It gives me a great deal of pride to introduce our first major redesign of Red Room since the community launched. Red Room's fantastic team of engineering, creative, editorial, and community pros have worked hard to make this day happen. The new site is so much better-looking, more secure, faster, and easier to use—I can't wait to show you how to make the most of it to create and showcase your work, find your audience and meet your heroes, and achieve your goals while helping others achieve theirs!
This blog entry lays out the main changes. If you have a question that isn't answered here, you can learn more on our Help page. If you still have questions (and we do want your feedback!), please don't hesitate to contact us.
Let's begin with our beautifully redesigned homepage, Red Room's introduction to the world. On it, we showcase the best writing, new releases, exciting news, and other creative and promotional content-most of it added by Red Room authors-in constantly shifting array of features curated by our editors. (Old favorites like links to our partners Publishers Weekly and The Onion are still there, too.)
What's new is an expanded new books section called "What to Read Next." We display prominently the best of our authors' and premium members' new releases so visitors to the homepage can find the next must-read book. Have a recommendation you'd like to see featured in What to Read Next? Let us know! We can't promise to display every recommendation, but we always want to hear about your favorite new book.
You can still use the main navigation bar to join Red Room or log in, add content, adjust your account settings, get help on how to use the site's features, and access special pages like Advice for Writers, Causes We Support, Red Room Originals, our Terms & Policies, and much more. The Me dropdown menu here includes several new options:
- An Edit Content link that takes you to a page that lists your recently added content with the newest first. Just click the item's title to view the content. You may edit or delete it from this table by clicking "Edit" or "Delete" in the column on the right. As with all deletions, the system will ask you if you're sure you want to delete the item.
- The My Dashboard option replaces My Stats, and takes you to your greatly expanded Dashboard. The much loved Analytics widget is still there, but now you can manage your account settings, Connections, social media, contact preferences, and content all from one convenient page. Learn more about the Dashboard here.
LOGGING IN AND YOUR NEW AUTHOR OR MEMBER PAGE
Now, let's take a look at your online home—your Author Page or Member Page. First, of course, you'll need to log in, and the way to do that has changed. Instead of the username you may have created when you joined Red Room, now you'll log in with the email address you gave when you joined and which is specifically associated with this account, and your password. Once you've logged in, go to your Author or Member page by clicking your name at the very top of the homepage.
Your first order of business, if you haven't done so, is to add a bio and profile photo to your Member Page. Until you do, no one will be able to see your Member Page and you won't be able to add any content.
If you're not a Red Room author, the first thing you'll notice is that your Member or Premium Member Page now looks almost exactly the same as an author's. If you're a premium member, the only difference is the ribbon-shaped badge across your page's marquee banner. Currently, those badges read "Author" or "Premium Member," but we'll be introducing others like "Editor" and "Self-Published Author" soon.
Here is our designer's rendering of Amy Tan's Author Page (Amy, if you're reading this, we know this isn't what your actual page looks like):
The new layout of Amy's Author Page displays much more of her recently added content than before, and includes some exciting new features, as well. Books are given much greater prominence, but all the different types of content you add are shown, often with more images than before. In addition, more of the information your fellow Red Roomers want to know about you-the comments you've left and the reviews you've written, your reading interests, the causes you support,
This is a good place to introduce two features available to authors and premium members only. First, the banner design behind Amy's name. The red curtain banner design is the default image, and displays on all community members' pages. If you're a premium member or an author, you can choose from among dozens of new banner designs by going to the "Select a Banner Design" vertical tab in the My Profile section of your account settings.
Next, right below the marquee banner with her name, you'll see a new feature: Latest News & Events. Shorter than a blog post but more detailed than a Tweet, this is a feature which authors and premium members can use to broadcast their most up-to-date bulletins. Learn more about the Latest News & Events feature.
Below the Latest News & Events is another new feature, the Featured Works slider. Here, an author or premium member's most recent book is featured with a prominent button to buy it and links to write a review or learn more. Use the arrows on both sides of the slider to browse the books one by one-they're ordered by publication date, newest to oldest.
(What if you're not an author or premium member? If you're a community member, Red Room editors will choose a variety of books that will display on your Member Page in a slider like the one that appears on Author or Premium Member Pages. If you do not want the slider to appear on your Member Page, or have suggestions for books for us to add to the slider, please Contact Us.)
By the way, we've changed the name of the content type you'll use when you add a book to your page. Instead of Published Work, you'll upload your book as...a Book! Even if your work is an ebook, a CD, a screenplay, or a graphic novel, you'll add it as a Book. Learn more about Books and the Featured Works slider.
We've made improvements to the Events feature, too. Now, premium members may add an Event to their pages and to the Events Calendar, too. The form is much easier to use as well.
We've completely redesigned the landing pages where authors and members, books, blogs, and other content are displayed. With each, we've rethought every detail of what visitors to each page, whether longtime Red Roomers or first-time explorers, are looking for. I encourage you to take a look each by going to the main navigation bar at the top of any page, and choosing different option from each dropdown menu.
WHAT HAPPENED TO...?
For this version of Red Room, we've had to temporarily discontinue a couple of features. First, Clubs are unavailable for the time being. Don't worry! We've saved all of your clubs and your conversations, and are working on a much improved Clubs feature. We'll keep you posted on when it's ready to go. It will be soon!
One premium feature that is temporarily available is the ability to post your blog entry on Red Room and have it automatically cross-post on blog services like WordPress, TypePad, and Blogger. Again, this is only for the time being, and we'll let you know just as soon as it's available again.
I hope you'll have fun exploring the look and feel of the new Red Room 2.0. There are more detailed instructions about how to use it on our Help page, but please feel free to contact us with your questions and especially your feedback. This is your online home and community, and nothing could be more important to us than knowing what you like and what you don't about the changes we've made. We have many, many more planned—this is just the beginning!
–Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room