General Site Feedback
“Book Country, as its acronym BC suggests, was formed in the pre-Biblical era. Alas, its user interface has remained unchanged since then.”
I realize this is going to be controversal, but I copied the above statement from a thread on as of today closing Authonomy where people voted on various other sites to decide where to go next.
As a now former - and lost and abandoned - Authono-Mite - I am facing the same challenge and while I - kind of automatically (and in my panic) became a member of Book Country (among every other page I could find), I realize where the above is coming from by now.
There is little (besides self PR) Book Country can do that it is so quiet in here you can hear a baby-mouse sneeze and burp after it nibbled on a manuscript collecting dust. I can even see it's tiny paw-prints as it scurries - actually it takes naps in between with little fear to be caught - through threads.
To be honest: Authonomy had it's slow time too with little activity but from the hardcore members and new blood was wooed and snatched into existing review-groups/threads. But in other areas I guess Authono-Mites have been spoiled - and yes when I first came here desperately I was like wt-bellybutton is this?! It's ok - Lucy has been extremely helpful and open and she and a very few others have been extremely welcoming (or to say happy for new activity?). But early hope is vanishing as Authono-Mites trickle away again as BC doesn't hold up to expectations. Now I'm no computer experts and have no clue how to give a site a face-lift (I know how to design but the itty bitty part in the background was never my field - you know all the 10101010.... making it work? I'm more into xoxoxo )
So IS there going to be change in Book Country - and how long will it take?
How do you - incredibly active users (wherever you hide) - think about it? What works, what doesn't - what does it need to work?
On this last day of Authonomy I assume I will at midnight decide to withdraw for a while. Not completely, mind me. Just ghosting through the halls and feeding the mouse-baby crumbs while I watch for signs of other life. I'll allow "Nepomuk" to sleep on my MS that I will just allow to rest here as well for now.
Maybe some answers here will give me a clue on what to do next. Until I find that place called writer's home again - maybe I shall
--edited by lilmerlin on 9/29/2015, 3:36 AM--
I've had no major beefs with Book Country. I've been with them more than a year now and have no trouble traversing the site. I've gotten nearly 30 reviews on my manuscript. Sure, I had to work for those reviews, and make new friends who would be interested in checking my manuscript out, but I found their feedback incredibly helpful.
I agree that Book Country is super-slow as of late, but I don't feel its in need of a major overhaul. I would like to see a points system in place, to give active members recognition, and a reward system--an active reviewer spotlight, perhaps--and some other features to add fun to the site, but I like Book Country the way it is.
We do need to figure out how to keep new members and give them a reason to engage in the forums. The forums need to be more friendly, and we need to get notifications for threads we post in, rather than having to subscribe to them. When someone replies us in a thread, we should be notified, plain and simple.
While we're at it, why not have reaction buttons to forum replies? Scribophile has those, to let other members show how they feel about a person's post without having to reply to them.
Whether Book Country improves or not, I'm here to stay.
Thank you Amber! I hope we get attention on these suggestions!
I know it sounds crazy, but a few Authono-Mites actually left because there are no Avatars in threads/chats. Sometimes it's the little things...
Yeah, I understand what you mean. Small things can make people turn up their noses and back away.
Wouldn't mind avatars in the threads, though . . .
Hello Lilmerlin and Amber!
Just wanted to reassure you that I see the thread!
Harhar, re: pre-Biblical era. I'll have you know that the last major update was in 2013 AD.
We have a couple development and site update projects going on at the moment. I will share more about those things as they move forward.
Avatars in the forums are likely not going to be a possibility for a while--I have spoken with the tech team about that and it doesn't look like I can prioritize that for some time.
I am, however, hopeful that we can fix the issue with linking the name in the discussion post to the actual profile. I will keep you posted.
In the meantime, Lilmerlin, I am curious as to your goals for SHONDOREEN: a big revision? Self-publishing? Finding an agent and traditionally publishing? And what's been happening with it so far? Are there questions about writing and publishing that you are in the process of learning more about? Where do you feel you are "at" in the process?
The focus in our community has always been on making your book better via reviewing and revising and uploading new drafts. Since we don't have a point-system (nor a "reward" for those members who rack up high ratings), the idea is that you can come to Book Country and get really detailed feedback on your manuscript as well as create real relationships with beta-readers, the way Amber has, for example. The members I have seen do that most successfully have been really proactive about it. But it's definitely not a numbers game--it's really about taking your book to the next level through your own creative hard work. Have you seen our white paper, "Treat Your Book Like a Start-Up?" This guide gets to the heart of why we think writers of all stripes should be a part of Book Country.
Also, if your project isn't getting a lot of reads on Book Country, you might tweak a few things. After all, silence is its own kind of feedback. You can try things like shortening your "About the Book," "About the Author," and the "Author's Note" so that other members are able to more quickly surmise if your book is something they'd like to check out. Use these spaces on your Book Details page to practice a really exciting, punchy way of showcasing your work. This is really hard! So you might ask for feedback on the threads about crafting your hook. (Also a great way to interact with new folks.) I also just started a thread where we can workshop our author bios.
You can also seek out non-legacy Authonomy members to do a review trade. I'd recommend Eric Bratcher, Julie Artz, Danielle Bowers, and others you find via the YA Fantasy page. Showing members that you've taken an interest in their work is always a great first step in finding new readers.
Another thing I have noticed is that when members have the same display name as whatever they use for the author name on their book, it's easier for other members to connect who's chatting on the discussions to the books they have seen as they browse.
I'll send you some connection recommendations now!