FictFact: A Lifesaver for Serial Readers ~ Q&A with Brian, Co-Founder
In 2009, I was scouring the internet for a site or program that would allow me to track my series reads. I consider myself to be a well organized serial reader (thanks in part to my OCDemon), but there are still times when I wonder which book comes first? I have only read a series book out of order twice, once by accident (didn’t know it was part of a series) and once by choice (to fit multiple challenges at once).
On my search, I found several very interesting and helpful sites, but the only one that allowed me to truly track my series was FictFact.
In case you’re one of the few that have not yet found this site, here are just a few of the things they offer:
* Follow your favorite series and get notified when books are released or added
* Get a custom queue of the next book in each series to easily read books in the correct order
* Get a public profile that you can share with your friends
* Create lists to organize all your series
* Store ownership status on books and create custom book reports – New!
* Add book ratings – New!
* Stay up to date with all the wonderful things coming soon to FictFact!
Being a member and a huge fan of the site, I buried my nerves and asked Brian, Co-Founder to join us here at Random Musings for some Q&A. I also wanted to make sure he and his wife, Christine, knew just how much we love their site.
Welcome to Random Musings, Brian!
First and foremost, let me say We ❤ FictFact!
Q: When you and your wife, Christine created FictFact, did you imagine it would be as popular as it is?
Brian: We created FictFact because Christine reads a ton of books and wanted a tool to help keep her organized. We realized that nothing like this existed on the web, so we decided to create it ourselves. We hoped that other people would find the tool useful and be able to save time trying to keep things straight.
Q: How many new members have joined since it’s creation in 2009?
Brian:We now have over 12,000 users and are growing every month.
Q: What do you feel sets FictFact apart from other series sites?
Brian: We believe our “Next Book List” is what really sets us apart. This feature is the overall focus of why we started collecting series information and we feel it is an extreme time saver when you want to find out which books to buy or read next. We wanted to provide a simple way for users to have an automatically updated list, so they always know they’re reading the correct book. Our users also love the personalized email we send out once a week with updates and coming soon books.
We’d love to become more like the other book social networking sites, so we are working on adding “all books” (not just books in series) with our “Next Book List” technology. Our overall goal is the ability for users to follow an author and get an updated list and emails whenever any of their books come out.
Q: Is the site maintenance time consuming? Is it a full-time job for you and your wife or something you do on the side?
Brian: Right now, we both have full time jobs as well as working on FictFact. We spend a lot of nights and weekends working on new features. We love getting user feedback to help keep the site as accurate and current as possible. We are currently self funded.
Q: Are Christine, Mr. Ehring and yourself the only people maintaining the site? Or do you have other employees?
Brian: The three of us are the only ones maintaining the site right now. Richard works on customer support, adding new books and series. Christine and Brian work on code, new features, as well as content entry.
The Dream Team
Christine Kirsten ~ Co-Founder & CEO: Christine has a passion for reading that borderlines in obsession, plain and simple.
Brian Kirsten ~ Co-Founder & CTO: Brian is an entrepreneur, software engineer, writer and publisher. He loves writing software, and when he has the time reads science fiction and mystery.
Richard Ehring ~ Community Manager: With over 25 years of QA & Engineering experience, if you’ve got an issue Richard is the man to solve it.
Q: Do you plan to keep the site free to members indefinitely?
Brian: Yes, the plan is to keep the current feature set free. We have ideas for premium features or applications that we might charge for at a future date. We rely on affiliate sales and advertising for our income. Check out our support page for ideas on how users can help support FictFact. We also hope our users will use the links on our site to purchase books.
I asked the members of my Goodreads’ group, SOS: Serious Overload of Series, if they had any questions or requests for Brian. Being serial readers themselves, they did.
Q: Is it possible to number short stories (including anthologies) in a way similar to how Goodreads’ numbers them?
o Goodreads’ example: ‘Kate Daniels’ series by Ilona Andrews
+ “Dark and Stormy Knights” Anthology – book 0.5
+ “Magic Bites” – book 1
Instead of numbering them based on their release date
o FictFact example: ‘Kate Daniels’ series by Ilona Andrews
+ “Magic Bites” – book 1
+ ‘A Questionable Client’ in “Dark and Stormy Knights” – book 6
Brian: This is definitely something we’ve talked about added to the site. We should be putting something in place soon.
Q: Is it possible to edit your member account once created? (eg: your user name)
Brian: Users can edit everything but the username, from the Edit Profile page. This includes email address and privacy settings.
Q: How do you see members using the contacts and followers section? Do you have any plans to create ways for us to communicate with them? It would be nice to be able to ask their opinion on series they have read and/or get suggestions for series TBR (to-be-read).
Brian: We currently have and are working on lots of ideas for contacts. The first thing we are working on is the ability to message your contacts. Some of the other things we’re considering are recommendations, comments on activity feeds, and facilitating swapping or lending of books and e-books between contacts.
As FictFact continues to grow and gain user support, it becomes easier to work on new features.
Q: Is it possible to change the way we mark books as TBR, currently reading, read or skipped? Possibly a check box option vs. drop down? The drop down box option makes marking individual books within a very large series (20+ books) time consuming. A check box option would allow for a quicker way to update those series.
Brian: That is a good idea, we can definitely look into adding this as a feature. Right now we have a “Mark all as read” link that you can use to quickly “complete” a series. After you can adjust individual books if needed.
Q: The print option currently only allows for printing an entire page. Would it be possible to allow for printing a single series list?
Brian: This is commonly requested feature. We are currently figuring out the best way to do it that makes it easy for the user while protecting FictFact’s data.
Q: Are you considering creating an application for smart phones?
o If so, any time frame in mind?
o If not, any specific reason(s)?
Brian: We would love to do a smart phone app, but currently development is beyond our resources. We are starting to look for outside funding which will allow us to get an application to market faster.
Some of the features we love most are your speedy responses to any requests for book, author and/or series additions, no matter how obscure; your wonderful publication updates and emails*, the book release calendar and the ability to browse by series and most popular by genre. Of course, as you add new features to the site, we find new things to love about it.