Operating System: Online at https://storyoriginapp.com/
- Basic: Free (Limited access)
- Standard: $10/month or $100/year (Full access)
- Guided Setup is available for a fee
StoryOrigin is, by all measures, a wealth of resources for an author first starting out or trying to organize and build their publishing business.
This online web app boasts three major functions: building your mailing list, finding reviewers, and promoting your offerings. At this point, you may think, Well, I already have BookFunnel for that, and if that’s your only consideration, you would be right.
What makes StoryOrigin shine is not only the tech but also the full wealth of knowledge that will guide you to using this site to its full potential.
Let’s take a deeper look at StoryOrigin, its features and benefits, and the articles that are best for a quick start and more in-depth information.
Know the Lingo
Before you get started, you’ll want to know some of the industry terms StoryOrigin uses in its program. If you’re an indie author veteran, everything should seem old hat, but if you’re new to the publishing world, here are some of the more common terms you might run into:
Promotions/Promos: a general term for using someone else’s platform to tell the story of your book. Promos come in various forms, but we will focus on
- Group Promos: A group of authors team up and make a single offering (giveaway, bundle, etc.) to all their audiences.
- Newsletter Swaps: An author trades a mention in their newsletter for a mention in another author’s.
Landing Pages: This is a standalone web page where a visitor “lands” after they click on a link in an email or an ad.
Reader Magnet: This is an offering, usually a short story or the first book in a series, made to readers in exchange for joining their mailing list.
Universal Book Link/Universal Audio Link: This is a short link to a web page with links to all the stores where the ebook or audiobook is available. The store they choose traditionally becomes the default.
Beta Copy: This is a book sent out to a reading team (known as “beta readers”) to detect any issues before the final edit.
Review Copy: This is a copy of the finished book sent to readers in hopes of a review.
Opening an Account
Opening an account in StoryOrigin is quite straightforward. It’ll ask you for your email address and to create a password that will be confirmed through your email provider.
Once confirmed, you can log on to access the page that asks you to sign up for the Standard Plan. We’ll return to that in a moment, but for now, click your email address in the upper right-hand corner (marked with the green arrow).
That will produce a dropdown box with several options. We’re going to start with the Author Dashboard, the brains of StoryOrigin.
With the free Basic Tier, you see a large banner telling you that you have the basic plan, which allows you to set up file delivery and use the goal tracker. Even so, it’s simple to take a look at what benefits you would get for your ten dollars a month with the Standard Plan.
A Quick Look under the Hood
Data controls the world around us. Being able to weigh your options and measure your results makes all the difference in this business. StoryOrigin will tell you the open rates on any prospective list you may want to swap with on the site, as well as create tracking links for swaps and campaigns so you can see how many folks clicked your link.
Let’s take a look.
At the menu on the left, under “Schedule,” click “Campaign Planner.”
It will take you to a page that lists your future campaigns. Under the heading, you will see this box that describes what the Campaign Planner is, a video tutorial, and cases where you can see how this feature is used. This video tutorial walks you through planning a campaign step-by-step. Below that is a dropdown menu labeled “Show Features and Use Cases.”
StoryOrigin not only shows you how to use a tool but also gives you the scenarios that work best for that tool as well as links to other pertinent steps and their instructions. (Note: Since some of the tools perform very similar functions, you will see the same message at times. But this is a brief overview—the Get Started Guide has all the information you need.)
You will find these at the top of each page of the site. Going through these articles will lower the marketing learning curve, saving you time and money.
Using the features is simple and straightforward. Follow the same steps:
To use the Newsletter Swap/Promo features,
- Under the “Get involved in the community” heading, you can choose either “Browse Newsletter Swaps” or “Browse Group Promos.” For these examples, I’ll be using the “Browse Newsletter Swap.”
- That will take you to this next page where you will see several offerings and a filter. The filter itself includes a variety of customization options:
- The “Search By” option allows you to choose from several categories, including
- Campaign: a planned group of promos and swaps that run over a certain period of time
- Newsletter Swap: onetime reciprocated slots in a newsletter in which you pick a time on the other author’s newsletter and they choose a slot on yours
- Mailing list: allows you to choose a specific mailing list
- “Tags” allow you to choose the genre you want to swap in.
- “Campaigns on or after” allows you to find campaigns within a certain timeframe.
- “Pen Name” allows you to search by name.
- “Distribution” allows you to choose if you want Amazon-only distribution, wide distribution, or both options.
- Once you’ve entered your parameters, a list of potential swaps appears. Click the entry that interests you and look over the requirements. Once you’ve found one you like, click on the link.
- The next page will give you the number of subscribers and their open and click rates.
If you click “Past Campaigns,” you will get a list of how the newsletter performed in other swaps, giving you added insight that lets you make informed decisions.
- Click on the green “Apply to Swap” button, and the next page has the books available for swaps and other details about the newsletter. You can also look at the books available for swap. Books that have the Universal Book Link will be listed with either a shopping cart (the sales link) or a reader magnet.
A Wealth of Information
The indie industry is built primarily of tribal knowledge, skills that authors develop through doing the work or asking people in their circles. So at times, all these tools might confuse a new author.
In this section, StoryOrigin has gathered and arranged the knowledge you need to use these powerful tools effectively through tutorials and author case studies.
At the top of the page, click on “Tutorials.”
If you forgot where you saw that one article or that one feature you need, all the StoryOrigin text, video, and quick start guides are listed here, giving you a glimpse at the tools before diving in.
Each video showcases a tool and the step-by-step process for using it so you can follow along or refer to it as a reference if you get stuck.
StoryOrigin’s combination of data and education was built for an author coming from zero—or nearly so—to the author who wants to make better, more informed, and educated business moves.