At a publishing conference this winter, author and futurist David Houle hushed the crowd with this startling fact: last week, he said, there were more books published than in the entirety of 1950. Let that sink in…a year of books is being published every single week. That’s a very crowded book marketplace.
With barriers to entry nearly eliminated in publishing, this trend will continue to accelerate in 2012 and beyond. What does that mean for you as a writer? It means that discovery is going to be your biggest challenge. I know, you thought writing, editing and rewriting your book would be the highest mountain you’d have to climb. It’s up there, but if you want anyone to read or buy your books, discovery will be your real Mount Everest.
Don’t lose heart. When a problem is this big, a lot of people start studying it and creating solutions. That’s what we’re doing at my company, Serendipite Studios. We started with a simple question. How can we help writers more effectively find readers in today’s crowded, noisy book marketplace?
First, we outlined the problems writers face when they want to promote their books. We came up with an pretty long list. We’re writers too so this was pretty easy for us. Here’s a sample:
1. It takes a lot of time to create promotional content, especially when you’re trying to write another book.
2. It takes a lot of time and technical expertise to build websites, blogs, create YouTube trailers, host podcasts, and master a variety of social media platforms.
3. It costs money to hire people to help you with these efforts if you don’t have the technical expertise.
4. Social media is free and can be effective, but it’s difficult to know what to talk to strangers about and even more difficult to keep the conversation focused on your work without sounding like a salesperson.
5. Even with consistent effort, it’s difficult to connect in a vast social world with the right readers, those who are actually willing to buy your book specifically.
6. It’s tough to make money on your book if the best way to be discovered is to give it away for free.
I could go on, but you get the gist. Writers need solutions, and fast. So as we were creating our new social platform, Bublish, we tried to address these problems.
1. To solve the promotional content problem, we found a way for authors to repurpose their best writing, the content of their books. With Bublish, authors can easily blog directly from their books, pushing out original snippets of highly shareable content that we call bubbles.
2. Bublish requires almost no technical knowledge. The author handles the content selection and Bublish handles the layout. The Bublish interface was designed by writers.
3. To solve the cost problem, we created a free version of Bublish.
4. Because Bublish allows authors to talk about the stories behind their characters, setting, plot, etc., it creates a more effective conversation for authors and readers, one that is focused on the content of the book. When readers are engaged in the story behind the story, there’s no need to sound like a salesperson.
5. The problem of connecting not just with readers, but the right readers for your book, was perhaps our biggest challenge in creating Bublish. Though we can’t share all the details yet, we’re devising a system to learn from readers who interact with the bubbles authors create and share. The more we learn from these interactions, the better we’ll become at helping the right writers and readers connect with each other.
6. We get the whole free book movement, but we think we have a better solution. What if instead of giving away your entire book for free, you just gave away small samples of it? That’s what Bublish allows you to do.
Ultimately, to address discovery challenges for writers, we realized we must also solve discovery problems for readers. Creating an enjoyable, relaxing, serendipitous browsing experience online to help readers find authors and books they will love is the other part of the Bublish experience. Whether you’re a writer, reader or both, we hope you’ll join our beta and help us reinvent the way writers share their stories and readers discover new authors and books. Our goal is to revolutionize social book discovery, and we’d love your input.
Kathy Meis has been a professional writer for more than twenty years. She founded Serendipite Studios to empower those who create and enhance quality content. If you’d like to learn more about Bublish, visit www.serendipitestudios.com. You can sign up for a beta invite there or at www.bublish.com.[subscribe2]