This week, I am going to introduce Brendon, who is one of the driving forces behind a brilliant new site for writers called Koobug. I took a few minutes to speak to him about Koobug and what it can offer the writers who visit me here on my blog. I’m on there, it’s great, and there are serious plans for expansion so take my advice, get on there soon!
What is Koobug?
Koobug.com is a web site that has been built to support writers from everywhere in the world. It aims to encourage the best in writing, and then provide a platform to show it to the world. It is completely free for writers and readers to use. We will be adding both eBook readers and a shop to the site in due course as well as many other features.
Why did you set it up?
I am one of a team of five that set up Koobug and the original idea came through my own experiences as a writer. I have been both traditionally and self-published and watched the transformation of the publishing world keenly over the last ten years. While massive changes have taken place, and while there are exceptions, the general rule is that unless you have been taken on by a big publishing house your book is unlikely to reach the front of your local chain book shop. The same books also inevitably appear on the landing pages of the big internet retailers. I am not being critical of that approach, which is superb if you happen to be one of those authors, that approach is essential to the profitability of the publishing industry. What we say is that just because a given publisher can afford to publish and promote, say, 50 books a year – it doesn't mean that books 51 to 200 that they reject are rubbish. We want readers to have the choice to find those books and have built a site that aims to identify them.
The other key aspect to Koobug is that we do not believe that authors, the creative lifeblood of it all, are treated fairly in the rewards they get from their work. In planning our own book reader and shop we plan to address that by giving authors a far bigger percentage of their book sales.
What would a writer gain from joining?
At the very least you will get completely free publicity for your book(s) in exchange for taking a few minutes to log in and upload their details.
Koobug is a hub for writers' work. As such we are gathering an increasing number of readers that are visiting in order to find different books. I suppose that we are appealing to those millions of people that choose to walk into independent high street book shops.
We choose not to have advertising. We want books to be seen on merit, rather than through a big marketing budget. Your book won't be smothered!
We are currently testing advertising strategies to see what works best at getting readers onto the site. We are doing a lot of the hard work in bringing people to the place where they can find your book(s).
Hopefully you will also enjoy being part of a positive writers and readers’ community.
What are your aims for Koobug?
Over the next few years we aspire to becoming a web site that millions of people choose to visit as an alternative to the main online book retail sites so that they can find those brilliant books that have been missed through the existing publishing system.
I also hope that many people will be inspired to write better books. We already have a growing writers' blog where people are contributing ideas and snippets of work. I would love to see that expand. The heart of Koobug is writing and I hope that that always remains. We have already been offered significant investment – my preferred option is not to take it if at all possible, primarily so that we remain as free from commercial pressures as possible in everything that we do. I want the goal of keeping a platform for outstanding writing to be the first consideration in all of our decision making.
I would also love to see our first best-selling authors emerge through the site.
What have been your successes so far?
I will probably mark my idea of success slightly different to other people.
The thing that I am happiest about is the emergence of a growing number of people interested in writing who like to discuss everything from characters to writing styles. People are using the site to show samples of their forthcoming books and adding little snippets of stories for others to engage with.
On a more practical level – the site is growing every day, with new books, poems and short stories being added all of the time. Because we are different and because our focus is on the quality of writing we have already attracted the interest of television and movie script-writers and at least one film producer. I know that one book on our site has been 'discovered' through Koobug and is currently being looked at with a view to filming it. It is early days, and it may come to nothing, but then again ...