Hello and welcome to Readers in the Know,
My name is Simon and I'm the founder of this site. If you'd prefer to hear me explain what this is all about in under a minute, just click here. If on the other hand, you have a couple more minutes to spare and would like to know the full story, then please read on.
As an avid reader who has spent most of his working life in front of computers, I tend to buy most of my books online from Amazon. But buying lots of books, whether in Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover or Audio edition, can be an expensive business – even from Amazon.
Luckily, on any given day, there are usually hundreds of books being promoted either for free or with heavy discounts. The problem though, is that the best of these books are only promoted this way for a few days every two or three months, and since I don't have time to check pricing every single day of the year, I invariably used to miss the best deals on the books I really wanted.
So I subscribed to some of the book promotion websites available, some of which allowed me to broadly indicate the genres that interested me, and which then sent me emails every day listing a whole bunch of books that happened to be on promotion that day.
But this wasn't really any better than going to Amazon and checking the prices there, since either way I would have to check a list of books every day of the year if I wanted to avoid missing the best deals. In fact, in many cases these emails were worse since, living in the UK, being sent US dollar pricing and links that took me to Amazon.com instead of Amazon.co.uk is not terribly useful.
What I needed, I decided, was:
- to be “In the Know” about upcoming promotions.
- to be able to browse these books once a week or however often I chose.
- to be notified only when the books I chose came on promotion.
- to be able to set really detailed preferences and only be shown books that exactly matched those preferences.
- to only be shown books that are available in my country.
- to be shown the correct pricing and links for my local Amazon store wherever in the world I happened to be.
- to be shown more information about the books and their authors than is currently available on Amazon.
- to be able to follow authors I like so I'll know when they release new books or schedule author events.
And since there was not a single website in existence that could do this for me, I created Readers in the Know.
But that's not quite the full story...
In June 2012, I also published my own novel, Connected, a speculative science thriller, and so quickly began to discover exactly how and why so many authors and publishers make use of free and discount promotions. Basically, unless you're a huge name in publishing, it is simply one of the most cost effective ways to get your book noticed among the millions now available on Amazon.
But just reducing the price, or even giving your book away for free, is not enough. You also need to let people know about the promotion you're running. And this is where those websites I mentioned earlier come in. There are over 100 of these – mostly US based – and mostly only serving the US market (for a comprehensive interactive list of these sites, see here) - but as an author, if you want your promotion to get noticed, you have little choice but to go and register all the details for you, your book and the promo you're running with at least 20 or 30 of the biggest ones.
Unfortunately, since very few of these websites store your author or book details in any useful way, you have to go through this process every single time you run a promo. So, although this somewhat lengthy and repetitive process worked pretty well for me, it also got me thinking:
- What if there was a website where I only had to enter my book and author details once, after which they would be permanently stored in a database?
- What if readers could then find me and my books even when there was no promo running?
- What if readers could be “In the Know” about upcoming promos as well as current ones?
- What if they could add my book to some kind of personal watch list and then get an automatic notification on the first day of its next promo?
- What if I could then sign in and schedule new promos with just a few clicks?
- What if I could schedule giveaway as well as free and discount promos?
- What if I could also schedule author events and have readers who follow me receive updates about these?
- What if I could also use this site to keep a permanent yet private record of all the promos I run, what results I get, and even have these results automatically charted for me.
- What if I also had some insight into the age, gender and country of residence for all those who had shown an interest in my book?
As you can see, what started as a simple web database project, very soon became something much larger and more powerful, but I'm extremely confident you'll appreciate the result.
For a complete set of guided tours both from a reader and an author / publisher perspective, check out our video guides here.
If you prefer to read rather than watch the videos, you'll find a comprehensive set of FAQs here.