General Site Feedback
Is Book Country still relevant?
So let's talk about the elephant in the room.
Like the other BC Directors before her, Lucy has moved on. I actually met her in April at the RH Open House and was very glad to see she is doing well.
The new director seems content with only posting to Twitter, and those are normally retweets. Not much original content on Twitter, or on the BC blog.
The BC site itself? There does not seem to be any new investment by PRH to grow the site. I do see new writers introducing themselves, but there is minimal interaction otherwise.
I recently posted a novel that had been workshopped here, rewritten, workshopped here again, and then fully edited. Theoretically, it is ready for epub now although I was considering choosing one of the higher level options to leverage the assistance of professionals at PRH marketing. But I hesitate.
Given the recent legal disaster at Booktrope, do I want to sign into an agreement with Book Country, only to have no further support past creating a few files and placing them in the marketing stream? Or worse, like Booktrope have the plug pulled later? At face value, the lack of visible support from PRH tells me they are no longer interested in BC's future.
If this is the case - why would anyone want to publish here?
So I ask - is this site still relevant to writers? And for writers?
The time it takes for a response will be telling. I hope for the best. I really do.
I'm not sure I'm qualified to respond, but no one else has done it, so here goes.
I joined BC when another writers' site closed in 2013. I have not posted a story here. I tried a couple of times to review others' books but failed due to clunky software, or perhaps it was (my) operator error. I have posted comments on the discussion boards, and have read most everything that is posted here. The traffic on these boards has dropped off since Lucy left; she encouraged us as a group and individually to keep the discussions going.
My limited experience and the experience of my friends is that the marketing of a new book falls to the author. This is true even for those who publish through one of the major houses. We "emerging" authors have to get out and sell the books ourselves.I think this will be especially true for anyone who buys a publishing package. The publisher can catalog our books widely, but we have to sell them.
Publishing houses that sell services will handle many of the details of producing a finished book. I don't know BC and how satisfied its paying customers have been. Can any of them comment, either here or through a personal message or email?
I have known authors to have the whole range of experiences with publishing services, from totally satisfied on the one hand to having to sue for non-delivery of services on the other. The happiest authors are the ones who have personal relationships with their publishers. I live in a rural area, but within an hour's drive of a major metropolitan area. If I was to buy publishing services, it would be from someone in our city, someone who I could meet with in person. If I am not happy, I know where to find the person who promised me satisfaction.
I was fortunate to find a small traditional publisher to publish two short story collections. My publisher lives four states away, but before we signed a contract for the first book, we shared a pizza in a bar a few miles from his summer cabin near my home. We trust one another and each tries to satisfy the other. Can you find this trust with BC? Maybe so.
Re publishing with BC, I have
watched the devolving participation of both writers and management, and have wondered
about the long-term myself.
I poke a nose in now and
then, but my focus is elsewhere. I am building my website, and will post my
novella there, as a teaser, while I tackle problems in the full book and get it in shape for a true publish.
I have joined with a few
published folks from here, and we have created a site dedicated to exploring
marketing. We have been up and running for two months now. We are five charter
members, two new-minted ones, and a dozen more who participate as the spirit
moves them, and the quality of the discussion is such that we feel it is going
to grow, and to attract attention.
The address is:
--edited by Mimi Speike on 7/5/2016, 12:10 AM--
Part of the problem here and at other sites is the misconception of the social media arc. There are a number of books out there, shelved among the numerous how-to books relating to business, that propose the long-yerm goal for your social media site is to build the audience, moderate for a while, then let the site take off on its own via interaction among members. We are trying this concept at my "real" jpb, and I tell you - it just doesn't work that way.
Writers are on the whole, introverts. That's why we write instead of give speeches.
When Book Country had active moderation, the site thrived. Now - it has been more than half a year since anyone employed by PRH has posted on their own site. Again, such visible lack of ownership tells me it is a huge gamble to invest my money in one of the publishing packages here. Google Booktrope if you want a glimpse of the future here.
I do know a few expats from BC have started their own forum at writercoop.wordpress.com. They're good people. Check them out. I'm kinda burned out on the online forum for a bit so I am concentrating on my own writing business.
I don't stop by BC much at all, but replies to any of my posts seem to hit my email. And I'll gladly respond. If all else fails, stop by my website at www.douglaslutz.com, or see me on FB and Twitter @authorDJLutz.
My best to all.