Always on the lookout for any new catch free self-publishing avenues I’ve just discovered this outfit called BookieJar. They’ve been around since 2011 and deal only with ebooks. You can offer your work for free, or set a download price from which BookieJar will take their cut. I loaded my short story The Man Who Talked to Machines on there yesterday by way of an experiment and found the whole process to be very simple indeed. You just need a copy of your story in MS Word format, and away you go. Signup was very simple and the whole process took no more than ten minutes.
The one niggle I have with BookieJar is they don’t seem to offer their authors any stats, so it’s impossible to tell how successful their site is in reaching an audience for your work. I’m the slightly eccentric kind of indie who’d sooner reach a thousand readers by giving his work away than charge a fee and only attract the interest of half a dozen. But it’s impossible to know when or if I’ll ever reach a thousand readers with BookieJar, and that makes me hesitate before putting more of my work on there. Maybe I’m just a shameless stats voyeur but I like to know how many readers I’m getting – if I’m ramping up, reaching market saturation, tailing off or bumping along the bottom.***
On the plus side the site encourages social-media type interaction between readers and writers. If you’re active in reading and commenting on other BookieJar titles, you’ll find your profile appearing more frequently on the home-page, which in turn should raise the profile of your work, so to some extent you get out whatever you’re willing to put in. This is different and interesting, and fair.
Anyway, if you’re a writer exploring the self publishing options available online, then do check out BookieJar. And if you’ve not discovered them yet, check out Feedbooks, Smashwords and Lulu as well.
Respects and stay safe.
*** Update 26/08/12 ***
I’m wrong here. Bookiejar’s download stats are available on the author’s account page – my thanks to fellow writer and blogger Paul Samael for pointing this out. From this I was able to see that “The Man Who Talked to Machines” achieved just one download in the space of a week. By comparison, it’s been up on Feedbooks since 2010, and is still achieving around 5 downloads per day. Bookiejar’s not exactly set my world alight then, but it was worth a shot.
I don’t know how Feedbooks manage such an impressive download rate for their authors – it may be because they don’t require you to sign up, like other sites do, before you can download – you just click on the story, select your format and you’re reading it in seconds. I’m speculating, but the business of signing up which other self publishing sites insist on, may be deterring casual browsing, and thus eliminating a lot of potential readers.
So, BookieJar or Feedebooks? Well, obviously Feedbooks will deliver you the most impressive download rates, but any self publishing outlet is better than none, especially if it’s free, and you never know. Well done to BookiJar, anyway.