One of the lesser known ways to improve your book sales is to simply have a firm grasp of how you’re doing. Tracking sales can help you figure out what’s working, and what isn’t, in all aspects of your author business. In this episode of Self Publishing Insiders, we’re chatting with the folks from ScribeCount about all their cool features, and how you can use them to propel your book business to the next level.
One of the biggest challenges facing indie authors is tracking sales from numerous retail and distribution platforms.
ScribeCount, launched earlier in 2021, solves that problem, quickly and efficiently, by offering a single dashboard to review all your sales data.
Draft2Digital’s Mark Leslie Lefebvre interviews Randall Wood and Philippa Werner about the recent new features of ScribeCount and also answer questions from the live audience.
- Customized Dashboards to fit the Wide or KU author.
- Dynamic reporting from all the major platforms.
- A world-wide sales map showing what countries your books are selling in.
- A newsfeed that is updated regularly keeping you informed of what’s happening in the world of indie publishing.
- Downloadable spreadsheets in Excel format so you can easily customize your income and expenditures.
- Current and Historical Data updated every 15 minutes.
Authors can try it for free for 14 days and also, any author earning less than $1000/month in royalties doesn’t have to pay a single penny for using this handy tool.
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Mark Lefebvre 00:02
Hello, and welcome to Self-Publishing Insiders with Draft2Digital. My name is Mark Leslie Lefevbre. And I am so thrilled to have in the virtual studio with me today Randall and Philippa from ScribeCount Welcome, guys.
Philippa Werner 00:15
Mark Lefebvre 00:17
It is so exciting to have you guys here, because we’re going to have an announcement later on about how, if people have not yet signed up for the awesome tool that is ScribeCount, which I have used as an author, and I’m just thrilled with, how you can get a discount for signing up on the annual subscription. But first what I want to do is play a short demo of what ScribeCount is, and Philippa’s beautiful recording in her wonderful voice is going to come up, and we’re just going to see just some of the features you guys just added. Was it last week, just in October 2021?
Randall Wood 00:51
Yeah, less than a week ago. Yeah.
Mark Lefebvre 00:54
Awesome. So let’s play that clip right now, shall we?
Philippa Werner 00:57
And your wide dashboard is just where we left it. All good. All set up, has all of the features you’ve come to know and love. Ne panique pas. And you can see which books are performing well that day. Everything over time. Our bookshelf, meanwhile, has gotten a huge cosmetic update. Much more intuitive. Those dropdowns are gone. You can see your book details, manage your series. Your tags, you can merge books, you can ghost books, also, check out the merge here, and then ghost books, if you don’t want to be seeing them on your dashboard. You can bulk edit. You can also check that pesky KDP Select Check button, which they sometimes recheck for you. Yeah, put you back in KU? You can make sure that you’ve come out of it. You can check your price tracker, again pesky. You can tell when they’re going to price match or set your permafree to paid again. But you can see that up here. You can see what has changed, what hasn’t changed. And you can filter at the top just to show the changed ones, just for a quick at a glance. We’ve also got reviews. We will have more filtering options soon, hang tight. But right now you can see them all displayed here. And you can check your sales ranks, not just the rank of each book, but also your rank versus sales, you can do it by book or by series. I don’t have any series set up on this dummy account, so you won’t see anything there. But. Our payments tab, just the same as it used to be. You can also still import your income and expenses, bulk input, you can choose different format types. And we now have an annual subscription option. So you can manage that here. If you’re a PayPal subscriber, you’ll need to unsubscribe and then subscribe annually, that should be a saving for almost everyone. You will also see your Amazon Author Central link here. That’s how we’re getting a whole bunch of our fancy new data. Hope you’re enjoying all of this. As always, thank you for trying ScribeCount.
Mark Lefebvre 03:15
I like having a commercial break, I can take a sip of my water, stuff like that, clear my throat. But no, I wanted to share that, because it’s some of the new features that you’ve added to ScribeCount. But before we talk about the exciting new features that we kind of previewed there. And I think I recognize one of those blurry books was mine in the background, that you blurred out to protect the innocent in the dummy data that you pulled in. And that’s because I’ve been lucky enough to be a beta user of this awesome system. But before we get into this, so who are you guys? And why ScribeCount?
Randall Wood 03:50
Who are we? Who am I? I got started writing and publishing with KDP back in the early days, I think my first book came out in 2009. This was just something I did as a hobby. I was working as a flight medic at the time and between calls, you had to have something to do. So I would just pen stories and I made the mistake of leaving a copy behind at the station one day and when I came back, everybody was reading it. And they refused to give it back until they were done. And then I was told, you need to submit this. And yeah, I tried the whole query letter thing. And during the many multiple rejections I got, I started reading Joe Conrad’s blog. I think a lot of people got started there. And just kept educating myself on this. And then out of the blue one day I got an offer from Tor. And I was making the decision whether to take that offer or try the self-publishing route, and being the rebel that I am, I went the self-publishing route. And I think it was two years later I got a BookBub, and from that I started making enough where I could quit, and just write full time. Quit the day job, quit the day job, and just sit back. And luckily, I had a wonderful wife that said, go ahead, do it. And so I jumped in with both feet. And it worked out great. And then shortly after that, I moved to wide when opportunities came up, and realized I was spending a lot of time tracking my sales on all these different platforms. And that’s where the idea for ScribeCount kind of got born. And then life intervened in a few things, I got busy, and other reporting services cropped up and they said they were going to cover wide. And I waited and waited, and they never did. And one day, I just got tired of waiting. And I reached out through my network and said, I need a development guy who wants to work on a startup. This is what we’re doing. And a friend of a friend jumped on board and said, yeah, that sounds good. Let’s build this thing. And here we are today. So we launched back in January. And it’s what, only 9, 10 months later almost to the day. We launched January 21.
Mark Lefebvre 06:11
Well, happy, happy anniversary. I find it fascinating that the origin of ScribeCount is very similar to Draft2Digital. One of the one of the founders of Draft2Digital was a writer just looking for an easier way to convert manuscripts into a format to get them loaded into Kindle, and in all the other places. And that’s where Draft2Digital was born, where it’s almost like we’re cousins or something.
Randall Wood 06:38
Yeah, I think it’s a common goal. I think our common goal is just saving time. Draft2Digital saves tons of times for those authors out there, the same way ScribeCount does. I used to spend hours crunching numbers. And now I can do it in a few minutes. So yeah, we both, it’s more time writing, more time in the chair, putting words on the page. So that’s the end goal of everything really.
Mark Lefebvre 07:00
Yeah, that’s what we all want is more time. More time for writing, because all the other stuff can just be a little bit tedious. Right?
Randall Wood 07:09
Mark Lefebvre 07:10
Philippa, you’re a writer as well. Right? And how did you get involved in ScribeCount?
Philippa Werner 07:16
So Randall and I were on a message board together for authors. And this is where the aspect of fate actually comes in a little bit. Because I’d been noting down a couple of things in one of our threads about, we would all compare different areas of expertise. So we could check in, if we were to do, you know, consistency checks in books that we were doing. And I thought all of my stuff was super boring. Turns out Randall did not, because he was planning this. And he wrote my name down on a post-it, which then survived the complete destruction of a house. So.
Randall Wood 07:53
That’s a whole other story there.
Philippa Werner 07:56
But because that post-it survived, as soon as they had a prototype available, he reached out to me and said, here’s what we’re doing. And I, like him, had been waiting for other platforms to bring in the aggregation of data. I was like, no, let’s do this. Yes. So here I am.
Randall Wood 08:17
I stalked her, I stalked her extensively. She’s my Swiss Army Knife in a way. I was looking for, you know, someone who obviously spoke indie, and had experience in the indie publishing world, on all platforms, who was wide. And she also happens to have a background in data analysis and a history of working in customer support. So she checked off all the boxes. And that’s why herr name went on the post-it and luckily, the post-it survived. So yeah, it worked out great.
Mark Lefebvre 08:55
So let’s talk about, I want to talk about, I mean, how I as an author myself use ScribeCount. And I think one of the key factors is that, instead of me having to log into my Draft2Digital dashboard, you know, my Amazon dashboard, my Kobo dashboard, etc, right. And numerous, numerous platforms that indie authors can have the option to leverage. In order to understand my sales, I don’t have to go to six different places or whatever. I can go to a ScribeCount dashboard. And I can see, within seconds, my monthly sales the last 30 days, I can customize it to yesterday, I can look at all time. I mean, all of this stuff. Now that is tremendously amazing. Because I think analytics are really, really important for authors to understand. Hey, did this promo work, what’s going on when? But I have to ask the question that I know a lot of authors are worried about is, “Oh my god, does that mean I have to give you my password?”
Randall Wood 09:55
Mark Lefebvre 11:13
R2-D2 snuck in there for a second.
Philippa Werner 11:15
That’s such a good sound. There has to be one.
Randall Wood 11:18
I had it on emergencies. But that wasn’t an emergency.
Mark Lefebvre 11:21
Help me ScribeCount. You’re my only hope.
Randall Wood 11:25
But, yeah, that’s where we were on that. I just said, I don’t want it to run in the background. I don’t want to archive anything, we don’t have to archive. And if we do, I want them to be able to wipe that clean anytime they want. So yeah, we have a delete all your data button. We have, all the logins are in the control of the user, and if ScribeCount is off, It’s off. We don’t operate in the background. We don’t do anything while you’re not actively using us. So that was a big thing for me.
Philippa Werner 11:56
That’s the funny thing is when people say, well, I log in in the morning, and it takes a few minutes to get my data. I’m like, that’s how you know it’s working.
Mark Lefebvre 12:05
Right, because it’s actually loading it. I mean, so I’ve been self-publishing since the mid aughts, you know, back when KDP was only paying 35%. There was no 70%. Thank you, Apple, for that. Because Apple’s the one who was really generous to everyone. And then everyone else had to follow suit. And even Smashwords, right, was the only, there were like the two platforms you actually had access to in the dark ages of self-publishing. And I can look at all my sales from the beginning of time, like all six sales. I’m kidding. But I mean, like, I can look at all the sales from all these years, from all of these platforms, because I can input my Smashwords sales, and my Draft2Digital sales, my Kindle sales, my Kobo sales, etc, My Google Play, all of these platforms, and it’s there for me. So one of the things I’ve been able to do is then use it to export reports for my accountant, and it’s so much easier to get a spreadsheet than trying to track all these sources. But the other thing, which I think is important for authors to understand, is expenses. Okay, so I had a BookBub. And I made X amount of money on sales, you know, in the week, following the BookBub, on whatever, on the series that was part of the promotion. But it cost me something. And that’s another part of the analytics that you’ve allowed for. And that was added, that was your previous edition of sexy new features. Can you talk a little bit about like, those new features, not just sales, but all kinds of other stuff?
Randall Wood 13:40
Well, you’re referring to the income and expense feature, I think we added that one mid-August, I think it was. This was just a way for people to add sales from other platforms that we just hadn’t got to yet. That was the initial thing. But then people wanted a way to, you know, I sell books when I do a conference or I go to a trade show, or you know, out of the back of my car, you know, anything, and they wanted a way to add that income in there. And so that that was a way for them to do that. There’s also a lot of small platforms out there, your Radishes, your Kisses, your Eden Books, things of that nature that we just haven’t got to yet. And people were, you know, really chomping at the bit to see those in their charts. So this was a way for them to include that. And then of course, we have the expenses. And we’re working out, we’re still developing this. This is, right now it’s more of a bulk thing. You can do a bulk import, or you can do an individual book tag or anything. But uh, we want to get into the ad tracking, of course, and that’ll be coming out soon. I have to say soon so my developer doesn’t show up at my house and beat me.
Mark Lefebvre 14:54
Soon is a beautiful word. You can add more “o”s to soon, just to spread it out more.
Randall Wood 14:57
Exactly. We’ve added a couple already, but ad tracking will come up. And then of course, once you have all these expenses, then you can move on and show net. And once you have net, and you know your production times and your word count per day and things of that nature, then you can start thinking about putting a price tag on your time. And that’s where I want to get to eventually, is someone to go to their ScribeCount dashboard and see all their expenses, see their profits, and see how much they spent on advertising and everything, and have that all boiled down to “I’m a $50 an hour author.” When my butt’s in the seat, and I’m putting words on the page, I’m making myself $50 an hour. And I think that’s a lot better than just measuring income,
Philippa Werner 15:48
And also to be able to shift that per title. In this series, I am a $75 an hour author, this series I’m a $35 an hour author.
Randall Wood 15:58
Yep. And what was the difference, how do I change that? How do I capitalize? How do I do more of that? Right now, it’s kind of hard to even find out what to do more of. What was the difference between this, what I did last year and what I’m doing today? And between that and the compare charts feature we’re going to have out pretty soon you’ll be able to … Oh, I didn’t mention that. We’re gonna have a compare chart. So if you want to see that BookBub you did last year, the first week of March, and you want to compare it to your latest BookBub that you did four weeks ago, you’ll be able to highlight those two date ranges, push a button, and it’ll show them on the same chart.
Philippa Werner 16:39
I’m trying to input a choir of angels noise.
Randall Wood 16:44
And I don’t know how many books or how many time brackets you’re going to be able to put in that chart, we’ll see what Suresh has to say about that. Most likely, he’ll say, that will take some time. But that’s okay, we’ll have another O to the soon. And we’ll be okay there. But that’s one feature we have coming out. But that’s a that’s more of a long-term goal there, is putting that dollar amount on your hour. So you know how best to spend it.
Mark Lefebvre 17:11
I love that, I love the analytics to help authors make more informed business decisions as writers because they are publishers themselves. Right? So one of the first features that just stands out, that just bursts onto the screen, and it’s been shared publicly on you know, like Wide for the Win Facebook groups, etc. Because there’s a constant debate in the author community between, you know, being exclusive to Amazon and Kindle Unlimited versus wide sales. And prior to you guys coming along, a lot of the tools that were out there were only focused on Amazon, so you couldn’t even see if you had any books wide, what they were selling. But that sunburst allows you to see in an instant, by a timeframe or whatever it is, by a series, by a book, what your sales are by platform, with additional flexibility, right? So it’s not just, you know, Draft2Digital, or Smashwords, for example. But you can see, these are your Apple Sales through Draft2Digital and your book sales through Smashwords, or whatever the case may be. So I know what distributor it’s coming from. I’ve been around long enough that I have books all over the place and in different configurations, some direct, some through platform. I love that feature. But can you talk a little bit about that sunburst? And just, I mean, I just I’m so excited when people share their sunburst going, hey, my Amazon sales are less than 50% of last month or whatever. And then a year ago, they were 75% or whatever.
Philippa Werner 18:38
Randall, could I take point on this one? So with the data background, Randall was telling me about what ScribeCount was going to look like. And he said, it’s going to be a pie chart. And I said, no. Because pie charts are a notoriously bad way to compare different slivers of data that you’re seeing, it’s difficult to measure the radial angles there, just by eye. And Randall, bless him, stood his ground. And had me load my data in. And I loaded up all of my platforms, and I looked at it and went, oh, my God. Because sure enough, you could see in this incredibly visceral way, Amazon isn’t king. Sometimes it’s there, Kobo is giving it a run for its money, Barnes & Noble is giving it a run for its money. And that is just right there. You can watch how it changes as you switch across your different series. So for instance, epic fantasy sells differently for me than sci fi. And it was just, it was such a good choice on his part. And it’s wonderful. You can click down and in, you can see how things are selling in different countries, different regions. And you’re right, it’s really cool.
Randall Wood 19:57
It’s hard to explain really. I mean, most people, when you say a sunburst chart, they don’t know what a sunburst chart is, because it’s so rarely used. But I wanted something that you could check your entire library in one picture, you know, during your five-minute break between sprints, or however you write. And the other thing I wanted was the intuitiveness, the … I have a personal four-click rule, I want to be able to get to the data I want in four clicks or less. So the sunburst lets me see my entire library. And within four clicks, I can be down to a single book on a single platform in a single country. And then one click right back out. So it’s more of a great tool for your overall sales. But if you want it to be, you know, if you want to drill down, four clicks. Takes nothing at all. So that’s the main thing I liked about it. So calling it a pie chart is to get people the vision in their head, but it’s really so much different. And yeah, once I sold Philippa on that, luckily, she didn’t push back too much more. But yeah, people do like the pie chart, it’s a great way to show off your entire library without getting into detail or sharing too much or whatever.
Mark Lefebvre 21:19
Yeah, that way when you’re looking at overall percentages, and things like that. But I mean, I just love that, you can see the country, you can see the platform. So for example, I’m using payment collaborations through Draft2Digital for several of my projects, which means I’m publishing to Amazon through Draft2Digital to get them there so that I don’t have to worry about the payment splitting. D2D takes care of that for me. But when I look at my part pie chart, I can see, okay, here are my direct Amazon sales. Here are my sales through Draft2Digital, here are my direct Kobo sales, my sales through Draft2Digital. And so I’ve got like the, you know, I think it’s in red for Kobo, and then was it the orange or yellow for Amazon. And it’s really amazing to see how different platforms shift over time, because when you think, okay, Amazon’s the world’s biggest bookstore, but if I’m looking at other territories, you’re like, whoa, hey, Kobo, hey, Apple. Right? That’s an amazing thing that you can easily see with that with that beautiful sunburst.
Randall Wood 22:18
It is eye opening, especially if you run a promo geared just towards one platform. You know, yesterday, your Kobo pie was this big. And then today, you check it after the promo, and all sudden, it’s a much bigger piece.
Mark Lefebvre 22:31
How do you know I’m doing a Kobo promo right now?
Randall Wood 22:34
I just assumed. We stalk you. But actually, Mark’s being shy here. Because that idea of splitting out the D2D and the Smashwords sales within the platform was Mark’s idea. He suggested that to us, and we made it happen with a little coding magic. But we did not think of that. So that was a great, great suggestion, being able to switch back and forth and see your sales within D2D or split out among all the platforms.
Mark Lefebvre 23:06
And that leads to, that’s a great segue to what I think you guys have demonstrated quite brilliantly, is you actually listen to your authors. And a lot of the features that you just rolled out are based on feedback from early users, right? So there’s, the users help make the platform better. That’s probably how you’re going to continue to roll I imagine.
Randall Wood 23:25
I would say probably what. 70% to 80% of our new features were all feature requests people made through the Support tab, or online or something of that nature. Yeah, it would look totally different if it was just my board. It doesn’t even look like what I first envisioned it. The sunburst was the only thing that really survived. Everything else has been augmented or changed or developed or something. But that’s okay. That’s okay. That’s what people want. That’s what they need. We’ll try to do that. We’re trying to do that now for the KU audience as well and get some features for them.
Mark Lefebvre 24:01
Yeah. That leads to a question and then it just, you know, it’s the hard questions. This is what we’re doing on this journalistic program. The cutting questions that everyone wants to know. So you’re an advocate for publishing wide, you both publish wide, but you’re creating tools for exclusive authors. Is there a conflict there? Or why would you do such a thing?
Randall Wood 24:20
Um, I don’t think it’s a conflict so much. In some of the groups, you know, they say we don’t talk about KU here. This is all wide-oriented. And I understand that. I understand that. But for most new authors, I constantly have to go back and put myself in their shoes. Because things have changed so much since 2007 when the Kindle came out, I think? But most new authors still start out at Amazon and KDP. That’s the easiest, you know, I’ll give Amazon credit. They are the easiest platform to get to, and one of the easiest to actually make some money on. So it seems to be the, I don’t wanna say the natural progression, but it kind of is, where the new author starts out at KDP. And they learn and they learn, and they learn. And they join a few chat groups and a few Facebook groups, and they start hearing about wide and hard covers, and, you know, print and IngramSpark and all these other options that they have. And then they kind of become semi-wide, I call it, where they’re in KU, but they have print in other platforms, because they can still do that, you know? And then from there, they start wondering, well, how would my ebooks do if I moved them to Apple? And they start exploring that wide option, and then they go, and they either jump in with both feet, or they dangle their feet in the water and add a couple books at a time. Or some of them even go back and forth. A lot of people start out a new book, 90 days in KU, and then switch it to wide. So we got a lot of a lot of requests from KU authors saying, hey, I really love what you’re doing. Can you make us a KU page? And I said, well, if we make the KU page, it’s, we can’t. We tried to make one page to rule them all. You know, the One Ring? No, no, it doesn’t work. So KU authors value different metrics than wide authors. And I knew that when I was doing it, too. I tried KU, I looked at ranks, and I looked at, you know, categories much more closely than I do now that I’m wide. So we had to make all the tools that they needed, but also give them access to all the wide stuff and ScribeCount is still one size fits all. You get everything. There isn’t, you know, you don’t pay extra for extra stuff. So, if you come on board now, you’ll have a KU-oriented page, if that’s your main source of income. But you’ll still have access to all the wide features too. So if you’re making that transition, or if you’re even thinking about it, you can still see your KU stuff, you can see your print stuff that’s wide. If you’re starting to dangle your feet, you can see your wide sales on the sunburst and everything. So you’ll have options, you can default to the KU page, and then switch to wide with a simple toggle switch at the top. You can default to your wide page and just switch over to KU. It all depends on what you want. So there’s four selections now: KU, wide, KU defaulting to KU, and wide defaulting to wide. So all four choices are there. And it’s just to help those, that natural progression take place I think
Mark Lefebvre 27:36
That’s fantastic. So we have some comments and questions to get to very shortly. But I want to ask a question everyone’s asking, is like, okay, this has got to be costing me an arm and a leg. And I want to preface this by saying, I’m so impressed that not only do you have a 14-day free trial, so people can go check it out and see if they like it or not. That’s, you know, two weeks of time to play with it. But you don’t start charging a penny until an author’s making how much per month?
Randall Wood 28:05
$1,000 a month. You want to take this one? Go ahead Philippa, I’ll let you take that one.
Philippa Werner 28:11
Yep. So both Randall and I, I think pretty much everyone in the author community who’s been here for a while knows, it’s absolutely one of the best communities there is. And none of us would be where we are now, without all of the help that we got, when we were starting out, when we were, you know, the newbie baby authors. And that’s part of why we’re here is, especially when you’re at that bottom end of the scale, or if you slipped down there, you’ve been away from writing for a while, things have crashed and in your life, you need that data to be able to take the next steps. And so when you’re new, we’re here. Come get that data, come be making good decisions based on data, and go from there.
Mark Lefebvre 28:59
That’s awesome. And what you charge for an annual subscription is?
Randall Wood 29:04
Well we just changed all our pricing, actually. We have monthly fees, we have a monthly tiered program. So if you’re making zero to $1000 a month, it’s free. If you make $1000 to $2000 a month, it’s $15 a month, and if you make over $2000, it’s $20 a month. But that changes, we don’t penalize you if you have one good month. So if you finally ran that BookBub deal and you just made serious bank for the month of August, we don’t lock you in. So the next month, you know, you trickle back down below that $1,000 benchmark, you’re back in the free tier. We don’t lock you in. The other thing is, the yearly subscription is now $185. And if you do the math, that works out to $15.41. So I try to make it affordable to everybody. And, you know, obviously we have service costs, we have server costs, and we have things of that nature. But of course, most of our money goes straight back into ScribeCount. If I could hire a dozen more developers, I would tomorrow, we’ve just got such a to-do list. And there’s such a feature request list that everybody wants. I’d love to be able to just throw, you know, yeah, just keep.
Mark Lefebvre 30:21
And so I want, that sort of leads me to the awesome deal that you’re offering to D2D authors. And we’ve got a handy little link here: bit.ly/D2DScribeCount. And that is our affiliate link to your site, which gets D2D authors 10% off the annual subscription.
Randall Wood 30:43
Exactly. All D2D authors. New, old, in the future.
Mark Lefebvre 30:48
Wait, existing authors as well?
Randall Wood 30:50
Existing and in the future.
Mark Lefebvre 30:52
Awesome. Very, very cool. So that link will be in the notes here, as well as a bit.ly/d2dscribecount if you’re listening on the podcast. But we have comments and questions I’m dying to get to. I’m going to start off with one from Maddy Dalrymple said, “I wanted to cry with happiness the first time I realized there was a way of seeing what my author earnings were other than collecting each piece of data manually.”
Randall Wood 31:17
Yup, yep. I am not an Excel spreadsheet guy. If you say pivot table, I’m just like, that’s nice for you. Yeah, I’m not that kind of guy. So I definitely wanted this. But to segue to that a little, we have a lot of accountants who are also authors. And they just love it because their spreadsheet just got a whole lot simpler. Or they can use their existing one that they’ve been using and automatically upload the whole thing. We have a template on there that they can use, we also have a custom spreadsheet now. So if you’re still locked into Excel and wanted to use the pivot tables, and all the features they have, you can still do that, and we’ll still automatically upload everything.
Mark Lefebvre 32:02
So for people who are afraid of data and for people who love data, too.
Randall Wood 32:05
Yep, it’s all in there. If you got a question about the spreadsheet, or the custom template, yeah, you’re talking to Philippa, you’re not talking to me.
Philippa Werner 32:14
I’ll actually be at 20Books doing that exact thing.
Mark Lefebvre 32:17
Oh, cool. Yeah. Robbie asked this question. Robbie says, “Does ScribeCount track direct sales from authors’ websites?” So like, you know, using Payhip and Shopify, etc.
Philippa Werner 32:26
Not right now. But that is on the list. And you can upload them using the income and expenses tab.
Mark Lefebvre 32:33
Yeah, so you can go in and manually add them, or upload them on a spreadsheet if you want to then compare. But that may be a feature in the future. So that’s cool.
Randall Wood 32:42
Oh it is, actually if you’re uploading from your personal website, we’re also working on a widget that will track your traffic at the website and all the metrics from there. So you don’t even have to travel to that to get your, you know, how many visitors I had today. That’ll be on your ScribeCount dashboard soon.
Mark Lefebvre 33:00
Awesome. Love that. And then Maddie also commented, “Love the idea of being able to determine a rate per hour for one author’s work.” I mean, again, people who love analytics and spreadsheets are going to be all over that. Cool. Another question coming in, and this question’s coming in from Simone. Simone says, “Any chance we might get Findaway audiobooks included for source info?”
Randall Wood 33:26
There’s a very good chance. I sat down with Will Dages himself at the recent [inaudible] conference. And actually, we’ve been talking to Will for a few months, but they have been head down focused on their new marketing platform within Findaway, which is incredible. If you haven’t seen it, you need to go check it out. But they have all their development assets sharply focused on that. So Will and I just said, hey, whenever you’re ready. I think we’ve already got a lot of the back end code written, all we need to do is do the handshake code. And we’ll have Findaway up there. So, I’m not gonna commit to a date for Will.
Mark Lefebvre 34:11
Are you gonna throw out that long word called soon?
Randall Wood 34:13
Soon. We’ll have it soon. I’ll say this, hopefully before the end of the year, we should have Findaway.
Mark Lefebvre 34:18
Oh that’s nice, like a Christmas gift.
Randall Wood 34:23
But yeah, we’re really looking forward to working with Will and Findaway.
Mark Lefebvre 34:29
So other comments that pop up is, Hannah says, “I love that you don’t lock people in, that’s truly awesome.” Elyssa says, Elyssa from Draft2Digital who’s been answering comments not related to ScribeCount. Thank you again so much for your support Elyssa. She is the graphic mastermind behind all the visuals that you see with Draft2Digital, but also check her out on our TikTok channel. So she says, “We love author-first companies.” And Alexis as well, another Draft2Digital person, Lexi says, “It’s nice to see companies with the ethos of helping authors first, and making money if the authors are prospering,” which is, I love that about you guys, too. So you just announced, we probably haven’t mentioned all of the things that you guys just launched, right? Because you’re able to pull in reviews from Author Central, so you can just quickly see them there. What I love is, and it was it was just glossed over really quickly, because obviously, you had to protect the innocent when you were doing that demo. But I can look at my titles, and then I can see a summary by title. Like just, I don’t even have to go to the, like, I can just scroll, because again, I’m visual. There’s the thumbnail of my cover. And I love that. So that’s one of the features you guys recently just added, right?
Randall Wood 35:48
We did. We did. Yeah. And you said reviews, we do pull all the reviews from all the platforms, you can rank them highest, most preferred, positive to negative I think is the way you really put it.
Mark Lefebvre 36:00
So you can filter out the negative ones.
Randall Wood 36:03
Filter out the ones you want. We’re gonna upgrade that soon, too. We’re gonna start a feature where you can filter by star rating. And I picked up, I can’t remember what lecture it was recently, but heatmapping has shown that most people go to the three star reviews.
Mark Lefebvre 36:23
Because they’re critical and yet not really negative?
Randall Wood 36:26
Exactly, exactly. Yeah, the best of both worlds, you know. So we’ll be having that pretty soon. And also, we’re going to add a word count feature to that, where if you pull up your three-star reviews, and you hit the word count button, it will pull the words, all the text from the reviews, and create that word count from the reviews. And I see a lot of questions, we made this because I saw questions from authors. “I wrote this book, but I don’t know what genre to put it in.” Or, “I’m on book four of this series, and my keywords are not performing.” So this will help you determine if your book is in the right genre. And it’ll also pull keywords based off of the reviews rather than the other analytical type services that you might see out there. So just another extra tool that we can offer to do that, so.
Mark Lefebvre 37:21
I love, again, the simplicity of being able to see your stuff in a single dashboard. I can’t overemphasize just how much time that has saved me because I can, again, I used to have to go to all these different tabs, keep them open or whatever. And now I can just go to ScribeCount, have a peek, you know, especially, actually there is a Bargain Booksy I think I’m running today. So I can kind of, after we’re done, I can quickly just log on before I rush to the dentist and check, hey, how did it go? I haven’t even looked at it yet today. So yeah, another comment. Linda says, “Just signed up. Can’t wait to get started.” And Diaz says, “Very good information here.” Thank you so much. You know what, we have the best guests, the absolute best guests on this on this Self-Publishing Insiders Live. So some of the other features that are, either you’re thinking of releasing soon, or that you’ve just released, you’re like, wow, nobody’s using it yet. Are you getting like questions and feedback where people ask for something and go, oh, it’s right here?
Randall Wood 38:23
Oh sure. The feature I just described was a suggestion. Actually, someone at NINC suggested that
Mark Lefebvre 38:29
Novelists, Inc, just a couple of weeks ago, they suggested it, and clickety click?
Randall Wood 38:33
Yeah, we try to do stuff quick. If there’s an idea, and it can be rapidly deployed, we’ll take a shot at it. So it all depends, you know? I always start out my requests, like, don’t hit me, but can we do this? You know? And, “That will take some time,” or “Yeah, you know, we can do that in a few days.”
Philippa Werner 38:58
And Suhesh has never once stabbed him. Not even once.
Mark Lefebvre 38:57
But let’s talk about that, though. I mean, you’re author centric, but then you’ve also got to care for your developers, right? The people who are making this happen on the one hand. How do you balance that, hey, we want to put authors first, but we don’t want to jeopardize the sanity and health of our hardworking development team?
Randall Wood 39:14
I always ask, it’s kind of like asking permission. You know, you want the concert t-shirt, but you know you’re gonna have to settle for something a little less, because mom’s gonna say no. It’s that kind of thing. I kind of gently probe, you know, hey, would there be a way to do this? And we do have two to-do lists. One is set in stone that we’ve already had meetings on and discussed and come up with a plan and this is what we’re doing. And then the other one is, hey, if opportunity presents, or if enough people ask for it, we’ll focus over there. And the two lists, they were changing constantly in the beginning, but now It’s slowed down quite a bit. Like right now, I can tell you the next three items are pre-orders. Pre-orders will be out, we have a tentative date of the 21st. Which is tomorrow—today. Wow. Yeah, better check. I’m gonna get stabbed for that one. And the compare charts, which I already mentioned, that’s coming up
Mark Lefebvre 40:25
Wow, the compare charts is soon. Wow.
Randall Wood 40:29
Right. Yeah. Hopefully by the end of the month, we’ll have compare charts. And then I believe after that is hardcovers, hardcovers are something Amazon’s, you know, just recently added. So we’re gonna add those.
Mark Lefebvre 40:42
Oh, hardcovers. Yeah, I didn’t even realize, cuz there’s only trade paperbacks right now,
Randall Wood 40:47
Right. And hardcovers I think only appeared, what, four months ago?
Mark Lefebvre 40:51
When D2D Print launches hardcovers, you’ll pick those up too, right?
Randall Wood 40:56
Sure. Well, that will take some time.
Mark Lefebvre 41:02
Don’t worry, it’ll take some time on our end too, because I’m teasing out some of the things I know our dev team is working desperately on, you know, continuing to improve.
Philippa Werner 41:14
And to answer, to add another shade to your answer Mark of, you know, how we balance this. Our users are so understanding, you know, when we say hey, we’re working on this. We’re waiting on Findaway because both of our teams need some time just to make this particular connection work. People understand that, and they’re great. And that means that there isn’t that stress of just …
Randall Wood 41:42
It has to be perfect right out of the gate. You know, and they understand those little problems. I’ll say, right now there’s an incident, we’re having a problem connecting with Author Central with the new feature. And we found one glitch and fixed it. And we found another one, and we’re working on that as we speak. So but the support people, the authors out there that have been backing us up have been great. They’re like, okay, we understand. It’s in beta, it’s going to be some glitches, and it’s going to take a little time, but we get there and we keep them informed. We try to keep them informed while we’re fixing it. So that’s about all we can do. But back to the list. Those three items are small items that we’re adding, I call them small, but they’re from the right hand list, and then we go back to the set in stone list, which is that ad tracking. Ad tracking is something the majority of the Development Team are working on right now.
Mark Lefebvre 42:34
Yeah. And a lot of authors are going to be interested in that. So that’s fantastic. I got called out. Elyssa said, “Mark, you can’t spoil things.” Well, I have to say this, because you know, Randall, you were just at NINC, Novelists, Inc. with Kevin and Dan. And it’s okay, because nobody’s really paying attention, because I remember a massive announcement that Kevin made at Novelists, Inc. three years ago about D2D Universes and that D2D Print was coming. People I think this year, when we started to do print, it’s like, yeah, it’s been in beta for a year, you’ve done payment splitting, like all of these things. So it’s like, it doesn’t matter if I mention it, we’ll have to mention it about 20 or 30 times before people remember, right?
Randall Wood 43:19
Yeah, we see posts like that too. Anybody see this new button on ScribeCount? Yeah, it’s been there a month, but it’s okay.
Mark Lefebvre 43:25
It’s new, it’s new. Another question. Another question coming in from Diaz says, “So in ScribeCount Is there a section for new writers since I’m pretty new?” What would you recommend for a new writer who’s wanting to checkout ScribeCount? Is there like, a help text? Or where should they get started?
Philippa Werner 43:41
Well, they can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. But yes, Randall, which, what would be the first pages you’d look at?
Randall Wood 43:50
Oh, the first page you look at is, let’s see, what comes up after you subscribe would be the settings page. And we try to make everything as intuitive as we can. I didn’t want a website that needed blocks of text to explain what we do, or, you know, you have to watch three hours of videos to understand what it is we do. So most of the features lead you from one to the next. And you just kind of discover your way through it. The Settings pages, left to right, you know, here’s your platform, do you want it on? Click this to log in, the check mark tells you it’s there. And then here’s the time that you logged in, and then it says logged in. So if you just follow it left or right, you’re there. And then once you’re logged in, down at the bottom, it says “Now you can go to your dashboard.” And from there you just … I wanted it to be more of a discovery than learning curve, if that makes sense. So if you click around enough, you’ll just discover everything that we have. and hopefully it doesn’t take too much. Except for the customer report thing, you have to call Philippa for that. But some things we did, like a lot of people didn’t know you could click on the sunburst. And I said, we need a little stick man or something pointing at it saying click this, you know?
Mark Lefebvre 45:08
Yeah. And quickly dynamically change it.
Randall Wood 45:12
Exactly. And you know, I still don’t have my stick man. So we need to work on a few things, but most of it is pretty, just click around and you’ll pick it up. But we will be making more videos, we will be having lots of instruction for the people that do prefer to read or watch videos.
Philippa Werner 45:29
And you know, like you said, a lot of the things have changed. So for instance, on the bookshelf, now you’ve got those things split out about book details, manage tags, those used to be in dropdowns. It wasn’t as easy to see, now it’s there.
Randall Wood 45:46
Four clicks, we’ll keep rearranging till I get my four clicks,
Mark Lefebvre 45:49
iterating and improving. Guys, thank you so much for hanging out with me today. I encourage authors to check out ScribeCount because again, you can check it out for free for 14 days. And thank you so much for joining us, for joining myself and Randall and Philippa here at D2D Self-Publishing Insiders. I strongly encourage, if you don’t want to miss our semi-regular chats with insiders from the publishing, writing, indie author community, you can subscribe over at youtube.com/draft2digital. Check out our Facebook page. And we often have a little banner when you’re logged into your dashboard that says D2D Live. So I will be back next Thursday with another interview with Self-Publishing Insiders and there’ll be a link to that right in your D2D dashboard. Philippa, Randall, thank you guys so much. And thank you all for watching.