The new book launch program is live! 🥳
Plus a new part-time editor is training!
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).
Three hurrahs for our 517 Founding Members who keep us independent and fund new features. My 2024 goal is to reach 1,000 members to fully fund our part-time developer and designer so we can keep building great new features for our community.
November 20th to December 1st
I'm slowly catching up on everything!
Mood check 🤪
We hired an additional part-time editor!
She is training this week and next week. She is doing fantastic and will start helping us catch up on our backlog next week!
Plus, Serita is back on December 11th, and we will make a ton of progress that week. I aim to be entirely caught up before December 19th, and I apologize for the delay for everyone who turned a book list in and is still waiting on me.
The new book launch program is live!
This is a perk for our Founding Members who help fund the website.
This is now live for our first Founding Member! I will be emailing all our Founding Members shortly.
Sorry for the delay. We had one nasty bug left, and our dev finally crushed it yesterday (hopefully the last one).
What does it look like?
How does it work?
We show your book to the readers most likely to read it.
We do this based on your book’s…
Up to 10 similar authors that you pick.
And the age groups your book is focused on.
Here is an example of the stats we see on the backend (testing, so this isn’t real data).
To start, I’ll share this manually, but I am hoping to make this available to authors via email or an author dashboard longterm.
Where does your book show up?
On any matching book lists around a topic/theme/mood in a dedicated spot after the five books the author picked. We open this one with a “You might also like…”
First, we ensure that the age groups on your book match the books on the book list around a topic/theme/mood. Second, we ensure that your book matches at least one of the genres/topics for the list.
On any matching bookshelves in a dedicated spot as the 4th book listed only for “new book launches.” This continues to apply as long as the filters match your book.
On any matching books-like pages in a dedicated spot as the 4th book listed only for “new book launches.”
On any matching book pages in a dedicated spot after the 4th recommendation for that book.
If there are more than one new book launch ad, how do we determine which ad shows?
We randomly pick each time and give everyone an equal chance of being shown over the long-term.
How long will this run for my book?
I don’t know. I am going to run these for 60 days and gather more data. Then, decide how long these should run for.
What can I expect here?
Shepherd receives ~500,000 pageviews each month.
So, each time someone loads a page, if it matches your book's genre/topic/age, your book will be shown in the dedicated ad spot on the page they are on.
How often your book is shown depends on how many visitors browse pages that match your book’s attributes.
If 10% of the readers coming to Shepherd are viewing s pages related to middle-grade books, your middle-grade book will show up on all those spots (although if other books match, it will split those views between you).
If 1% of the readers visiting Shepherd are viewing pages about memoirs, your book would appear on all those spots.
I hope that makes sense. Hit me up if you have any questions.
I will be sharing data as we get more of it back. Because of the bug, the first author went live today, and I am now contacting and setting up more authors.
What else am I working on?
Frontpage & search update
I am working with our part-time developer to plan this out.
2024 plans & reaching break even on costs
Given our limited budget, I am trying to figure out what features to build in 2024 that give us the best path forward in growing income and reaching break-even on our costs.
What is going on outside of Shepherd?
We had a low-key Thanksgiving here in Portugal. We went out for sushi and then some homemade pumpkin pie. And my wife made her award-winning lasagna for dinner. It was a delicious way to welcome Fall.
And this weekend, we got our Christmas tree up. My son turns 7 soon, and seeing how excited he is is lovely. We are all excited as my dad and stepmom are visiting for Christmas and his birthday!!! 😊
What am I reading?
M: Son of the Century - About Mussolini, just started.
Babel by R.F. Kuang - Fantastic so far; curious how it ends.
You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo - This might be the best book title ever. I also started this, and I'm curious where it goes next…
P.S. From my bike ride last summer in France. I miss warm weather.
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