StoryOrigin exploded onto the author scene a few years ago. It has since become one of the larger author platforms for a variety of reasons, even becoming a competitor to established companies like BookFunnel.
But even though StoryOrigin does have features that BookFunnel has, it really is more of its own thing, with a lot of other features that make it stand alone.
You see, the creator of StoryOrigin, Evan Gow, has positioned StoryOrigin to be like the ultimate author assistant, not just helping with cross promotions and the like, but also in scheduling, goal tracking, and more.
So while the list-building and reader magnet delivery features might tempt many to see StoryOrigin as a competitor to BookFunnel, I would almost say that StoryOrigin has differentiated itself enough that there may be reasons where you might even want both.
Let me explain…
- What StoryOrigin is
- A list of its features and their uses
- What it lacks
- My recommendation for authors
Table of contents
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What Is StoryOrigin?
StoryOrigin is essentially a large platform filled with features that assist authors in various time/headache-saving ways.
It started out as a platform for handling the deliver of ebooks like you would have in a reader magnet, but has since grown to include many other time savers, such as:
- Author cross promotion coordination
- Handling ARC reviews and your review team
- Gathering beta copy feedback
- Universal links
- Custom links and a website builder
- A promotions calendar
- Word count tracking
And that’s just a sampling.
In essence, StoryOrigin is designed to be the ultimate assistant for book marketing, i.e. the only place you will need to schedule your marketing efforts, coordinate with other authors, etc.
But does it actually do the job? Continue reading.
StoryOrigin Main Features
So let’s take a look at each of the many features of StoryOrigin. There are actually a lot of these, but they can mostly be categorized into the following:
- Landing Pages
- ARC/Beta Readers
- Miscellaneous (integrations, custom links, etc.)
Promotions form a significant component of the StoryOrigin platform. They center around the concept of group promotions, where you band together with other authors to cross-promote each other's works, effectively pooling your audience reach.
These features are very similar to what you might find on a platform like Book Funnel, which is why many see StoryOrigin as a competitor.
Here are some of the features:
- Creating Group Promotions: StoryOrigin offers flexibility in the creation of these group promotions, accommodating various genres and promotional types. StoryOrigin allows you to arrange a promotion for a Giveaway, a Sale, promoting your book on Kindle Unlimited, seeking Reviews, or even promoting Audiobook Sales and Reviews.
- Joining Group Promotions: Apart from creating your own group promotions, you also have the option to join existing ones. This allows you to collaborate with other authors and leverage their audiences to expand your reach. It provides an avenue to engage with new readers that you might not have accessed through your own networks.
- Newsletter Swaps: StoryOrigin offers a unique feature known as newsletter swaps. This tool allows you to share another author's book with your newsletter subscribers in exchange for them doing the same with their list. It's a fantastic way to cross-pollinate audiences and promote your book to readers who have shown an interest in similar genres. The StoryOrigin provides tools to coordinate these swaps seamlessly with other authors, making the whole process a lot easier.
StoryOrigin is perhaps best described as a way for authors to organize themselves, and I believe this is where its true value lies.
One of the places where this is most evident is in the scheduling features. Here is an overview of what they look like:
- Campaign Planner: This is a a great feature that lets you plot out every newsletter you intend to send. Want to send an email monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, or more frequently? You can schedule all of that out and StoryOrigin will remind you of what you’re sending and when. And promotions or newsletter swaps you’ve scheduled will also be included to make sending the email easy.
- Calendar: The calendar is a really convenient way of visualizing all of the campaigns you’ve planned, the promotions you’re participating in, the swaps you’ve scheduled, and even the swaps where other people will share your book, so
- Goal Trackers: The goal trackers allow you to schedule out your goals and habit trackers for writing, editing, and other goals. This is really useful as it will help you track words, chapters, or even pages, depending on your preference.
3. Landing Pages
StoryOrigin steps beyond the typical features of an author's platform with its landing pages. You can even build a very basic website with a combination of some of these.
Here are the main landing page features:
- Reader Magnets: This feature is designed to help authors build their email list. With reader magnet landing pages, authors can offer a free book (or a sample) in exchange for the reader's email address. If you’ve used Book Funnel before, it will feel very familiar.
- Universal Book/Audio Links: With so many marketplaces available for your book – such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books, and more – a universal book link is extremely helpful. StoryOrigin's universal links make it easy for readers to choose their preferred marketplace, providing a central location that links to all possible platforms where your book is available. There are many other services that offer this kind of service, but it’s nice to know that StoryOrigin also has it.
- Direct Downloads: For readers who have already subscribed to your list, StoryOrigin provides the option for direct downloads. This means your subscribers can download your content without the need for additional sign-ups.
- Book Collections: Authors often offer more than one title, or may have a series they'd like to promote as a package. StoryOrigin's Book Collections feature allows authors to create a list of their offerings or series, making it easy for readers to find all the books from a particular author or series in one place.
- Link Collection: StoryOrigin's Link Collection feature serves as a centralized place for you to gather all your links. This proves especially handy for platforms like TikTok and Instagram, where the bio link is prime real estate. Instead of choosing one link to display, you can use a Link Collection to direct followers to a page that houses all your relevant links.
4. ARC/Beta Readers
Another standout feature of StoryOrigin is the management of ARC (Advance Reader Copies) and beta readers. This is a critical part of any book launch, but it often contains logistical challenges. Many of them.
StoryOrigin has tools that can greatly streamline the process:
- Review Copies: StoryOrigin has a robust system for managing ARC reviewers. Each reviewer gets their own login, and the system tracks who among them actually leaves reviews. This feature enables authors to identify the most reliable reviewers and ensure their future books get prompt and honest feedback. The system also automatically handles follow-ups with reviewers, further simplifying the process and saving the author significant time and effort. I will admit, this is what I use to handle ARC reviewers, and might alone be worth the cost of using StoryOrigin.
- Beta Copies: Beyond just ARC reviewers, StoryOrigin also assists in the process of working with beta readers. This feature allows authors to share a manuscript with their beta readers while keeping the feedback from each reader private. This prevents readers' opinions from being influenced by what others have said. The feedback from beta readers can be sorted by inline comments and end-of-chapter responses, making the entire process easier.
These powerful tools really set StoryOrigin apart from other author services. While StoryOrigin started as a competitor to Book Funnel with its email book delivery and landing pages, I believe it is these features that have really set it apart.
In an age where audio content is gaining significant popularity, StoryOrigin does have a few audio-related features to keep up:
- Audio Review Codes: When you produce an audiobook, platforms like Audible or Findaway Voices often provide you with promotional codes for reviews. StoryOrigin allows you to manage who receives them and tracking those who leave reviews. Similar to the system for ARC reviewers, StoryOrigin automatically handles the follow-up process.
- Universal Audio Links: Much like the Universal Book Links, Universal Audio Links provide a centralized location that links to all platforms where your audiobook is available.
StoryOrigin is lacking in audiobook delivery, as of this writing. But I’ll get to that.
In addition to all of the above, there are a few other features that I thought were cool enough to include in a miscellaneous category. These include:
- Custom Links: This allows you to use a domain/subdomain of your own website to actually display the links and landing pages available. As of this writing, this is a relatively new feature, and one of the coolest that Evan has released recently. This way, it looks to readers like they are downloading a book on your website, rather than through a third-party service.
- Integrations: StoryOrigin is integrated with a TON of email service providers, including: ActiveCampaign, Author.Email, AWeber, ConvertKit, EmailOctopus, MailChimp, MailerLite, SendFox, Sendy.
- Stats: This is a simple and convenient way to view all of your recent reader magnet signups, use of your universal book links, direct downloads, audiobook links, and more.
Features I Would Like to See
StoryOrigin has built an impressive suite of marketing tools for authors. However, two key features are still missing that I wish it had. Adding these capabilities would cement StoryOrigin as the essential all-in-one solution for indie authors.
1. Seamless Direct Book Sales
While StoryOrigin offers numerous options for sharing free books, there is no built-in way to sell your books directly. And while most authors are spending most of their time selling books on Amazon and other retailers, I believe that direct sales are only going to become more important.
An integration with e-commerce platforms like Shopify would enable seamless direct sales.
2. Audiobook Delivery
While StoryOrigin has nice audiobook review tools, there is no way to share audiobook files directly. This misses a big opportunity, as the audiobook market (and direct sales of audiobooks) expands.
Verdict: Should Authors Use StoryOrigin?
StoryOrigin has established itself as a robust marketing platform for indie authors, with a ton of powerful features built to help organize all of an author’s marketing resources.
For the majority of indie authors, StoryOrigin brings huge benefits:
- Saving time: Automation for delivering ARC copies and managing reviews is a massive time saver. The calendar helps you stay organized.
- Expanding reach: Cross-promotions and newsletter swaps help you find new readers. Link collections optimize your social media profiles.
- Centralizing operations: Instead of cobbling together various sites and tools, StoryOrigin brings everything under one roof.
For most authors (and I include the exception below), StoryOrigin can absolutely be your go-to platform.
When to Choose Alternatives
There is one major exception to my recommendation of StoryOrigin, and that is if you are involved in direct sales, especially if this is a major form of your income.
Most authors who sell direct use a platform like Shopify or Woocommerce to do so. And in this case, it’s difficult to integrate the platforms with StoryOrigin. It also doesn’t have any way to ensure audiobook delivery either.
Note: See my article on the best courses to learn how to sell direct. There’s a lot that goes into it, and they all almost universally recommend Book Funnel.
So in this specific case, I would recommend BookFunnel, which seems a lot more geared toward selling direct, but lacks many of the organizational features that StoryOrigin brings.
If you have the funds, you might even want to consider both.