The Future of Author Stash + *BONUS* Radio Interview

May 3 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ The Stash Blog

Did you ever hear that a goal left unspoken is just a dream?

I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard that or if I just made it up. Either way, the point I want to make is the same; if you don’t tell anyone your goals they will always remain a dream.

Un-obtained and unfulfilled.

I wanted to share my goals for Author Stash. Share my vision and what I see as the future for Author Stash – all the stuff that’s floating around in my head.

I want to make sure that you know the goals we have for the site so you can get just as excited about it as we are. Plus you can give us feedback and direction if you know where we’re headed.

I want to get it out there so it isn’t just a dream and it doesn’t go un-obtained or unfulfilled.

Author Stash has launched. It’s “Live”. But there is so much left to do.

“What’s left to do?” you might ask… well, let me tell you.

What’s that? Oh, it’s the background.

When I set out to build Author Stash I had some pretty small goals for the site. It was supposed to be a little side project that would funnel traffic to my primary author site and another secret site I’ve been building (focused on case studies and marketing advice for fiction authors).

Nothing more.

It was going to be done in a weekend and then I would “launch” it and move on. After that weekend came and went I realized that the Stash was going to be something bigger than I had planned.

The user wanted more – the authors & writers needed it to be more. It had to BE MORE.

It had to become THE BEST DIRECTORY OF AUTHOR RESOURCES ON THE INTERNETS. That’s what it wanted to be. That’s what it had to be.

I was left with a decision. I could either phone it in and do it halfway or I could double-down and build the whole thing the way it needed to be.

That’s what I decided to do – I had to make Author Stash, not just Half-ass Stash.

With that came the responsibility to actually plan, build, spend some money, set goals, get some help and wrestle with the bigger decisions (you know, the ones that impact the long-term vision stuff). That meant that my fiction writing had to take a back seat for a bit.

That meant that I had to add relevant resources and continue to find new resources and iterate and get traffic and find publishers and build a mailing list and run contests and giveaways and… [relax, just breathe. in. now out. good…]

Whoa. It’s all heavy stuff, let me tell you.

But it will be worth it. I’ve already seen promising results in just the first few weeks.

In fact, I was recently interviewed for a radio program where I talked all about Author Stash. There’s a link to the interview at the bottom of the article.

So what’s in the Future for Author Stash?

The interview I mentioned above was good for me. It helped me clarify some of the ideas I’ve had for Author Stash. It helped me articulate the direction and the future.

The interviewer (B. Alan Bourgeois) didn’t have a script, I didn’t have a script, we just talked and he asked questions.

It put me on the spot a bit – and that was a good thing. It tested my plans. It helped me say some of my goals out loud and they passed the “spoken word” test. They didn’t sound stupid when spoken and he didn’t laugh in my face.

So what’s the plan?

Here are a few things we’re going to focus on (with a brief explanation):

Clean up & dress up all the listings on the site

Many of the listings have been identified and linked but a full description hasn’t been written. There are default images as placeholders. We will focus on cleaning these up and making them all fairly consistent – answering the primary question, Why should authors care?, for every one. This way you, the user, know why it’s a good tool and it will help you decide if it’s what your seeking and if it’s worth your time.

Seek out reviews and ratings

As a user of the site you will know that a primary source of its value is derived from the fact that it’s a user-ranked directory. What that means is that you get the possibility of social proof when you check out a listing. But without comments and ratings many of these tools will remain “unknown” and “untested” in your eyes. So I’m going to work hard to get people to leave ratings and comments on different tools… in fact I might add that as one of the ways to enter the next competition – add a rating and comment and then provide the link to validate. Good idea!

Add new listings

I’ve already compiled a list of 150 more resources to add to the directory – this is in addition to the 350 that were identified but not added yet. This means that in the near future we will have over 1100 total resources listed on the site. I wanted it to be the biggest, the best and most comprehensive. This will get us there.

Post weekly articles

Each week we want to post helpful articles on the site that will give authors direction and instruction. We will write tips and advice as well as identify different resources that may be helpful to authors (especially newly discovered ones). On top of this we’ll be seeking out experienced authors, experts and publishers to do guest posts (if you’re interested in writing a guest post for the site please contact us and let us know).

Hold Monthly contests & giveaways

As some of you have already discovered we like to give stuff away. Our goal is to hold a monthly contest where we’ll give away something having to do with writing or publishing. It may be books, maybe software a training course, book cover design or something else of significant value – to authors. Check out the our Contests & Giveaways category to see what we’ve given away in the past and see the current contest for the month.

Find relevant articles to share with each main category

When you click on a category to search for a relevant tool, you are taken to another page that shows several tools, categories or resources that will hopefully help you. But what if you are still lost? We will start adding a collection of articles to different categories. For example if you want to learn about different Book Marketing tactics then we’ll have 10-15 articles listed at the bottom of the page that will hopefully give you more information and ideas. We this this will be very helpful (and trust us, we’ve found over 1000 resources so you can only imagine the number of articles we’ve encountered during that time!).

Contact all resource “owners” and get them to claim their listings

There are several listings on Author Stash that are just fantastic but maybe our description or summary doesn’t do it justice. We are working every day to track down the different “owners” of these resources and we’re trying to get them to claim their listings so they can make it say what they want. They’re the best people to tell you all the benefits of something they worked so hard to create. If you’re a resource owner, please claim your listing – if you know one, reach out to them and let them know they should claim theirs.

Compare & Review tools and resources

Something we’ve already started to do is test and review different tools. Expect some great reviews and articles about some of the software, publishing courses, editing services and other tools listed on the Stash. Is there a specific tool you want us to review? Please let us know.

Seek out great courses to recommend

There are tons of writing, publishing and training courses on Udemy and Masterclass and there are many courses only available through different author sites. We’re going to create a sub-directory of just these courses and then we’re going to take them all and write a review. It’s going to be massive and it’s going to be massively helpful. Watch for that by the end of the summer 2016.

Find experts to guest post on the site

We mentioned this a bit above but in the coming months we’re going to really focus on outreach to different self-published authors, writers and other experts who might be interested in sharing their wisdom with you guys. Watch for that, it’s going to be awesome… and again, if you want to guest post, please hit us up.

Get exclusive discounts and deals from publishers

I think it goes without saying that this site is an incredible tool for authors but it’s also a very targeted audience for people who sell products or services to authors. We’re going to capitalize on that and seek out exclusive deals for our users – even if you self-publish there are still those things you have to (and should) pay for. Editing. Cover Design. Maybe Formatting. And some advertising. We’re going to work with different publishers to get these deals to save you some money. Anyone we should target first?

Create email series full of tools, tips, articles and advice

In 6-12 month time frame we want to create an email training series about different topics – using the tools we’ve already discovered. Maybe we’ll have a five-email series about how to format your book for Kindle using a few of the tools available (one free, one paid, one DIY, etc.). This is more of a long-term idea at this point.

Exciting Future right?

Hopefully this list gets you excited about the future of Author Stash – I know it makes us excited… and a little overwhelmed. We’ll keep working and we’ll get there eventually.

Here’s to your success… and below is the link to the radio interview. Please check it out.

Ben’s Interview on Dear Texas Radio.