Episode 57 – BitLit, PayPal, and Brand Building

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After Bryan chatted about his Facebook Event product launch, the two troubadours tackled tips on brand building, persistence, and working hard to achieve success. They also discussed news on the federal government e-book program for kids, PayPal’s new digital product endeavor, BitLit’s expanding shelfie technology, the music industry compared to the publishing industry, and the latest on Author Solutions. Bryan and Jim are starting a Patreon campaign (like Kickstarter for podcasts), and they want your help to figure out what bonus content to give their followers. This week’s Question of the Week: What bonus content would you like us to provide as pledges on Patreon?
What You’ll Learn: 
  • How Bryan’s Facebook product launch went
  • Why you should start building your brand now
  • The importance of persistence
  • Why you need to work hard if you want success
  • How mobile technology will help kids read
  • Why you shouldn’t worry about PayPal’s new endeavor
  • What it means to take a shelfie
  • How the transformation of the music industry compares to publishing
  • The latest in David Gaughran’s Author Solutions report
Question of the Week: What bonus content would you like us to provide as pledges on Patreon?

get show updates

  • Here’s my screenshot from bitlit. I did one shelf. It found all the books, but only two were “eligible”.

    • Bryan

      Cool, I’ve gotta try mine.

    • I’m going to stick my neck out and say… the reason those books are even still on your shelf isn’t for office decor. They’re on your shelf for convenience (quick reference) and you don’t read the digital version.

      Some books just need to be laid flat next to your keyboard, broken spine, folded corners for bookmarks (or paper clips in my case), and its the digital version in your comp that never gets read.

      • Bryan

        Jim loves office decor.

      • Jacob Williams

        I’ll be honest and admit I leave them there to give myself a false sense of being intellectual.

        Praise to the first lawyer who has an empty bookshelf behind them. The whole commercial is just them showing you how good they are at Google search.

      • I totally prefer hard-copies over digital when it comes to reference books!

    • I’m wondering how much the author is getting out of the deal? Or is the discount coming out of his or her’s cut?

      • Bryan

        Most of these are trad-pub, so they’re probably not seeing much.

  • Lavie Margolin

    Since I live in New York, I hope the conference works out for October/November!

    • Bryan


  • “My butler for a day” is a good start when it comes to bonus content on patreon

    • Bryan

      Glad to know you’re taking this question SERIOUSLY, Roland ;).

  • It helps to take a bunch of Shelfies because we don’t have every book yet. That way, you might find a few more eligible books.

    Thanks for trying the app and talking about it on the show. Cheers!

    • Bryan

      Sure thing, BL!

  • There was an article in the International Business Times a few weeks ago about 21% of Millenials
    accessing the internet exclusively on their smartphone.

    The article also sights a statistic showing Americans using a smartphone or tablet for 60% of their “digital media time” instead of using a desktop.

    Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/1-5-millennials-access-internet-exclusively-through-mobile-devices-1880194

    There was a similar Pew study recently, but I can’t find it anymore. I know the pew study showed smartphone and tablet use was much higher among low-income households and minorities. I imagine this number is going up, since there are several initiatives to give tablets to students in low-income school districts. I think those are the stats pushing for the new library initiatives.

    All of that said, I don’t write YA, but I would definitely give my books to a library app for free reads. Kids who start out reading keep reading. It only grows the market and builds a dedicated reader list. I think we all know giving a book away in exchange for a lifelong reader is a no-brainer.

    • Bryan

      I would definitely do the same.

  • Oh, I forgot to answer the question of the week.

    I’m going to need a Dancing Jim Screensaver.

  • Nick Marsden

    I did an internet search for “I love author solutions”. The first few hits were the Author Solutions Website, then Glassdoor.com (regarding working for Author Solutions), followed by news articles about the lawsuits against author solutions. LOL

    • Bryan

      Did you try, “I luv author solutions” or “I <3 author solutions?" May come up with more.

      • Jim was preaching to the choir on that segment. But it was definitely entertaining to hear him reading off the complaints on the BBB site. 🙂

  • Not interested in a shelfies at all, but that’s because I went digital about 6 years ago. I have a few encyclopedias and other reference texts left here. One or two big hard back series that I never open anymore like Robert Jordan WOT and David Weber’s Honor Harrington still grace my shelf.

    I have a fantastic and expensive hardback called The Encyclopedia of the Sword too, but most of my beloved book collection was donated to the library years ago, and from there went to landfill. Our Government has been cutting things to the bone for the last 5 years. Libraries were one of the first services to go, but all is not lost they say, you can turn the building into a pound shop (thrift store).


    Regarding PayPal, maybe this will allow people who want to sell direct from their website to get around the stupid EU VAT MOSS system? I have no idea, but it sounds a possibility. If PayPal does all the collection and documenting of buyer location and VAT.

    Mark E. Cooper

    • Bryan

      Good point on the VAT, Mark.

      I still need to take my Shelfie!

  • Thomas Diehl

    Not exactly an extra, but I had an idea on show length: Like many people, finding an hour to listen to a show in one sitting can be a challenge in some weeks. How about making the sections (News, Tips of the Week) separate files so listeners can listen to it in shorter bursts? It’s not specific to the SMBS, it’s something that has driven me off listening to podcasts for some time now, but your show is done in a way that would make that easily possible.

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Thomas. This is a tough one, because there are also those who would really hate having to listen to things in 3 parts. I guess this is one of those situations when you can’t please everybody. Appreciate having you as a listener :).

      • Thomas Diehl

        Quite alright, the show is well worth listening to even if sometimes I have to skip a week and get through two shows the next. Glad I found it.

  • Gregory Lynn

    I think y’all misread the Author Solutions post. It’s not the corporate partners whose targets are so high, it’s individual employees.

    An individual employee working for Author Solutions has a $20k target. An individual employee at one of the partners has a $40k quota. And there are different levels of quotas for different job titles.

    • Bryan

      Ah, my mistake. Thanks.

  • I would definitely support you guys on Patreon, even if you didn’t offer extras. With that being said, I would adore a monthly (or once-every-two-months) list of the tips, like the 75 you offer for subscribing. It was very handy to go through that.

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Jillianne! That’s so kind of you.

  • Daniel Martone

    Really, the content you are already providing is more than enough, but if you really wanted to, you could simply update the tips pdf… boost it up from the top 75 tips to the top 100.

    • Bryan

      Ooh, good idea for our first milestone, Daniel. Thanks!

  • Honoree Corder

    I would definitely support you on Patreon with no extras. I look forward to the show each week, you definitely make my late-week early morning workouts go by faster! Cheers!

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Honoree!

  • Jacob Williams

    A comments show. If you reach a certain level of pledges you will have another podcast where you read all the comments from the previous episode.

    • Bryan

      Cool idea!

  • I want to echo Jim’s comment about low-income families and technology. I see it all the time, so many low-income families who barely have food, clothes, or shelter will have the latest and greatest i-device. It’s crazy, and I don’t understand it. Priorities are all over the place. So yes, I think there are many low-income kids out there who will have access to these ebook resources via mobile, if it goes forward. Whether or not they would be encouraged to use these resources is another story. But the access is there.