The grueling part of writing novels is the need to promote your own work. This is especially true of authors published by small presses or those who go the self-publishing route. The Kindle Scout winning authors behind this site have also learned that despite the awesome marketing machine of Amazon, they still need to engage in frequent self-promotion. There is no sitting back and relaxing once the novel is published by Kindle Press.
For good or for ill, promotion involves an extensive amount of activity on social media sites, and for many authors this is a real chore (Full disclosure: that’s me).
I have found one social media format enjoyable: Bublish. Please note that this blog is not an advertisement for the platform, nor am I receiving any reimbursement for writing about it. I have fun with Bublish and I find promoting my work a pleasant experience using the platform.
What is Bublish?
Basically, Bublish is a social platform that allows authors to display excerpts from their work in an eye-catching format called Book Bubbles. Authors can choose as many excerpts as they want and to display them on whatever timeline they prefer. What makes Bublish rather interesting is the ability of authors to also write insights about the passages. That is, authors can include “behind the scenes” information that highlights their perspective, logic, or state of mind related to that passage. Have you ever wanted to know how an author got an idea for a particular scene or why they wrote a passage the way they did? Well, here is an opportunity to find out.
Right now, I have my three horror novels, The Disembodied (3 excerpts and insights), Dead Works (5 excerpts and insights) and Birth Offering (5 excerpts and insights), loaded on Bublish.
Some Examples of How I use Bublish
Using Bublish, I described how the idea for the plot of The Disembodied (my Kindle Scout selected novel) came about while teaching a psychotherapy class to my doctoral students—and tie this light-bulb experience to the excerpt that initially popped into my head while standing in front of a room of 15 students.
I was able to address why I used child sexual abuse as an underlying theme of my ghost story, Dead Works. I found writing about this topic, even in the vague sense that it appears in Dead Works, rather difficult, but I was able to explain the process very succinctly in a book bubble and relate it to an excerpt. I was also able to explain what a Practicum class looks like to readers who are not familiar with the training of graduate psychology students.
For my first novel, Birth Offering, I was able to describe how I got the idea for the novel while on vacation (nearly 20 years ago!), and tie it to the very passage that was my first mental glimpse of the book.
While writing this blog, I realized that I should be prepping one or two more book bubbles for The Disembodied. I don’t know why I think five passages per novel represents a nice round number – but at the moment, that’s where I’m stuck.
Should You Bother?
The main question everyone is asking, though, is: Does it "work" in terms of sales, downloads, new readers?
Who knows? My guess is probably not a huge degree, although there is some activity in ranking changes when I tweet a book bubble – and the folks from Bublish are always retweeting and liking your book bubble posts.
I’ve got to admit though, that I don’t think any form of social media “works”. I don’t know if anyone has found a reliable system for selling books, unless you’re Stephen King and John Grisham. And, their sales come from name recognition, not social media. So, I try the standard stuff. What makes Bublish stand out for me is the ability to explain a segment. Maybe this fits naturally because of my “other career” of professor and psychologist. I like to explore things, to share ideas, to talk about the background or history or stimulus of an event.
In addition, I should mention that I use the paid (instead of free) service, so I am likely losing money. But, it allows me to do a certain type of social media marketing that I think is interesting and enjoyable. I can spot certain trends or where clicks come from, so that is something.
Clearly Bublish isn’t for everyone. And I never know when circumstances will change which could alter my perception of the service. In the meantime, I’ll continue to use it.