By Emily G. Peters
Here’s a story of a man named Ramzi Hajj—and his determination to give independent authors a shot at success.
Together with web developer wiz Nathan Tyler, the pair founded Storiad: a platform designed to solve marketing woes for writers. The software allows authors (and publishers) to customize bookselling campaigns step-by-step, saving them time, effort and money to get their books into the hands of readers and reviewers.
Initially conceived as a hybrid tech/consulting company, Hajj and Tyler ultimately realized that authors needed something easily automated in order to succeed.
“Writers, at heart (and perhaps temperament!), are not necessarily business people—however, a certain business mindset is required to get a book reviewed, recommended and sold,” said Hajj. “The vast majority of writers are no longer provided marketing and publicity support from their publishers—so unless authors are in the rarified company of a J.K. Rowling or Malcolm Gladwell, authors are responsible for their own bookselling efforts.”
According to Hajj, on average independent authors only sell 250 to 300 copies of their books. Storiad addresses their unique publicity and marketing challenges to boost their bottom line.
“We identified ten distinct jobs every successful publisher and author must undertake to compete in a very crowded market,” explained Tyler, a WordPress expert who launched his own web development agency in 2004. “For each job, we developed corresponding software and database applications to help them develop and manage bookselling campaigns to sell more of their books.” Everything from campaign planning to target market research is included, with new apps for social media management and market intelligence in the works.
With both founders based in the Pasadena area, getting the word out on Storiad has been somewhat of a grassroots effort.
“We’ve hosted Meetup events for local authors, editors, publishers, and publicists at Century Books in Pasadena as well as venues in Los Angeles and Santa Monica,” said Hajj. “Networking is an important component of the authors’ business development and we actively try to facilitate these types of professional connections.”
In development since 2011, Hajj and Tyler have an aggressive three-year goal to become the go-to bookselling software for authors and writers. As they grow, their outlook on the future of indie writers and publishers remains bright.
“Independent authors are courageous entrepreneurs. So much of what’s being published today might never have seen the light of day in the recent past—and that is a wonderful thing,” said Hajj. “We want to help them realize their dreams of reaching as wide a paying readership as possible—and maybe, someday soon—quit that day job to write full time.”