If you're an author, you've probably been told to promote your work widely and often. But if you're like me-- rather lazy in the promo department- you probably stick to one or two places online and fear leaving your comfort zone. Never fear dear writers, for over the next several weeks, I'll be donning my online walking shoes to explore some of the lesser-known author/reader online hangouts and sharing the PROS and CONS of each. Let's start with...
Networking potential: There's an Authors' Roundtable with discussion threads by and for authors, though you'll have to fish around a bit to find useful information. You can also explore listings of authors by name or genre, and connect with them. As you can see, your "Den" has a wide variety of links that you can utilize to share info with others...
Membership Options: Paid memberships give you more options, naturally. But there are several to choose from, with the cheapest being pretty affordable. Some of the options seem particularly useful. Den Storage, for instance, allows you to upload things for your readers like newsletters, blogs, audio interviews, sample chapters, and more. Could be a good "headquarters" for sharing current news and storing future information.
Buying/Sharing Made Easy: Your books can be linked directly to the booksellers so readers can easily click and buy. There are also buttons for readers to share your book page on Facebook.
Control of Content: You can add/delete your books, articles, stories, etc at any time.
Publishing Options: AD allows you to upload entire book files, stories, articles, poetry, news, and events that will be visible to all site visitors. However, keep in mind that anything you publish here IS considered published, which could interfere with any other plans you have for that piece.
Link to Your Website/Blog: AD provides a variety of HTML codes you can add to your blogs and websites so readers/authors can find you more easily.
Reaches more writers than readers:
The above article I found very informative in describing the site as a "closed network" with more networking than marketing potential. Like every online media, however, it can only be as successful as the amount of work you put into it. This is where adding as much information as possible on your pages, linkbacks, etc would be very beneficial. One might even get creative and host contests or giveaways from the site (I'll have to explore that in more depth).
Time Commitment: Adding all your book info, including all the different ID's from various booksellers, your blurbs, covers, etc. takes a big chunk of time. Once it's done, it looks nice, but expect to spend a good couple hours sprucing it all up.
Authors' Marketplace: Yes, this is also a con, in that the page seems pretty devoid of action. Plus, there are advertisements for paid book reviews, which I think is a shady practice in most cases. Unless you're utilizing a well-established entity like Kirkus reviews, paying for book reviews is a big no-no to me.
No Blog Feed: AD does supply you with a blogging function (even for the free membership), but there's no automatic feed from any blogs you have outside of the site. Should you want to share those blog articles there, you'd have to cut/paste/format everything.
If you're an Authors Den member, feel free to comment on any PROS and CONS you've discovered. We'd love to hear from you!