A book is a Mitzvah for every author. Seldom do they become fruitful in helping the right set of readers to discover the book as a new title is released almost every day. As a solution, Brothers Naveen Joshi and Madhuker Joshi started AllAuthor in 2016 with an aim to simplify authors’ lives. Based in Noida, it is an online platform which provides services for book promotion including personal branding, creation of engaging content, and automation of social media promotion. For this, it creates and provides marketing tools such as graphics, banners, and videos that authors can share on their social media accounts to connect with readers.
In 2010, Naveen and Madhuker had started an edtech startup, M4maths, a mathematics learning website that helps prepare students for pre-placement tests at companies, college entrance exams, and government job exams. However, this free platform did not generate enough revenue to help the business thrive. Around this time, Naveen, who used to work in the website and mobile development industry, started to get few projects for website development. Most of his clients were authors, and he ended up creating a website where authors could connect with other authors and get help with book promotions. The realisation that, the requirement of almost all the authors were similar when it came to book listings, social media-links etc. led to the idea of building a platform where authors could have their own profiles and connect with readers. And AllAuthor was born.
Naveen says getting authors to sign up with them was a challenge initially, but they relied on word of mouth. The team got in touch with authors through social media channels and influenced them to come on to their platform. At present, AllAuthor claims to have 20 authors who are listed in the Amazon Top 100 ranking, including JS Scott, Carolyn Brown, and others. The startup now has a total of 5,000 authors and around 60,000 readers on its platform as of now, with maximum authors from the US (78 percent), followed by the UK, Canada, Australia, and India.
The team has grown to seven members now, with Madhuker managing the ground work and team while Naveen manages the tech and marketing areas. Both brothers are clear that their focus is now AllAuthor, and M4maths is “currently on auto-pilot mode”.
AllAuthor can be used by two sets of people: Authors and Readers. Memberships for readers are free while authors can choose between the free and paid memberships. Every author who signs up gets a dedicated page where s/he can include their bio, books (with buy links), and social media handles and website/blog. The website offers a free sample – two chapters – of every book to readers; they are redirected to ecommerce websites if they wish to buy the book.It also has a section for readers where they can interact with authors, discuss books with other readers, and list their favorite quotes and books.
AllAuthor provides authors with three marketing tools on its platform. These include:
- Author branding: AllAuthor creates an author profile that is customisable with themes.
Authors can include their social media handles, biographies, and information about their books here. The profile also offers a contact form so readers can connect with them.The authors and their books are also listed on the author and book directory on the website. The directory is divided into different categories, based on a reader’s preference such as genre, country, reviews etc.
- Utility tools: These help authors to create engaging graphics, banners, and videos that they can use while promoting their books. The easy-to-use platform lets them DIY book teasers, promotional GIF banners, book promotional banners, and weekly mock-up banners.
- Automation tools: AllAuthor provides tools to schedule tweets, monitor piracy, and give the author control over promotional content The AllAuthor platform offers two programmes: Pro and free. The Pro authors get top priority in the directory and can make use of all utility and marketing tools.
Pro authors are also featured in an author interview on the website. The Free version limits the author; s/he can only use some of the tools and can to add up to four books to the website. Free users can only sample most of the tools above. The Pro subscription model is priced at $99 per year. In addition to the featured listing option for one book provided for free under this membership, authors can also feature their books separately at the rate of $34 per book for six months without being a Pro member.
According to Nielsen, the book sales sector in India is estimated to be worth $6.76 billion now and is set to grow at an average compound annual growth rate of 19.3 percent until 2020. While there are similar startups like Delhi-based Vowelor and Chennai-based Notion Press that help authors, Naveen says the others focus only on branding and do not help with book promotions.
The founders of AllAuthor, which was bootstrapped with Rs 10 lakh as initial investment, say funding was a challenge initially. Today, AllAuthor generates its revenue from the Pro premium feature on its platform, through book listings, and referral commission from other ecommerce book platforms. It claims to have a current annual revenue of $90,000, and is looking to grow this in the near future.