Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Another website question...

You all know I'm a huge Christine Feehan fan, right? I love her Carpathians and her new Ghosthunter series. She's an uber talented author (who I re-read regularly) and a very nice person besides. So...when I went to her website and had to sign up for the "Members Only" section to get certain perks, I felt privileged to do so. You know, like I was getting a special "in" with one of my favorite authors. But then I went to another author's site who is a fairly new read for me and she has the same thing and I found it sort of annoying. Tell me, why?

And tell me...would you think there was something cool and special just for you if you were asked to sign up for a Members Only section on a website that had some neat stuff not available to regular site visitors?

I ask because this could be a really effective way to increase my email reader distribution list. But I wonder if it would irritate readers at the level I'm at because let's face it, I'm not CF...or anywhere close to it. Let me know what you think!

I really, really want your input on this and my previous blog regarding websites. And I'm willing to pay...sort of. :) I will be giving away a signed copy of "book of choice" to one winner chosen from those who comment on this blog post and "You Heard it Here First...". To be eligible, all you have to do is give me your opinion by commenting on the questions in one or both of these posts regarding websites. What could be easier???

If you already have all my books, I've got some great ones by other authors on my prize shelves too!

Remember...while you can post anonymously/don't have to be registered on my blog, please give your name in the comment so I can identify you if you are the winner.

The drawing will be held on Friday. :)

26 comments:

Jen said...

Good question. I think I wouldn't like it and here's why. I get SO MANY emails from places I "signed up on". I get newsletters for different groups of authors. When a website wants me to "sign up" that means more email. I'd have to REALLY love an author and want to know when a book is coming out in advance.
Some places have a place on the side bar that not only links to sign up, but also lists the perks.
See, if I want a signed copy or to know way in advance about a booksigning, I might do it.
That's my opinion. That and $1.75 will get you a cup of coffee at Denny's. LOL.

Jen said...

Oh and I love Catherine Freehan as well. Just finished "Wild Rain". Mmmmmmm hot.

Kelley said...

Ok, this is how I see it. If I were to go to your site and I had to sign up I wouldnt mind, because I KNOW I love your writing and want to know about different perks. But, if it were a writer I wasnt too familiar with or had only read one of her books or something, I think it would be annoying. I believe your die hard fans would all have no problem with it, but it might deter somone who hasnt read your work and maybe just heard about it from someone else. That is just my opinion, though. It might not bother other people at all! That is a hard one!!

Lucy Monroe said...

Jen and Kelley...you both sort of explained why it bothered me on the one author's site, but I liked it on CF's. With CF, I knew I wanted up to the minute info on her happenings, but with the other author, I'm not as committed and definitely didn't want to be added to another mailing list.

Definitely something to ponder...but my gut is saying I'll pick up more readers as a new author keeping my website as accessible as possible.

Dannyfiredragon said...

Hi Lucy,

I signed up to CF's Members only section and I think it's great, but normally I don't like such member only stuff.
I guess I know which newer author you mean, I tried to sign up to her website to get more information, but somehow I still can't enter her website. That's something that drives me really crazy.

kaylie said...

That's such a good question, Lucy. I think it depends on what kind of perks you'll get by signing up. By keeping all the regular info on books, fun notes on you, etc. on the regular site, I don't see a problem with having a "community" part that you have to join. You can sort of meet everyone's needs that way. New readers can get all the info they want about you and your books... plus your fans can get fun little extras in the community part.

I like Jen's idea of listing the perks in a side bar so people know what they'll be getting out of joining. The more creative things you have in the community part, the more people will want to join. But they don't have to if they're only trying to find out about your books. The key is to make the community stuff truly "extra", imo.

The only time I'd balk at the sign-up thing was if I had to sign up just to view your backlist or something that I thought should be part of the public domain. I say go for it! :-)

Jennifer Y. said...

I pretty much agree with the others. If it was an author that I was familiar with and I already knew I enjoyed reading her work (like you) then yes, I would sign up for a members only section. However, I would appreciate knowing what I am signing up for...what kind of features/extras. If I am unfamiliar with an author I am probably less likely to sign up for a members only section.

Jodi said...

I find them quite annoying. The way I see it is that if I request to be on a mailing list, then I think all of the information should be available there. If a person wants info, they'll sign up for your newsletter. Why should they have to sign up twice?
I think one of the perks for getting a newsletter is to get the little extras that aren't on the website.

Joni said...

I suppose it would really depend on who the author was, how many books I've read of hers compared to say CF's, yours, or Lori Foster's. Not having known much about the "new author" how she conducts herself with readers, etc., I would be a bit wary of her and her tactics of promoting her books. I wouldn't like her thinking she is just as popular as say CF or you even - sort of like being snobbish or overconfident if that makes any sense. She should be building on her reader fan base by word of mouth then on to putting more books out first before inviting people to a "members only" section! That would be the first sign of a dedicated author first, but the bottom line would have to be how well her stories are and worth recommending to others. Hope this helps to some degree in what you're asking us to comment on!

Vivi Anna said...

I agree it depends on what the members only thing is offereing...

On my site, I have a Vixen Hall of Fame wall, for those readers of mine that are big fans and like to extra stuff...I have special drawings every month for the Vixens and we chit chat on the Vixen loop...

I don't think any author has to 'earn' their stripes sort to speak to offer something extra for their fans...

I have one newsletter for everyone. Not two separate ones.

So, if you sign up to be a Vixen, you're not going to get two or three different mailings every month.

Do what you want Lucy! Who gives a *bleep* what other 'bigger' name authors are doing. You have a ton of fans that would probably love a members only club.

Rita Raymond said...

I have been to CF's site as well...also signed up. Problem there is that there really is nothing special for us. I feel disappointed in this. I don't think I would like to see all the authors with the same "deal". Every author is different and should put themselves out there as such. Just my opinion.

Michelle B said...

I haven't joined any "Member's Only" sections for authors anywhere that I can remember, but I did for a music group once. The whole thing kind of reminds me of cliques in high school for some odd reason. If I loved the author, I would probably give it a try, but it would depend on what advantage there was to joining the group and how long it took to sign up.

I am no longer a member of the music "members only" group because they started charging for the access.

As for a reader/author Members only section, I'm not sure I understand what the purpose is other than to make some fans feel "special." And then if you make some feel special, what do the other fans feel like?

My inner Libra tends to balk at stuff like that, though my parents always remind me that life's not fair and believe me I know it lol.

Stacy~ said...

As a fellow Libra, I think I'm gonna have to agree with Michelle. Besides, at least for myself, because I am a huge fan of you and your books, I don't need all that extra stuff. I'm a fan no matter what. There need not be any conditions.

I come to your website and your blog to find out more stuff about what you're up to, and I think that makes me pretty special (especially since you regularly update everything). I guess I worry that the "members only" stuff will only end up being more work for you.

Ultimately the decision is yours, and I appreciate you wanting to give something extra to your long-time fans. I'll still pop in no matter what :)

Maura said...

I'm not very fond of signing up for special areas - including those for things like newspaper websites, etc. Unfortunately, as Jen says, it usually means that I will get more junk mail.

I always wonder WHY I need to sign up? Is it because they are just trying to track people? Are they culling email for marketing?

I think you'd have to determine what it means or is supposed to do.

This is probably going to sound really odd coming from me since I'm a newbie author but I think to make it work at all, you'd have to be well established and, even then, it may not be terribly popular.

If it was a newbie author or someone who isn't as well known as you or Christine Feehan, I'd never both and might think it was sorta...presumptious....

Hoping this makes sense...

(and Wild Rain is one of my favorites - I love the Leopard People and constantly pester to get more)

Barb V. said...

I think if someone is a mega diehard fan, they would probably be thrilled to be part of a members only club. For the "average" fan, it might not go over so well. I agree with Jen that a side bar listing the benefits of membership is a must. I would want to know what was on offer before I even clicked on the link. From my point of view, a chance to buy autographed books would be a real enticement to join. It should be a short sign up process, with easy log in access. And I am assuming this is a free membership. I know a lot of music artists charge an annual fan club fee, and that payment gets you certain goodies. I think that a charge for an author's club membership would be a real turn off and would not present a flattering image.

Jamie said...

That is a good question. At first I was thinking, Yes, a member's only section would be great, but then I thought about it some more, and what if I'm just checking out a new author I've heard about & haven't decided if I like or not yet? Would I want to have to register to check out the features of the site? And then have to unsubscribe if I don't - I know it's not hard, but it can be annoying. I think an author should try to make their promos as accessible to their readers and potential readers as easily as possible.

lidia said...

I don't see the need for a members only section. How would you decide what to post on the public site and what to post on the members site?

As someone pointed out, your book blurbs and excerpts need to be on the public site to entice new readers.

And yes, I do find it annoying to have to sign up for additional information. As stated by others it usually means more "junk" mail -- for whatever reason.

Just my humble opinion.

Lucy Monroe said...

LOL Well...there certainly seems to be a majority vote here. :) I will say though that Vivi's "Vixen Hall of Fame" sounds very cool. Now, see if I could come up with something really catchy like that and attractive...but I think maybe, Stacy's right. It would be more work than I need to take on, even if I could make it something that felt good for the rest of you and I'm not sure I could. :)

Hugs to all and THANKS for weighing in. Your opinions have really been invaluable to me on this!

Lori said...

Lucy~
I think that it is unneccesary to have a members only section. I love when I can just go to an author's site and find what I am looking for without having to sign up for anything. I have signed up at some sites for the members only option, but often it just seems to be much of the same thing.
This is just my opinion for whatever it is worth.
Lori

Holly said...

Hi Lucy!

Personally, like Kelley, I'd sign up for a members only section on your site (I've already done so on CF's..you are so right, she's an amazing author) because I know and love your work already, but I probably wouldn't be interested for a new to me author. Whatever you decide (and it sounds like you have) I'm sure your fans will be pleased. I know I am. :)

Lucy Monroe said...

Thanks for chiming in Lori and Holly...you're confirming what I think. Which is that readers who are new to me aren't going to want to deal with a Members Only section and those that are already supportive aren't going to be bothered there isn't one. Since I'm hoping to grow my readership *a lot*...I need my website to be friendly to "new to me" readers. I hope that made sense. LOL

Holly said...

Yep, perfect sense and I think you're absolutely correct. Besides, like Stacy said, it would take a lot of your time and *I'd* rather see you use that time to write. LOL

Hugs,
Holly

Brandy said...

I don't like the idea. Sorry. It seems useless in a way. Say you saw a sight with it, and signed up for it. As does EVERYONE who visits anyway. How is that special? And, if, as a reader, you want to be signed up for a newsletter, great! If you don't want it, then it should be an option, but not one that is required to see the site itself. Lucy, I was honest before when I said your site was perfect. It is easily accessable, it is easy to understand, and the deleted scenes you've added it a real thrill. Also, I LOVE that you have your upcoming books listed.

Monica Burns said...

Hmmm, I'm guessing this is a specific section that has like extra excerpts and other things. Correct?

Here's a different perspective, and this perspective is going to depend on exactly what info is submitted.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, gets so much SPAM these days. So the way some authors deal with that is to set up spam filters, but they also have to do some restrictions because there are so many annoying spiders that are out there who join open groups and post unwanted junk. I see it in Yahoo all the time, which is why I require approval for that mail list.

If I were going to lock down a special section for members, and I doubt I would, I would only do it to protect my server and bandwidth from getting inundated with spam and unwanted posts or visitors like those jerks advertising their sex for whomever posts.

It's one of the reasons why I require people to enter a registration code for my blog. I don't want to be constantly monitoring the bloody thing and removing advertisements for C&nts for sale or See women sucking on C@cks. Sorry, got hit once, and it SOOOOO annoyed me. Sort of like when I get a visit from a door-to-door salesperson. GRRRR - If I want it, I'll go ask for it.

So while I understand the frustration, I also see it from the other side. Besides, if I'm really interested in the author, I'll signup regardless. *grin*

Niny said...

I thinks that if I signed up to be a Member there should be some "perks" to it, and like you said Lucy, that will make me feel special. Now, I wouldnt sign if I'm not really interested in recieving updates from the authors releases, contests etc. I dont sign up as a member on all the authors site that I visit, just the ones that are my favorites. See sometimes there are so many authors releases coming at one time its hard to keep track, so an email might be a good way to remind the reader. If you do it, I'll be the first one to sign! I know I can never go wrong with one of your books.

Lucy Monroe said...

Thanks you so much, Brandy. I am *really* glad that readers seem to be finding what they want on my site, but every once in a while I have to ask myself if there is something I could be doing better and if it's worth my time to make the improvement. LOL

Monica...I get spammed rarely, thank goodness, but my lucymonroe.com email address gets tons of spam. Probably because it's in all my books, but I want it there. I really love hearing from readers. I'm such a geek! But your point is good and worth considering for future.

Niny...you are always such a sweetie...thanks!!!

Hugs to ALL!!
Lucy