Interview with Evan Jacobs of @Authorgraph

By Rachel Thompson

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Please welcome Evan Jacobs, the creator and founder of Authorgraph.  Authorgraph is an amazing resource where authors can personally sign ebooks for their readers. Check out the interview below for an inside look at Authorgraph.

1. What gave you the idea to start Authorgraph?

About 4 years ago I was at an author reading in Seattle. After the author read a passage from his book, he told everyone to come up and have their books signed. I had the author’s book on my Kindle and so I didn’t have anything for him to sign. I left empty-handed and feeling a bit sheepish about the whole experience. About 9 months later I decided to try to build a solution for the problem of signing e-books and Authorgraph was born.

2. What is the drive behind Authorgraph?

I think the drive behind Authorgraph comes from wanting to make digital experiences a little bit more personal. Authors have told me how great it feels when they receive Authorgraph requests from readers because it helps them realize that behind every download/sale of one of their books is a real person. Similarly, readers get very excited to receive a little acknowledgement from an author whose work they admire and whom they might not otherwise get a chance to meet in person.

3. How many signed ebooks do you have now?

Personally, I have almost 9,000 signed e-books since I make the first request for every author. Overall, more than 100,000 e-books have been signed by authors for their readers.

4. What is the one thing you wish all authors knew about Authorgraph?

I hope that every Authorgraph author knows that I can be reached at anytime to answer questions or to listen to any thoughts they might have. I really want to help authors be successful and so I want to learn directly from them how I can do that.

5. Do you ask readers and authors to get involved in spreading the Authorgraph word? In what ways can readers/authors help?

Actually, almost all of the spread of Authorgraph has been via word of mouth, for which I am very grateful. In addition, authors have the ability to place an Authorgraph widget on their websites & blogs which let their readers know that they are available to sign their e-books.

6. How can authors use Authorgraph at live events?

There is a little known feature called “Authorgraph Live!” which is designed precisely for live events. It works exactly like the regular signing system except that the author simply enters a reader’s name and email before going on to sign one of their books. One of my focuses for 2014 is to make this feature much better and to promote it more widely at book events. Stay tuned for an update about this!

7. What future plans do you have for Authorgraph?

I’ve got big plans for Authorgraph! I’m working on a “dashboard” for authors where they’ll be able to see how well their books are doing at a glance and I’m also building a feature that will help authors cross-promote each other. Finally, I want to enable authors to easily message those readers who have received Authorgraphs when they have new works available since I believe that those are an author’s most loyal readers and that they will help spread the word about new releases. Of course, I’m also looking for suggestions from authors and readers as to what new features they would like to see.

About Evan Jacobs:
Hi! My name is Evan and I’m a software developer living in Seattle, WA. I build web and mobile applications and I especially enjoy creating tools that help people personalize their digital experiences.

About Authorgraph (formerly Kindlegraph):
I really enjoy reading and I also enjoy meeting the authors of my favorite books. One time, during the summer of 2010, I attended an author reading in Seattle. After the author had read a section of his book, he invited everyone to come up and have their books signed.

I had the author’s book on my Kindle and I felt awkward since I didn’t have anything for him to sign. In May of 2011, I built the first version of this service to enable authors and readers to interact through digital books. Note: this service was originally called Kindlegraph before I changed the name to Authorgraph in November 2012.

{Ed. note: I’d also like to note that no Kindle is required for the author OR the reader and that the service is free.}

Thanks to Evan and if you have any questions, please ask! 

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