Page99Test.com, which launched today, is a technology startup focused on writer discovery. Based in Canada, its co-founders are Lance Jones and Joanna Wiebe, both of Victoria and Steven Luke of Edmonton. This new venture is a website that helps readers discover new books by reading – and rating – a book’s page 99, an excerpt that is rarely as overworked as a book’s first chapter. On the website, writers and publishers upload a single page of a manuscript, and readers read and rate those pages by answering two questions:
1) Would you turn the page?
2) Would you buy the book?
Writers, who can upload their page 99s for free in one of 14 genres, receive quick feedback and can attract more readers. Attracting new readers is critical today, as low prices for eBooks mean writers need, on average, twice as many paying readers to earn the same income. The website is also open for agents and editors to upload page 99s to test a manuscript’s marketability or to market new books for free.
A free website, Page99Test.com has already attracted readers, writers, literary agents, and editors from the US, Australia, Canada, the UK, and Dubai. It was launched in private beta in early October. Feedback from beta testers validated assumptions that writers need new ways to get noticed today.
“Finding page-turners can be tough,” said co-founder Lance Jones, referencing the thousands of fiction titles added to major bookstores yearly. “Readers overlook great books when a publisher doesn’t invest much in marketing, or they often end up buying books they don’t like simply because those books were heavily marketed.”
Page99Test.com looks at book discovery from a new angle, where readers are quickly presented with short samples of books in their favorite genres. This makes it easier to find new books. “We hope avid readers will begin their book search process here.”
Readers read page 99s in selected genres blindly. It is not until after a reader rates a page that the details of the book are displayed, including if it is published, who the author is, and where to buy the book.
“Intertwining published and unpublished pages keeps readers honest with their feedback,” said Jones. “It’s easy to be critical of new writers. But when you’re not sure if the page you’re reading is published or not, you have to read it with greater consideration. This leads to better feedback for all writers.”
Writers who are wary of being reviewed by readers need not worry – at least not too much – because readers should only rate genres they’re interested in. This means readers who love Stephen King’s horror books won’t be rating young adult books that read like the latest Stephenie Meyer. Writers can also hide or delete their pages at any time.
Coming soon for Page99Test.com are badges for power readers and top-rated writers, weekly showcases of top-rated page 99s, and first-chapter uploads. The startup is also working with literary agents, editors, and eBook publishers to help top-rated unpublished writers get the attention they deserve.