The first place I heard of the Radish Fiction App was on Twitter, in February 2016. There, various authors who I followed shared posts about the app that was going to launch on Valentine’s Day. Sadly, I couldn’t download it because my phone software was too old – a reason why some other people also haven’t been able to download the app even though they wish to. Needless to say, in those early months the app was only available to download on iPhone and not on Android. A few months ago, Radish announced that the app was available on Android too. I have a new iPhone that I’m pleased works with the app, but I feel that the availability of the app on both Google Play for Android and app store for iPhone does help more readers to find it. The app is free to download, so I think Radish’s popularity is only going to increase.
So, in February 2016, it was possible for writers to start submitting applications to become Radish authors. The Google form was shared on Twitter by some Wattpad authors and I filled out the form, trying my luck. I waited for a response. A few weeks later, I had a reply from Radish that on this occasion they could not say yes to my application. I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t expect to be accepted.
In June 2016, about 5-6 months after I had submitted my application, I had a surprise email from Radish that they had decided to give me a chance to write for them. They had me at “Hello”. I was sent the contract via email and all the FAQ list that I needed. That’s what I love about Radish: they are very professional in dealing with authors. I started writing straight away. Everything happened so quick.
Now let me tell you a bit about Radish, how it works and my experiences with it.
The Radish Fiction app that is available in the IPhone app store and on Google Play is a reading app only. If you are accepted as a writer, your reading account will be converted to a writer’s account, but you still cannot write using the app. There is a website where you can log in and post your work. Once you post your work, your readers are able to subscribe to your books by simply adding them to their library through pressing the star button. Some books are free to read and some need to be purchased through the app. I don’t have Android, but on iPhone all the purchases are done through the app store and it uses the details from the credit card you connect to it. You don’t pay directly to Radish; you pay Apple and they handle the money.
There are three models for an author to choose from in terms of how they want their books to become available:
- They can make their book available for free. In this case the reader can read the book for absolutely free. I am currently using this option for all my books as I wish to build a readership and also edit my books before I charge money. I post on Radish and another (free) reading app at the same time.
- The freemium model. This means the first three chapters are free on Radish and on any other free site, such as Wattpad. Readers can read these first three free chapters and decide if they’d like to purchase the next chapters. To unlock each upcoming chapter, the reader will need 3 coins. I live in the U.K. and I can purchase 6 coins for 99 pence; those can unlock two freemium chapters. However, there’s a discount, if you purchase more coins at once. The app has coins on sale at 50% off and more on occasions and there are plenty coin giveaways on social media where users can win coins. If a user can’t pay for chapters, it’s fine; they’ll just need to wait one week after the chapter has been posted for it to automatically unlock and become free on Radish.
- The premium model. This model is similar to the freemium model. First few chapters are free on Radish and other free sites. Readers read the free chapters and decide if they wish to purchase the rest of the chapters for 3 coins each. But the chapters don’t unlock after a week. Premium book chapters stay locked, that’s to say, you can only read them if you pay for them.
Someone may ask “Why would someone use Radish, if there are free reading apps available?” There are a few reasons I can think of:
- You can find good books easier on Radish than on other free reading apps. Many books that are of high quality drown on free sites and are never discovered. Some reading apps have millions of books and I personally find discovery of high quality books that hook and engage me very difficult. When I joined Radish and started reading books, I was shocked at how many books were from authors that I hadn’t heard of even though they write on other free reading sites. Mature books stood out on Radish. I found some good reads in the LGBT category too. On most free sites, mature books are not allowed and an LGBT category is nonexistent.
- Active social media. Radish has very active accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumbler. Books are shared, Radish news and features are shared, and coin giveaways are hosted over there.
- Reader and writer newsletters. If you join Radish as a reader or a writer, you get a newsletter through email.
Overall, I feel that Radish is more in touch with readers and writers than any reading app I have come across so far. Fans can message them on social media and I have seen many prompt responses by Radish. This is unique to them. I have tweeted to various book-related accounts and never gotten response, but Radish does value every single person who come across them. That is the key feature of Radish. You feel valued by them when you join as a reader or a writer. Newsletters involve everyone. Coin giveaways involve everyone. Radish’s YouTube channel also has a good archive where it is possible to meet the staff and I love the energy that the videos give out.
There is room for improvement on Radish and I have lost count of how many times they have invited users to give their opinions about what they would like to see. Radish values user experience and are improving. They were launched only a year ago and many people forget that. Some users like to see some of the social aspects of the site improve. I personally don’t have an issue with that, because I am active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I may not have many of my fans on social media, but I have a few. I do interact with my Radish fans on social media and I like to invest more time in the Facebook group I’ve made for my readers. I really don’t feel the need for Radish to introduce more social aspects. But some users do want extra features and those might be developed soon.
The social aspects that the users suggest cover a wide range. There are no comment, vote, private message and follow/fan features at the moment, which are things some websites like Goodreads and Amazon allow. However, please take into account that Radish is a recent app while other sites with more features have been around for a decade or more. Radish may be changing soon to develop these other features that readers and authors would like to see in addition to what is currently available.
I encourage every author to do their own independent research about Radish instead of only listening to word of mouth. They recently received a $3 million investment and you can read various articles about that on the web. So if you decide to get involved with them, feel free to search and chat to Radish authors on Facebook and Twitter.
I feel that there’s no such thing as the perfect reading or writing app on the app store. There’s room for improvement in the case of every app. But I also feel that Radish has so much potential due to its professionalism, organisation, prompt responses via email despite having a very small team, and having a range of benefits for authors. I am personally very pleased to see how Radish supports authors on rival platforms. They don’t forbid you from posting on other sites. You, as an author, have so much freedom when joining Radish.
There’s good feedback from authors (such as Bella Johnson) who have said they are happy with the money they make on Radish even though they cross-publish on Amazon and Radish. Authors are allowed to post their Radish books on other free sites, as long as they keep the books free on Radish too, because it’s unfair to a Radish user to have to pay coins to read a book that’s available elsewhere for free.
I think Radish is a good app and I have been treated quite fairly as an ordinary author, who writes as a hobby. I am not published on Amazon and my books are written in a simple language, but Radish gave me a chance alongside its high profile authors and I feel they did so because they strongly believe in having diversity. Books that don’t stand a chance of being read on some other sites can be discovered and enjoyed because Radish features a range of authors and helps them thrive.
I would like to mention that Radish has an editorial team that accepts applications every few months so feedback is available for writers. Radish features authors such as Rob Thier who posts chapters that are only available there, but it also gives chances to less-known authors such as myself to feature my books. I feel that Radish is a 21st century app and I always say it.
Please feel free to message me on Twitter if you have any queries or questions regarding my post.
Thank you for having me Dylaina!