where the writers are
Really? Premium Member?
Amazon.com Amazon.com
Powell's Books Powell's Books

I think this will probably be my last blog on this site because I will probably get banned after this one!

Okay. Am I the only starving writer (notice I didn't dare use the word 'author') here? So now if we don't come up with $240.00 we can no longer participate in this excercise. I find this rather ironic because when I 'applied' to become an 'author' on this site I was turned down. But now that this site needs money to offer new services and whatever I'm approached. Fooey! I don't like being told that something that was free is no longer free. Go ahead and do that for all the new people who sign up, but you can't do that for the people who are already here. That's just wrong!

First I get an email requesting Premium Membership then I get an email requesting any membership I want - what are we cold calling all bloggers? If I sound a bit perturbed, well I am! It's hard enough being a self-published author and getting ANY BOOKS SOLD!! and now to be told that this site that is "where the writers are" is now going to be "where the writers have to pay to be."

I don' know about you, but it feels like being told now they've taken marshmallows out of rocky road ice cream.

12 Comment count
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Hi Brenda

I think there may be a misunderstanding.

The Patron option is entirely voluntary, it is a contribution to help support Red Room. A donation. Most of the basic facilities that are currently in place for members, are still available to non-paying 'Community Members' whose contributions, through blogs and responses, are as important to the site as they are now.

'Patrons' are members who are taking that extra step, chosing to donate funds and are financially supporting the growth of this amazing site.

The Premium membership has several key features that help authors, all of which are listed in the email link. From what I can see in the links and emails, non-fee paying Community Members, will still have complete access to the site, be able to blog, be able to respond and be able to upload media. I don't know if Bibliomaniac will still be available to you (I don't have access to this at all so I was surprised to see you featuring it), I am not sure. 

The emails and links make me think that this is a premium feature. Other than that though, I don't see any other losses that a Community Member would see when compared to the current member status.

I hope this helps. I am sure the RR Team will come along and correct me if I have misunderstood this, but the links and emails seem very clear to me.

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It's tough being self-published...

It was my knee jerk reaction to be put-off by the Premium Membership pitch that I found in my email this evening...$30 a month is a bit steep, but as a self-published writer/indie publisher who is serious about promoting my books, I'm going to bite the bullet and see if I can generate more interest in my novel. I'll try it out, if I don't see any uptick in my sales, I can cancel at any time.

It's tough being self-published! I see us as pioneers in this new publishing world that writers like you and me and many others are creating. Since I'm paying for it, if I'm not satisfied with their services, I'll let 'em know.

Laura J. W. Ryan

Have you tried Goodreads.com? I did a giveaway there and have found their advertising campaigns affordable. I've connected to readers and other writers there.

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Being self published


I agree that being self published is very difficult. I  just put out my fourth book and this is a new publishing world. In fact, it was my publisher that recommended that I participate on this site. If I had to pay for each site that was recommended by the publisher and then multiplied it by the years I've been doing this I wouldn't be able to put out the books and do the marketing required. 

I think the bad taste in my mouth comes from the fact that there were two emails requesting money.


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Yuck, I've got a bad taste in my mouth too...

I agree that the "tone" of the emails wasn't exactly honey to attract the bees, more like they purposefully made it sour to drive off the less serious "writers"...you know...I hate to say it...the self-published authors who are trying to market their work on a shoe string budget. I've run into plenty of that kind of discrimination in just a short time I've spent peddling my book, and it leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth, especially since I've worked very hard to produce a book that is just as lovely as anything published by the heavy hitters with the big bucks. But I've also received lots of support...tho' not enough to get out of the red...but one book at a time, I'm getting there. Goodness knows, I'm searching for as many word of mouth freeways on the internet as I can...

The bullet that I'm biting to market my book (soon to be plural) isn't that tasty either.

 Best wishes,

Laura J. W. Ryan

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Brenda, AMEN! I feel the

AMEN! I feel the same way. And I read it the same way you did. In fact, I received two emails...one asking me to pony up to become a premium member ($ 30/month) since I am self-published* (actually, according to some definitions, I am not!) and then another to become a patron of some status ("Literary Lion" is an example) because I blog regularly and add comments such as these. Of course, the patron status can be anywhere between $ 5/month to $ 75/month, which at $ 75/month is EVEN more expensive than being a premium member.
While I would have considered a donation if asked in a different manner, now I am just hot under the collar and may not ever blog here again.
Frankly, I have always labeled myself primarily a reader here, and less a writer since many of my posts discuss the books that I am reading, read, or about to read.
While I do have a small book of haiku, I have never really made a big deal about it here. I think I may have mentioned it once or twice on all of the posts that I have submitted here.
as ever,

* In all the time I have been on here, I have sold ONE, count 'em ONE, of my books on Amazon. With the all the profits I made on that one book sale (about $ 1.00-1.50), I would be able to claim a loss of 29 dollars for just one month of a premium membership. My guess is that most self-published authors make about the same amount on each sale, and that few, if any, sell an average of 30 books a month to break even on this premium membership.

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Brenda Youngerman Thanks

Brenda Youngerman
Thanks Nancy. I didn't think I read it wrong. I got the exact same emails in the exact same order as you did and I interpreted them the same way. I'm glad you validated my thought process.

I actually read the donation letter first and was considering donating - you know the small one - the $5 a month nothing big, just a little to do something. But then when I read the one for the premium membership I just saw red (and not like redroom!)
I've never really looked at this site as an avenue for sales, I looked at it as more of a place to network with other writers for ideas and connections. But now, this just makes it infeasible.
Such a shame......

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Yeah, Brenda, I know what

Yeah, Brenda, I know what you mean. I never thought of sales, just as an avenue to do a little networking and support authors since I know how difficult it is.
as ever,

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I join you in your

I join you in your confusion.

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My email

Since the email was from me, Brenda, I want to do my best to answer your concerns. I would have responded earlier, but I didn't see this post or these comments until now. I'm sorry that the email came off as disrespectful, since that was the last thing we intended. We felt comfortable enough to come to you when our need is so great and ask for help precisely because we respect you and are grateful that you've helped make Red Room such a special place.

As I wrote in the email, and as everyone at Red Room has always said, we value self-published authors and intend to be a useful tool in helping you promote your work. As we grow, there will be more and better ways to do that, and self-published authors who do become premium members will see the effect in book sales.

Nancy's second comment is great because it gives me the chance to reiterate that most of what people enjoy doing on Red Room - reading great writing, networking, giving and getting advice and support, and learning about new books - is and will continue to be free.
Doing that will help your writing career, too.

But one of Red Room's purposes is to help authors sell their books. We heard one objection to our analogy to eBay, where sellers have to pay to sell but buyers don't have to pay to buy. I understand that it may sound a bit crass, but we couldn't think of another way to put the idea that was as generally familiar as the eBay model.

Brenda, I'm sorry that some of what was free on Red Room will stop being free for you. I hope you'll write to me at huntingtonsharp@redroom.com and ask more questions. The fact that you and the other commenters on this post took the time to write thoughtfully about this request for help means Red Room is important to you, and I appreciate that very much. Thank you.

Huntington Sharp, Red Room

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Thanks for the feeback

We want Red Room to be an entirely enjoyable experience. I'm so sorry fell short of that goal, for several of you, regarding our new pricing (and our email list segmentation).

Please feel free to email or call Huntington, above, and let him know what you are comfortable paying (or not) and we'll work something out that makes you feel welcome at Red Room and that you're getting a good value.

I want to let you all know that we would prefer to offer Red Room for free to everyone, forever, but can no longer afford to do so. Our entire staff is working full-time for free, and have technology and administrative overhead that we cannot get for free. We have pursued numerous avenues to generate revenue and continue to do so.

Recently, we did a sample poll and found that most Red Room authors polled were willing to pay $30 a month, so that's how we decided on the pricing.

As we mentioned in the email, there will be scholarships for authors who cannot afford it. We'll primarily be looking at if they add value to the community through their participation. More than anything else, we appreciate you letting us in on your adventures as you follow your dreams, and we really appreciate when you encourage others to follow their dreams.

We hope we're living up to your expecations, and that you'll continue to let us know when we don't so we can improve.

Please keep in mind that any criticism, if made publically on the site, reaches far beyond our community and becomes something forever associated with you personally and with us.

Just like your friends, neighbors, and coworkers (we feel like we're all of those to the Red Room community), our team would rather have constructive criticism delivered personally by email or phone than on the web, unless you found us unresponsive and find you need to gather public support in order to accomplish your goals. As a former activist, I know the latter is sometimes absolutely necessary.

Thanks again for caring enough to let us know what we can do to make sure you love it here. We have some real challanges facing us about how to balance the needs of different types of authors. I'm a self-published (and also traditionally published) author myself, and as our resources grow, so can the ways we support you and your work.

Ivory Madison
Founder and CEO, Red Room

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Author or Writer?

I would like to first say that I really appreciate the fact that both you and Huntington took the time to respond to this blog. That tells me right up front that you are interested in what one writer has to say, and obviously there are more like me who did not have the 'nerve' to put it out there.

I guess when you responded with: "we did a sample poll and found that most Red Room authors polled were willing to pay $30 a month, so that's how we decided on the pricing," my question would have to be: What's the difference between an author and a writer? Because again, as I stated in my blog, when I asked to become an "Author" on this site I was turned down, so I am a "writer" here.  But if you look up the definition of an author it is: "a person who writes a novel, poem, essay, etc.; the composer of a literary work, as distinguished from a compiler, translator, editor, or copyist. " 

So perhaps there should be a different membership for "authors" and "writers" because honestly I haven't seen a blog lately from Maya Angelou or James Patterson and I see that they're authors on this site.

Ivory, I, in no way, wanted this blog to come across that I was trying to garner public support for my cause. I was merely trying to find out if I was the only one who read the emails in that vein. If I'd had no responses, I would have let the matter drop, but the very fact that both you and Huntington responded tells me that I am not the only "member" here that raised these points.


Brenda Youngerman

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Dear Ivory,

                  I sent an email of my request at Huntington's address. Please consider my points and don't take it other way. I really admire and value all of you. I really appreciate that your staff is working for free, but that is the last thing I want, or anybody here on RED ROOM wants. Once more, thanks for this wonderful site.