DIY Book Widgets May Soon Be Sprouting Up All Over

Today, authors and publishers have a number of powerful online book marketing tools at their disposal.  One example is the book trailer or book video.  In just a few years, this has become an important adjunct to the book PR campaign to build excitement and buzz about a new title.  Another tool that may be a little less familiar is the book widget.

Widgets are small snippets of code that make it easy for anyone to add functionality to a website.  As we move into the era of the “cut and paste” web, authors have more options than ever to construct snazzy book widgets.  Widgets have the advantage of small size and can become viral quickly.  Book widgets can also provide a quick way to create a super low cost, surrogate book trailer.

The pictures below shows an example of a book widget, for a book called La Vida Vampire by Nancy Haddock, created using a tool called Sproutla-vida-vampire-book-widget









The top picture shows how the widget looks on your website.  It contains buttons that provide interactive access to:

  • Story line
  • Setting
  • Author information
  • Quotes
  • Purchase link
  • Sample chapter

The widget also prominently features the book cover and shows some rotating testimonials.  All in all, a pretty powerful widget for conveying to a potential purchaser what they are likely to encounter in the book.  It is the “widget-ary” equivalent of quickly browsing a book at the bookstore.  The bottom picture shows the code snippet you need to embed to drop this onto a website or blog.

sprout_logoThe process is pretty straightforward. 

  1. You select a template (or you can build your own widget
    from scratch).
  2. Add and lay out content – graphics, text, audio, video, etc.
  3. Accessorize with drag and drop object – think of these as “mini-widgets.”
  4. Then publish to websites or blogs, or use the company’s partners as a way to get your widget into distribution.
  5. Track downloads and copies.

The simplest book widgets probably only need a book cover graphic, author picture and some excerpts from the book, as well as an Amazon or other purchase link.  A nice touch would be a short author reading.  All of this is easily accessible to most authors.  When you change the content of your widget, it automatically updates every copy.  So if you want to use your widget as a way to deliver sample content from the book, you can periodically provide new excerpts to build interest. 

Book widgets are like book videos in that they are viral.  However, the interactivity of book widgets lets the user to explore the book to a degree that the book video cannot.  These two web marketing cousins will no doubt both claim an important role in the book marketer’s promotional strategy.

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