A few weeks ago, we had an email interaction with Henry at SelfPublishingReview.com, who made a very valuable suggestion for improving the user interface and readability of BookBuzzr on Mac systems. When we made the fix, Henry suggested that we write a guest post about running a book-marketing site. So here goes…
What is BookBuzzr?
BookBuzzr is a free, online book-marketing technology for authors. We have over 2000 authors and 80 publishers registered. BookBuzzr is the only tool that can help authors and their fans to share book-extracts on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and more. We’ve also worked hard to make the pages of the book turn like the pages of a real book with flip-book technology. All books created in BookBuzzr format become available on fReado.com – a sister site. BookBuzzr was created by the vision of a real author with a very real marketing problem on the Internet. You can read the story behind BookBuzzr here.
What are you doing to promote BookBuzzr?
When we started out, we were very inspired by a quote made by Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. He said, “You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.”
With this as our guiding philosophy, we’ve been adding features to make our tool more different and more unique with each iteration. In just a few months after launch, BookBuzzr’s traffic has grown dramatically. Our Alexa rank – a key measure of site popularity – has risen every month. We’ve done very little to promote this growth. We’ve not spent any money on advertising or trade shows. Most of the marketing is happening in a viral manner. For example, when an author comes to our site, he is able to get a ‘book-widget’ for his book. He then puts up this book-widget on his blog, website, and Facebook profile. The author can also set up BookBuzzr to send out automatic tweets on Twitter. For example, a tweet goes out once every four hours which says something like “40 readers read my book ‘House of Shadows’ in the last four hours” along with a URL to the book-extract in BookBuzzr format. What we’re noticing is that other authors see the BookBuzzr widget and decide that they want something like this for their own book. And the cycle continues.
We also have a number of authors who voluntarily evangelize BookBuzzr. For example, just a few days ago, we came across an Italian language blog post from a book author with the title (in Italian) that said “BookBuzzr – Spread the Word.”
Our only efforts at marketing come from Freya, who spends time connecting with authors, bloggers and others from the publishing industry via twitter, online communities, forums and email. We now have over 4,800 Twitter followers and Twitter has become an important source of traffic, authors and new business relationships. Along with promoting BookBuzzr we are constantly looking for ways to help authors connect with others in the industry, get information and promote their books. Our marketing is done largely though word of mouth and author/user recommendations. Our goal is not to have the most authors but to have the most satisfied authors/users.
How is BookBuzzr different from Scribd?
BookBuzzr is completely different from Scribd: we serve an entirely different market with a completely different set of features. Scribd is a place where anyone and everyone can upload and share documents such as homework assignments, research reports, brochures, manuals etc. At one level it’s like Napster for documents (although I recently read that Scribd is trying to clear out the piracy and porn.) At another level (iPaper) Scribd is like Adobe PDF.
BookBuzzr on the other hand is very, very focused on authors and it is primarily an online book-marketing technology. It includes a book-widget that can be shared on blogs & Facebook, a Twitter component that automates tweets about your book, a neat email signature for your book and features to improve the search engine rankings for your book.
Perhaps the only thing that’s common about the two applications is that they are both free.