Why Don’t Authors Build Online Communities Around Their Books?

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ilghtningIt’s no secret I want to make a lifelong career out of writing books, but I think in this whole crazy day and age writing your story just isn’t enough.

I don’t understand why more authors/publishing companies, etc. aren’t trying to build up entire online communities around a series of stories. It wouldn’t be that much work, and community building is fun. You get to REALLY know your characters and explore all their inner workings–it’s like doing all that beginning character building… but online.

I found this site the other day: The Amanda Project, and was impressed. They are almost doing what I am talking about, making their characters and the world they live in come alive on the internet, but I still want to see more!

If I were to develop an online community around Sketch McGee, it would be all about superheroes. YA readers could log into my website and create their own alternative secret identity. They could become that villain or hero and write stories of their own. I would even offer contests–the best characters getting to make cameos in my series. I have so many ideas for this and am so frustrated that more authors out there aren’t making this happen. Their characters need to frequent blog fansites, facebook pages, drop by on people’s twitters, etc.

There’s no reason these fictional characters can’t come to life on the internet, and I want to see more of it!

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  1. I read your post this morning and already commented but tonight I found a project that’s starting its buzz on the net, and had to share.
    Not sure if you know it, but there it is: The Amanda Project http://www.amandaproject.com

    Some are working on communities. But maybe it’s more a matter of publishing houses putting the money than authors on their own. 🙂
    .-= Anna Serra i Vidal´s last blog ..Tímido despunte del 2.0. =-.

  2. You do have such great ideas! I love the idea of them coming to life on the internet.
    .-= debbie´s last blog ..How I Spent my Weekend =-.

  3. I would think another issue that might worry authors would be plagarism. If you put a lot of info regarding your characters on the web, it makes it easier for someone to rip you off.

    There is also the issue of fanfiction. Opening a community site is definitely begging for fanfiction, and not all authors like the idea.
    .-= Gargantua´s last blog ..Review: Dead and Breakfast (2004) =-.

  4. Great idea yes!
    You can start softly if you don’t got the money.
    A free blog, a page on Facebook, Twitter account… all these are no money at all.
    Then the web could start slow with links to all other places and just wait to get some money and invest it on marketing (a nice website!)

    Would love to get into your superheroes community Jamie!

  5. I agree that authors should have more of an online presence, but I think some of the reasons that there isn’t more book-to-internet-phenom are:

    1. Money. When a book first comes out, not everyone has the money to put into a huge online venture. And if you don’t have the skills to do it yourself, it can cost a lot.

    2. Time. By the time you see the first book come out, the author may be working on book 3. At any rate, the author hopefully has several other contracted projects and the deadlines to go with them. Online social communities take a lot of time and energy. And if you don’t have time to do it yourself, hiring someone else to moderate costs a lot of money.

    3. TIME. Contracted authors have to do promotion that takes them away from home/internet vigils, etc. And when they’re not promoting, they need to actually write in there somewhere.

    Usually if you see a fantastic web presence, there’s either a lot of $$ behind it, or the author has a lot of friends to help, I think

    1. I could see where the money could be an issue…but I don’t think it would take too much… just a ning centered around it, etc.

      But yeah, the time thing… it would have to be a full time sort of thing.

  6. Funny you should mention this… I am working on just that sort of thing surrounding the characters in Sands of Time/Winds of Change which will be at least a trilogy… so there should be enough time to build a cool community…

  7. I know! There’s a recent book to come out that I got really excited about. Even I, as just a reader, could imagine all the cool stuff online that could be done with this book.

    But all that’s out there is ONE measly page that’s essentially the book description from Amazon and the author’s bio. WTF? And although I liked the book…I questioned buying the sequel. It left a bad impression to me…as if the author wasn’t even really trying.
    .-= beth´s last blog ..YOUR Interview with Debut Novelist Christine Marciniak! =-.

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