(This post is inspired by the awesome “How does Ravelry make money" post)
There are a whole lot of new users to FictFact so we decided this post would be great to do in order to tell folks who we are, how we make money and other ways they can help.
What is FictFact?
If you don’t know yet, FictFact is a free site for tracking book series. You tell us what books you’ve read, we tell you via our “Next Book List" or via email what the next books in series you should be reading. Once a week (Sundays) we send out an email telling users if they have books coming out on Tuesday (#newbooktuesday) that are in series they’re following. You can control if you want to receive that email via the preferences page in your profile.
What about authors who don’t write series?
We currently don’t support authors who aren’t writing series books. Will we? The plan is that you’ll be able to click “Follow Author” and you’ll get notices whenever they write something new.
Who is FictFact?
FictFact is made up of three people. Myself (Brian - CTO), Christine (CEO and genius behind the entire FictFact concept) and Richard (customer service mastermind). We’re unpaid and our data is mostly curated by hand (meaning we don’t have an automated whiz-bang thing for loading all books ever).
You guys aren’t paid? Do you even make money?
Yes, FictFact makes money. Since mid-2013 we are making enough to cover server costs, marketing, operational tooling and some other useful stuff. We aren’t taking salaries for FictFact, we have day jobs to keep our lights on.
So you do make money? But it can’t be too expensive to run FictFact. My cousin’s business has a website for a $1.99 a month!
First off, big congratulations to your cousin. Everyone who runs a business should be on the web.
FictFact takes quite a bit of servers to run. We run mostly in Amazon AWS, with database servers, servers for handling email, the website itself etc. Even though we are fairly small by most “startup” standards we’re amassing quite a bit of data. Just as an example, nearly every series page has a “Recommended Series” section on the bottom of the page. Those lists are generated by user follows and as of May 2014 has over 97,000,000 pieces of data we query just to create them. If you’re logged in we compare that against the series you’re following and any series you’ve told us you don’t want recommendations for. And that’s just a small piece of FictFact.
How does FictFact make money?
Here are the places where we get money from, ordered by the most revenue to least.
We currently support three different countries for Amazon and they are our largest revenue source. We aren’t in favor of any particular book seller, Amazon just happens to earn us more than others.
We have been trying to keep limited advertising to keep the website from being cluttered.
We have two different types of advertising:
“Network” ads - which are ads of all sorts (vacations, cleaning products, cars, etc) provided by a company we work with.
“Inventory” based ads - which is handled by BuySellAds
for folks who want to buy ads directly from us.
A bunch of users have donated to us (some monthly!) and for that we can’t thank everyone enough. Even though it does take a while, everyone who donates $10 ($15 international) or more receives a FictFact sticker.
Other Affiliate Sales
Outside of Amazon we currently support 24 other sites where you can purchase books from.
Other than donating money and buying books any other ways I can help?
You could tell your friends about us. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share and retweet our posts. If you’re technical you can add issues/recommendations to our “fictfact-welcome" repo on Github. Visit the “issues” tab to see what sort of things we’re working on.
Big and small we’re constantly working on improving FictFact. Thanks for being part of our growing community!
We’ve added a new report so you can check out recently rated books by FictFact users! A review will only appear if you’re a public user, and the page will be updating constantly throughout the day.
You can now add your details for other social networks on FictFact!
In the edit preferences page, just enter your username information for Goodreads, LibraryThing, Twitter or Pinterest so it can be displayed on your profile!
There is a new tab on your profile page. The “Read” tab will display the last 10 books you marked as read. You can also quickly see any book ownership settings you have added to the books. These link over to the book report. Click the “View All” button to see the whole list in descending order.
New feature on Next Book List – Move to bottom!
Since we launched the new site, we have received several requests for the ability to move series to the bottom of the next book list.
This feature is now available! You can now immediately move a series to either the top or the bottom of your list using the menu options when you hover over the series.
You can also continue to drag and drop the series to change the order.
Introducing the New FictFact!
After lots of hard work and development we’re proud to show off the new version of FictFact! You now have a chance to preview the new design of FictFact before we go live in October.
Here are a few new features we added:
- Series ratings- Now you can see an average rating of the books in a series.
- Next book on author and series page – quickly view your next book on the individual author and series pages.
- Coming soon on author page– quickly view all the books an author will release soon.
We have redesigned FictFact from the inside out. By taking this opportunity to make the insides of FictFact more efficient and easier to maintain, we have set ourselves up to add new features at a faster rate. We are very excited with this design and already have lots of great features planned. Our small team of volunteers love being able to provide you with a great series tracking tool and we are going to continue to make it better!
Please let us know what you think or if you run into any issues. While in beta, we are hoping to fix any last minute bugs.
Join the discussion
Want to see what other users think? Be sure to join the FictFact Beta discussion group.
Want some extra help on how to use the mobile site? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you enjoy the new design and look forward to hearing what you think!
Dear FictFact Users,
Did you know that FictFact is a completely self-funded website? We started FictFact in 2009 to help readers keep track of their series. I am an avid fiction series reader and could not find a website that did what I wanted. Since I am a web developer, I set off to build a site for myself. It turns out, lots of people found this site useful as well! We have grown over the years, and now need a little help from you. Please help us by making a donation through PayPal.
What would we do with these donations?
For starters, we need to make sure the servers are kept up and running. We want to provide the best experience possible with faster servers, unfortunately, these are not cheap. We would use donations to maintain the day to day costs of keeping the website going.
Right now, we have 3 volunteers who work on this in our spare time. Features, improvements, mobile apps, etc. are not really realistic in the few extra hours we have during the week. We would love to have at least one full time employee.
“Do you have a mobile app?” One of our most popular requests is to create a dedicated mobile app. With enough donations, we can start working on one! We also have a long, long list of things we want to add or improve. This includes printing, exporting series data, better communication between users, smarter recommendations… and on and on.
Get a Sticker!!
Everybody who donates at least $10 (or $15 internationally) will get one of our awesome stickers! They’re made from an industrial strength vinyl that’s designed to last. And, they come with a UV laminate that makes them fade, scratch and water resistant. We will mail a sticker to the address you use on the PayPal form.
Can’t donate? That’s OK… we have a few other ways you can help us out. One good way: shop on Amazon. We get about 8% of the revenue of all purchases made through our affiliate links to Amazon!
Thank you for all your support,
CEO of FictFact
We are hard at work on a brand new design for FictFact. We are improving the look and making things easier. Let us know what you think!
- Main navigation is moving to top to allow for more content on the page
- We are using Twitter’s Bootstrap to keep the design clean and modern
- Adding better information about your books and series throughout the site (such as ratings and book ownership)
- Improving search
- And much more…
Follow us on Facebook to keep up with all the news and announcements about this redesign.
Here are a few preview images (still a work in progress :))
Book Release Calendar Listing: