FiledBy for Authors — The Good, the Bad and the Absent

The purpose of this blog is to alert authors to a new online opportunity for authors launched in March, 2009. It’s called FiledBy, and it has some interesting features. I like to call it a “Facebook for authors. Here’s what you need to know about this online author marketing tool, what it does, and what it DOESN’T do.

First, for a good summary of what FiledBy does, visit its Wikipedia page.  This basically explains the features that they offer. In short, they provide a free website presence for authors (the equivalent of a Facebook profile), a listing of the author’s titles, and the opportunity to interact with readers. With their “premium” service (for a cost, of course), you can create a unique header bar for your page, add an events calendar or a blog, and more.

The Benefits of FiledBy
Some of the benefits are pretty obvious. It’s a free online presence, which is enough reason to go sign up for it right now. There are never enough ways to be found online, and this is yet another one you can add to your repertoire. FiledBy also seems to do a decent job tying in social networking profiles, blogs, etc…, and it’s clearly serving the social media scene that is so important in today’s online world. Lastly, it’s a great way to interact with readers — both those who have read your books and those who haven’t.

What FiledBy Doesn’t Do
In today’s world of social networking, many authors think that this type of online presence can replace their own website. In fact, FiledBy actually refers to the pages that authors have on their platform as “author websites.” But they’re most definitely not. Just like a Facebook page isn’t a website. What they’re missing is simple: Personalization!

The design of every author’s page on FiledBy is ridiculously similar (even with the unique header you would need to pay for). That’s because it’s a mass site serving millions — like Facebook. And, as I always tell people, a a personally-designed website is so essential for authors. After all, if you wrote a book about vampires, you can’t really achieve the feel of your book on a bright white website. You need a design that really says what your book is about, who you speak to, etc… That’s done with the right colors, fonts and images. These are things that a super-site like FiledBy can’t do.

Personalization also comes into play in the content of the site. Since FiledBy is a template of sorts, you have to make your site fit their mold. They can’t fit yours. So, for instance, if you want to promote your business services — which compliment your book — that’s not so easy to do on a site like this.

What You Should Do
Sign up for a free FiledBy account. Set up a page with all the information you want to provide. Talk with readers there, join groups, etc… But don’t do it in place of your author website. Just consider it a very valuable addition to your online presence.

Do you already have a FiledBy profile? Has it helped you? What’s your experience with it? Please share!

Ready to talk with us about building your personalized author website? Contact us today for a free consultation.