Shop Talk with Tracey Suppo, CEO and Founder of Book+Main (part 1)

Hello and welcome to Shop Talk, an interview series featuring Marketing and Publicity experts talking the very best ways they know to market books. Whether it’s the tried and true methods, brand new concepts, or even cutting edge ways to sell, this series examines the current publishing market and the in-depth know-how of industry professionals who are part of it. 


TODAY JOIN A NOVEL TAKE FOR Part 1 IN OUR CONVERSATION WITH TRACEY SUPPO, FOUNDER AND CEO OF BOOK+MAIN

For those of you who don’t know it, Book+Main is a web-based platform which allows authors to post snippets or longer pieces from current works, works in progress, or even writing ideas in the very beginning stages. Readers can search these excerpts using a variety of keywords and discover new authors, new books, and a brand new community of like-minded readers. It’s a fantastic platform that is easy to use, visually appealing, helps you locate brand new reads by current faves or new to you authors, and best of all, contains no ads!


A Novel Take: Tracey, welcome to Shop Talk! Now A Novel Take PR is no stranger to your innovative platform, Book+Main. As a marketer and entrepreneur, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the state of the Romance publishing industry and what really works to sell books in 2018.

Tracey: It’s no surprise that it’s a crowded market. In order to sell books in 2018, authors, more than ever before, will need to embrace their writing career as a business. Marketing plays a huge part in who sells and who doesn’t. Write the best book you can and do your homework on what your fellow authors are doing that works {and what the market wants}. Develop relationships with authors that have a similar reader base. Not only can you work together on cross promotions, but developing a tight unit of like-minded authors can also make this business feel less isolating. To find and engage new readers, authors can also utilize Book+Main Bites as a marketing and sales tool. Bites {excerpts, deleted scenes, bonus scenes, etc.} sell books—it’s as simple as that. When readers connect to the writing and the story, they want more. Our conversion rates show that. And, B+M Bites puts authors on a more equal playing field, given readers are searching for a subgenre and/or trope, instead of only looking at a book cover or seeing an author’s name. Take advantage of platforms that allow your words to sell your books. It’s the most cost-effective marketing you’ll do.

A Novel Take: So what direction do you see the Romance industry taking in future?

Tracey: This market changes so quickly, but we’re already seeing a major shift in traditional promotional methods to content-based marketing.

A Novel Take: You would definitely know! You began your career in literary marketing as a blogger. What was the impetus to start your own book blog? Do you still find blogging about books relevant?

Tracey: I started out in this book world as a reader, like most of us do. I started reading on the Kindle Unlimited program the month it came out and six months in, I had tapped out my search. There wasn’t a KU-specific blog out there and from chatting with other readers, I knew I wasn’t the only one looking for a great source for KU recs. So in January of 2016, I launched KU Book Reviews. I had NO clue what I was doing —when I started it, I didn’t even know what an ARC was. The blog grew quickly and then we launched our reader group, KU Korner. Between the two, we’re now just over 17K members strong.

Being a blogger in the book world has been an incredible journey and I think bloggers will always be relevant. As a ‘volunteer army’, bloggers are an extraordinarily cost-effective marketing tool for authors. And readers are very loyal to their favorite bloggers. I don’t personally blog any longer {although KU Book Reviews is still going strong!}, but I still share my favorite reads on B+M and Facebook. Word of mouth has always been the best form of advertisement—and the most trusted—and bloggers are the best at what they do.

A Novel Take: Your newest venture outside of blogging is the phenomenal author-reader platform, Book+Main. How did you start it? What sparked the idea? How did you set it in motion?  

Tracey: As a blogger and group owner, my number one goal was always about connecting authors and readers. I was using all of the platforms available to me and I found so many issues with each in accomplishing that goal. Mostly the stifled reach issue and poor searching capabilities, but also the simple fact that there wasn’t one place that was ONLY about romance books and the romance book world. No politics. No real-world drama. Just books.

At the same time I had the idea to try out a new concept in my group, KU Korner. The idea was that we would invite authors to come in for three nights to share an exclusive, unpublished story. I believed that if readers could connect to the writing, then they would want more from that author, regardless of whether they’d heard of them or not. I had the idea a few days before New Year’s Day 2017, which is when we launched #bedtimestoryinthekorner, and by the first week of March, we were booked solid for the year. That spoke to the authors’ interest. But within days of launching, the readers started speaking up—they LOVED it. And the sales showed that. I’ve spoken to many authors that had spikes in sales of anywhere from 30-50% of their books that were featured {if it was a bonus scene and the couple featured was from a published book.} We also had authors that were sharing new, unpublished couples. The feedback from readers was so strong about these new stories, that some authors, who had no intention of ever publishing those stories, turned them into books. There have been something like 20 books that came out of our 2017 lineup.

I’ve always been entrepreneurial and the idea of Book+Main Bites—the idea of one home for all things romance, a place to connect authors and readers, and a place that was content-based—called to me. In March of 2016, I connected with a long-time friend in tech that was one of the few people in my real world that knew about the blog and together, we started to conceive of this as an actual business. Then, in late-January 2017, we connected with an app developer that I had worked with for years on another app I developed. When the three of us got together, things just took off from there. We started attracting a core group of advisors that were experts in their field. All who loved the idea and wanted to be a part of it. We’re still a very small team, but we’re passionate about what we’re doing and see the value that we’re bringing to this community. Plus, we get feedback almost daily from the community about how much they love what we’re doing, so that’s incredibly satisfying.


WE CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION WITH BOOK+MAIN CEO AND FOUNDER, TRACEY SUPPO, on April 19th.


About Tracey Suppo: 

A lifelong reader and twenty-year marketing veteran, Tracey Suppo founded Book+Main with her two partners in the spring of 2016. She believes in the power of connection through the written word and set out to create a community to capture that experience. Beyond reading and her passion for the book world at large, she is also an avid traveler, animal lover and crafter.