Rick Karlsruher reports on how he is setting up an ebook club to help to provide a platform for new writers
Over the past 30 years or so, I have floated in and out of being a writer. There have been good times and bad. I’ve seen how the industry has changed as well as how it has expanded. How it worked has been a mystery and an annoyance.
Like many other businesses and inventions, Noveltunity® (www.noveltunity.com) was created by someone seeing a problem and wanting to create a solution. This time, it was me.
About 30 years ago, I had written a script that received a lot of attention. It ran the gamut of industry bigwigs to even being the innocent bait in an IRS attempted sting operation. It led me to move from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to get the movie made.
Little did I know this event would change my life so dramatically and lead to me to creating a book club, of all things.
How Hollywood dream became a horror story
The tale of my trying to make Standoff was part typical Hollywood dreaming and part horror story. I would tell pieces of it to my friends for decades. Each time I told even one tiny tidbit, the reaction would be, “You need to write this book.”
This reached a crescendo a few years ago when the rants to write A Story Almost Told become nearly a daily thing and I relented and wrote the book. It sold several hundred copies as an ebook by word of mouth.
I put it on Smashwords and it jumped up their charts to be the No 1 non-fiction, No 1 memoir and, for a moment, the No 8 overall best reviewed. I even got a review from a New York Times best-selling author.
During this time, I did several radio interviews. Having been in marketing for over 30 years, it seemed like I had a great sales package to get an agent or publisher.
Boy, was I wrong. The few who did respond said what many of you hear every day. “What’s your platform?”
A platform for new writers
The laziness and lack of insight these people showed led me to thinking that a platform for new or undiscovered writers needed to be created. At that point, I didn’t know the direction would lead to Noveltunity®. All I knew was something had to be done.
Smashwords, Amazon, Goodreads, etc, have a theoretically good idea. For some authors, it will work very well. For most, it won’t. How on earth can you elevate yourself from the thousands of other new titles? This was a critical question to answer.
I also thought about the readers who want to find something new – the people who want to help create the next John Grisham, Stephanie Meyer or J K Rowling. Their biggest problem is the massive numbers of options.
This is when I came up with the concept of an ebook club for new writers. As important as the writers are to it, readers/members have to be thought of as partners rather than random numbers you know nothing about. This is when Noveltunity® really started to take shape.
Readers to vote on book club selections
My key for readers/members is to empower them with the ability to help choose the next selections for the club. We won’t be like other book clubs telling you to buy X number of books that we choose. Reader/members of Noveltunity® will see videos, read chapters and then vote on what will be read.
Each month, members will choose three ebooks for forthcoming months, one of which will be made into an audio book. If we grow large enough, all three books will be made into audio books for our members.
Our selected authors will participate in a number of videos each month with our members. There will be direct Q&A sessions and message boards for those who can’t make a meeting to ask authors questions and discuss anything they want about the books.
We feel this will help prepare the authors to deal with the media, interviews and readers.
Members will be able to schedule meetings at any time that fits their schedule. They will be able to meet 2-2,000 people from around the world to share their thoughts and ideas about the books and anything else they would like to discuss. Our state-of-the-art meeting rooms belong to the members and you can use them as you choose.
As we grow, we will use the meeting rooms for classes and other topics. There will also be local, national and international reader/writer get-togethers. We want to make social media truly social.
Consumers rather than big firms will have the power
By having a substantial number of members, we will have the power to help to launch the careers of talented writers. Consumers will have the power rather than being dictated to by large companies.
We started rolling out Noveltunity® about a month ago on Twitter (@Noveltunity) and LinkedIn. The response has been tremendous. I’d like to thank the 1,000+ people, from 25 countries, on every continent except Antarctica, for all their kind words and positive feedback. We’ve also been placed on blogs and websites in the US, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and India.
The breadth of nationalities and cultures of the people who have contacted us is exciting and reinforces our goal to be the first truly international book club. No longer will book clubs just be a group of friends from the same neighborhood discussing Jane Eyre or 50 Shades of Grey.
With your help, Noveltunity® will be taking the book club global.
Our next step is a crowdfunding campaign on RocketHub in early August. We’d really appreciate any help you or your friends and family who celebrate new authors can give us.
If you have any questions about any aspect of Noveltunity®, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org