If you’re a new author who is publishing your first book, you’ve probably noticed that you’re at a distinct disadvantage. Authors who have published more books, even just one more, are much more likely to have an audience eager for their next release. If you’re on your first book, odds are you still have to build up that audience.
It’s kind of like that old conundrum when trying to find a job. All the jobs available are labeled “experience required,” but how do you get experience if you can’t get a job in the first place? How do you build an audience of readers if you don’t have anyone buying your book to find out if they like it?
One solution to this issue for authors is a relatively new site called Tablo. It’s a website where authors can post their work as they write it, and readers can read, subscribe to the story, and leave comments.
(I should note: I’ve signed up for an account in order to poke around and check it out, but I haven’t posted any of my work there at this point. My comments are based on what I’ve seen so far. They’re subject to change or updating as needed.)
Building an Audience on Tablo
The appeal of Tablo is that it gives you a platform for building an audience before publishing your book. Readers come to Tablo looking for something to read. They find your book, get hooked, and hopefully become willing to purchase it or its sequels on down the road.
So far, so good. Tablo’s terms of service are decent, too – they explicitly state that they don’t own rights to your work beyond the right to display it either publicly or privately on their servers, depending on the options you choose. You can publish it elsewhere at any time, remove it from their servers, etc.
Tablo also offers a publishing service. They will act as your publisher, putting your books up on Amazon and in Apple’s iBook Store, in exchange for a percentage of your royalties. As far as I can tell, this is optional. If you want to handle your own publishing, you can do so and keep all the royalties.
Keeping in mind that I haven’t actually tested the effectiveness of building an audience on this platform, I’d say that it looks like a good service overall. There are groups you can join that let you interact with readers and connect with other writers. You have a build-in audience to try your work and see if they like it. You can even post your work on Tablo as you’re writing, giving you a better chance of having a decent audience ready when you finish the book.
Whether or not it actually works to build an audience of buyers, though – that’s the question. One I don’t currently have an answer to, I’m sorry to say. It will be an interesting experiment to find out, though.
Have any of you tried Tablo? What was your experience so far? Did it help you in building an audience? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.