PeopleReads sends emails and tweets announcing the best free and bargain books. For readers, it’s a great way to find specials. For authors, it provides more bang for your advertising buck as well as free promotional options. I had the pleasure of interviewing site developer and author, Van Heerling.
Van, your site advertized one of my novels, and sales that month went up by 461%. It was surprisingly worthwhile. What are you hearing from other authors who promoted on your site?
One of the greatest compliments is when I hear the author has broken new ground in regards to their Amazon ranking. Or that they finally received that new review they have been waiting for. Personally I am always happy to see an author come back to PeopleReads to submit a different title or the same title to run again. Perhaps I am not wasting my nights after all!
How did PeopleReads get its start?
I am a big fan of the Indie movement. I have probably over a hundred (genuine) author friends all over the world now. PeopleReads began out of frustration and an impulse to help authors. I was getting frustrated with the larger book promotional sites. After being rejected a few times myself (despite 100+ reviews with an average rating of 4.3 or better) I felt there was something missing. So I took my fate into my own hands and built a site that would be more amenable to the Indie Author (traditional books are welcome too of course). That’s really it. I treat my readers and authors like human beings and I go out of my way to help. I know how hard all of this can be. I am right there in the mess with all of them.
There are many sites promoting new books; what makes your site different?
Besides offering standard listings I also offer New Release Listings. It can be difficult to get a new book in front of an audience. The New Release Listing does just that. There isn’t a review requirement. This means a book can have zero reviews and still be listed. However I should mention that if a title does have reviews it must have at least 3.9 stars to be considered.
In addition to this, I have a Non-Guaranteed Listing. These are free for the author; however, I do not list all Non-Guaranteed listings. The Non-Guaranteed listing gives almost anyone a chance to be listed. I donate literally dozens of hours a month to these listings. (Please note: Non-Guaranteed listings are not as far reaching as paid listings of course).
How do you use social media (e.g. Twitter) to spread your message?
I belong to a great group of writers. We all promote our books. It has become quite extensive. Generally a tweet will be RTed at least a dozen times. I have seen as many as 25 RTs in some cases. This really helps to get the word out. (Follow @PeopleReads for these deals.)
Your prices are so reasonable; do you expect that to change as PeopleReads gains even more followers?
Yes, as the costs go up so do the fees. At the moment this is more of a labor of love. I work well into the night. Sometimes past 3 a.m. Most of the revenue is put back into Giveaways and operational costs. I don’t mind working for “free” if I am building something. I have been in business for a long time. I know that it takes time to build. My philosophy is to help others pursue their dreams and eventually I will be carried along as well. It’s not a perfect philosophy but it has served me well.
What do readers like most about PeopleReads?
You have to remember this is a thankless business for the most part. The reader opens their daily email and clicks on their interests and moves on to Amazon. I don’t hear from readers all the time, but those who have contacted me seem to like the layout of the site and the Giveaways.
At the moment PeopleReads is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite, and also a fifty and twenty-five dollar Amazon gift card. For a chance to win, all one has to do is subscribe before March 30th. Three separate winners will be chosen. Here is the link: http://www.peoplereads.com/for-readers.
Van says, “I would rather live seeking my own dream and fail everyday, than to live one day pursuing someone else’s dream, for which I carry no faith.
Van Heerling is the author of Malaika, Dreams of Eli, and Desert Pigeons. He lives in California with the lingering spirit of Redford—his adopted morbidly obese cat, which was more of a paperweight than a feisty feline, his wife and boy and their very alive kitty—Abigail.