Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Apologies and an Update for Bublish

First off an apology.

I must give my most sincere apology to readers for the lack of time I have been on recently. However this has not been by choice. For any of my closest friends and readers will know I have been ill recently. And what started as a suspected severe tonsillitis in early December turned into me collapsing in a hospital from septic shock a few weeks later. To cut the story short; I have not fully recovered yet and am due to have an operation in a couple of weeks to remove the problem tonsils that are still infected.

I am sorry that this has had such a bad effect on my blog posting. But as I am slowly trying to get back into the swing of things I’ve had to limit what I’ve done and how often. And blog posting although important, isn’t as critical as my own writing for me as an author.

I am also afraid this will continue for a few more weeks as I have an operation coming up in order to solve the problem once and for all. So I apologise for all delays in my reviewing and posting, but rest assured once I am back in full health I will be back with tonnes of review, guests and marketing insights.

Now on with the post!

Way back in September I reviewed the new marketing site: Bublish. Bublish is a new concept for authors and readers to connect through the love of books. The idea is fairly simple; authors share excerpts from their book, can talk a little about it and then share it over the social media world. Readers get to read excerpts and can share them across their social contacts and even buy the book through the bubble’s affiliation link. I gave the site a mainly positive review and promised myself that when my first book was ready it would be one of the first things I would try.

Now several months on I can fulfill that promise. Sound the trumpets as I have bublished!

Initial thoughts on the process are very positive. It is a simple manner of uploading your book to their site and then choosing a section to showcase and talk about. It is really as simple as that.

Some people may struggle if they don’t have an epub version and they aren’t confident enough with technology or Calibre. But as Bublish only accept this format and reviewers may only accept this format; it is a valuable skill for authors to learn.

Another thing that authors may find difficult is what to write about their excerpts. Writing about what motivates you during writing is a good start. But other ideas are adding in something about other people’s thoughts or comparison’s the real world.

What I have found from reading other people’s bubbles is that a few are having the same problem. There are a couple “Like this? Buy my book for more” bubbles. Which are unfortunately not enticing enough for me to click through. The whole point of the exercise is to add the author’s voice and interact with the reader. So why not do something interesting with your bubble? Readers hate sale pitches.
And when I got the chance to talk to Kathy Meis one of the founders of the site; I asked her what is the secret to writing a good bubble.

“...for creating a great book bubble, the secret sauce is really in the Author Insight. This is where the author has the opportunity to tell the story behind the story. It's what will make their excerpt "pop" for potential new readers. Some bublishers only use the Author Insight to set the scene for their excerpt. This is fine, but it really is a missed opportunity to add something special to the excerpt...to tell the author's "why." Think of it as a director's cut in a movie clip.”

Of course there is nothing completely simple in the marketing world. And I did come across a couple of problems. The first was when I uploaded my book; it for some reason came up labelled as “Ghost Haunts Master” and not “Ghost Haunts”. This was probably my fault; the file that I converted on Calibre was not called “Ghost Haunts Master” at the time, but it had been in the past. Also when I came to publish my bubble I found it difficult to just publish it as the button didn’t seem to do anything. However the latter was easily rectified by sharing it on twitter or facebook. Which was the next logical step anyway.

The first however was something that I could sort myself. Instead I had to ask support. And this is where Bublish really shine. Sending a support e-mail normally means waiting days for a response. Bublish not only quickly answered my query, but they resolved the issue in record breaking timing. And that is the foundation that will keep authors going back again and again, a website that cares about its content and the providers.

So what happens once you’ve Bublished? Well the fun doesn’t end. I bublished last Monday and within a week the Bublish team had tweeted my bubble a couple of times; one on the day of release and twice on their “Sample Sunday”. This is a great way to attract new readers as there are already 800 plus followers and it gives you a sense that they aren’t just a platform for you to advertise, but a partner.

And that isn’t the only trick up their sleeve. They have a weekly floating bookstore that is shared across multiple social platforms, live author and publisher twitter chats every Thursday and a special Feature Friday where they feature an author from their database of Bublishers.

The Floating Bookstore is something which I think is a great feature and Kathy Meis explains it as follows:

“The Bublish Floating Bookstore is a way to showcase the newest book bubbles on Bublish. It actually starts on Sunday with our #SampleSunday Marathon, which is 12 hours of the latest book bubbles tweeted with the popular #SampleSunday hashtag. Many readers use this hashtag to find new books each week, so we introduce the latest book bubbles into this hashtag every Sunday. Every new author gets to be part of this event. It's sort of like their Bublish launch event. On Monday morning, we take the #SampleSunday stream of book bubbles and use Storify to turn them all into a single piece of content known as the Bublish Floating Bookstore. This gives all the authors additional exposure throughout the week as well as an easy way to support their fellow authors and magnify the social network effect for each book and writer.”

So with that kind of support and exposure potential, Bublish could be one of the greatest tools that an author can use.

So what are my hints on the best way to use Bublish?

  • Create one bubble at a time and once a week - This way you can get exposure over a longer period of time and take full benefit of the Sample Sunday and the tweeting of new bubbles by the team. Readers may also be turned off if they see a block of your bubbles while scrolling through the archive. Sometimes less is more.
  • Make your Author Insights interesting - Readers already know your book is for sale. But they might not know what inspired you to write this scene or what image was going through your head.
  • Share your bubblesYour bubbles are good advertising even on your blog and website. Direct your readers to bublish to read what you have written.

I hope you all, readers and writers alike, have a chance to visit the site soon.

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