As those of you who have been following along will know, I’ve been working with the BookBuzzr people to test out whether their service was a better choice for me as an Independent Author versus Scribd. After looking over their services and comparing stats from both, I’ve come to one conclusion… neither one is perfect for my needs when used alone. It’s not that either one is just a bad service, it’s that each one has different things I really like and things I wish were better.
Just looking at the stats, I’ve had 112 reads on Scribd since uploading my excerpt on April 13, 2010, and 203 full screen views (800 widget views) on BookBuzzr since May 4, 2010. If I looked only at the stats, then BookBuzzr would be the clear winner, but there is more to marketing than that. I need detailed information for one. I can get those details easily on Scribd, but BookBuzzr only gives totals (and yes I read each entry in the FAQ looking for info on getting more detailed stats with BookBuzzr).
I also liked that Scribd was so easy to upload my document to. With BookBuzzr I had to fill out three pages of forms, upload a .pdf version of my book excerpt and then a .jpg of my cover. I then received an error message that said something about my file either being too big or in the wrong format so it wouldn’t be converted. A day or so later I received an email that said my book had been converted into the BookBuzzr format. Huh? When I checked it out my book was there, just as the email said, so why the initial error message?
In marketing techniques, however, BookBuzzr was the clear winner since Scribd doesn’t have any marketing options included. With Scribd you have to do all of it on your own. BookBuzzr has numerous ways available to market your book from mini-widgets you can use just about anywhere…
…to automated tweets when your book excerpt is read. It all makes marketing your book just a little bit less stressful, which is all to the good for every busy writer since our main occupation is to write, not sell.
The main issue I’ve had with BookBuzzr is in it’s claims that their widgets can be easily shared in a variety of places. As ongoing readers can attest, I’ve had my share of difficulties getting their mini-widget to “stick” to a blog post intact. I have to thank the tech people at BookBuzzr for staying with me as we worked to solve that particular problem.
In that process I also found out that the larger widget cannot be shared on just any wordpress blog. You must have a wordpress.org blog for it to work. Sorry, but if you’re using wordpress.com BookBuzzr can’t be shared to your blog and you can’t put it in your sidebar as they say you can in their FAQ. I hope they will change that entry soon to let people know that little fact before the next person to try the share option is as disappointed as I was.
On the other hand, the widget works beautifully on my Facebook profile. It even has its own little spot on the sidebar that encourages visitors to “grab it.”
As for their claims to have an email signature authors can use, as best as I can tell it only works with Yahoo!Mail, at least easily. For any other email client you have to do a bit of work to put the widget in your signature. For instance, if you use Gmail, like I do, then you must:
1. Open the BookBuzzr.com / fReado.com website in Firefox
2. Login to your account which leads to ‘My Books’ profile.
3 Open Gmail in another tab of Firefox and click on Compose Mail
4. Click on the flipping book image (i.e. left click with your index finger)
5. Keep your index finger pressed on to the browser and move the mouse-cursor to the new tab. You will see that the image outline moves along with your cursor. When you get to the new tab, release your index finger from the mouse.
Please note that since Gmail does not allow for creating a default BookBuzzr signature you need to repeat the above steps for every email composed.
That seems like a lot of work to me. The other drawback is that you have to use a particular browser. Since I only use Google Chrome, that’s not going to work. I hope, again, that BookBuzzr will fix that problem in the near future.
Lastly, my attempt at sharing via the main widget to Twitter sort of garbled my book title: Fear-Not:-Discovering-God\’s-Promises-for-Our-Live. It should read Fear Not: Discovering God’s Promises for Our Lives. It’s a minor thing, but one this perfectionist didn’t like. The auto tweets, though, have all looked just fine: My book ‘Fear Not: Discovering God’s Promises f…’ was viewed in the last 24 hours on #BookBuzzr by 7 Readers.
I like the ease of uploading and the ability to get detailed stats from Scribd, but doing all the marketing on my own takes up time I need to work on other projects. I like the marketing gadgets available with BookBuzzr, though I can’t use them all due to technical issues. In the end, until BookBuzzr makes everything easy to use across a lot more platforms, I’ll be using both to grab the attention of wayward travelers on The Road to Writing.
For Further Reading: