I’m always looking for new ways to get my name out there and get folks to read my fiction. Sometimes I don’t have to look too hard though â€“ the information just finds it’s way to me.
A representative of a new website named FiledBy.com emailed me and gave me a quick rundown of their service. I checked out their site and thought it might be useful to review what they do and pass it along.
What is FiledBy.com?
According to the email I was sent, FiledBy is an â€œâ€¦author-centric website with free digital marketing and community building toolsâ€¦â€
So what is FiledBy.com really?
It’s basically like a public facebook specifically for authors & readers. An author signs up for or claims an account (more on claiming an account in a second) then puts up bio information and a list of his/her books.
Readers can then go on the site, comment on and rate books and authors they like. And find new authors and all that jazz.
Requirements and Signup
Before you sign up as an author, you do need to have at least one work in print that has an ISBN. If you’ve self-published through CreateSpace or used the appropriate distribution option at Lulu or you just own your own ISBN, you should be good to go.
However, if they don’t already have information about you, you will need to supply them with ISBNs of any books you have in print.
Because I published through CreateSpace, I had to use their little form to tell them my ISBN so they could research and do the actual creation of my author page. It would have been nice to be able to fill out whatever info was necessary by myself, though. I mean, If I can provide an ISBN, they should be able to tell if it’s legit and then let me get going. Instead I had to wait. sigh.
However, I had to wait less than 24 hours. So they’re currently pretty quick about getting things done.
What about this claiming an account thing?
They’ve apparently done a bit of data mining (it looks like from Bowker’s Books in print) to seed their site. They claim to have listings for over 1.8 million authors. From a regular visitor’s standpoint, that is a good thing, as it means you can look up and comment on your favorite author even if that author hasn’t or will never actually sign up for an account. So if you are one of the authors that they already have a page for (I was not) then you claim the page that has been pre-started for you rather than starting yourself a new one.
Setting up Your Author Page
Changing stuff on your author page is easy. When you are logged in and looking at your page, there are just little buttons that say â€œeditâ€ under the various headings. You then upload your image or change the text.
With a free account, you also get to upload one â€œmediaâ€ file â€“ an embedded video (like from youtube), a pdf, or an MP3. I went ahead and uploaded one of my fantasy short stories.
FiledBy also then generates links to purchase your book at Amazon and other online booksellers.
Paid vs Free Accounts
Here’s a quick lowdown of what you get for free and what you get when you pay.
With a free account, you get an author page with an editable bio and photo. You get to list all of your books that have ISBNs, manage their covers, and you get get to order them however you want. You get to add two links to your sidebar (I chose to link here and to my twitter account.) You get to add one media item, as mentioned earlier.
With a premium upgrade ($99 a year) you get the free features and you add several â€˜outreach to the fans’ features. You get a calendar so folks can see when you’re doing your next signing. You get the ability to promote upcoming books in addition to your already published ones. You get a blogging tool that you can use to blog via filedby or you can have it automatically update from your regular blog. You get to post a total of three media files and have up to six links on your sidebar. You also get a chance to moderate your wall (comments on your profile) so you can minimize the effect of haters. And lastly you get a â€˜What I’m reading’ list, so your fans can read what you read.
If you go all the way to a premium plus upgrade($399 / year), you get everything else and a couple of nice marketing features. You can add testimonials and endorsements. You can add awards you’ve earned. You get to add up to ten media files and have up to ten links on your sidebar. You get to add a â€˜press kit’ to which you can point everyone who interviews you. (here’s the example they have) You can add a custom header to your page. Finally, you get in the rotation for the â€œFeatured Authorsâ€ section at the top of the homepage and the category pages.
Things I Would Like, But Couldn’t Find
- The ability to at least suggest the genre that I / my book fall into.
- A way to add a short description for my book. The â€œMembership Levelsâ€ grid says you can do this, but I never could figure out how. I could only change the cover picture.
- Reporting features. I’d like to know how many people looked at my profile, how many looked at my book, and how many people downloaded the short story pdf I put up. Also link tracking would be nice â€“ I can tell from my site stats how many visitors came from FiledBy.com, but it’d be cool to know how many went to my twitter page and how many clicked on a buy link. This could make a huge difference in my willingness to upgrade my account.
My Personal Tiny Hysteria Over The License
I’ve begun reading those terms of service that everyone makes you say you’ve read when you sign up for an account at the new site.
There was one thing that kind of raised an eyebrow for me as I read the Terms of Service. Part of the paragraph under the heading â€œSubmitted Materialsâ€ said:
â€¦However, by submitting materials to the Site, you hereby grant FiledBy a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform such materials in connection with the Site, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Site (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels, without compensation to you or any other personâ€¦.
Here’s one reason this bothered me. I post my fiction chapter by chapter on my blog. If I pay the $99 a year to upgrade I can have my author page on filedby be automatically updated with my blog posts. So as my blog posts get gathered to filedby, they then are granted a permanent right to use my fiction however they want. They could even transfer or sublicense my fiction to somebody else. I’m not saying that current ownership would do that – sell a right to print (at least the online version of) my next book- but they could.
This won’t be a problem for everybody, but because I am currently marketing myself the way I am (posting fiction on my site) it could be a problem for me. The solution of course is not to hook up my blog to my author page on filedby. But doesn’t that kind of defeat at least part of the purpose of paying the $99 a year? Or I suppose I could just use their built-in blogging tool (which I didn’t have the chance to test.)
I do like the thought of being able to syndicate content from my blog, but I also really want to be able to remove content I own if I ever want to.
In all fairness, I’d imagine that they just want the ability to sell the site if it starts becoming hugely popular and transfer the author-entered content they have on the site. Or maybe they’d license out the expanded info they have now gathered the same way they probably licensed the info from Bowker’s. I don’t really have a problem with that because I want more people to find out who I am.
Oh, yeah, and elsewhere they describe what is considered personal information, and personal information will not be disclosed publicly.
All that being said â€“ I still signed up for a free account.
How I Plan On Using FiledBy.com
For the time being, I’m just going to use a free FiledBy account as a lead source to find new readers. If I start noticing a jump in traffic coming from them or a spike in sales of my novel, I may consider upgrading. But only if it’s pretty clear that it’s going to boost sales enough to cover the account upgrade costs â€“ after all, I’ve got a well-trafficked blog already, and I could throw a calendar on the sidebar at any time if I felt it appropriate. I’ve also already got a separate site for my novel, and it ranks pretty well for it’s most likely keyword, zombie novel. I’m not sure I could do that without total control of the book website.
If you want to see what a free account looks like, here’s my filedby profile. Feel free to rate me and Oasis as you deem appropriate. As long as you think five stars is appropriate. If you hurry, you can be the first to join my reader list.
For authors who want to have a good looking page and don’t want to do anything technical to get one, filedby.com is a good place to start. $99 a year for a blog (and a couple of other things) seems a bit steep to me, though. But then again, I’m a nerd, and comfortable finding a host and doing all the technical things necessary to operate my own websites.
The people who should upgrade are the folks who do plan on using their FiledBy page as their main website. It really would make things easy to manage.
Also, I believe at least a free filedby.com account would be a good addition for any author.
In my opinion, the thing that might make the $399 a year â€œPremium Plusâ€ upgrade the most worthwhile is if being on the â€œFeatured Authorsâ€ lists generates a significant amount of traffic/book sales. Of course the site is new, so there really is no way to prove that just yet.
All in all it seems like a good service/platform. If you’re looking for more exposure as an author, you should definitely check it out.