The new site is finally live. Spent the last couple of weeks living on the WPMU and Buddypress forums to get this set up. Users now have the ability to:
Additionally, the coolest part of this new set-up for me is that anyone who registers has the ability to add blog posts to the site. If you look at the header, the site is separated into Blog and Magazine. The Blog page consists of all the posts on the site, but all blog posts won’t automatically go to the front page, otherwise people could write, “My book is great, buy my book,” and the site would quickly become useless.
So: all new blog posts are moderated to maybe add an image and to be consistent with the purpose of the site. So someone can’t just post their review of The Lost Symbol because it’s not self-published. We’ll see how this works, but think it could be cool to give more people a voice. Certain blog posts will be bumped up to the front page. If all you want to do is cross-post from your own blog, that’s fine.
Full instructions for blogging are here.
Second thing that’s good about this site is Groups. One thing I’ve learned is I can’t possibly cover all the different wings of self-publishing. So if romance writers or readers want to start a group, they can – a huge segment of self-publishing, but not something I’m particularly passionate about. They should still have an outlet. Self-publishing’s only going to grow, and this new site is better equipped to grow with it.
My hope is that this can bring in new reviewers, as writers can connect with each other and maybe even review each other’s books. This has the potential of people gaming the system and writing mutual back-scratching reviews, but pure puff pieces aren’t going to be approved. There are far too many books being released for one blogger, or even a staff of bloggers, to handle, so maybe this can increase the site’s review output.
Another thing I’ve found is that self-publishers tend to not buy each other’s books. They like to hang out on self-publishing sites and send a link to their personal site, but not a lot of book-buying goes on. My absolute fantasy for this place is that it helps people sell more books. Sort of like Cursor, but without the printing model – just a way to create specific communities where writers and readers can connect. That’s where a social network can be more effective than a blog entry with a list of comments. If people create niche groups, readers and writers can more-easily find books they want to read (ideally). First, of course, people have to be active.
All told, I think the new site can be consistent with the old one, but be more of a daily destination, as people can create their own content. As it was, the old site could be fairly dormant between posts.
Big thanks go to Greg Eland web design for helping me get this set up and the WPMU Dev site <—-That’s an affiliate link, but I wouldn’t have been able to do this without shelling out some money. Buddypress has some great capabilities, but it’s also pretty early on in its development, so it has some problems. Let me know if there are any issues – I’m fairly confident there will be, as many, many little tweaks went into getting it to this point.
All right, get registering.
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About Henry Baum
Author of The American Book of the Dead, which won Best Fiction at the DIY Book Festival and the Gold IPPY Award for Visionary Fiction. Largehearted Boy says it's "reminiscent of Philip K. Dick and Haruki Murakami, a book that boldly explores the future and defies genre." Also the author of North of Sunset, winner of the Hollywood Book Festival Grand Prize, and The Golden Calf - first published by Soft Skull Press, with editions in the U.K. (Rebel Inc.) and France (Hachette Littératures). Henry was a finalist along with Alan Moore and Dr Brooke Magnanti for his novel " God's Wife" at for Best Writer at The Erotic Awards London UK in 2013. He lives with his wife Cate Baum in Los Angeles. He is the founder of SPR. Visit henrybaum.com for more information.