Exactly two years ago today, I released the first version of Authorgraph (nee Kindlegraph) as a personal project to solve a very specific problem. I enjoy attending book readings and meeting authors but when I began reading more e-books I no longer had an easy way to collect mementos from these encounters.
Authorgraph began life as an entry in a weekend long programming competition. There were a few bloggers covering this event and couple of them wrote about the service. As a result, a small handful of early adopters checked it out but after two weeks fewer than fifty readers had registered. It took a month to sign-up the first ten authors.
I didn't have great expectations for the future of Authorgraph and I had already moved onto other projects when I began to notice that a few new people were discovering Authorgraph everyday. I gradually started spending more time on improving the service and after about three months I realized that there might be something here.
Today, Authorgraph is two years old and still growing steadily. Seven thousand authors now use Authorgraph to connect with their readers and the service is improving a little bit everyday but I'll always remember how it began. That feeling of releasing something you've created into the world is what I imagine a new author feels when she releases her first book. It's a combination of excitement, fear, and helplessness. Either people like it and share it with their friends or it gets ignored and withers away.
The most important lesson that I've learned from my experience building Authorgraph is that it requires a sustained and ongoing effort to grow an audience. I think the same can be said for an author's readership and as I look to the future the thing I want to do most is help authors grow their own audiences. I look forward to continuing to improve the service and move ever closer to achieving Authorgraph's mission: making e-books a little more personal.