Who Are We?
News and Updates
We’re only a week into our survey, but after scanning the responses so far, I’ve realised there are a lot of suggestions for things we already have on the site!
Which means we’ve not done a very good job of telling you what the site can do already. For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to make a series of blog posts to tell you about these things!
But I’m starting with telling you a little bit about “us” – who are the people behind Why Choose?
From the feedback we’re getting it seems like you think there are a lot of us, but there are two Admins, one Super Mod, and 3 Mods.
The site admins are also the site owners and creators. They consist of me, Serenity Ackles (I am a reverse harem author myself), and someone who is actually a friend in real life, Charlie.
Charlie and I met at university – we worked in the same nightclub. I was the DJ and he was the SLT (Sound and Light Tech). It was a beautiful friendship cemented when I had to tow his car to the garage because he forgot to put petrol in it… We’d just finished working and it was about 3 in the morning. He’s also going to kill me when he realises I’ve included this titbit of information, and that I’ve still not forgotten this ten years later.
The two of us both have full-time jobs. He is actually a developer, and he is also a volunteer in his local lifeboat crew. I work in a global company, I’m a DJ, and I’m also an author.
And in case the spelling on the site didn’t give it away, we’re both based in the UK.
When the site went live, four people were asked if they wanted to be mods. There was no minimum requirement asked of them – they were just active users who could update tags and add books. Of those four, three are still mods.
One of these wonderful people reached out, asking if she could do more, and we ended up creating a special user permission for her – Super Mod. (Personally, I refer to her as a goddess). The difference between a Mod and a Super Mod is that a Super Mod can do a little more editing. When an author becomes verified, their profile is locked to them. Only they can update book covers, the blurb, and approve/reject any book tags suggested. My Super Mod has the power to update the blurbs. And while the site also checks for updated book covers, while this is still locked to verified authors (hence why you might still see covers with “Coming Soon” on them), she is also able to force an update on the remaining books.
How much does a Super Mod do?
I want to put this into a bit of perspective for you, so let me give you some stats.
This year, 2340 books have been added to the site.
Of those, 46 were added by the authors themselves.
There are two people adding the remaining books. Me and my goddess.
I added 34.
And this is why I call her a goddess… Our Super Mod has added 2260 books – that’s an average of 8.8 books per day.
In addition, this year to date, she has made 20,782 edits to books (we’ve just about to hit 15,000 books on the site), and that translates to 26,988 tag amendments (mainly additions). Fun fact, that works out to be an edit every 17 minutes since the beginning of the year.
Every single day, this goddess is on book selling sites looking for new books. Earlier this year, she literally went through every author already on the site to see if they had new books out that we had missed. If a book is showing as unpublished, she looks to see if it’s republished and sends me the new ASIN to be able to update information.
And that is our team.
But you wouldn’t miss me…
The site was my idea. I take full credit for that. I wanted a place where it was easy to find reverse harem books – because if you’ve looked on retailer sites, you know how difficult that can be. And while I agree with the books that are always recommended in the various Facebook groups are done so with good reason, it can be harder for baby authors to get visibility.
I wanted a place where readers could find their next favourite authors, and authors could find new readers.
So I made it.
Lie: I conned Charlie into making it.
However, I’m in this strange place where, without me, no one would notice.
Wow… That sounds more morbid than I intended!
Charlie builds the site. If he goes, f*ck knows what I’d do (I mean, we’re official business partners and at this point, his escape route isn’t going to be easy), but my coding skills are limited to being able to make font bold or italic in a html editor.
If my Super Mod decides that one day, she’s just sick of it all (and honestly, I can’t begin to imagine how many hours a day she spends – FOR FREE – adding books and tags), I would also curl into a ball and cry.
The fact is, these two people are how this site is running.
Sure, I do a fair bit of admin (you’d be surprised how much time I spend on working through things manually – updating ASINs, making sure there aren’t contradicting tags, sanity checking all the tag suggestions that come through for the unverified authors), but my time is limited and without my Super Mod, I wouldn’t be able to do that. I certainly am not in a position to update the site with new books daily like she does.
But Serenity, that book has the wrong tag!
In amongst the feedback we’ve had so far, there were a few comments about book information being incorrect or books missing, and you know what? You’re probably absolutely correct!
Now, I don’t want anyone to feel like this is personally directed towards them, nor as criticism, because, if anything, I think it’s clear that we’ve never really made this known properly – and that’s on us.
Hence this blog post!
But I also wanted to let you know the limitations we’re working with.
First and foremost is the number of people adding books to the site.
I’ve just laid those figures out for you.
I know I’ve added a few, as have a few authors, but the rest – all one person.
We’re also as limited as you are when it comes to finding the books. Unless we’re certain a book is reverse harem, we’re not adding it (and yes, we do make mistakes – books are frequently labelled as reverse harem or even why choose, when they’re not).
Okay, slight segway here…
You’re called Why Choose?
Our website address is www.why-choose.com, but if you look at our banner, from day one, we’ve been shouting that we’re “Why Choose? A Reverse Harem Book Tracker.”
When this site was created back in 2020, this was when we authors started experiencing the troubles that went along with declaring your book as reverse harem on certain retailers. To get around this, we had to find “code words”. Mostly, this was either RH or why choose. At some point, mainly in the last year (2023), why choose seems to have grown to become a catch-all phrase for anything that is more than just two individuals in a relationship.
Regardless of this, Why Choose? will remain a reverse harem site.
Why Choose? wasn’t just about a not so secret in-joke with what we have to call our books, but it was also to show that there were really that many books and authors, why would anyone need to choose just one favourite?
But now, more than that, there is one person adding these books – we do not have the manpower to add everything else that “why choose” now covers. This site was also supposed – and will continue to be – a resource for reverse harem books only. One woman and THREE or more guys.
Yes, this has become somewhat grey as we have RH with MM or FF in the harem, but at the heart of it, the woman is the centre of that relationship.
Now, we are considering, in the not too distant future, allowing any non-RH book in a series which currently features an RH book to be added to the site. This won’t include non-RH series written by the same author (if they have an MF-only series, for example). And it certainly won’t be until we can properly identify these books as readers are coming here for reverse harem books.
While I also wanted to create a sister site called Y-Choose? for MM books, that dream died when I realised how much work was needed just for this site…
Anyway, sometimes books which aren’t reverse harem do end up on the site, but as soon as we’re made aware, they’re removed. We’re not trying to trick you!
When we add the books, we try to tag them with as much information as possible. For me personally, I stop at what I see on the retailers. I know for a fact that my Super Mod will go the extra mile to use the “Look inside” feature, and if the author is one known to write darker books, check their websites.
But even then, unless we actually read the books, we can’t put every tag on there. (Remember, Super Mod is adding nearly 10 books a day, and they’re not always in the genres she reads!)
And sometimes, the wrong tag gets on them. Back in the early days, I assumed (wrongly), that most of the time, the same tag applied to the whole series. I also have fat thumbs. Mistakes have happened – sometime the wrong tag is there, and sometimes they’re missing.
All of this is data which isn’t added automatically.
So what is automatic?
Every single day, this site is checking what is on our site vs a certain retailer in particular. It starts simply by checking that the book is still published. Despite this literally running on a loop, it takes about a week to cycle through every book.
This means, if an author pulls a release day forward and releases early, sometimes the dates aren’t accurate in the calendar. Unless we get a waaaay more powerful machine – which we won’t because they cost a fortune – we can’t speed this process up. In fact, as we get more and more books on the site, it will take even longer. The best we can do is prioritising the imminent releases, and even then, I still cannot guarantee anything.
We also have authors doing live releases – completely their prerogative, but we can’t guarantee when we will see them in time to add them on release day.
I wanted to read that book, but it’s unpublished
Authors have a habit of pulling books – pre-orders or published. It happens a lot more than you probably realise. What this means is that there are books on this site listed as unpublished. Some of these will get republished and sometimes the only difference is a new ASIN (most common with pre-orders). Sometimes they’ve been reworked and have new titles.
Unless the book was never released, that unpublished book will stay on the site.
How frustrating is it when you know you’ve read a book and then you can’t find it again? We want you to be able to look back and see it did exist, which is why they’re staying.
Now, I hold my hands up and acknowledge this is a slight flaw. We are working on improving this though – making sure it’s clearer that the book is unpublished (I’m not exactly sure how yet, but it will happen), and incorporating a book history into the book page – which I will probably have to do manually!
So, if you see that there’s a book missing – let us know.
If you see a book has the incorrect information – let us know.
If you see the books has missing tags – LET US KNOW!
Seriously – we want the suggestions!
This site works best with the tags. The more tags we have, the more we can help protect those with triggers. The more we can help you find what you want to read. The more we can help you find your next favourite book!
Which leads me to my last point of the post…
You’re making bank, right?
What money do we make from this site?
Pretty much nothing.
Our income comes from two places. Firstly, from any wonderful person who has a few spare $ in their pocket to “buy us a coffee”. The second, recently too, is from the ads. Last month, that was less than $5.
Hell, I’m just gonna tell you.
Since 2020, that has all amounted to less than $100. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond grateful to anyone who has donated and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
But that really is it.
The statements about affiliate links? We keep getting rejected. They’re up because we keep trying.
Now, I do not say this to guilt you into donating or anything. Honestly.
But no one is paying to use the site – readers or authors.
The books which appear in our blog posts are those that belong to verified authors. When we first set that up, it was done with the belief that if an author joined the site, they would check and update their tags, which meant that you as a user would be shown books with correct tag information. Sadly, very few of the authors are active, and in the future, how we handle this will change so that an author needs to confirm the information is correct. But these posts/books – they’re not sponsored. Should that happen, we will say that (we need to for legal reasons anyway).
For real – if people are paying sites to promote their products, they need to declare it. It’s the law in both the US and the UK, at least (which is why some sites have statements about affiliate links, and certain book retailers have “sponsored” products related to this one.)
Being verified gives no preference on how the books are shown in the search either. (I mean, let me be blunt, I love the search and it is a huge improvement on what it was, but that girl currently doesn’t remember what page you were on when you click on a book and then hit the back button – do you think we’re able to push the verified authors to the top?)
Early on, I offered those authors ‘ads’. These were banners that I created myself, and there was no charge. You don’t see them anymore as it’s just not a feature that authors seem to want to use.
And I’ve just realised that I never made one for my own release, so before I trap myself in a sort of lie, that might appear for a week or so of you reading this post. *Ahem* XXXVII: The Elite by Serenity Ackles – that’s the same Serenity Ackles writing this blog.
As for the “Featured” books suggested on the bottom of the home page?
I have fun – I go to the random book feature and I pick four books at random. My two rules are that if they are not a standalone, I share the first book in the series, and also, I don’t repeat a book. This is why sometimes, they end up in the same genre, and sometimes, they’re from verified authors.
I’m going to wrap up here, and I hope that this blog post has provided some transparency for you. Please, please do not think this was written with any ill intent towards anyone, because it truly wasn’t.
Over the next few blog posts, I’m going to work on sharing details about different existing features, and in the background work on creating a much better Help/FAQ section for the site.
If we’re missing tags or have something wrong, please let us know. If you know we’re missing books, please let us know (please help us by suggesting tags too), and we’ll get them added. And if anyone wants to be a Mod, please drop us a message on the Facebook page (if you’ve already expressed interest via the survey, you don’t need to do this again. I’ll be reaching out to people soon).
Thank you for reading!