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image F. Scott Fizgerald didn’t limit his art to his novels. He cared endlessly—at least at the start of his career—about how well they were selling and how readers perceived him. I suspect he’d regularly track his Amazon rankings if he were alive today. Real life became an extension of This Side of Paradise.

The spirit lives on, in cyberspace. Some authors are blogging on Amazon or independently, and others are using services of the Author’s Guild;  and yet others are putting up old-fashioned Web pages, or are using social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter.

imageNow a new service is in beta. Formally announced today, Filedbyauthor is the creation of Ingram alum Peter Clifton and Mike Shatzkin—the publishing consultant and baseball writer famous for his outspokenness and Einsteinian hair.

The big question will be, How is this authors site different from all other authors sites, and will the paid versions be worth the money?  The strategy apparently is to use ready-to-claim pages, compiled from publishing directories, to lure authors en masse to create the “Largest Author Focused Online Directory.” I notice that former PW editor Sara Nelson, author of So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading, has already claimed hers, and I suspect other publishing insiders will follow. There are several levels of service, with the most elaborate one costing $399. Publishers will able to buy pages for their writers. Meanwhile Filedbyauthor will encourage links from writers’ existing sites.

imageIf you’re a writer, should you claim one of the “more than 1.8 million pre-assembled author pages,” with “over 7 million book titles”? This is an author-by-author decision. Among the criteria will be the amount of control the you can have, the aesthetics possible within the site templates, and the number and kinds of other features, including the level of interactivity. And to what extent do you think the site may serve your readers or otherwise boost sales, not always the same thing? My own strategy has been to claim a free page but not expect much for the moment since the traffic volume of the FBA site is still low. That might change, dramatically: I notice that author profiles are being updated within minutes of each other, one good sign.

How about readers? To what extent will Filedbyauthor go beyond information now easily reachable through Wikipedia or Google, even if these sources are hardly authorized? And will readers prefer to interact on one massive authors site or keep favoring informal arrangements on, say, Facebook or the blogging circuit? Once again, this is a volume issue. Will enough writers create enough information to draw enough readers?

Meanwhile you can also check out the FBA page of publisher-novelist Rob Preece of BooksForABuck.com, a TeleBlog contributor. Oh, and no need to envision what an F. Scott Fitzgerald page would look like on FBA. Here it is, complete with links to Wikipedia and other sources. Add more links, get some real community going, repeat the same scenario over and over with other writers, living and dead; and maybe Filedbyauthor can take off big.

Oh, and one other Iittle detail—the smallest of nits. The site uses a lower case in its name, which I find distracting even if it’s trendy. Change it back, guys—just as I have above. Ideally the writers will provide enough eccentricity for you to help draw the crowds.

The best of luck. May this be an “I knew you when” kind of situation! The press release follows.

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Filedbyauthor Launches Beta Site with Over 1.8 Million Author Web Pages

Largest Author Focused Online Directory
Provides Innovative Marketing Platform for All Authors

Nashville, TN – March 25, 2009 – FiledBy, Inc. today announced the Beta launch of filedbyauthor at http://www.filedby.com. The site is the first large-scale author-centric promotional platform to provide every author that has been published in the U.S. or Canada a free, hosted, ecommerce enabled web page ready to be claimed and enhanced. With more than 1.8 million pre-assembled author web pages and over 7 million book titles, filedbyauthor is the most complete site for finding and engaging with authors and their work.

“All authors, regardless of publishing category are encouraged to visit the site, claim their page, make corrections, and enrich them in a variety of ways,” says Founder, President & C.E.O. Peter Clifton.

Any published author or co-author can easily and immediately update their author page which is linked to individual work pages. In addition to the free level, FiledBy announced two new membership levels designed to make additional web marketing tools available at low cost. These additional levels include blog tools, additional linking and media postings, event listings, online press kits and banner customization.

And, any reader can join the filedbyauthor community and start connecting with authors. Readers can fill in their own pages, collect favorite authors and books, write reviews, rate works and authors, and comment through wall postings.

“We hope to level the web marketing playing field for all authors, eliminate some of the challenges authors face when designing their online presence, and help every author become more easily discoverable through a highly optimized site,” added Clifton.

FiledBy, Inc. is a digital marketing services company providing membership sites, web tools and community building solutions to authors and their fans. The Company, based in Nashville, TN, was co-founded by Peter Clifton, a former Ingram executive and Mike Shatzkin, a publishing industry strategist.

 
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