The problem with self-publishing a book online is that feedback of any sort is pretty much nonexistent.
An electronic book may be available to anyone with access to the Internet, but one UC Santa Barbara graduate and author soon realized she had no way of knowing if book buyers were actually reading her carefully crafted prose.
Sabrina Ricci decided to fill that gap through her master’s thesis project at New York University, where her digital publishing fascination melded with an idea to help self-publishers improve their product via reader feedback.
Armed with a master’s degree in publishing, the 26-year-old Southern California native and former Noozhawk intern is now back on the West Coast and in the process of fully launching Write or Read, a new website designed to provide authors with reader analytics for their e-books.
Already more than 200 e-books have been uploaded to the subscription-based website, which is in the open beta stage and currently free for browsing and uploading as Ricci gathers startup support.
Last week, Write or Read launched a RocketHub campaign to raise at least $10,000 in a 45-day period that ends the day before Thanksgiving.
“Self-publishing kind of exploded in the last few years, and that’s been really interesting to watch,” said Ricci, who has previously formatted e-books for Random House and Simon & Schuster. “The main cost of doing this kind of site is developing the site.”
Ricci said donations would help Write or Read hire more web developers so website features could be rolled out more quickly.
She described the website not as a service but a movement that provides authors and readers with a platform to create more successful books, articles, short stories, poems and more.
Once the website is launched and becomes fee-based, writers could be paid based on page views and readers would pay monthly subscriptions based on how much they absorb through a reader-unit system.
Ricci is also working on a feature that would let readers spot — and authors fix — typos or errors more easily.
“A lot of people are pretty supportive, especially authors,” she said. “They really like the idea of getting this kind of data back. Are people actually finishing my book, or are they only reading the first chapter? The goal is to help authors be more successful.”
Authors are adding more “e-pub file” books to Write or Read daily, and Ricci, who currently lives in the Bay Area, encouraged others to take advantage of the platform by uploading their own works.
The sooner the website can be fully launched, the sooner Ricci can also track the analytics of her own self-published works, The 13th Cycle (a Mayan thriller about the 2012 end of the world) and How to Create Your First E-Book.
Click here for more information or to help support Write or Read.