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Fallen
01-10-2017, 01:55 PM
I struggled trying decide where to put this! Sorry if it's in the wrong place!

Wix have just brought a new app (http://www.wix.com/blog/2017/01/create-a-forum-and-build-your-own-online-community/?utm_source=Wix+Blog&utm_campaign=faa5c99b85-UA-2117194-5&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_324de5e2c6-faa5c99b85-158105941) that allows you to have a forum attached to your website (writing in my case, lol). I've just got used to sorting the website, attaching a blog, newsletter etc, but I was wondering what thoughts would be on a forum for fans? I know the admin side would mean huge work, and there's more safety in having a contact form between authors and readers, but... I dunno.

Would you work a working forum alongside your website when it comes to writing and engaging readers? The fan base is there to set it up, but in light of Amazon and author-reader relationships, I just don't know whether it would be worth the risk, even if the forum was there to interact away from the formalities of writing.

This wouldn't be about hard promo, in fact it's more about general book talk, something just a little less formal than a promo website. Ughh, but on the flip side, there's moderation, and I've been admin on writer's sites to know how much goes into running one.

Perhaps it's one promo option that just can't work for authors in particular?

Cindyt
01-10-2017, 06:08 PM
It's been my experience that it's too much work for too little results, unless you have a wide fan base.

AW Admin
01-10-2017, 06:19 PM
Long before a forum, I'd have an opt-in mailing list for a newsletter.

And I wouldn't use Wix for much of anything; you can't migrate your content from Wix.

Fallen
01-10-2017, 08:26 PM
It's been my experience that it's too much work for too little results, unless you have a wide fan base.

It's a modest fan base, with readers I've known since I was 1st published (2012). And yeah, it's the work element that worries me. :) Thank you.


Long before a forum, I'd have an opt-in mailing list for a newsletter.

And I wouldn't use Wix for much of anything; you can't migrate your content from Wix.

I've had an opt-in mailing list for about a year now and it's doing good. I'm just uncomfortable with using it too often: a release maybe twice a year, with giveaways etc. And I understand about Wix, more than. It works for me because there's really nothing on my site I'd be brokenhearted over losing if I had to start from scratch (I have links to reviews and the likes, saved on file). At worst I'd lose my subscriber list, but I'm used to having a site go down and have to start from scratch and get things rolling again to find my readers. Although it does kind of answer my question on the forum... it's the one element I wouldn't be able to start again.

AW Admin
01-10-2017, 09:09 PM
It's a modest fan base, with readers I've known since I was 1st published (2012). And yeah, it's the work element that worries me. :) Thank you.



I've had an opt-in mailing list for about a year now and it's doing good. I'm just uncomfortable with using it too often: a release maybe twice a year, with giveaways etc. And I understand about Wix, more than. It works for me because there's really nothing on my site I'd be brokenhearted over losing if I had to start from scratch (I have links to reviews and the likes, saved on file). At worst I'd lose my subscriber list, but I'm used to having a site go down and have to start from scratch and get things rolling again to find my readers. Although it does kind of answer my question on the forum... it's the one element I wouldn't be able to start again.

See if you can figure out a way to backup the subscriber list; it might involve copying-and-pasting but it's an asset.

Fallen
01-11-2017, 10:29 AM
See if you can figure out a way to backup the subscriber list; it might involve copying-and-pasting but it's an asset.

That a damn good idea! The app I use (ShoutOut) does send a message to my Gmail account, letting me know the basics on who's subscribed, what percentage of subscribers have read the newsletter, and I filter those into a private mailing list, but I don't have that in with my other saved files for my website via dropbox and old my old reliable (paper). MailChimp would have been ideal, but Wix no longer supports that app (perhaps mostly because MailChimp allows you to move around with different sites?).

EMaree
01-11-2017, 03:21 PM
I've ran a few small forums over the years, and I wouldn't recommend it in your situation. Because it's Wix you'll get to avoid some of my least favourite bits (the expensive hosting costs and constant monitoring for security issues) but you still have to worry about building a community, keeping the community engaged, moderation, and how much of your writing time is going into forum posts. That last part is important -- forums can be a massive and wonderful distraction and timesuck.

I haven't looked at the Wix tool, but I imagine the lack of control would be a nuisance too. I had a lot of plug-in features that I dearly wanted, and I had a bad habit of listening and trying to implement every feature my members wanted too. That quickly pushed me away from free forums and towards self-hosted ones.

From scanning the reviews, the tool seems very swish with a lovely mobile layout and a very responsive support team. In your position I'd find it hard to resist installing it just for a fun, shiny new social network to play around with. But it would just be a fun timesuck, and you could get the same community benefits by using your blog and encouraging folks to comment.

Polenth
01-14-2017, 04:57 AM
I used to run a forum for my old website (which wasn't about writing). The two likely outcomes are either no one uses it and it's a waste of space that makes you look unpopular, or it takes off and suddenly you have to watch it constantly. I went from the first of those to the second. I closed it long before I closed the website, because it was too much. I wouldn't consider a forum for my writing stuff, because I'd end up spending all my time running the forum and no time writing and promoting my work.

If you want to be available for fans to chat to, Twitter is good for that. It's a lot more casual, which makes it easier for people to start up conversations. You can also take a break when you want and only put in the time you have to spare.