It doesn’t matter if you’re a fledgling indie writer or a New York Times Bestseller, you need to always be looking to grow and engage with your following. One of the best platforms to help you do that is Story Origin. Now, you may not have heard of it before, so in this guide, I explore 5 reasons why all writers should use Story Origin.
I’ve also included some other resources on book marketing, such as how to grow your mailing list. And if you’d like even more help and support with finding readers, why not join my community of writers?
Thoughts from the community…
An Interview With Story Origin Creator, Evan Gow
I had the pleasure to interview the creator of Story Origin, Evan Gow, on my podcast, The Fantasy Writers’ Toolshed.
Evan is a very talented guy who created Story Origin from scratch, using the feedback from its many users to help create the best and most useful product possible.
In our interview, we discuss our favourite features about Story Origin, how it can help writers like you, what services writers find most useful, and plans for the future.
What Is Story Origin?
Story Origin is a tool specifically designed to help writers with their marketing. The main focus is on connecting writers to readers, and the way it achieves this is by allowing authors to cross-promote and share each other’s books with their audiences.
So, for example, someone with a mailing list of 300 can work with an author with 12,000 email subscribers to promote their work.
There is a range of promotions that you can engage in too. So if you’re sharing your books with that list of 12,000, you can direct readers to your Amazon buying page, for example, or you could require them to join your own mailing list in order to download it.
You can also seek out book reviewers to help get more exposure for your book, and it even has secure systems to help you monitor and distribute your advanced reader copies to people.
One of the key benefits to Story Origin is its ability to integrate other platforms into it. For me, that’s Mailchimp. People can join my list via Story Origin and are seamlessly added to my Mailchimp list, thereby triggering my automated emails without me having to do a thing.
Story Origin therefore helps you make sales as well as grow your following without you having to do very much at all.
A Special Thank You
I’d like to say a special thank you to the creator and developer of Story Origin , Evan Gow.
He’s designed an incredibly useful platform that solves so many headaches that plagued writers. To me, he genuinely wants to help people, which is something I relate to a great deal.
And he created Story Origin in the right way. For a long time, Evan operated it in beta mode with him tweaking, improving and getting the platform just right. He’s done an awesome job and I think all writers owe him our gratitude.
My Personal Experience Of Using Story Origin
I came across Story Origin a little later than everyone else but I’ve made up for lost time since.
I primarily use Story Origin to grow my following and promote my books. I do this via group promos and newsletter swaps, both of which I’ll cover below in some detail.
The best thing about these mediums is that you don’t have to do much work to get results. Simply apply to take part and in exchange share the promo with your own following.
Plus, this is a great thing to offer your own following. In connecting with other writers you get to share free books and great deals with them, adding more value to their experience following you.
Promos can go on for weeks and all the while your following goes up as subscribers sign up to get a copy of your book.
Below, I’ll elaborate further on my experience of Story Origin, exploring five different ways that it could benefit you as a writer.
5 Reasons Why All Writers Should Use Story Origin
So now we know what Story Origin is as well as its purpose. Next, I want to examine five key features of the platform that make it invaluable to any writer looking to grow their readership and mailing list. In short, they are:
- Group Promos
- Newsletter Swaps
- Book Reviews
- Advanced Reader Copies
- Universal Book Links (UBL)
Let’s look at each one in a little more detail.
1. Group Promos
One of my favourite elements of Story Origin is its group promotions facility. If you’re unsure what a group promo is, it basically involves a group of authors banding together and sharing their books for free.
This promotion is then shared by all of the authors taking part. So in theory, the bigger the promo, the more exposure.
But things like the size of each author’s followings come into play, as well as their conversion rate. Then you come to the issue of participating authors basically not taking part, sharing zilch.
The issues with group promos aside, they do work, and each month I join a handful of them on Story Origin. Some of the promotions you can join are fantastic, the topics and themes creative and alluring. I share these different promotions with my followers each month, and they love them. Some people follow me for that reason alone.
The great thing about group promos from a writer’s perspective, is that you don’t have to do anything apart from apply to join the promo and share it with your followers as much as you can. All the while, other people are sharing it and you’re getting subscribers.
Each month I’d estimate I get between 30 and 60+ subscribers, depending on the promos I join. Sometimes it’s even more than this; it all depends on the book I choose to share.
So if you’re looking to grow your mailing list, give group promos a go. And the easiest way to do that is through Story Origin. With scores of promos being posted each day, covering every genre you can think of, you can apply to join them using its super user-friendly system and be gathering followers before you know it.
2. Newsletter Swaps
Another great way to build your mailing list using Story Origin’s interface is through newsletter swaps. What this entails is individual authors connecting with one another to give their followings free or discounted copies of each other’s books.
Newsletter swaps generally work best when you collaborate with authors similar to you or your book’s genre or subgenre. Essentially, it’s a way of finding readers who’ll appreciate you most.
Again, you do rely on the other author actually sharing your work—nobody can compel them after all, save their own conscience. But we have to assume that other authors out there want to work with and support others, and for me, that’s always been the experience. So don’t let fears put you off.
Because, when it comes to newsletter swaps, I’ve seen some incredible results. If you work with authors with significant mailing lists, say 10,000+, even if 1% click on your link, that’s 100 people. I’ve seen 100+ downloads on some of my free books shared through newsletter swaps.
And once again, the Story Origin interface makes connecting with other authors so simple. In an effort to combat the risk of authors not actually sharing books, Story Origin requests that everyone adds a link to view the newsletter. This allows the other authors to see how their book has been promoted, and in some instances, allows you to track the number of clicks and downloads.
3. Book Reviews
One of the hardest challenges for any writer is getting book reviews. First, you have to find book reviewers (my list of over 250 book reviewers and bloggers might help). Then you have to pitch your book in such a way that the book reviewer notices you over the swathe of other requests…
There are lots of hurdles to overcome when it comes to getting book reviews. And that’s why, I suppose, very expensive services came into being, services designed to help authors with their promotional efforts.
Now these services are, I’m sure, excellent and well worth the money. But some of us don’t have that much. And that’s where affordable and effective tools like Story Origin come in so handy.
On your Story Origin dashboard, you can upload your latest book and mark it available for review. When you login to Story Origin you’ll no doubt notice that you have two dashboards—author and reviewer. Well, if you click on ‘reviewer’, you’ll find a discovery platform that allows people to browse through books marked available for review. Bloggers and reviewers can check out your cover and blurb and then request a review copy.
The author retains complete control. You vet the request and can check out a bit of information on the book reviewer, like how many books they’ve reviewed to date, their average review rating and what platforms they share their reviews on—Goodreads, Amazon, Bookbub, to name a few.
As well as people discovering your book organically through Story Origin, you can share your link with others, allowing you to control and track who you distribute review copies too. You can also message reviewers and Story Origin can send out automatic prompts to remind them to post their review.
All in all, it’s an excellent service.
4. Reader Magnets
Something I use Story Origin a lot for is the distribution of my reader magnets. If you’ve not heard of a reader magnet before, it’s simply a book that you offer up for free in exchange for somebody joining your mailing list.
Now you can have something of a two-tiered approach to reader magnets. Tier one involves offering a book completely for free, with no strings attached. Within that book are adverts for readers to get hold of another book if they join your mailing list.
I’ve tried this approach and it doesn’t work too well. That said, I’ve only tried it with one book, so it may well have just been the content. All the same, it’s worth testing it and giving it a go.
The second approach to reader magnets, and one that Story Origin integrates, is the straightforward, join my mailing list in exchange for a book. Once you upload your book to Story Origin, you can submit your reader magnet in group promos and newsletter swaps, helping you gain new followers in the process.
Something which is also very useful is the distribution of reader magnets. For instance, when people join my mailing list, they get a free copy of Thoughts On Writing (if you want a copy too, just click here). Now, what’s the best way to deliver this book to readers?
In the past I’ve used download links which people simply click on and directly download the book. But I found I had to then create instructions for people to show them how to upload the book to their eReader.
I found a solution with Story Origin. It provides excellent and detailed instructions for pretty much every kind of eReader. It has a user-friendly interface and I’ve never experienced any issues with readers downloading a book from it. So now, I just direct people to Story Origin to download their books.
5. Universal Book Links (UBLs)
When it comes to promoting our books in this age of the internet and social media, our audience isn’t simply made up of the people that live around us or are from our own countries. Our audience is a global one.
So when it comes to sharing links to our books, sharing just a .co.uk link to Amazon isn’t going to provide a good user experience for people in the US or Canada.
Fear not. Universal book links are here to save us.
A UBL, as they’re otherwise known, simply redirects the person to the site relevant to their country. So, for example, if you share a book listing on Amazon with someone in India, the UBL will direct them to Amazon.in. Clever!
I use UBLs in a lot of my marketing for the simple reason that it’s incredibly convenient for people.
Now some sites allow you to create simple UBLs which just direct you to a page. Story Origin’s Universal Book Link service, however, allows you to create a landing page of sorts. And on this page you can add links to all different sites and retailers, allowing your reader to pick and choose the store that suits them best.
Summarising The Benefits of Story Origin
I hope you’ve found this guide to Story Origin useful. If you’re serious about growing your mailing list and ultimately your writing career, it’s well worth checking out. I rarely invest much in my writing, but the things I do I get great benefit from—Duotrope, Mailchimp, and of late, Story Origin.
As you’ve seen above, it can help you reach masses of new readers and allows you to network with authors from all over the world. It’s a wonderful marketing medium, and it’s all so simple with Story Origin’s interface.
Have you used Story Origin before? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
More Guides And Resources On Author Marketing
Thanks for checking out this look at 5 reasons why all writers should use Story Origin. Below, I’ve added some other guides you may find useful.
How To Grow Your Mailing List
How To Make Websites – The Writer’s Shop Window
For more writing tips and guides, head here.
Story Origin FAQs
Before I leave you, I wanted to provide answers to some questions I often see people asking when it comes to Story Origin. Hope you find it useful!
Story Origin involves partnering up with fellow writers to share your books with their audiences, and their books with your audience.
Story Origin offers a free basic plan and a standard plan with full access to features for $10 a month or $100 a year.
Story Origin allows you to cancel at any time. If you cancel at the beginning of the month you’ve paid for, you’ll get access for the days covered within that period.
If you’re looking to build your mailing list, then yes, Story Origin is worth it. There are other alternatives to growing a following and finding readers, but they can be expensive. Story Origin offers a very affordable option to many writers.