Last week at Book Expo America in New York City, we officially launched the live beta of Bublish, the social book discovery platform that will revolutionize the way writers share their stories and readers find books they’ll love. The response so far has been tremendous, and we are excited to announce that the beta is now open to writers and readers everywhere. Bublish is free for both readers and writers, and enables authors to manage up to three books from a single account.
Like any social tool or platform, Bublish is most effective when used to its full potential, especially by writers. The heart of the Bublish platform is the creation and sharing of Book Bubbles. Below is a sample book bubble created by Author Harrison Solow about her book, Felicity & Barbara Pym.
Book Bubbles are meant to recreate online that quiet but powerful book-meets-reader experience that happens in your local bookstore. Book Bubbles have many of the same elements readers explore in physical books, a photo and bio of the author, the book cover and synopsis as well as an excerpt. There are also a few Book Bubble features that are uniquely digital. There’s a link to the author’s website, an optional “buy” button for readers who just have to have the book immediately, and most importantly, an Author Insight.
The Author Insight is the place in the Book Bubble where authors can really shine. It’s where authors tell the story behind their story. Not only does this turn excerpts into fresh pieces of highly shareable social content, but the story behind your story has the potential to connect readers emotionally to you and your book content. That’s a much more effective way to promote your book then just saying, “Read an excerpt from my book,” or “Buy my book.” Here’s how to create powerful Author Insights for your Bublish Book Bubbles:
1. Introduce excerpts with more than just a description or introduction. In other words, don’t just set the scene. Rather, tell readers something about the formation of the characters, conflict, setting or ideas in the excerpt. Author Insights are meant to be like a director’s cut for your book. Ask yourself what the reader might ask you at a book signing. Then, answer those questions in your insight.
For a work of fiction, this might mean thinking back to the initial creation and writing of the scene or the formation of the characters in it. Did you draw upon anything in your real life to create them? Was it difficult to create this scene, character or setting? If so, how did you overcome that struggle? Why did you choose a particular setting or plot line? How does the setting influence the mood of the characters in the scene? Dig deep and share with readers what went into crafting your story. Sharing rich Author Insights in your Book Bubbles will greatly strengthen your connection with readers.
For a work of non-fiction, your Author Insight might be more about the formation of your ideas or life experiences that contributed to them. Non-fiction writers also have the opportunity to update or add further examples or details to their original book content. Some non-fiction books lend themselves to tip-of-the-day Author Insights. Others are enriched by using the Author Insight to annotate the excerpt. Book Bubbles are only as powerful as the stories you tell in your Author Insights. Make them grab the reader’s attention and draw them closer to your work.
2. Let your writing and your voice as an author sell your books. One reason Bublish was created was to help authors have effective social conversations about their books without feeling like sales people. We’ve all encountered those noisy tweets and Facebook posts that shout, “Buy my book!” Even if an author gets a quick sale from that approach, he or she risks losing a longer term relationship with that reader. Better to draw the reader toward your work at their own pace, allowing them to become a true social advocate for you and your work over the course of your writing career. With the move to digital and online retailers, shelf space no longer constrains the amount of time a book can be encountered and purchased by readers. As an author, you now have the ability to capitalize on what we call the “endless tale.” Meaning, you can sell your books for as long as you can create a readership for them. In this new crowded book marketplace, it might be more difficult to be discovered, but it’s easier to sell your books for a much longer period of time. Of course, in order to capitalize on this opportunity you must create a loyal readership willing to continually recommend and buy your books. That’s when the hard sell can backfire, and why long-term relationship building is the better choice.
3. Start a conversation about your Book Bubble. The best way to engage new readers is to start conversations. That’s why readers love readings and author signings. Book Bubbles help focus your social conversations on your book’s content. Think about ending some of your Author Insights with a question. Then, give readers a hashtag to use on Twitter to continue that conversation. The goal here is to spark discussions that other readers can view, share or join. This is how viral content marketing works. Here’s a quick example. Perhaps your Book Bubble is about a complex character named Nora (Ibsen reference intended). You could discuss a number of Nora’s difficult decisions in a few Book Bubbles. At the end of each, you could pose a question about her struggles, and direct readers to continue the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #Nora. Those discussions and links can then be shared by readers across other social networks for the type of social cross-pollination that can turn a few interesting conversations into a following, that is a growing group of interested readers.
As Bublish grows, we’ll be providing writers with more metrics to track the success of your Book Bubbles and the conversations around them. We do have one last tip for you. It’s an important one. The more well-crafted Book Bubbles that you create and share, the more likely you are to find those readers who connect with you and your work. The social world is a never-ending newswire. It runs 24/7. In order to capitalize on it, you have to post quality content frequently. Bublish can help you create and post fresh, interesting content easily and quickly. It’s designed to help you meet the content demands of the social world and still have time to write your next book. So Bublish insightful Book Bubbles often and send them to different social sites. And please let us know if you have more ideas on how to create great Book Bubbles. We’d love to hear them and share them with fellow bublishers. Happy bublishing!