Tuesday Tutorial: Bublish

All right everyone. I will take the plunge and try my hand at a tutorial. Let me tell you about Bublish and guide you through how to use it. Hey, if I can do this, anyone can. No, really, I mean it. Please do forgive the lack of artistry on the arrows. I am no artist.

Bublish has been around only since June of this year, so I had the good luck to be an early subscriber. Bublish is the brainchild of Kathy Meis and Charles Wyke-Smith. I have had extensive email contact with Kathy and she was kind enough to spend 40 minutes one-on-one with me when I hit a snag. (Thanks Kathy.) I have nothing but praise for the support I have received.

What makes Bublish unique is that it has the author take snippets of text from their book and asks them to write an insight about that snippet, then share it on Facebook and Twitter. Do this regularly and you will have tweets going out that are non-repetitive, interesting and – my favourite – not pushy buy my book spam messages. They are little hooks meant to entice a prospective reader to take a closer look at your work. Heck, they might even want to buy it. The links for buying are on the site, so that is just a click away.

Here’s where to start. Go to their site at  www.bublish.com. There you will see a screen with an invitation to ‘sign up’ at the bottom left. Click on that button, which will bring you to the screen that asks you to set up your profile with your personal information, your password, bio, and your gravatar or author pic. So far this is much like any other set up page, so I did not see the need for a screen shot.

The next screen asks you to upload your book. This might make you hesitate at first, but be assured that your baby is safe from predators here. The upload is necessary, as you will see. With me so far?

Now your dashboard is set up. Mine looks like this. Note the arrow pointing to the “Create a Bubble” box. On mine there are two options; one for each book.

Click on the one for the book you wish to focus on.





The next screen looks like this (below). The top arrow points to your Table of contents. Click this to scroll until you find the excerpt you wish to use for your Bubble. Highlight the excerpt (right click on the mouse to highlight) and click the “submit excerpt” box below.

This takes you to the next screen which looks like this. On the left is the excerpt you chose. At the right, top, is a space for the title of your “insight”. The box below is where you will say something about your excerpt that will entice the reader to take a closer look. In my opinion this is the most important element of the whole exercise. This is where you can speak to your motivation for that piece, share a tidbit about the personality of a character, the importance of that scene to the story – anything you choose. Its purpose is to entice the reader to dig just a bit deeper.

If you are happy with the result click on the “publish and preview” box at the bottom of the screen. (red circle)

The next screen gives you a look at what the reader who visits your bubble will see.  Note the square at the top left. This is where your reader can find  how to buy your book. Your mug shot is here, as well as the cover of the book and both the excerpt and insight you chose. If you don’t like what you see you can click “edit” and go back to fix things. If you are happy with the result click “publish”. You may choose either facebook or twitter.

That’s all there is to it. It doesn’t take much time to set up. After that creating bubbles is  a few minutes once or twice weekly. Have fun.

I did ask Kathy about using longer excerpts. I chose to follow her advice and keep them short. I have since come to see the wisdom in that. It allows you to send more bubbles over a longer period to keep up interest. And it prevents you from giving away too much at once. The bubbles are meant to be little aha’s, not essays.

What the Bublish team does with your bubble is to tweet phrases from it. You will receive notifications for these which you can retweet. This is why I choose to publish my bubbles to Facebook. My friends get to see them there, and I retweet the notices Bublish sends me. Since the tweets are far enough apart it allows my followers on both Facebook and Twitter more than one opportunity to see my bubbles without bombarding them with promos and spamming them.

If you wish to watch a video tutorial in the event that I have been unclear or you are in need of more than I have provided here, Kathy at Bublish has provided me with this link. http://www.serendipitestudios.com/2012/08/bublish-premiers-first-demo-video/ If you ever run into difficulties or questions Kathy will respond to you promptly.

Author: Yvonne Hertzberger

Yvonne Hertzberger is a native of the Netherlands who immigrated to Canada in 1950. She is an alumna of The University of Waterloo, with degrees in psychology and Sociology. Her Fantasy trilogy, ‘Earth’s Pendulum’ has been well received. Learn more about Yvonne at her blog and her Amazon author page.

71 thoughts on “Tuesday Tutorial: Bublish”

  1. I’m a very proud Bublisher! I even had the great pleasure of meeting Kathy recently and was impressed with her vision. I love that they tweet my stuff often with different catch-phrases and they’ve actually picked up on some great stuff for tweeting. I hope this catches on…both as an author and a reader. The author insights are awesome and in my humble opinion, set them apart from other browsing experiences.

    1. Thanks Jacqueline. It was great meeting you as well, and we’re proud to call you a beta bublisher! As you know both Charles and I are life-long writers, so we truly love sharing the work of other writers. We have a bold vision for Bublish, and we thank you for being an early adopter. We’re committed to solving the discoverability problem, and to giving great writing and stories a chance to be found.

  2. Thanks for this great Bublish tutorial Yvonne. We really appreciate it. For anyone interested, we’re hosting a free evening webinar tonight at 7pm ET. If you’d like to see a live demo of Bublish, just email us for an invite at [email protected]. Even if you can’t make the session, we’re recording it. If you register, we can email you the recording after. As Yvonne said, we’re here to help, so don’t hesitate to ask us questions. You can reach me at [email protected]. Also, a great way to see Bublish book bubbles in the wild is to follow us on Twitter (@BublishMe) or on Facebook (Bublish). We look forward to answering your questions and helping you share your stories with new readers. Happy bublishing!

    1. Thanks Yvonne nicely done tutorial!
      Thank you too, Kathy Meis for providing your email address.

      Since tonight’s demo coincides with the televised presidential debate, I’m grateful that you will make the demo available to watch later.

      Looking forward to learning more about Bublish.

  3. Thanks for the info on a tool I hadn’t heard of yet. Now I just need to finish my book so I can give it a go 😉

    1. Good luck finishing your book. It’s a marathon, but you can do it! When you’re ready, Bublish will be there to help you share your stories with new readers.

    1. Thanks Rich. Just so you know, you can join Bublish as a reader as well. When you come to our home page at http://www.bublish.com, you’re given the choice to sign up as a reader or a writer. You can choose to be a reader for now. Then, when that insightful book of yours comes out, you can open your writer account. Authors, just so you know, you are all given reader privileges as well. Just click “view as reader” on your author dashboard to see the bubble stream like a reader. Navigate the stream with the right/left arrows at the bottom of each bubble. There are hundreds of book bubbles to enjoy, and we’ll be enhancing our reader experience with new features soon.

  4. Come on over and check out CM Skiera’s first book bubble on Bublish. We already tweeted it out @BublishMe. CM, we need your Twitter handle so we can @ you when we tweet your bubbles. See how great your tutorial was Yvonne, CM’s up and bublishing already!

  5. Congratulations Yvonne – you have converted me! I am off to become a Bublish follower(?). Great tutorial. xx

  6. This tutorial exemplifies what I like about IU — useful, cutting-edge articles designed to help us improve our craft & grow as writers (or ROFL & be encouraged). Thanks MUCH for the info. Bublish definitely seems to provide a new avenue for discoverability, much better than spam.
    Question: How well does Bublish coexist with Kindle Select: numerous excerpts okay? buy-link legal?


    1. Agreed! Indies Unlimited is a great resource for writers and readers. We do have a number of authors who have used Bublish during their Kindle Select promotions. It’s always a good idea to read your Amazon terms of service to confirm, but so far it hasn’t been an issue. We look forward to reading and sharing your book bubbles!

    2. Perhaps Kathy will clarify (I know she’s keeping an eye on this post) but as I understand it there is not an issue with KDP Select as all Bublish does is provide the link to where you can buy the books. They don’t sell them there and you can’t read the book there – only the bubbles. But I am open to correction. I hadn’t thought about that aspect.
      As for number of excerpts, there is an optimum number. Kathy suggested that they be regular, possibly once or twice a week. Since they get tweeted and often re-tweeted more would be counter-productive. And could be considered spamming.

        1. Gloria, just to clarify. The buy link on Bublish goes to your “buy” page on Amazon. We are an approved affiliate site. As for Kindle Select promotions, I encourage you to make sure you are able to share excerpts during the terms of your exclusivity with Amazon. We have had numerous authors who have used book bubbles to tell readers about their participation in the program. However, we always encourage authors to understand the Terms of Service to which they have agreed.

          As for the number of bubbles an author creates, that’s up to the author. Think of bubbles like a microblog. You have to strike a balance between sharing multiple times to make sure people see it at different times of day without sharing it so often that you clog up someone’s social stream. However, Bublish is a storytelling platform. It’s the antithesis of spam. To us spam is adding noise to the social world. Saying “buy my book” dozens of times a day is spammy. Sharing book bubbles throughout the day starts conversations about your content. We think it’s an important differentiator.

          Great questions, Gloria. Thanks for asking them.

  7. Congratulations Yvonne! Great tutorial and a very interesting concept. I think you’ve got a convert in me as well. Going to go sign up as a reader right now. 🙂

  8. Thanks for such an interesting post. Bublish sounds great and possibly even easy enough for me to master – says she who still doesn’t tweet, hasn’t managed to create an author page on Facebook and panics whenever there is a like-fest or suchllike on here. I WILL learn and do more.

      1. Mary, we’re here to help if you need us. I am a writer, not a technologist. It’s important to me to make Bublish easy for writers to use. Let us know if there is anything we can do to improve the experience, and never hesitate to email us if you need support: [email protected]. Yvonne, and I have shared more than a few laughs about our technological skills. 🙂

  9. Thanks Yvonne – you’re my hero. I almost gave up on the epub formatting, but once I read the easy instructions on Bublish I got it all figured out and from your great instructions I have just published my first bubble. Yippee! You rock!

      1. And it’s a great looking book bubble! We’ve already shared it over @BublishMe. Congrats! Let us know if you have questions. We’re here to help. Yvonne, great job on your first tutorial. Thanks for choosing Bublish as your subject.

    1. Come on over, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. We’re glad to help. As for promo, drop by at noon ET today on Twitter @BublishMe for #FeatureFriday where we highlight the life and work of one Bublisher with 12 fascinating facts in one hour. Also, on Sunday, we have our #SampleSunday Marathon with Book Bubbles where we share a new book bubble every 10 mintues for 16 hours straight! We then turn all the posts into The Bublish Floating Bookstore on Monday. We love promoting the work of Bublish authors! Thanks for your interest. Hope to see you on Bublish soon! Best, Kathy

  10. Just in case you had the same problem I had, my Facebook account and author page are connected, and it forces me to post as my main account instead of my author page as my pseudonym. To get the correct link, switch to “View as Reader” at the top right of the dashboard, then copy that link to post to your Facebook author page.

      1. Thanks Lynn. We are currently working to enhance our Facebook API. I will keep you posted about our progress. I’d love to reach out to you after the enhancement goes live and see what you think of it. Would that be okay? It always helps to have real users give us feedback.

          1. I agree. Ever since FB Timeline went live, we’ve been having issues. We’re still studying the issue so we don’t have answers yet. As soon as we do, though, we’ll share them with you. Thanks Lynn.

  11. The only problem I see with it is that Bublish only accepts epub files. You must download Calibre and convert to epub before uploading your file to Bublish. I haven’t yet mastered this, so I won’t be using it. But it seems it would make it a lot easier on authors if other file types were accepted and also warned users before they signed up they can’t use the service unless they have epub files.

    1. There are free programs that will put your ms into epub format. I hate trying those things out, too, as i am a computer dummy, but I’m told it is not difficult. I’ve tried so many new things over the last year that I am gradually becoming braver. Give it a shot. What have you got to lose?

      And I know Kathy is following this so she will see your suggestion. 🙂

      1. Hi @brokeartist. The ePub conversion issue is definitely on our radar. Someday, we’ll have a conversion tool built right into the Bublish platform. For now, free tools are available. We’ve helped a lot of bublishers through the conversion process. I actually think Sigil is better than Calibre. If you email me at [email protected], I will send you a resource we created to help everyone navigate the ePub conversion. Thanks for your interest in Bublish. Hopefully, we can help you convert your book, and get up and bublishing soon.

    1. We look forward to seeing you soon on Bublish! If you want to get an idea of what we do with your book bubbles once they’re published, take a look at our Twitter stream @BublishMe or our Facebook page today. Not only do we have a Sample Sunday Marathon with book bubbles every Sunday, but we create The Bublish Floating Bookstore every Monday. We’re here to help you share your stories. Let us know how we can help.

      1. Hi BD. We’re here to help if you have questions. Ask away @BublishMe on Twitter or email us at [email protected]. Hope to see your book bubbles soon. Yvonne, thanks again for this great Bublish Tutorial. What a tremendous response!

  12. Looks interesting. I’m still catching up on my blogs after hurricane Sandy. This looks like a fantastic tool. I’ll be checking it out as a reader and talking with my publisher and author clients about using it for promoting their books.

    1. Thanks for your interest in Bublish. Best of luck digging out after Sandy. The damage is unbelievable! I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about Bublish. Just email me at [email protected]. Also, if you sign up as a writer, you can view Bublish as a reader as well. There’s a button on your Author Dashboard that says “view as reader.” If you click it, you will be taken to the bubble stream and can view book bubbles as a reader. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, I look forward to answering your questions. Kathy

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