Holiday Crafts – Do It Yourself Book Widgets

gadget madnessWe all suffer from a fascination with gadgets at some point, especially during the holiday season.  There has been a lot of press lately about the potential of book widgets as marketing devices.  Great, but how do you get one for your book if you don’t know a programmer?  Not to worry, there are some simple ways to make a book widgets for yourself – no programming required.  

Here is one simple approach using Google gadgets.

  1. Pull some juicy excerpts from your book.
  2. Go to the Google gadget site and select the free form type. 
  3. Drop in your first quote, and if you choose, add a picture.
  4. Add a link in the title to your blog.
  5. Publish the widget and place in the Google gadget directory.  Note that you also have the option to mail the gadget and its content to a distribution list.)
  6. Every few days, update the quote and republish.

Another programmer-free tool is WidgetBox.

  1. Link to WidgetBox
  2. Select ‘blidgets’ from the left hand menu.
  3. Select your color, title and size options
  4. Point it to your blog. 
  5. Click create and you’re all done.  The widget you have created goes in the WidgetBox directory for others to view and install and delivers updated posts from your blog.

Another approach is to go stealth.  Embed your title in a book widget such as those from Amazon or Shelfari along with several other related titles.  It’s not as effective, but at least it gets your book seen in good company.

elf in workshopThe caveat with all of these is their limited functionality and limited options.  But they do provide additional exposure for your content.  For the more technologically adventurous there are sites that supply templates with embedded Javascript and wizards to guide you through the process of creating your own book widget.  This would actually be a great service for the self publishing services like Lulu and Blurbto offer their users.   (I’ll add it to my holiday wish list.)   Given the feverish pace of widget software development today, waiting for the Swiss army knife book widgets that does it all may be your best strategy.

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