The Evolution of Book+Main
Over the next few months, we’re going to introduce you to the (small, but mighty!) team behind Book+Main. Transparency and passion are two things we pride ourselves on and we want you to know who we are and why we built Book+Main. First up, our CEO and Co-Founder, Tracey Suppo.
When people ask me why I started Book+Main, my first answer is always the same—I’m a reader and it’s what I craved as a reader. As a lifelong devourer of books (in particular, romance), I knew there had to be a better way to find books that spoke to me and find authors that I could count on for one-click satisfaction. The second part is a bit more complicated—as a career-marketer (I spent 20 years in corporate America prior to B+M), and more recently a blogger, I was frustrated that authors who I thought were amazing were going largely undiscovered. Or conversely, huge authors who readers didn’t give a chance because of some preconceived notion.
In the summer of 2015, I discovered the social media arm of the indie romance book world. Almost immediately, I knew I had found ‘my people.’ Women that were intelligent, funny (with a healthy dose of snark), and open-minded. I mean, we were all reading books that delved into all aspects of life and relationships, as well as some sexy, sexy scenes. That combined with the relative anonymity that comes with being on the other side of a computer, we could truly be ourselves and not worry about being judged for one of the things that brought us all great pleasure in life—reading romance and talking about it.
Six months or so after finding this world, in January of 2016, I launched a blog. The blog started to grow, and I subsequently launched a Facebook reader group. By December of that year, we had just under two thousand readers in the group and just over 3,700 followers on the blog. (Today, the blog has over 5K followers and the group is a whopping 13K members and growing!)
With the blog and reader group, my mission was the same—connecting authors and readers. Both the blog and group were great at doing that, but I thought there still had to be a better way. Something bigger. And after a great call with a friend out in Portland, OR in April, the kernel of an idea for Book+Main was born.
In November, I had taken over one of the nightly features in the group, a nightly dose of man candy (usually a hot guy reading) that we called #bedtimestory. A few days before the end of the year, one reader asked if there was an actual story with each pic and while my immediate answer was ‘nope,’ the next day I started to envision what it could look like if we invited authors to write these nightly bedtime stories. I wrote up the ‘rules of the road’ and on the evening of December 28, we started to reach out to authors. On January 1, #bedtimestoryinthekorner was born—unpublished, exclusive stories for three nights each. Within 48 hours we were booked solid through May, and by the first week of March, we were booked solid for all of 2017.
The interest from authors was immediate, but we had no idea how readers would respond. The idea of authors coming in and sharing their words only—nothing sales-y: no blurbs, no links, etc.—and connecting on a genuine level with the readers was exciting though, and we couldn’t wait to see the response. Within days, the verdict was clear: when presented with dynamic writing— without the setup and without the sales pitch—readers were free to simply fall in love with the writing.
Our mission of connecting authors and readers was clear, and this was doing that in a way like nothing else had—not takeovers, not teasers, not ads, etc., but we knew there had to be more. From the get-go, I had discussed bedtime stories with my Book+Main partners, and we loved the idea of testing our theories in the group. But there was still one big equation to solve, and that was, what can we do to create the best discovery tool for readers? After countless (daily!) posts from readers asking for recommendations for VERY specific types of books, how could we give readers the control to find exactly what they wanted to read the moment the mood struck them AND give them a way to try the writing out before they bought the book? DNF (Did Not Finish) is a big source of angst in the community, and we wanted to find a way to stop it. So we had the idea to create a platform built on the ‘Bites’ concept, but make it a robust search engine in which readers could search by their favorite tropes and/or subgenres. (As an aside, we now offer over 350+ keywords to search by!)
Now we had to get others as excited as we were. Over the next year, we started to reach out to authors with whom we had established relationships to see if they’d be a part of our ‘beta.’ You can imagine asking huge authors like Colleen Hoover and Lauren Blakely to trust in this idea is no small feat and while working full time, we spent nights and weekends on the phone with authors about this new concept.
By August of 2017, we were ready to let our small team of authors, bloggers, and readers into this world that we’d built for them to add their words and give us feedback, and three months later, on November 8, Book+Main Bites launched.
Last month, we passed our six-month mark—and now have a community of tens of thousands of readers and almost 3,000 authors (and growing daily)—and there’s never been anything in my life that’s been more difficult or more rewarding. We are constantly receiving feedback and suggestions, and we have hundreds of ideas that we have planned for the future of Book+Main—things you’ve never seen anywhere else. From the beginning, we’ve prided ourselves on being transparent with future plans (that we can discuss), how we monetize, and how we use data. We’re coming at this as avid readers who are deeply entrenched in the romance book world. We care and we will always put the needs of our community above all else. We want to partner with each of you to make Book+Main your home, without the noise that social media platforms bring. This is all about the romance books. No drama. No politics. No big brands to compete with. ALL ROMANCE. ALL THE TIME!
We hope this gives you a little more insight into the history of Book+Main. We’ve only just begun, and we thank you so much, from the bottom of our hearts, for being a part of this journey! Keep your eyes open for more behind-the-scenes stories from the team at Book+Main!
If you have a question about using Book+Main, please don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Authors, if you’re interested in promotional or marketing opportunities, please reach out to the team at email@example.com.
For all other inquiries, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.