Every once in awhile, I get an email with an embedded video from Britain’s Got Talent, The Voice, American Idol or some other talent discovery program. The message accompanying these videos is always similar: “This is so uplifting. You’ve got to watch this!” Being a sucker for inspiring stories, I usually do . . . even though I know they’re designed to pull on my heart strings.
What the producers of these videos understand is that the stories leading up to a performance are almost as important as the performance itself. The hours it took to cultivate the talent being showcased, the personal struggles encountered and overcome, the long journey to get to the big show about to take place — that’s what draws viewers in, gets them hooked emotionally, and has them completely invested in the outcome of the performance.
“As an author, it’s important to realize the value of the story behind your story.”
As an author, it’s important to realize the value of the story behind your story. Many of you have created entire worlds for your books. How did you do that? Where did your creative ideas, your characters, your plot lines, your scenes come from? What was your journey as a writer? Who and what influenced you and informed your choices as an author? Readers love these stories. They’re like a director’s cut for a film. The minute you see what went into filming a single scene, your connection to the entire project is deeper and longer lasting. The story behind the story fascinates us. It’s human nature.
When you’re trying to find your audience or nurture the kind of reader loyalty that helps build a career in writing, the story behind your story can be almost as important as the story you tell in your book. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying this is a substitute for a well written book. The quality of your book will ultimately be what makes or breaks your writing career, but the story behind the story will enrich it immeasurably.
I mentioned a few writers who do this well in another post here on Creative Flux. It was called “The Art of Book Promotion.” Author Roz Morris and her story of a reluctantly scrapped scene about a “black dress” owned by a character in her book My Memories of a Future Life, perfectly demonstrates the potency of the story behind the story. I suggest you take a look at her original post, and the reader responses it inspired. Your life as a writer is full of interesting tales. Realize the value of the story behind your story, and don’t be afraid to share it.
At the company I founded, Serendipite Studios, we think a lot about how to help authors more effectively find readers in today’s crowded book marketplace. We believe strongly that the story behind the story draws readers toward book content. In fact, we are creating a platform to make it very simple for writers to share small excerpts from their books accompanied by the stories behind them. It’s called Bublish, and it’s going to change the way writers share their stories and readers discover new authors and books.
“With Bublish, social book discovery will be a fun, relaxing and serendipitous experience.”
With Bublish, social book discovery will be a fun, relaxing and serendipitous experience. Writers will be able to send out their enriched book excerpts, called bubbles, across multiple social networks where readers will encounter and interact with them. If a reader likes a bubble, he or she can ask for more. Not only will Bublish lighten the promotional content burdens authors shoulder in our socially connected, 24/7 world, but it will enrich the social conversations between writers and readers. As we’ve already discussed, the story behind your story is a powerful tool for audience engagement.
Writers need more effective ways to find and connect with readers, and readers need a better online book discovery experience. With Bublish, help is on the way. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? We hope you’ll come learn more and sign up for a beta invite at www.serendipitestudios.com. We’re excited to help authors share the stories behind their stories. Who knows, we might even be able to help you pull a couple of heart strings along the way!
Kathy Meis has been a professional writer for more than twenty years. She founded Serendipite Studios in 2010 to empower those who create and enhance quality content. Last week, her company announced the upcoming launch of Bublish, a platform that will redefine how writers share their stories and readers discover new books. If you’d like to learn more about Bublish and sign up for a beta invite, visit www.serendipitestudios.com. You can also find out more on Twitter @BublishMe
Please join the discussion below
Kathy, firstly, congratulations on winning the “People’s Choice Award” at O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change Conference last February!
Secondly, congratulations on your new creation: Bublish! What a fruitful launch into a year.
You are so right, the story behind the story is oftentimes a powerful draw for the reader, and Roz’s “black dress” is a perfect example.
Bublish sounds like an exciting product to bring to the marketplace for both reader and writer. I’m sure it will be a fine feather in your cap at Serendipite Studios.
Please keep us all posted with updates, here in the comments. I look forward to testing out the beta version.
Thanks so much for sharing this on CF and all the best to you in this endeavor!
Thanks Terre. I just love the community you’ve built here at Creative Flux. They are creative, supportive and smart. A joy to participate. Thank you for the opportunity and your kind words. Yes, we’re very excited to get Bublish into beta. We’ll be keeping everyone posted about our progress along the way. Looking forward to having you be a founding bublisher Terre!
Kathy, what an inspiring post. Bublish is such an exciting idea and a natural fit for storytellers – do keep me updated too.
And thank you for mentioning my black dress scene. The dress is a much-loved heirloom and even though the original is now so fragile, I love to see it live on in readers’ minds.
I agree, Roz, “natural fit” is exactly the way to describe it. Maybe through Bublish the entire world will learn about your dressy-deleted scene. Lovely to see you here again~
Thanks Roz. Your story of the black dress is a perfect example of just how compelling the story behind the story can be. In addition to being a great story in and of itself, the deleted scene gives writers a clearer sense of the tremendous amount of time and thought that goes into crafting an excellent book. In a world where there is so much downward pressure on the price of books, it’s important for readers to be aware of the blood, sweat and tears that go into the writing process.
Well said, Kathy. I’ll be quoting you in my VCFA lecture. 🙂
Thanks for dropping by to comment, Nicole. Please come back to post any links in these comments to your lecture. We’d all love to learn more 🙂
Yes, I second Terre. Would love to learn more about your lecture. Please keep us posted.
As a VCFA student, I’d like to learn more about the lecture as well!
I read this post as if you were speaking directly to me – because this year I have written several posts about the process behind some of my stories BUT didn’t publish them because I thought my fascination with process wouldn’t appeal to readers. Thank you for showing me otherwise – and best wishes on your new endeavor with Bublish!! 🙂
Ruth, “no fear,” remember? License to quill 😉 Hope to see read about your process soon. And so good to see you again 🙂
Oh, you must tell your stories Ruth. They are part of your body of work as a writer. I hope you’ll come sign up for Bublish updates at our websites. We’d love to have you join our community of writers and readers. Thanks for your support.
What a fascinating approach to connecting writers with readers through Bublish especially since writing with the reader in mind is so essential. Having the opportunity as a writer to test out excerpts with prospective readers is such a valuable service. I’m signing up! I love your thoughts on “the value of the story behind the story”, too. Thank you for this excellent post and for all you are doing to faciliate getting our bet stories to our readers.
Kathy, so happy to see you and that you’re excited about the concept of Bublish. I’ve signed up for the beta, also. Thanks so much for commenting and for the tweets. Looking forward to reading the story behind your story in a bubble! 🙂
Thanks Terre and Kathy. I’m so glad the concept of Bublish is resonating with so many authors. As a writer myself, I think a lot about what connects readers to great work. It seemed natural to me that storytellers should connect with readers through…well…stories! So glad you’ve both signed up. I will value your feedback.
I like the Story Behind your Story, I’m following you on Twitter. If you see Brittey the Cat thats my cat, its his website and twitter. However, we do share 🙂
Thanks Carol. I look for you and Brittey on Twitter. You have a very smart cat! 🙂
A very insightful post Kathy, and an exciting development – I have signed up! Bublish is timely: only those able to adapt will survive the changes in publishing, and it’s just beginning. Authors, too, must innovate. The relationship between authors and readers is changing as much as that between authors and publishers. In the longer term there will be less and less distinction between the author and the reader as everyone writes their own stories or collaborates in the stories of others..but perhaps this is for another post!
Congratulations Kathy, for your award, but also for recognising the need for something like Bublish and getting in there to create it.I wish you success. Trish.
Thank you Trish. So glad that you signed up for Bublish. I will look forward to seeing you there. You are so right about the changing relationship between authors and readers. With fewer bookstores, authors are emerging as the new relationship builders in the online book marketplace. It’s a wonderful opportunity, but requires a lot of commitment on the part of authors. They are expected to be everywhere talking to readers. We’re hoping Bublish will help writers by giving them a central place to share their stories across multiple social channels while inspiring a richer, more effective conversation around an author’s stories. Thanks for your interest Trish.
I find the idea of Bublish very interesting.It is what I like to do in my own works as in my Anthology of Evil book. At the end, I put something about each story. On my current book just out, Death of Heaven, it’s a bit harder to do. As a reader, I seldom know how the author came up with their ideas about a story or book that I really liked. So I wanted to turn that around and give something back to the reader with my own works. I have done that on my own website (jzmurdock.com) for each book. But to have a public web site for that kind of thing is, brilliant. Cheers!
Cheers JZ. I’m glad you like the idea of Bublish. I’ll check out your website to see what the story behind your story is. Looking forward to it.
The idea behind the story makes a load of sense. I was training some new people in selling life insurance when a guy in my class happened to be ex special forces. He shared some incredible exploits with me, possibly because I was ex military. Thus, the main character in my ‘Quigley’ trilogy was born. I spent 3 years myself traveling Australian a boxing troupe and 6 years as a military cop, so I know a little about action.
That is a great story Russ! The moment you start telling me how your main character was born, I’m hooked as a reader. I bet your action scenes are brilliant because you know what you’re talking about. Again, by letting me know that you’ve “lived” parts of your story, you gain credibility with the reader. Keep on sharing your stories Russ. I hope you’ll check out Bublish. It should make it easier for you to get the word out about the fascinating stories behind your story.
When I was a student in London, England, I would visit a friends house in Slough. We would walk through the fields at the back of the house on a Sunday, and enjoy the walk. One day, we decided to walk up the old TOWER that was in the field next door. We climbed up the stairs, and enjoyed the view, Windsor Castle in the distance. Then, we noticed a little girl sitting there. We started talking, and she told us her name was Alex. She joined us in our walk, and whenever we visited Slough, she was always there. Then, reading the newspaper, we found out who she was….
That is a story that is part of my book, The Vase with the MANY COLOURED MARBLES.
I’ve found with my blog promotion, the Friday Fictioneers, the stories that I gave a little background for (the story behind the story) got the most enthusiastic feedback – and in the following weeks, everyone was doing the same thing and giving their stories behind their stories. The excitement was contagious. I loved hearing your story about Bublish and am eager to see its debut!
Jacob, I am intrigued by your mysterious story of the little girl named Alex. See! The story behind the story works every time. 🙂
Madison, so glad to hear that you’ve experienced the power of the story behind your story. Thanks for your kind words about Bublish. I hope you and Jacob will sign up for the Bublish beta, and let me know if it makes it easier to tell the stories behind your stories to a much larger audience.
Oh I did sign up and I can’t wait to experience Bublish.
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This is an important part of the author promotional jigsaw puzzle. Another great way to attract and hold attention. I’ll support it.
PS. @lornasuzuki drew my attention to this.
Thanks Jonathan. We’re excited to launch today in New York City. Thank you for your support. Spread the news. Isn’t Lorna wonderful?!
I’ve put bubbles from my first book on Bublish. I think it’s fun and a great way for readers to find my books. Wishing Bublish every success!
Thanks for your supportive comments Darlene. Everyone, you can come on over and see Darlene’s book bubbles at bublish.com. They look great and pull you right into her story. We’ve also been sharing them on Twitter @BublishMe. And, if I recall correctly, there were quite a few Tweeple sharing your book bubbles. You have quite the fan club Darlene. Congrats! And thanks for being a beta bublisher.