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 book marketing platforms to help you do that is StoryOrigin.
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?
Choose A Chapter
This is a detailed guide to using the StoryOrigin app. To help you navigate your way through it, you can choose the chapter you’re most interested in below.
- An Interview With StoryOrigin Creator, Evan Gow
- What Is StoryOrigin?
- My Personal Experience Using The App
- 5 Reasons Why All Writers Should Use StoryOrigin
- Story Origin – The Facts And Figures
- Summarising The Benefits Of StoryOrigin
- More Guides And Resources On Book Marketing
- Story Origin FAQs
I had the pleasure to interview the creator of StoryOrigin, Evan Gow, on my podcast, The Fantasy Writers’ Toolshed.
Evan is a very talented guy who created StoryOrigin 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 StoryOrigin, how it can help writers like you, what services writers find most useful, and plans for the future.
StoryOrigin 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 the platform is its ability to integrate other platforms into it. For me, that’s Mailchimp. People can join my list via StoryOrigin and are seamlessly added to my Mailchimp list, thereby triggering my automated emails without me having to do a thing.
The platform, therefore, helps you make sales as well as grow your following without you having to do very much at all.
I came across StoryOrigin a little later than everyone else but I’ve made up for lost time since.
I primarily use the platform 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 StoryOrigin, exploring five different ways that it could benefit you as a writer.
So now we know what StoryOrigin 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 StoryOrigin 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 StoryOrigin. 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 applying 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 StoryOrigin. 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 StoryOrigin’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 StoryOrigin interface makes connecting with other authors so simple. In an effort to combat the risk of authors not actually sharing books, the app 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 StoryOrigin come in so handy.
On your dashboard, you can upload your latest book and mark it available for review. When you login to 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 StoryOrigin, 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 SO 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 StoryOrigin 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 StoryOrigin integrates, is the straightforward join my mailing list in exchange for a book. Once you upload your book, 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 StoryOrigin. 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 StoryOrigin 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. StoryOrigin’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.
It’s all well and good having these features, but does Story Origin produce results for your book marketing? The short answer is—yes, overwhelmingly so.
Let me share with you the results of some of my experiments.
- Short Story Experiment – usually when I complete a short story I try to get it published in magazines or journals. The impact on your following can be quite limited, however. So I decided to turn a short story into a book and listed it on StoryOrigin as a reader magnet, entering it in group promos and newsletter swaps. At the time of writing, it’s drawing in an average of 30 new email subscribers a month
- Novel Experiment – To reach new readers, I’ve also listed and shared in group promotions and newsletters my latest novel. This consistently gets 50+ monthly downloads, with each download leading to an email subscription.
The short story experiment is by far my most successful. It cost me nothing to create the cover (I used a free app), nor a penny spent to format it. So far I’ve gotten over 500 email subscribers off one short story alone, which is far more than I’ve gotten from any published piece.
I hope you’ve found this guide to StoryOrigin 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, SO.
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 StoryOrigin’s interface.
Thanks for checking out this look at 5 reasons why all writers should use StoryOrigin. 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
- Top Tools For Writers
- Writing tips
- Hated writing rules
- How to write romance scenes
- How to format a manuscript
- Mental health in fantasy books
- 8 ways to kickstart your writing career
- What is characterization?
- How to write strong female characters
- How to edit
- How to plot a story
- What is passive voice?
- 4 ways to begin writing a novel
- How to plan a story
- How to plan a novel
See my guide to the StoryOrigin app, on the SO website.
Before I leave you, I wanted to provide answers to some questions I often see people asking when it comes to StoryOrigin. Hope you find it useful!
StoryOrigin involves partnering up with fellow writers to share your books with their audiences, and their books with your audience.
StoryOrigin offers a free basic plan and a standard plan with full access to features for $10 a month or $100 a year.
StoryOrigin 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, StoryOrigin is worth it. There are other alternatives to growing a following and finding readers, but they can be expensive. SO offers a very affordable option to many writers.