfolio of brands: Freebooksy, Bargain Booksy, Red Feather Romance and NewInBooks. We have a combined audience of over 800,000 readers, of which over 600,000 receive email book recommendations based on their genre and device preferences. Written Word Media has served over 30,000 authors, many of whom are self-published, and works with major publishers as well as small presses and publicists on book promotions.
What’s unique about your company compared to your competitors?
Our products are effective, data-driven and results-oriented. Each of our websites caters to a different reader profile and demographic. This results in high engagement from our readers, as the book recommendations they receive are highly targeted to their individual preferences. The audience for each site is built using our specialized and proprietary data-driven marketing techniques.
We believe books are a force for good in this world. We respect the people who write and publish them, and we pride ourselves on 100-percent customer satisfaction. We ensure that our products are accessible to indie authors and major publishers alike by offering an array of marketing and advertising products that cater to all budgets.
What’s the single biggest benefit your customers get from your service?
A simple and effective way to drive sales, reviews and rankings at an affordable price. The ability to build a base of loyal readers who will purchase and read backlist and future titles.
What’s the single biggest problem for your customers right now?
Amazon’s dominance in the publishing industry poses challenges to both indie authors and publishers. Amazon has successfully taken the lion’s share when it comes to where readers purchase their books. The upside is that authors and readers can focus on one platform for the majority of their sales. However, the downside is that authors have little recourse when Amazon changes its policies, algorithms and payouts.
What’s the single biggest opportunity for your customers right now?
Writing into the series model. Authors who write multiple books in the same series are seeing huge success right now. This model has been proven effective, for both indie authors and for publishers that pick up authors who have written a series. We see the best success with authors who are writing 3-7 book series, and set the first book to free or $0.99 and subsequent books at higher prices points. Readers have embraced the model, and it’s a great opportunity for authors who are only writing stand-alone titles.
What industry trends do you think will have the greatest impact on your customers over the next 24 months?
There are two trends we’re watching closely. First, the rise of mobile reading—readers using their phones to read books in place of an e-reading device—will empower authors and publishers to have a more direct relationship with the reader. Second, the cost to advertise online will increase as digital platforms mature and there is more competition for the same audience. Authors and publishers have relied heavily on paid digital media, specifically Facebook ads, as an effective marketing channel. As costs increase on these platforms, authors and publishers will be forced to find alternative ways to market their books. Our hope is that services like ours will continue to provide a low-cost, highly effective channel to reach readers.
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