Hello ScribeCounters, I have news!
We’re coming to the end of our 30-day trial period and, due to some issues we feel need to be addressed first, we will be extending the trial further until March 31st. There are still data issues that need to be addressed and since we don’t use passwords or cookies to provide our service the solutions are more involved. Our mistake was not fully addressing this issue before we ended the trial.
I’ll get to how we messed up in a moment, but let me first focus on what we’re doing to fix it:
1) No further payments will be requested until at least the end of March
2) If you have already submitted payment: you can either request a refund, OR you can keep the pre-paid time to apply starting April 1
3) Data issues are our top priority at this point
I want to be clear on how this happened: we’re trying to do something that hasn’t been done before, and that means we handed our team of developers a set of tasks that aren’t just complex, they’re down completely uncharted paths. We’re continuing down those paths because we believe it’s truly important to create a product that does not harness session ID or user login information, but that means it will take longer to get the optimal product to you – and that means we don’t want to charge you until the wrinkles are smoothed out.
We are so grateful to our developers for continuing to tackle this, and to our users for providing a wealth of feedback and feature requests. Our goal was, and continues to be, to create a product that helps you see your data, in your best way, quickly and in a way that helps you make good business decisions.
What we need from you: keep sending tickets. We mean it! If something isn’t working, if you are frustrated, whatever the case, please reach out to us either at (888)991-9042, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will provide regular updates via social media and our blog, and we will send another email when all known data issues are resolved.
That all said, it’s time for an update post. Gather around and I’ll tell you a story.
As many of you have noticed, we’ve made several changes in our first 30 days. I’ll touch on the highlights here.
The small donut charts at the top of the dashboard now flip to provide additional data over time. If you hover your mouse across the graph it will show you data for the day highlighted. Unfortunately, the Ad Spend/Profit Ratio chart is still under construction. We’ve been asked to replace this with a Free/Sales Ratio chart and may do so soon, moving the Ad Spend chart to the Marketing page, which is under construction. When it arrives the Free/Sales feature will not be 100% accurate until we have that data coming in from every platform we report from. If you are exclusive to Amazon however it will be accurate. You can drill down into your FREE data in the Platform Summary chart. We’re working on ways to obtain data regarding free books from every platform that offers them.
Date Ranges. We’ve added more date ranges and you can now double-click on a specific day to see that information much faster. We’ll be adding additional date ranges in coming updates.
Tags. We’ve added a drop-down to the tags tab that allows you to more quickly see both series and individual books in the graphics without having to leave the page.
The sunburst graphic loads 10x faster than it did at launch, morphs faster when clicked on, and now contains a Reset button in the upper right corner to return you to the starting point faster.
The sign-up process is now more user-friendly. We’ve added instructions for making a password, step-by-step directions to navigate the settings page and bowser installation when signing up, and prompts related to the various features that were not as obvious as we had first thought.
The Map has been upgraded and if you hover your mouse over the countries with sales your data will be presented in a pop-up broken down by platform with the total for that country at the bottom. The Map is adjustable allowing you to zoom in and out or drag it where you wish to go. Not every platform provides data for this feature, so we are reaching out to the ones who don’t yet in the hopes we can remedy that.
The Bookshelf. You can now filter, tag, and sort your books in several ways. You can also create series, ghost books that you don’t wish to appear in your reports, and tag books however you see fit. You can also edit titles within your ScribeCount bookshelf. We’ll have instructions to go with these features soon but if one were to play around a bit it becomes apparent how they work. “Merge Books” comes with a warning. At this time you can merge books, but un-merging them is a bit more difficult. A good analogy is making soup, easy to add things to the pot, not so easy to take them out. We’re working on this but it will take time and until the code is ready the only way to undo a merging mistake is to start over. So please, merge with caution.
Currencies. We now offer a choice of 9 different currencies. In addition to this we have added software that will fine-tune currency exchange rates, both now and historically. ScribeCount will now be able to travel back in time to specific dates and pull accurate exchange rates for any desired day. As we roll this feature out you will see adjustments to your historical data making them much more accurate.
KU Rates are now customizable via the settings page. You can chose from Last Months Rate, Expected Increase, Expected Decrease, or a Custom Rate of your choosing.
Printable spreadsheets (CSV) are now available at the bottom of the Dashboard and the Historical page.
Support. There is now a support tab on every page that allows you to reach our development team directly. Using this tab is the BEST way to alert us of any issues as it not only creates a ticket within our system it tags your account as well allowing us to immediately see what the problem is. Our goal is to answer all tickets within 24 hours and I’m proud to report we have thus far succeeded.
That covers the major changes, there are several minor ones, as well as several more in production. For the sake of brevity, I’ll move on to some known issues and let you know how we are working to overcome them.
Inaccurate Data issues. This is by far our number one concern and thanks to every one of you who shared their data with us via emails and the support tab. With your help we’ve been able to find the issues and formulate a fix. Some of these issues were due to the platform itself making changes. A good example would be Amazon splitting its historical data from one data source into two separate sources back in January causing all your data from 2016 and before to disappear. Another would be platforms counting free books as sales, doubling the number of units sold, and making minor changes to the reports that confused the software. Regardless of the cause, we have programed a fix that should work for all platforms. We will now have two separate pieces of code handling data pulls for the various platforms, the first will pull the data, the second will validate it before allowing it to be presented in the dashboard. This added code, combined with the more accurate exchange rates, should result in a dashboard that is as accurate as it can possible be short of us having full access to every platforms servers. There will no-doubt be a few bugs to fix on the way, but we’re confident that this additional code will solve the accuracy issues. We’ll be fixing these issues on a platform basis, one at a time until they are all producing accurate data.
Book Reviews. Many of you report that only a portion of your book reviews are making their way to the dashboard. Some of you have thousands of reviews and the platforms seem to resist us downloading these large chunks of data. We’re exploring ways to take “smaller bites” in order to pull the entire library of reviews. Those experiencing this issue do not rate it high on the list of things they would like to see added or changed, so at this time we are focusing on the more desired items. We will however keep this issue on the list until we have a solution. Once solved we’ll be adding ways for you to filter and track your reviews so they are presented as you wish them to appear.
Linking. Some of you are having problems getting ScribeCount to link to certain platforms. I don’t want to single any platform out as the problem effects them all. We’ll be posting a video soon that walks you through the process and troubleshoots the most common linking problems. If you try these fixes and still have a linking issue please send us a message via the support tab.
Home Page. “Where is your blog?” “How do I get to your FaceBook page?” “Is there a Twitter feed?” “What’s going on at ScribeCount?” “Is there a problem with platform X?” “ What are you working on next?” “Where can I suggest a new feature?” These questions are all due to us not having our Home Page ready. We have a great plan for one. It will have several features that everyone needs and some that are just for fun. But we got a little caught up in adding new features to the dashboard and perfecting the ones we already had, and as a result the Home Page got pushed down the priority list. Once the data issues are solved we intend to focus on finishing the Home Page. You and your fur baby will love it! Yes, that’s a hint. More info to come soon!
This post is getting long but I would be remiss if I didn’t answer everyone’s favorite question.
What are you working on next?
Answer: A lot. Once we’ve solved the issues I’ve already mentioned we have a long list of things both you and we want to add. To keep the development team from plotting my death I’m keeping that list short. What I can tell you I’ll do so in short answers here.
Smashwords. By far this is the most desired platform addition and we’ve reached out to Mark Coker in the hopes we can work together to make that as smooth an add-on as possible. Second runner up is IngramSpark.
Ad tracking. We’ll be working to add ad-spend and tracking from Amazon, FaceBook, and BookBub first, with others to follow.
Audio. This is a popular request as well but we have reason to hesitate. Without naming names we’re working on some platforms and waiting to see on another. There appears to be some legal action about to take place and we’d like to know more before diving in and spending a ton of time on a platform that may be about to make significant changes. We’re keeping a close eye on the situation and as soon as I can update everyone I will.
Payments (royalties). We have plans to expand the payments page to offer better current and historical data. This includes options that allow you to drill down better by month showing when income was produced, the gross/net numbers, exchange rates for that month, and when that income was paid out. All of this contained in one printable page. We’ll also have yearly summarizations of profit/loss/expenses in both layman reports and CPA spreadsheets. I’ll have more on this feature as we near production.
Payments (to ScribeCount). We have integrated with Stripe to process Credit Cards and Direct Deposits, and through Braintree we will be adding PayPal soon. Once those are in place we will explore additional options such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. Stripe and Paypal will both be in place before the end of the extended trial period.
This concludes my ScribeCount update for February. As you can see, we’re not slowing down much. We are however moving forward at a pace that assures us accuracy in reporting and durable features. To show our commitment to further development I can tell you that we’ve recently added five more developers to the ScribeCount team. Despite the added personnel our goal is still to avoid rushing something out that isn’t ready yet. We ask for your patience while we develop and add new features and, as always, we appreciate your input. Please keep the ideas coming in. I can assure you that we read every one. The wall at ScribeCount is covered in post-its and there’s plenty of room for more. If you keep letting us know what you want, we’ll keep working to make it happen.
Thanks again, I’ll see you next month!