We've got Larry, creator of Voracious Readers Only, on deck for this episode! VRO, as it's shortened, helps readers and up-and-coming authors connect. Readers get free access to books, and authors have a chance to broaden their audience. It's a great way to discover new authors, get free books, and help authors grow. We cover the creation of VRO, a deep dive into marketing and tactics, and how Larry has balanced a full-time job with creating an online, impactful business.
For Voracious Readers Only (and free books), check out https://voraciousreadersonly.com/.
For show notes and more, head on over to Dead by Tomorrow!
[00:00:00] Daniel: Hi guys, welcome to dead by tomorrow interviews. My name is Daniel winter and my co-host is Andrew Monroe. As we explore different topics that are worth thinking about today, we want to bring in guests to share their own unique perspectives. We hope you enjoy hearing from our guests as much as we enjoy talking to them.
[00:00:17] Andrew: Hey guys. Welcome back to another episode. We've got something a little different for you today. I've got Larry Franek with me. He is the founder creator owner. I don't even know what the right title is for, voracious readers, which this is something that I actually personally use and love, uh, before this sounds like it's like a, a sales kind of thing though.
[00:00:39] Andrew: We'll explain a little bit more about just readers down the road. , the short version is for you readers out. It's a place where you can get free books and like there's no catches or anything. We, you know, I think Larry prefers that there's a trade out of honest reviews for the books that you're getting.
[00:00:55] Andrew: But, uh, it's, it's a pretty, pretty chill, really cool resource for anybody who's, you know, trying to catch some of those new and upcoming books and also save some money and still get your, you know, your reading. Needs met without spending, , an arm and a leg at Barnes and noble. So Larry, welcome onto this show.
[00:01:14] Andrew: Thank you so much for making time. I know we were just talking about some of your to-do list and everything like that, but before we get into your day to day life, do you kind of wanna give a breakdown on what you think were racist readers means to people how your helping the world out, at least us authors and readers, and, you know, kind of give us a little bit about you.
[00:01:34] Larry: Sure. Okay. So my name is Larry Franek. I've my background is in marketing. I've I've mainly worked in healthcare and small business marketing for the last, , 24 years. , I started voracious readers only, I believe in 2017 tail end of 2017. , To, um, my, my wife was writing a book and, you know, we were looking at all the resources online about, you know, how to do the author thing.
[00:02:03] Larry: And, um, you know, every website you come across, they'll all say, well, you gotta build your email list. And, uh, they don't really tell you how to do that. And, , you know, in, in my experience, I, I found that, You know, it could get pretty pricey with, , advertising on things like Facebook or Instagram. If you're trying to build an email list for one person, you know, for one genre.
[00:02:26] Larry: , and it didn't really make a lot of sense for, you know, authors to. Do that on their own. And so, uh, while she was writing her book, , I was trying to figure out, well, you know, what's, what's the way that veracious read or one let's come up with a name. So we came up with veracious readers only, , cuz it kind of.
[00:02:45] Larry: It kind of pinpoints kind of person we're looking for. We're looking for that person who just reads like 1, 2, 3, 4 books a week. They just tear through 'em. They love, they love reading new authors. , they love being the person who tells their friends that they found this [00:03:00] new author. They gotta check out this book.
[00:03:02] Larry: You know, that's not the standard fair you might find at Barnes and noble, , or whatever bookstores near you. , And so, uh, we came up with some ideas at first. , first thing we had to get a list of readers. , so came up with the marketing campaign on Facebook and started running it. And then low and behold people were signing up.
[00:03:22] Larry: Even though the website I put up was super ugly, cuz I wasn't really good at web design yet. And. I was getting a lot of readers signed up. And so once I got to about 150, I started contacting some authors who just put out books on smash words, , like in the last week and basically said, Hey, I got this list of readers.
[00:03:42] Larry: I looking to do book giveaways. , what we do is if a reader requests a book, , You'll you'll get their email address. So you can add 'em to your list and keep in touch with them and they get the book and then we'll follow up with them. And hopefully they enjoy the book. We'll encourage them to review it.
[00:03:59] Larry: And, um, I didn't really get much resistance from authors and, uh, so, you know, way we went after a while. , I got so backed up with authors who had signed up that I just stopped all author outreach because they were finding me from the reader ADSS. And, um, so I mean, like I haven't, I haven't reached out to an author in like four years now.
[00:04:25] Larry: , but, uh, you know, they, they still come through and, and once we had that going with, you know, we had to figure out some way to, , Monetize it and, uh, and business speak. Um, and so we came up with this called the evergreen program and what that did was authors can sign up and then their book is offered to new readers who sign up for V O um, at some point after they sign up.
[00:04:51] Larry: And so when a reader signs up, they start getting a lot of offers for books that are, um, Of interest to them. And, um, we recently switched to a new platform because the, the one we were using, uh, it just started kind of not working as well. So I had to shut down the whole business for a couple months and move over to a new setup.
[00:05:14] Larry: And, uh, when we did that transition, , gave me the ability to make some changes and one change that, um, I did, and I. Really works out is instead of being very broad in genres, we, we kind of broke 'em down a bit more. So instead of just choosing fantasy, maybe you're choosing like dark fantasy and urban fantasy or epic fantasy or coming of age, young adult, middle grade fantasy.
[00:05:42] Larry: , and you know, that way you could tailor your taste a little bit more and you'll get offers that are a bit more specific to what you're looking for. Um, and, um, that seems to be working pretty well. , cuz you know, one, one issue that we were kind of running into is you get readers who just sign up, choose a bunch of genres and they're like, Hey, I'm getting too many [00:06:00] offers.
[00:06:00] Larry: It's like, , well you chose every genre. And so,
[00:06:03] Andrew: a problem to have too many books.
[00:06:06] Larry: Yeah. So, yeah, so, you know, we we've think we've got that fixed. , and, uh, you know, we also found that, , you know, a lot of, a lot of readers who responded. They may, they may not have ever side loaded a book onto their Kindle or, or, you know, tablet or whatever they're using.
[00:06:25] Larry: And so, you know, we put together a quick guide to show 'em how to do it. And then, uh, we also ran into readers, wanted to review books, but they didn't really know how to do it. And so, , we figured out that Amazon in good. , they do have like these kind of shortcut links you can create that, take your right to the review screen.
[00:06:46] Larry: So in our follow up emails, , readers, click a page, it goes to a page or link. It goes to a page on our website that has those links for that particular book. And it makes that process a bit easier for them.
[00:06:59] Andrew: Well, and those are hard to find those little short codes to get to the review. , Google does the same way for like a business profile. Um, they don't make, 'em easy to find
[00:07:08] Larry: Oh, the goo the Google one is like impossible. I don't know. I don't know how a regular business owner's supposed to do that.
[00:07:14] Andrew: I don't think you can't like, unless someone tells you like, Hey, you need to go Google, how to find this thing. , if you're not hiring a marketer, I. And a marker who actually carries, you know, a lot of people out there that do marketing are like, Hey, gimme your money. I'll, I'll do some Canva designs and we'll call it quits.
[00:07:29] Andrew: But, , you know, actually finding that Google short tag, or, you know, the Amazon short tag or it's just, they hide them and they are not. And, and I get it. They, these. Bigger corporations. They're not looking to help the author or the business necessarily their entire focus is the consumer. And whenever you're looking at it from a consumer perspective, you're like, yes, absolutely.
[00:07:50] Andrew: That should help be how it is. We don't want people manipulating, you know, book reviews and, you know, gaming the system because they've got a marketing background, but they're crap at writing books. but still it's one of those things, make it a little easier for people trying to get a leg up on this kind of stuff. I I'm sorry I interrupted you there. , but let me ask you a couple questions. You've had a couple things that popped up. Um, let me see how many you can handle at once. We'll see, sorry about this is a bad habit of mine. So your wife wrote a, or was attempting to write a book, , and then you had to the platform that you came from and you went to first, did your wife.
[00:08:22] Andrew: Managed to write her book. And how did it do and everything, or is she still in the process? And then second, um, purely from a marketing standpoint or, you know, at the back end, what platform were you on and what did you swap to? And was it just the genres or what was the hold up there that was making you like, Hey, I'm gonna shut my, you know, business down for three months.
[00:08:43] Larry: Sure. So, uh, the wife, yes. Uh, she wrote, she wrote the book. Uh, she ended up writing the trilogy, um, and you know, we, we had her book was the, uh, prototype, , book for VR O offers for a bit. And we got her over a [00:09:00] hundred reviews on Amazon and, and, uh, I think over a hundred on good reads too. Um, did good. Uh, she's working on a new book.
[00:09:10] Larry: She's working on a new book right now. Um, and we'll see what, what happens with that? Um, the, um, the platform I had used before was keep, or also known as Infusionsoft. I, I I'd use them for, you know, since 2009 for other business purposes. Um, and. We were kinda getting to a situation with them where, , the delivery was starting to be not good.
[00:09:38] Larry: Um, we had a whole, I think we had like a whole six week period where they couldn't deliver to a Yahoo email address or anything owned by Verizon. Um, and we were also run some issues, you know, when each, each book is a separate campaign in,
[00:09:56] Andrew: Uhhuh.
[00:09:57] Larry: in their system. So as you imagine, if, if I'm doing. Four books a day for several years.
[00:10:03] Larry: , I end up with thousands of active campaigns cuz even after, you know, the initial giveaway for our book's done, um, the campaign still exists in their system. In case somebody clicks the link and they gotta get told, you know, it's already over. Um, and so, um, I think their system just wasn't able to kind of hold, keep up with it and their, their, their.
[00:10:26] Larry: um, processes were just dropping the ball and, and readers wouldn't move to the next step in a sequence. And, um, you know, it just kind of ended up being, uh, a situation where, it was costing me more money to, to stay . So, um, I was like, I, I gotta get to a new platform. And, and so I ended up, uh, I did, I looked at a lot of different things.
[00:10:51] Larry: I ended up settling on active campaign and, um, well, still not perfect. I mean, there's never gonna be like the perfect thing,
[00:11:01] Andrew: No,
[00:11:01] Larry: it's custom for you, but, uh, they're pretty good. Um, I like it. Uh, one kind of problem that we've run into with them is their delivery is actually a bit, a lot better than infusion and, um, So, you know, with infusion, I'd have an idea about how many readers to offer a book, to, to, you know, net the, the 20 or whatever, how many books we were given away.
[00:11:26] Larry: And, um, the active campaign thing we branded to is the delivery was so be so much better that, you know, instead of 20 readers requesting that book, we might have had like 40 or 50. And so you got a lot of readers that are kind of miffed that. I only got an email 12 hours ago and it's already closed. And, , so we're, we're, we're working through that now, trying to just figure out a better, um, better idea about, you know, who to offer books to, to, you know, get what we promise the authors, but don't wanna disappoint too many readers.
[00:11:57] Andrew: Man. I, it is tough. What you said about [00:12:00] it, these platforms you're never gonna find one. Perfect. Um, it's, it is so hard to even find one that works as well as it sounds like active campaigns working for you because there's so many of these CRMs out there and. They, you know, they don't want just one customer because nobody's running a business, looking for one customer, it'd be wild.
[00:12:20] Andrew: If you were like, Hey, I'm gonna, you know, start for reach voracious readers only. And I just want one person that I'm gonna send books to. Like, it obviously doesn't make sense. So they have to be generic and kind of broad with what they're offering. And that is what I spend and what seems like 50% of my day, every day now is at my full-time job, working on our CRM, trying to you.
[00:12:42] Andrew: Hey guys, this is the work around to make what you want to do. So that's cool though, that y'all y'all were able to make that swap that's it's kind of a bold move to take something that's mostly working and be willing to roll the dice on what I assume was probably a more expensive option on top of everything and all of the work that goes into that transition process.
[00:13:03] Larry: You know what outside of, outside of the, um, the, the learn, you know, cuz when you're moving to a new platform, you kind of go through an accelerated learning process to figure it out. Um, cuz first you have, you have to like watch, I mean, in my case I'm like reading the documentation and watching videos on YouTube.
[00:13:21] Larry: Just trying to get a sense of like, can this do what I need? Cuz I gotta call a salesperson and ask the right questions. And
[00:13:27] Andrew: right.
[00:13:27] Larry: , you know, the salesperson. You know, if you don't ever ask the right questions, they're to, and be very specific about what you're looking for. You know, they'll say whatever, whatever it takes to get the sale, you know, so, um, you know, they'll fix it in post.
[00:13:43] Larry: , and, uh, and so, you know, I, there, I end up, it was between two. , and, uh, I went with active campaign. The other one I was looking at, , was Kar.
[00:13:53] Andrew: Uhhuh.
[00:13:54] Larry: and, , I really like that platform. , it's just the, the, the actual process of when I reader requests a book and the email has to go to the author to let them know, , it got to be a bit complicated and,
[00:14:08] Andrew: Oh, yeah, I imagine
[00:14:10] Larry: I didn't wanna, they'd have to make every author would have to be a user so, yeah, yo it's obviously gonna do that.
[00:14:17] Andrew: I actually use card for myself and that's, that is one of the problems with, is I have a lot of emails kicked out to different people and. I basically made up user accounts with those emails and locked out these quote unquote users from their own account, because I was like, well, would like this person to receive emails here.
[00:14:33] Andrew: They're not coming into my Kartra CRM. Like they're, I'm just not gonna let 'em in. There's no way. So it's a pain. I really like Kartra as a individual, I couldn't imagine trying to use it. , and what you're talking about, that was probably a good choice on your part.
[00:14:48] Larry: Yeah. And there's another platform. I use it, I use it in my, uh, in my regular day to day job, um, called big mailer. And it is awesome for doing big [00:15:00] mass bulk email campaigns, cuz it, it works at the Amazon SES platform and. Just, it's just dynamite for that. It'd be terrible for voracious readers only, but for like, you know, doing massive blasts of like hundreds of thousands of people.
[00:15:17] Larry: , it's, it's perfect. , I wish I could have used it. , maybe someday they'll add some functionality and I could switch over, but,
[00:15:23] Andrew: have to check that out. I it's painful finding something that sends large amounts of emails without you just immediately getting punched in the face by, uh, all the different things out there that don't like you doing that.
[00:15:36] Larry: Yeah, the Amazon SES. Platform's pretty awesome. , it's just, you have to have some, you have to use something that, that interfaces with it.
[00:15:43] Andrew: Well, I was about to say, I've, I've jumped in and like it's I was gonna say you have to be kind of technical to be playing in there, but I guess if you get like a third party interface, then that would probably work for you too.
[00:15:53] Larry: yeah, big, big
[00:15:54] Andrew: because otherwise good luck
[00:15:56] Larry: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Amazon's not user friendly at all. I, I try to
[00:16:00] Andrew: it's
[00:16:00] Larry: set. I tried to set up Amazon, , payments as an option for authors to sign up and just use pay with Amazon, their Amazon account. And, uh, it's so it's so terribly complex and confusing. I, I just gave up on it and it was like, I'll just do PayPal.
[00:16:17] Andrew: You know what they can figure this out. Then they got this. Well, I get it. , so I, I like the switch that you did. It seemed, uh, obviously the downtown was wild, but, or not wild, but like it was noticeable. Like I could see that I had this. Drop and traffic on my emails that I get from your, you know, uh, campaigns where I was like, oh, they really are down.
[00:16:40] Andrew: So then, you know, as soon as you're like, Hey, it's spun back up there. They worried, I get, you know, just a couple people and it has been, and this, this is my shadow. This is my, myself to anybody who is either an author or reader on voracious readers only. , so I've been using it for probably a couple years.
[00:16:55] Andrew: , Larry, you don't know this? I think most of the listeners, unless they're new, uh, know this already, but I have a marketing background as well. I did basically the same thing that your wife did, but I didn't have a, you know, a spouse that was gonna take care of me on the marketing front. So I tried to do both writing and marketing and I spent all the money and, you know, you made a good choice that you can drop some cash on ad spend and get very, very little results from it.
[00:17:20] Andrew: So I've tried all these different things, tried all these different campaigns and all this different stuff. And as an author for voracious, readers only has been one of the only consistent. , entities out there. I don't, I'm not even gonna call it platform. It, anything, you know, socials, uh, word of mouth dropping, business carts and coffee shops, ads spend anything that you choose from any kind of campaign.
[00:17:43] Andrew: voracious readers only has been the only consistent thing where I have seen real people actually show up in my inbox for my books. So it it's been phenomenal for that. And on top of it, like as a reader, I just can't imagine a better platform for [00:18:00] you where you, obviously, we all like the new best sellers.
[00:18:02] Andrew: There's a reason they're best sellers. They have huge. You know, budgets to make these books really good. It's just like Netflix, like a Netflix show is going to be really well done, but getting that chance to kind of help young authors and new authors and, you know, obviously probably little bit more rough around the edges on the writing.
[00:18:20] Andrew: , at least in my case, I'm gonna pick on myself there. , I'm definitely not on the Stephen King level, but you're getting to read these books that. Are just, you're never gonna see 'em more than likely. And if you do, it's gonna be so far down the road that it's, I don't know, to me, it's really cool that you're able to get these opportunities as a reader, so early on.
[00:18:42] Andrew: And you know, maybe most of us don't go anywhere down the road, but it's a great platform. I love what you're doing. So there's, there's my sales pitch for anybody listening. , there, you got through it. , it wasn't so bad, but , and Larry didn't pay me anything to say that.
[00:18:56] Larry: Yeah. You know, um, yeah, I, I do like the aspect of, , you know, you're definitely gonna find readers that you would, you're not gonna come across in a bookstore. , and not necessarily cuz you know, there's , You know, it's not a good book. I mean, I mean, they, they could, they could run the gamut. I mean, there's, there's, uh, I wor I, most of the breeder, the books we promote are, , independent authors.
[00:19:17] Larry: Uh, we do, we have done some, , the small and we've had we've. We did one for a major publisher, , and I think got snapped up real quick. You know, in most cases, you know, the, the authors we're working with are, you know, they take their craft very seriously and they're hiring a lot of the same editors that, you know, the big publishing houses use.
[00:19:36] Larry: Cuz I, you know, most people don't know this, but um, the, the people editing the big, the books coming out in the bookstore. Um, the editors don't work for that publisher. a lot of times they're just freelance and they, they live in Utah or something. Um, and you can hire those same people. And, uh, you know, just cuz the books traditionally published doesn't mean that it even had good editing.
[00:19:59] Larry: Uh, you know, it's had a friend told me they were, they were reading the gold fi, which it went like the Pulitzer, I think.
[00:20:05] Andrew: yeah. Huge, huge
[00:20:07] Larry: it went some stuff and uh, there's there was a part where the character was in Las Vegas. And then they went back to New York and it rained. And they were like, oh, it's been years since they saw rain.
[00:20:17] Larry: Well, obviously the person who wrote the book and the person who edited the book have never been to Las Vegas because it rains there. And when it rains, you remember cuz you get flash floods and um, you know, it's so like, um,
[00:20:32] Andrew: that happened this weekend. Uh, one of the casinos is flooded right now because of a storm that came through, um, over on Fremont street. They, they have flooding in Vegas.
[00:20:41] Larry: Oh, yeah, yeah. It all the time there, if, if I used to live there and, uh, you, you drive around and there's these things called detention basins. They're size of like a city block and they're like 40, 50 feet deep. And, um, they're just there. So when it rains, all the water goes there and there's all these tunnels that go around Las Vegas [00:21:00] and, , you know, cause they, they have a, when it, when it rains, it pours there.
[00:21:05] Andrew: Yeah,
[00:21:05] Larry: You'll get an alert on your phone, like, Hey, flash, flood worn, and go home. and then like, depending on where you live, you might not be able to leave your house for the day because the
[00:21:13] Andrew: you're stuck.
[00:21:14] Larry: subsided.
[00:21:15] Andrew: Well, and when you dry like that, that's what happens. The water's like, Hey, it doesn't get absorbed by anything. It just bounces and starts running downhill. So how, how did you end up in, , Tacoma then if you were living in Vegas? That's a bit, I mean, not a huge jump, but kind of a jump.
[00:21:31] Larry: Well, so, uh, I grew up in California, , and my wife and I, we, we, um, we lived in the bay area and she went to school there and I grew up there. And, , you, I don't, I don't know if, if you've been Northern California, but the real estate prices are ridiculous. so it's like, you it's like, well, I'm not gonna buy a million dollar, you know, terrible house.
[00:21:52] Larry: So I gotta, I gotta go somewhere else. And so, uh, Las Vegas seemed like a good. A good place to try out. , cuz you know, it's relatively close, , to my family and her family and uh, no state income tax. So it's like getting a raise. Uh, we, we both work from home and so, , you know, uh, so it's like getting a raise, you know, you go to a place where you're paying 12% taxes, 0%.
[00:22:16] Larry: Um, and then the real estate prices were yeah, the real estate prices were cheap and, and so we lived there for a couple years and. The thing that kind of got us was the, , it's very dry in Las Vegas. , and you don't smell anything after a while. Like you just, there's just no smell. , and, uh, when you, you don't really even realize it until you go somewhere else where they have moisture in the air, you know, I could smell trees.
[00:22:42] Larry: And so, you know, after a couple years we were just like, you. Kind of done with this? Um, I think before we moved the last month we were there, it was over a hundred degrees every day for a month. And like, even at night it never dipped below. It was just unbearable. Even with like two air conditioning systems.
[00:23:01] Larry: It was like, you can't can't do it. So, you know, we looked at other places and all right, well, let's try Washington. And, um, you know, they have green, you could smell things and. We thought the rain might be an issue, but, , we, we came out here and stayed a week and checked it out and it turned out like, um, when you watch movies like the ring and it shows like the Seattle area, it's just always a suppressive, dark thick rain.
[00:23:29] Larry: Um, that's not really what you get. Um, rain Northwest is very, it's like a mist and, um, you know, you, you're not gonna use an umbrella and, uh, and, um, We've been here, I think six years now. , but I don't know. Might end up moving again. Who knows?
[00:23:48] Andrew: That's funny, you mentioned the umbrella thing. So I, you know, when we were exchanging emails about this, I had told you I'd just been in the Tacoma Seattle area. And so I was up there for a, a conference actually for SEO and it was [00:24:00] a blast, but I had brought my girlfriend up there and we went on one of the little, you know, boat tours because we're tourists and.
[00:24:08] Andrew: They made this joke that, , nobody used umbrellas and that, , the thing, you know, if they saw somebody, you know, what do you call person using umbrella? , it's a tourist. And I was like, that's so weird. Like if it rains, I've obviously using an umbrella, why would you not use an umbrella? But they didn't give the background that it wasn't like a heavy rain, that it was this Misty thing.
[00:24:25] Andrew: So it was gorgeous though. I, I see why you'd wanna be up there. Beautiful weather loved it. Didn't get any rain, but maybe it
[00:24:33] Larry: Well,
[00:24:33] Andrew: week.
[00:24:34] Larry: Well, I think you missed out on the first, like seven months of the year where it like, uh, like the beginning of this year, cause of the Linia was just awful. Like it, it either rained or snowed like every day for like, till the end of June it was, it was just terrible. And it was like, you know, I have all this like stuff to do around the house.
[00:24:55] Larry: Like you couldn't do like, you know, I need to like paint a deck. I need to like do stuff in the patio. I need to have like part of my roof done and. It's just like, it's like, just stop raining for a minute, you know but now, now we're like getting the worst rate, cuz now we're in like a heat wave and you know, the other thing with Pacific Northwest is people don't have air conditioning.
[00:25:12] Larry: And so like, , you know, like this past couple days was worse than anything I had in Las Vegas. like, I can't even sleep in my bedroom right now. Cause it's so hot. I'm sleeping downstairs.
[00:25:24] Andrew: Do you not have air conditioning at your, residence?
[00:25:28] Larry: No, nobody has air conditioning here.
[00:25:30] Andrew: That is so, so I'm down in the desert in Amarillo. So the air conditioning, it's a must and hell it breaks. And they, you know, Hey, I need this fixed today. And like, yeah, of course you do. We'll be out there. It's gonna be really expensive. But like, we have a team on standby because we don't wanna be responsible for you dying.
[00:25:48] Andrew: So
[00:25:50] Larry: Yeah. Yeah. You know, I mean, I think maybe some of the newer communities might have air conditioning built in just cuz you have a lot of people moving from California who expect it. But you know, I live in, I live in north Tacoma. It's like an older part of town and yeah, just air conditioning, just wasn't a thing.
[00:26:05] Larry: And uh, and generally you don't need it. , you know, you only have like one or two hot days a year. You just get through it. , I mean, I have, I have a fireplace and I have a, I have a, a, a, a GA a, uh, a furnace up, up in the attic. So like, when it comes wintertime I'm equipped, but yeah, summertime, uh, no, no AC
[00:26:25] Andrew: How strange same country, just wildly different lifestyles. also before I forget, cause I meant to ask you early and it already slipped on my head, so I know it'll happen again. What was the book series that your wife wrote? I'd love to check it out and, you know, throw it in the show notes,
[00:26:43] Larry: Oh, yeah, it was called, , I think it's called the Eloy trilogy
[00:26:46] Andrew: Lloyd trilogy. Okay. I'll put it in.
[00:26:48] Larry: the, uh, first book is called, uh, Eloy discovery.
[00:26:54] Andrew: And also I'm really glad you got it. I didn't mean to put you on the spot, like wins your anniversary. And you're like, oh, I can't remember my [00:27:00] wife's book. And that would've been, not nice of me. So, sorry for not warning you. I was gonna ask you that beforehand. so thank you.
[00:27:06] Larry: oh yeah, yeah, this is yeah. Well, I was, I was trying to visualize the cover and, um, I have a print of the cover, like hanging in the house, but without the words on it, just the image . So I was like trying to remember what, what the words looked.
[00:27:20] Andrew: got a picture. I can send you a picture. . So what has been your favorite part about voracious reason? Obviously I have a part or a full time job and we'll get to that too. But before I ask you that question, I'll try and break myself to this bad habit. What's been your favorite thing as you've grown voracious readers.
[00:27:37] Larry: , yeah, I'd say like my, my favorite thing is, , Uh, I I'd say it's when, um, I forward an author, like a really kick ass review, cuz you know, some, some readers, you know, we give them tip, we give tips on how to write reviews. , and um, You know, one of the things we say is like, you know, don't, you're not writing a book report. , the author doesn't like it, the readers don't like it, you know, it doesn't, it's not, it's ultimately not helpful, but like when you get like the, uh, the reviews of like, I'm exhausted right now, cause I just stayed up all night reading this book and uh, I'm gonna kill the author because the Sequel's not gonna come out for three months.
[00:28:19] Larry: , I, I love. And I know, I know the authors love them cause I I'll get, I'll get notes from authors sometimes when they respond to that, you know, and they're like, I'm in tears. and uh, you know, that's pretty awesome. I like, , also the, uh, think this might be more of like a small business kind of thing is the, , figuring out systems to handle handle, Kind of like the things you don't like doing, , you know, there's always so many hours in a day. And so, , the more that I can delegate out the better and. , so it's kind of figuring out like the, like a process map to walk, walk somebody through like how to, how to process reviews or how to set up a book giveaway.
[00:29:00] Larry: , I think that, I, I think when you nail it, nail that that's, it's super neat feeling. , cuz I mean, you're kind of multiplying your, your, , effectiveness by being able to do that. And there's a, there's always this like. Audio, that kind of plays in my head. There's a guy named rich Sheron. , he's, uh, I think he's, he's still around, but he was like, he was like really big, like 20 years ago.
[00:29:22] Larry: And, um, his big thing was on teaching business owners, , processes. , and one of the things he said was if, if you can't describe what you're doing as a process, you have no idea what you're doing. And, , And like, you know, I, I take that to heart of, you know, you know, I've got, I've gotta figure out like, you know, when I, when I'm thinking through like how to, how to handle this, this particular situation, , you know, there's gotta be a way to make a flow chart out of it and pass that off to somebody else.
[00:29:52] Larry: So they can, they can take that over. , and. It's always awesome when you get it right. And it sucks when you get it like [00:30:00] half, right. And you gotta go back and fix it, but,
[00:30:02] Andrew: you gotta climb that hill again.
[00:30:05] Larry: where you change platforms. You have to redo everything
[00:30:08] Andrew: Yep. That's just life. I.
[00:30:11] Larry: but yeah, I mean, I think, I think that's great cuz you know, as much as, , you know, the idea of being like the one man band, um, appeals to a lot of people, um, It is nice when you're able to get people on board to, to help out take care of that day to day stuff.
[00:30:27] Larry: So you could focus on, um, you know, doing things to make the business more effective or grow the business, or just have free time to do other things
[00:30:38] Larry: cuz you know, with any. any business, uh, if you let it, it'll suck up all your hours. So
[00:30:44] Andrew: Yeah, that is that's good advice for anybody that's wanting to do anything. , it really does. And it keeps you up at night. You and you just grind and you grind and years leave down the road. You're like, wow. How, how did I spend so much time? Um, So, but you had mentioned right before we hit the record button that you were wanting to hire people, you were looking at hiring people, but it sounds like you've also got a few people going on.
[00:31:09] Andrew: So what does your staff look like? What does like the growth look like? Are you trying to bring in full-timers or is it volunteers or interns? Like how does the back end of this work for you? Especially since you have a full-time job and how do you balance the two.
[00:31:22] Larry: yeah. , so yeah, full-time job, you know, obviously that's your nine to five or, , and, , yeah, advantage of, of working from home is the lack of a commute. And so, you know, I, I literally start work at eight and, and then I'm done at nine or at five. , and then. currently I have, um, a virtual assistant who handles the, um, the book setups.
[00:31:50] Larry: Um, and, and I think I might have to, I'm gonna have to bring somebody else on to handle reviews, um, just because, um, I don't want to over, I don't want to overload somebody where they're spending, you know, On average 40 hours a week, you know, just doing the basic stuff. Um, just cuz you need, you know, you do need a little, little buffer in there.
[00:32:16] Larry: , you know, if you have like a project or something for them to work on where they have time to do it or something happens or they gotta be out of town or they get COVID or who knows? Um, so yeah, I'm, I'll be bringing something on to handle the review aspect of it. Um, cuz we do like to, Keep track of review so that we could get 'em to the authors and turn off our follow up emails.
[00:32:36] Larry: So we're not continuously asking the reader to review the book. Um, and, um, so I think ultimately I'll probably up with three people, um, kind of running this show. Um, and then I just hand I'll, I'll just be handling, uh, just the weird stuff that comes up and, and setting up some, um, [00:33:00] New one-off stuff as it comes up.
[00:33:02] Larry: , cuz most I I'm, I'm taking the idea of now everything I do is, , to try to figure out like make sure there's there's some system that it could be. Could be used, even if it's something where I'm, I'm making like decisions, like, , you know, I, I do the weekly, , publishing report for authors and, um, or I, I give them links to these articles that I think might be interesting to them on different aspects of, of publishing and, and writing.
[00:33:29] Larry: And, um, you know, I'm, I'm starting to trying to think it through of like, well, if I had somebody doing this. You know, what, what would they be, look, what would, what should they be looking for to think if this is gonna be good to share or not share, , you know, just cuz I can't do it or, or whatever. , and, uh, I'm not there yet, but I'm still working on that one.
[00:33:50] Larry: But , you know, I've, I've found that, uh, that format. Is is a pretty good format for just making sure you get weekly content out, , to stay in touch with your list. Um, I'm, I'm trying to figure out a way to kind of adapt it for authors to keep in touch with their readers. Um, cuz um, I know that once you build an email list, um, it could be great for you, but there it is, it does get to be kind of crazy trying to figure out what to send them each we can still provide value.
[00:34:20] Andrew: it's tough. I , uh, , for this podcast actually, you know, hopefully most of the listeners see my weekly newsletter it's time consuming. And I, I don't know if a lot of people get that. Um, and I bet a lot of your, your readers and your authors probably don't get it cuz how many people are doing the same thing, but it's tough to find even for really short email, like good information that you wanna say like, Hey, it's, you know, it's another Monday, we're here again.
[00:34:47] Andrew: You. Finding that stuff is difficult as time consuming, uh, making it interesting is time consuming and that's, you know, attempting to make it interesting is a better way. It's you don't always hit the mark, which really sucks whenever we spend two or three hours a week, you know, kind of curating and building in, you know, that content out for your readers or your listeners.
[00:35:05] Andrew: that's tough and it's tough to teach somebody how to do it. Like have that vision, you know, this is what voracious readers should look like. This is what we're wanting to do. Like you have it all in your head, but writing it down. Good luck. Like , it's, it's a talent to be able to do that.
[00:35:19] Larry: Yeah. You know, and when I, when I started, , with the idea of doing a weekly email, , I was like, you know, I've been doing marketing forever. I could always get content. And, uh, you know, I, I I'd say this, I put up a pretty good fight. , and you know, I was, I was always out there just looking for interesting things.
[00:35:35] Larry: Like I came across a, a site called Luman five. What helps you make, , like videos and it was like, authors can use to make book trailers and, uh, you know, put together a quick little email about it, sent it out and they loved it. , and, , but you know, it, it started to get harder and harder to find good stuff to share to, you know, to write about.
[00:35:56] Larry: And, um, so what I, what I ultimately [00:36:00] did was. And now I still to do this on the new platform, but I took all the emails. I had the best open rates. And, um, I just made that the onboarding sequence for authors when they signed up, where they'd get those emails. Boom, boom, boom. You know, and the idea would be, they'd get they'd, they'd have emails coming through regularly, , until their giveaway date.
[00:36:23] Larry: And then, , hopefully they sign up for like the evergreen program and, and, uh, then they'll continue to get emails because of that. and then I, when I moved platforms, I, I saved all those emails and, , I still have to like put 'em in some format to get 'em to the authors now, but, , yeah, I, I really enjoy the weekly format cuz you know, I'm always reading this kind of stuff.
[00:36:44] Larry: And so it's nice just to, you know, just bookmark the stuff that I like. And, and, uh, I've got a pretty good system to plug it into an email each week. And you know, one thing about active campaign, I really like is you just have to set up one email template and, uh, you have different different lists. And, um, say like, you know, this, this section goes to this list.
[00:37:07] Larry: This section goes to this list. This section goes to this list. So like, You know, now I just have to do one email a week and all the authors get it depending on where they're at in the, in the list. And, um, you know, it's a lot easier than doing like five or six different versions like I was doing on the old platform.
[00:37:24] Andrew: No. That's
[00:37:25] Larry: Definitely helps make sure it gets done.
[00:37:27] Andrew: yeah. And you know, you're not wasting, uh, you're not wasting any eager time and effort. Like, Hey, these guys are gonna get it, but really wish they could see my new content. Uh, I actually use constant contact, , cause I'd looked at active campaign and it, same thing is what you're talking about.
[00:37:41] Andrew: I had constant contact salesperson and. They were really hands on and really aggressive. And I guess that won me over more than active campaigns, kind of apathy whether or not I went with them. And that is one of my favorite parts about them as well, is like, you can segment those lists, but you can send it different ways.
[00:37:58] Andrew: And, the templates are just life savers, being able to set up your own little template and just make sure everything looks the way you want that it is such a cool tool. So, , it's, it is cool. What some of the technology does nowadays.
[00:38:10] Larry: Yeah. And you know, it's, it's also a good idea is to, uh, every now and then just kind of look at what's out there in case, you know, God forbid you have to change. , cause you know, I had a, a situation where. The my day job, where we had a, a vendor we were using for our emails and they were expensive. And because we have very particular thing that we had to do.
[00:38:33] Larry: And, , you know, we were paying like $5,000 a month for the emails
[00:38:40] Andrew: Wow.
[00:38:40] Larry: um, and their system was not user friendly. So, you know, $5,000 a month, plus all the staff time to update and modify templates and set up emails. You couldn't, you couldn't schedule emails. , you'd have to manually send it when the time
[00:38:55] Andrew: oh my goodness.
[00:38:57] Larry: you know, if, if, uh, if somebody's outta [00:39:00] town, somebody's gotta, you know, make sure it gets done. and so, , you know, they, , you know, Just from like the inertia. It, you know, they had us for several years before, you know, they kind of raised that price for the, the last time where it's just like, yeah, I'm, I'm done.
[00:39:17] Larry: And, uh, you know, started shopping around and you find all these platforms are like all this cool stuff that, you know, didn't exist 10 years before and, uh, makes your life so much easier.
[00:39:29] Andrew: And you're like, man, I wish we would've done this sooner.
[00:39:33] Larry: Yeah, like having an email where you can specify if, , a section of the email is for mobile or desktop, so you can control how the headline's gonna look.
[00:39:43] Larry: Cause you know, , You can make this, like, there's always a problem with headlines. You can make a headline look great. If it's on desktop, cuz you know what the widths gonna be.
[00:39:51] Larry: But then like on mobile it's gonna be responsive, so it could be anything. And so it's nice if you can just kind of like make adjustments where you're like, okay, well if it's on mobile, it's it's not gonna be any wider than this and I can make sure the font size looks right. And then on desktop ill make look good.
[00:40:06] Larry: And that's not some businesses were making as an option 10 years.
[00:40:10] Andrew: See, I, I haven't even run into that. So that is something I'm gonna now have to go look at and have learned from this talk. So thank you. , I hope it doesn't cause me too much more work but uh, I've not even paid attention to mobile emails. I know that's on, you know, I do website design and that has been a big problem is I'll build a really cool website and you're, you know, getting cool to me on desktop.
[00:40:30] Andrew: And then. The mobile just kind of, oh, Hey, I need to look at that. And I look, and I was like, well, now I have to rebuild a whole website because I did not think about the mobile and that's where 80% of people are and it just doesn't look good. So
[00:40:43] Larry: and that's why I, I use divvy for, um, for my website, just cause J just for the simple fact that you have a button you can press and you can see what looks like on mobile and you can change the settings for mobile only
[00:40:54] Andrew: that's pretty cool. I, I use web flow for anything I'm doing. That was one of the big reasons that got me to was they had a very handy tool for swapping between mobile and desktop versions. So I'll have to check out divvy though. I haven't heard of it. So I'm behind the curb, I guess. Well, before we wrap up, is there anything on, you know, your life, voracious readers, , your day job, anything that you are like, Hey, I've got this little audience right here that I probably don't normally get to talk to that.
[00:41:22] Andrew: I want them to know.
[00:41:23] Larry: Sure. Well, , you know, since. We're probably dealing with, with, uh, readers, more than authors on this, on this audio. Um, you know, I'd say if, uh, if you read a lot of books and, , you wanna kind of read more than the standard fair you might find on at the bookstore, you know, check out B , one kind of neat thing is, , In the, in the independent publishing space, the, the genres that fall out of favor for the mainstream, , you know, there's still people writing those genres.
[00:41:57] Larry: So, you know, if you have something that you like reading [00:42:00] that, , just isn't popular anymore, , you might find the next author that you're gonna read for that genre through VR O or, or, you know, some other equivalent kind of service. , but you know, There's definitely more out there than what the traditional bookstores are thrown at you nowadays.
[00:42:18] Larry: And, , there's a lot of quality writing going on, um, ESP, ESP, and, I mean, we also, you know, we deal with the popular stuff too. So we get a lot of, , a lot of contemporary romance, , cozy mysteries, thrillers. , those, those are always, those are always big. , And so, , you know, I'd say if you like to experiment, check it out.
[00:42:40] Larry: I mean, the worst, worst case scenario is you get a book, you read, you read a bit of it, maybe it's not for you. And then you could just move on to a new one. You're not obligated to read or, or review any book. , and we do it that way because, , especially with sites like Amazon, their terms of service, They're pretty, uh, set on you.
[00:43:01] Larry: Can't incentivize readers to review a book and giving them a book in exchange for a review is considered incentivizing. , and so, you know, we don't wanna get anybody in trouble. And so. You know, we, we say, you know, here's the book. We hope you read it and we hope you liked it. And if you did like it, we hope you're write a review.
[00:43:21] Larry: Cause that really helps out the authors. And, um, you will make it easy for you to do that review and, um, You know, on, on the reader front, if you do come across an author that you enjoy and you write a good review, , if the author's smart, they'll keep you in mind. The next time they have a book out, and offer it to you early on as an early reader or part of their street team or whatever they're gonna call it.
[00:43:45] Larry: And, um, you know, you get, you'll get a little extra access. , You know, to keep reading their, their stuff and, uh, you know, help 'em grow their career. And, you know, maybe they'll be the next Stephen King or whatever. And you could say you knew 'em when you found him on, on, uh, first year is only in your email.
[00:44:04] Andrew: That, that is the way. That's what we're all hoping for. Uh, both as the authors, hoping to get big and, uh, readers, hoping to find that guy before he is, you know, huge cuz you know, right now someone emails me or text calls, whatever I am more than happy to talk to them. , personally, I don't think I can get ahold of Steven King and get him to talk to me.
[00:44:22] Andrew: Right. I haven't tried technically, but, uh, I'm pretty sure it would not be a, let's go grab beer, Stephen King. And he'd say absolutely, man. Let's let's just go do that real quick. so it'd be cool though. It'd be a cool story. You know, if you ever call it like, like you see it and get to have that beer with that author before, uh, they become too fancy and big, and their
[00:44:44] Larry: Well,
[00:44:45] Andrew: to vet you or something.
[00:44:46] Larry: you never know. He might be complaining that nobody ever calls him.
[00:44:50] Andrew: Well, and, and there's that there was something I read, I think it might have been Neil Guyon, some quote, you know, and that was what they were talking about. Like, Hey, always reach out you, oh, you read a [00:45:00] book and you don't like it. Reach out to the, and be like, Hey, this is the parts I didn't like. If you loved it, let 'em know.
[00:45:05] Andrew: Like they're all human. They want to hear from you. , You know, don't, don't rip, 'em a new one. Like it, you know, that's, that's just, if you wouldn't say it to him on the street, , probably don't put it in the email either, but if you like something, let 'em know if you've got some really good constructive criticism, , help 'em grow.
[00:45:22] Andrew: So definitely, definitely worth reaching out.
[00:45:26] Larry: Yeah. And oh, and you know, another thing I would throw out there, uh, just as like a little thing for, uh, authors or readers is, um, one disadvantage of, if you're, if you're reading a book that it's not coming from a main publishing house is, if a book's written in a different English speaking country, And they release it in America.
[00:45:44] Larry: They might localize it a bit. , so like obviously people know the differences in like the Harry Potter books, , based on what the kids are eating and stuff, because American audiences just, you know, they don't know all the British stuff. , but you know, obviously. An author who's on their own. Uh, they're not gonna do that.
[00:46:00] Larry: And they might, they might spell words differently or, , have, you know, just weird sayings that are, you know, perfectly normal, where they're from. as a, as a reader, kind of just be aware that, , that happens and, and odds are, , if, if that's a criticism you have about the way they said something or expelled something, um, You know, you might be right, but you're probably not they off probably knows what they're doing.
[00:46:24] Andrew: That's fine. I have never thought of that, but that is definitely something that's come up. I, I grew up reading a lot of British books. A lot of my spelling on certain words is the British variant. Um, and I've never really thought about that localization. That's that is interesting and good to think about.
[00:46:40] Andrew: And I,
[00:46:40] Andrew: again, I'm from Texas, so we say some weird stuff.
[00:46:43] Larry: Yeah. Well, I remember being a kid reading the, uh, wrinkle and time books and, uh, the, the characters keep going to the laboratory. And, , I saw that's a weird way to spell laboratory and, uh, didn't make any sense.
[00:46:57] Andrew: that's great. , it, it's funny how there's little things like that in the world that just, you don't think about it on a day to day, but it pops up. You're like, well, of course that makes sense. They're using a different word or they've got different jargon or whatever. So,
[00:47:10] Larry: Yeah,
[00:47:10] Andrew: sure people listening to this are like, y'all are just weirdos.
[00:47:13] Andrew: Who cares?
[00:47:14] Larry: Yeah, there, there's a book written by, what's his name? The guy who wrote, uh, William Gibson and, it's the first, it's the first book in his blue aunt trilogy. I
[00:47:23] Larry: can't
[00:47:23] Andrew: the guy that wrote neuros answer. Right.
[00:47:25] Larry: Yes. Yeah.
[00:47:26] Larry: And
[00:47:27] Andrew: read neuros answer. I don't think I picked anything else up.
[00:47:29] Larry: yeah. So this is the first book. , when he's, when, as he says, the world caught up to his writing and, the main character, she is a, I think they call her like a style sleuth or something where she'd kind of travels around the world and kind of.
[00:47:43] Larry: Like uncover styles that she could share at, in other places. And, she calls the United Kingdom, the mirror world, because it's like the United States, but there's all these like little differences, um, like the way that scissors are shaped and stuff and there's reasons for it. and like, I, I always think about that.
[00:47:59] Andrew: Oh, [00:48:00] that's great. I need to check that out. I really liked neuro answer, so I don't know why I haven't picked up the rest of his stuff that he has. I think he's written like a bajillion book, so
[00:48:09] Larry: Yeah, this
[00:48:10] Andrew: to hop on that
[00:48:10] Andrew: train.
[00:48:11] Larry: I, I wish I could remember the name, but like the whole plot it has to do with, the. He was still ahead of his time. Uh, like cuz the plot is about these people who, , they find these little snippets of video over the internet and they have no context and they try to figure out what the meaning of the videos is and how they arrange together and stuff.
[00:48:31] Larry: And , it, it creates this like weird culture and then the whole, the book's about like trying to discover. Know, who's making these videos and it could be if it could be used for like marketing and, um, and I'm not gonna spoil the ending, but it's weird. but it's a good, it's a good book.
[00:48:48] Andrew: I'll see if I can find I'll throw it in the show notes. If I can come up with it, or if you think about it or shoot me an email, we'll, we'll throw it in for the guys and girls that are listening
[00:48:55] Larry: Well, you know, I might be able to figure out real quick. it's called. Pat pattern recognition.
[00:49:03] Andrew: pattern recognition. Perfect. Well, thanks for finding that. We'll
[00:49:05] Larry: Came
[00:49:06] Andrew: throw it in there. I'll. I'll add it on my ever growing list. That is just stupid long at this point. But yeah, I'd rather be there than, uh, with no list at all on books to read. That'd be a depressing time of life, but oh, well, you know, I'm happy.
[00:49:23] Andrew: I'm happy. I'll put it on there. Well, Larry, thank you so much for spending some time with me. , thank you a ton for the readers that you've gotten sent my way. That's. That has been a boon to my ego. So whether there anything ever comes of it or not. Uh, it's been nice knowing people are picking up my book and not hating it.
[00:49:40] Andrew: So thank you so much for everything you're doing and hanging out with me. It's been a pleasure talking with you, man.
[00:49:45] Larry: Now you're very welcome. Glad I could help.
[00:49:47] Andrew: Absolutely. All right, guys, to everybody listening. Thank you guys for tuning in. Do not forget to check out voracious readers only. Uh, we'll have it in the show notes, but it's voracious readers only.com and definitely hop on.
[00:50:03] Andrew: Check out what Larry's doing. It is one of those cooler things in the world that is definitely needs more attention, as well as Larry's doing. He should have just about everybody who reads books on that list. So until next time, we'll we look forward to connecting with you soon.