Brent Sampson updates: Facebook Achievements

In an effort to catch up on my blog postings from the nearly two week hiatus I took due to other priorities and responsibilities, I’m providing brief summaries of some of the recent events and “goings-on” at Outskirts Press. One of the major initiatives we are launching this summer to help self publishing authors gain more exposure for their own writing, publishing, and marketing accomplishments is our FACEBOOK ACHIEVEMENTS.

For those who haven’t heard of the term “gamification,” this is the concept of motivating “action” in a user-base by providing awards and public recognition for accomplishing certain tasks — in essence, making a “game” out of something that is typically seen as more “mundane.”   Of course, the most common examples of “gamification” are seen in video games themselves, when you “level up” or pass a certain stage or build a certain character to a certain level of “experience points.”  These are gamification elements because they provide an award for accomplishing a task or passing a milestone.

Relatively recently, businesses have started applying the same concept to motivate clients and customers to take certain actions. Four Square recognizes its users with Major badges, for instance, when said users visit certain local businesses with enough frequency.

Our own gamification functionality has been in development for a while now and is going to launch live within the coming months. Yesterday we posted an invitation on our Facebook page for Outskirts Press published authors to volunteer for an open Beta Test of the awards program.  We’re looking for 20-40 volunteers to receive their first Beta Award in recognition and thanks for helping us test this new feature.  They will be provided with instructions on how to notify us if something doesn’t work quite right.  Then, when it launches, Outskirts Press will be connected automatically with a user’s Facebook account and will broadcast the author’s major publishing & marketing accomplishments to all his or her friends.  Of course, an author can easily opt-out of the program at any time.  Based upon preliminary feedback, our authors are excited about the new feature and we are excited to be launching it for them soon.