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Building Shepherd - Preview 2 *new* pages coming in Q3 2022...

Buying books should be less like buying toothpaste and more of a magical journey that ends with the discovery of an amazing book! Shepherd is on a mission to bring back the magic to online book discovery.

Summary: June 13th to June 24th 2022
Early preview of 2 new pages :)
Toward the end of Q3, I will be adding 2 new pages to the website. A “book celebration” page and a “books like” page.
What are they for?
The purpose of the “book celebration” page" is to create a dedicated page for any book recommended in our system and show why you should read that book. Plus readers can find books like that one, related book topics, and related book lists.
The purpose of the “books like” page is to recommend 10+ books like “x book” (such as 10 books like Dune). Plus we help readers connect with book lists and book topics related to that book to help them bump into amazing books.
Please let me know what you think as this is an early preview. Please keep in mind these are mockups and thus all data is fake :)
Here is an early preview of the “book celebration” page. Please keep in mind we are still working to test it with readers and improve it. The related section will look entirely different as well.
And, here is an early preview of the “books like” page. The related section will look entirely different as we are just about to update that to match the new system coming out in a few months.
What have I been working on the last 2 weeks?
What have I been working on?
  • I am 95% done with the spec for the developer on the new recommendation engine and updated bookshelf and updated bookshelf UX. Once he is back from vacation we will be working on those and I am hoping to ship both of those in August (ETA pending).
  • I created a design spec for a new way to help non-fiction authors promote their books. I’ve been testing this on readers and I am really happy with the results. The next step is to work with the designer to get a mockup ready and I am hoping to show authors soon. I am working on a fiction approach as well but that is taking a little longer (it is more complex).
  • I created a design spec to improve how we handle book series data. That is always a challenge and this is the first step in improving how we handle that (publishers don’t really give that data to book API providers in an organized way). This is also part of my long-term plan to build something I want, which is a way to get notifications when my favorite series have new books out (something I know authors want as well). Amazon kinda has this but it sucks, as they tell you about every author you have ever read which makes it largely useless.
  • Now that the site is further along I am increasing the time I spend on marketing. I spent this week building a lot of the systems that help organize and track everything… plus I automated everything I could. Once I am back home on July 4th I will spend 3 to 4 hours a day doing marketing.
What is going on outside of Shepherd?
Taking next week off to bike and play!
I am taking next week off to enjoy our time in France before we slowly head back home to Portugal. I am looking forward to eating some delicious French food, doing some long bike rides, and having some adventures with Calico. I’ll be back at work on Monday, July 4th and I am so excited about getting back home. It has been a good trip but a long one.
What have I been reading?
  • A fantastic historical fiction that isn’t out yet, I met the author through a popup submission I took part in. I can’t believe an agent hasn’t snapped this up, something is deeply wrong in this industry.
  • The entire Poor Man’s Fight series by Elliott Kay. I loved it and I want more!!!
What am I about to read next?
And, finally, a picture of my son showing his vast wisdom… life is good when you can jump and enjoy that moment of flight :)
My son :)
My son :)
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Ben Fox

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