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1,200+ authors submitted a 3 favorite reads of the year! Woohoo!
I am exhausted, but 11 days more to go :)
Every two weeks, I share my notes on building Shepherd.com.
Shepherd is like wandering around your favorite bookstore. We make exploring and discovering your next book magical (while helping authors get their books in front of the most likely readers).
October 9th to October 20th
3 favorite books of the year by the numbers!
We’ve had 1,230 authors submit a 3 favorite reads of the year submission. Woohoo!
727 are pending editing. Once we edit, we send it to the author for review.
261 are being reviewed by authors or are waiting for me to make changes or schedule them for publishing.
213 are scheduled for publishing on November 1st.
My goal is to have 1,000 submissions ready to publish for the November 1st event (after that, we can relax as I’ll be collecting them through December 31st and publishing them every Monday morning).
So… I’ve got 11 more days to go to hit that self-imposed goal 🤪. I am pretty tired of tickets, but hopefully, I get a little rest before working this weekend.
A huge thank you to Serita, Cathy, Joy, Bella, Marton, and Johanna for all the work they are doing around this project this month. Everyone has been moved around to help make this possible.
We have brought in two temporary editors to help with this massive surge in submissions (Lindsey and Kristian). Serita and I trained them over the last 5 days, and they are starting to help us speed up!
Update on the new book launch program
I had a great call with Marton (our freelance developer) about this work, and he will get back to me soon with a quote. He is looking at some options for tracking and sharing clicks with authors (we won’t be doing impressions as that is too complex at this point).
I am excited to get this going as a park to Founding Members, and I like that the books will be matched to genre, topic, age, and similar authors. It makes this feel less like an ad and will be much more effective.
What else am I working on?
Frontpage & search update
Roman and I are 99% done with the design revamp of the front page, search feature, and new search results pages. I am also looking to ship a minor update to the buy/preview buttons and add Libro.fm as an audiobook partner (I love them and moved over to them from Audible).
I am 75% done with the spec for all this work and hope to complete that next week so that the developer and I can chat about everything.
Starting to plan out features for 2024…
I am agonizing over this one…
My big goal for 2024 is to reach break-even on finances so we can keep building new features at the same pace we are now (half of our current costs are the design and dev costs to build new features and keep improving).
To do that, I need to double our revenue in 2024… so I am assessing what features have the greatest chance of achieving that.
Shepherd costs ~$20,000 a month to run.
How does that break down?
20% server, software, and licensing costs.
30% for the team that runs everything (not me, I'm free).
50% for the development and design of new features + improving existing ones.
We are currently covering ~40% of our costs with income from:
My goal is to reach break even on finances by December 2024. I was hoping to hit that by December this year, but the lack of traffic growth from Google has stunted that goal. I hope growth returns as I get more improvements and features in place.
I only have enough savings to cover the difference until December 2024, so I am under pressure. I don't want to hit a point where I need to slow down or pause new features, as that is a big part of the fun (and what readers/authors want).
In 2024, I will be focusing purely on features that give us the greatest chance to reach a break-even point on costs. And right now, I am trying to decide what those are and test those assumptions…
What is going on outside of Shepherd?
Not much; with the 3-fav-reads stuff, I am working a LOT.
What am I reading?
I am reading book 3 of the Final Architecture series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The scope and world he has created is fantastic. I wish I liked the characters more… Idris is growing on me a little, but it is more that I respect his insanity.
P.S. From my son kicking my butt at whatever this game is called where you live.
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