Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Q&A: Litsy Co-Founder Todd Lawson

Litsy Profile Screen, Litsy Litfluence Screen and Litsy Review Example

Recently I started using this app called Litsy, and it is now the main app I use on my phone. It's like Instagram, Twitter and Goodreads had a baby - you can track the books you're reading and have read, rate and review them, share pictures and write posts up to 300 characters. You earn "Litfluence" points based on how other users interact with your posts. Basically, it's essential if you're a book lover.

The awesome folks at Litsy were kind enough to answer a few questions I sent them to learn more about the app. Check out the Q&A with co-founder Todd Lawson below!

Abbie: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your role at Litsy. 
Todd: I'm Todd Lawton, one of the co-founders of Litsy. Before Litsy, I helped start Out of Print (a literary lifestyle brand that sells bookish apparel and accessories). I'm charged with helping to get the word out about Litsy and listen to what our users have to say.

A: What's your favorite book?
T: Always a tough question. I read A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry a few years ago and still think back to it often. I'm currently reading Slade House by David Mitchell and love it. I very much enjoyed The Art of Fielding recently. In terms of classics, Catch-22 and The Handmaid's Tale are high on my list. Treasure Island is the first book I can say I fell in love with. Just too many good books!

A: Where did the inspiration for Litsy come from?
T: Shelf talkers in the staff picks sections at our favorite bookstores. They are short, fun, personal and do an awesome job promoting books we'd otherwise not think about picking up. We wanted to use the best of what is offered to us through digital social communities and our mobile devices to create a book-specific experience that is as fun, simple and rewarding.

A: What sets Litsy apart from other book tracking apps?
T: We found that readers were using several different places to track many elements of reading – quotes, photos, reviews, announcements – and we wanted to create a central space for this. With Litsy, you don’t need a lengthy review to make a worthwhile post. Instead, you can record any bookish moment—a passage that thrills you, a funny scribble of marginalia, a photo of a gorgeous cover, a quick book question—it’s a more casual dialogue than what we’ve seen on other platforms. 
A: What kind of response have you seen from users so far?
T: The response has exceeded our expectations. We currently have users in 96 countries, and we’re having conversations with new users every day. It’s amazing to hear from readers around the world—to see what’s in their stacks. The original vision is a reality! 
A: How did you come up with the idea of "Litfluence", and how does it work?
T: An essential element of Litsy is the recommendations. How many people are stacking the books you love? We thought Litfluence would be a fun and useful tool to track this. A Litfluence score comprises a combination of likes on a post, the number of comments received, and how many books other users have stacked from a post. This page also shows users fun stats like how many books and pages they’ve read.
A: Any recommendations on users to follow?
T: We currently have a rotating list of Suggested Users available on Litsy. These users include authors, publishers, editors, bookstores, organizations we believe in, and exciting Litsy users. You could be next! 
A: What tips would you give users for getting the most from the app? 
T: We suggest following the users who make posts you enjoy, and inviting your fellow bookworms to join. Litsy is much more fun when you have friends with whom to share. Love a book? Hate it? Want to discuss the surprise ending using our Spoiler function? Use Litsy to have the conversation! 
A: Can you tell me a little bit about any exciting plans for the future?
T: We have so many plans and new features in the queue—we want to continue improving with every update. We’re currently working on an Android model, more Discover options, Hashtag capabilities, tools to share out to other platforms, and other ways in which users can easily connect with like-minded Litsy readers. 

You can download Litsy from the iTunes App Store here. If you're an Android user, keep an eye out for an Android-friendly version in the coming months!

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