Facebook Achievements for Self Publishing Authors

In my June 21st post I blogged about the new Facebook Achievements we are launching at Outskirts Press for self-publishing authors. We’ve been conducting beta tests on the functionality for about a month now, and this follows what has been about 6 months of development time (off and on).  The functionality is already “live” for new authors coming into Outskirts Press and soon we will be adding the functionality to all our current authors, too.

Our Facebook Achievements are based upon the concept of “gamification” which is the concept of motivating “action” in a user-base by providing awards and public recognition for accomplishing certain tasks — in essence, making a “game” out of something that is typically seen as more “mundane.” For most of our authors, publishing their book is one of the most exciting things they’ll ever do in their lives, so it’s not really necessary to “Reward” publication with an “Achievement Award.”  But, with every book that is published, there are numerous steps (or milestones) that must be accomplished and some of them, to be honest, are more mundane than others.   So our goal with our Facebook Achievements is to publicly acknowledge an author when he or she accomplishes important tasks in the pre-production, production, publishing, or marketing processes.

For Outskirts Press, we have divided our self publishing achievements into four categories, and the Award Graphics they can earn are “color-coded” to each category.

The first category is “Production Milestones,” which currently has 5 Achievement Awards, with a 6th one in the works. By publishing a book, every author will earn at least one award in this category and can relatively easily earn 2 out of the 6 awards. But it would require publishing at least 3 books to “Sweep” the Production Milestones category and earn all the awards.

The second category is “Production Achievements.” It is possible to publish a book without achieving a single award in this category, although from what we know of our authors, the majority of them will earn at least one (and the award they win in this category will often vary significantly depending upon the author and/or book).  There are currently 4 achievements in this category with a 6th one in the works. It’s possible, although unlikely, that an author could sweep this category (meaning, win every award within the category) with a single book.

The third category is “Publishing Awards.”  Every author who connects their Outskirts Press account with their Facebook account will receive their Published Book award once their book is published.  These are the most complicated awards to program, so we currently have just one in this category, although more are planned.

The fourth category is “Marketing Achievements” which recognizes and acknowledges marketing tactics taken by the author after publication.  We currently have 5 awards in this category, with more on the way. Many of our authors would sweep this category with relative ease because our authors already understand (or are educated on) the necessity of marketing a published book.

The final category is “Marketing Milestones,” granted when the author reaches a milestone in the marketing process by focusing on a particular area of marketing, such as publicity, Amazon, awards, book tours, or promotional materials, etc.   The “Marketing Milestones” category and “Marketing Achievements” category are designed in such a way where it is extremely unlikely for an author to sweep both. In fact, just earning each Marketing Milestone award is quite an accomplishment, much less sweeping the entire category.

It might help to see the awards, divided by each category, so I’ll reveal that next time…

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