Bublish is a new social platform which authors and readers can interact. Authors can show off excerpts from their works and include behind the scenes information to give the readers a better perspective of their work. The main aim of the website is to recreate the brick and motor bookshop experience.
How does it work?
When an author signs up they can upload up to 30 books to their profile. These must be done in epub format (explanation will follow). One uploaded, the author can then choose segments to share with the Bublish community (i.e. readers) and attach some author notes to them. It’s these author notes that are the most interesting aspect of Bublish as they are unique and act almost like a director’s commentary on a DVD. These give the reader a unique and personal perspective of your book that readers on amazon or other retail sites won’t have. This in marketing terms is gold dust. No longer is your book just a collection of words strung together into a story that only once complete will readers fully appreciate, now your stories have personality in every excerpt that you decide to share.
Gone are the days where the reader had to endure the front matter of copyright notices and notes of thanks as part of their preview. Now authors get to choose what to show off, giving readers the taste of what is to come throughout the book, not just at the beginning. Also with ‘bubbles’ (excerpts) being unlimited per book, authors are not consigned to the usual 10-20% that a lot of online retailers insist on.
At the moment readers can read, share through social media and buy books right from a bubble. In the future, readers will be introduced to a variety of book bubbles from genres and topics they select when they join and introduce readers to new works that their clever systems think the reader might like based on their previously browsing history.
How does Bublish make money?
Bublish gains money from commissions on the sale of books it does through affiliates like Amazon. Although there has been talk of creating premium accounts, Bublish have stated that a thorough look through the economics of the publishing industry has shown that the selling of ebooks is the by far the best money maker. Hence in the meantime expansion of their commercial side would be through social commerce experiences rather than building premium tools. This is in my opinion a very sensible move. As an author; the feeling that someone would essentially pay for better exposure would undermine the basic concept of the website and would turn likely turn me away from using the service.
Why do you have to upload your entire novel / book to Bublish?
This question is one that had me concerned for a while. It wasn’t until I saw the process in place and was told of the security system in place that I felt reassured. Essentially publishing a bubble is very simple, but only because your entire book is already loaded onto your profile. It literally takes seconds. Also because it is in epub format it is already formatted for e-readers so readers can see what your book will look like on their kindle or nook.
Security was a big concern of mine, and rightly so in a time of torrent sites. However Bublish announced on a webinar that I attended that the security is incredibly tight as the books are stored on the Amazon cloud. They even shared a story that when their development team, which worked in another office, attempted to gain access the owners of Bublish got a call from Amazon on the mobile and home phone making sure the development team could access the data.
Even if a pirate was desperate to copy my work from my bubbles, people can’t highlight and copy the text direct from the bubble, leaving a determined pirate to type my book word for word. It certainly is not the easiest way for them to get a copy of my books.
So what are the positives?
The one thing that new and existing authors struggle with is exposure. This is where Bublish will work for authors. Without doing too much of work, Bublish will connect authors with the readers that have an interest in their book. Readers can be connected with authors that would normally be lost in the sea of self published books. By gaining exposure authors can gain new readers, fans and sales. Additionally Bublish have hinted at functions that would allow for authors to host special events with their readers – getting more connectivity between readers and writers.
The idea of the notes on the excerpts is an excellent idea and gives the books a more personal touch. Image if you could get the thoughts of Charles Dickens when you read the moment that Smike dies in Nicholas Nickleby? I know that I would love to have the thoughts of several authors when I read their books, and this platform will give readers that chance. For authors that personal touch helps give the book an emotional attachment to readers that increases their chances to selling the book.
With every new bubble that you post for a book, new content is added to the website. This content is considered new content by search engines, which better improves an author’s potential search ranking.
Future benefits of the site are immense; as it expands I am sure that new opportunities for author and readers will expand exponentially as well.
So what are the negatives?
As far as I can see, there are limited negatives for the Bublish platform. The idea of authors paying for extra promotional tools seems to go against the main aims of the site, but that is something that is not implemented at the moment and there are no plans in the near future to do so. Also the limited nature of the site at the moment, the single affiliate link, limited connection between author and reader are things that at the moment limit the effectiveness of the promotion. However to be fair to the site, it is only in its beta stages and is doing well.
To be honest, I like the new website. It is a simple design yet effective in marketing. Authors can easily create new content and readers can share bubbles with just as much ease. In regards to their goal, I think that the team have achieved that experience of the bookshop to the best that the web allows, but at the same time improved upon it giving authors a brilliant platform in which to launch their work into the global literacy industry. With future developments in the pipeline I can expect the opportunities and the diversity offered to authors and readers to expand exponentially. So whether you love reading or writing I would suggest joining Bublish now.
I would like to thank Kathy Meis for answering my questions in relation to the Bublish platform and providing the image used in this article.