Whats The Deal With Discussion Lists For Writers? (Part One)
Are they really free? Are they actually helpful?
Why do writers subscribe to these lists?
Why do people start lists for writers?
While there's no definite answers to any of those questions, I can share some opinions of other writers, who have participated in discussion lists, and links to websites with more information so you can make your own decision!
First let's start with the basics. An email discussion list is not the same as an ezine, an email newsletter or an announcement list.
A discussion list is different because it allows you as a subscriber to post your own messages, as well as read and reply to messages from other subscribers. The ability to interact with other people is the defining feature of email discussion lists.
Many such lists exist - some with as few as 5 subscribers and others with more than 500 subscribers. The number of posts each day varies just as much depending upon the list.
For example, Childrens-Writers List which is dedicated to the discussion of writing (and illustrating) for children, including such topics as creativity, work styles and techniques, marketing and promotion, dealing with rejection, etc. - has more than 500 members and had more than 1,200 postings last month.
While the Romance Writers Support Group, which was created to discuss romance writing and offer encouragement and advice to romance writers, had less than 100 messages posted between its 34 members in the year 2000.
This is one of the reasons that most email discussion list hosts offer subscribers the option to receive individual emails or a daily digest of all messages. Some hosts also allow subscribers to read the list only on the web (by logging into the list archives at the host site, subscribers can choose how often they read the postings).
You never know what you may learn from others, who share your interests and goals. By communicating with other writers via discussion lists, you can potentially find support, advice, ideas and new resources.
Just as list size and posting frequency varies, the content and quality of messages are equally diverse depending upon the other participants and list owners. But the only way you'll find out if discussion lists can be beneficial to you, is by giving them a shot! You have nothing to lose - most are free! And you're usually not required to post messages or respond to others' messages, if you choose not to.
You can just sign up, read postings at your leisure and then decide whether you want to contribute or cancel your subscription!
Selecting a discussion list that will deliver what you want is obviously a subjective process. However, you may want to read some opinions of other writers, who have participated in various lists.
So why do writers subscribe to discussion lists?
"Subscribing to a writers list is the same as shopping for new shoes,'' says "Shydove." "It takes trial and error, but then you find the right group, the 'write' answers of which you can pick and choose at will."
"I chose a diverse group of writers in A Writing Parent as I am a stay at home grandmother.'' Shydove added. "New to online writing, and still seeking my muse and genre, there are varied questions I ask that someone is ready to answer. They have been more than willing to share their experience with me.''
"I generally subscribe because I want to be kept in touch but will not remember to visit as a favourite as mine are so many,'' says Jennifer Francis, who is currently subscribed to a few lists. "I am a member of two or three good ones covering public relations, sponsorship and sometimes the others present interesting articles and/or links. But convenience is the main issue for me to be kept in touch. I think it is an efficient way of being informed of a variety of thing that would take days of scanning newspapers, magazines and the fabulous opportunity of getting another take from likeminded people around the world."
"I'm a debut historical romance author, or at least I was when I joined the Tobeez email loop," says Cheré Coen, Online features editor for The Advocate Online. "Tobeez stands for To Be Published. The group began when a few newly published romance authors began chatting online and realized there were many things new authors needed to know and that other new authors could benefit from such a network. This list has been my saving grace. I have learned so many things that only come from going to conferences, chapter meetings of the Romance Writers of America (which I'm a member) and from doing a lot of reading in industry magazines, none of which I have much time or money for. We exchange information about promotions, booksignings, contract negotiations, agents, editors, press kits, personal fears and good reviews, among much more. The list contains members from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most of the United States, and because of this we are also able to share information on research for upcoming novels."
"I'm subscribed to a half dozen lists related to books, writing, and publishing,'' says Peggy Tibbetts, Author of Carly's Ghost and Rumors of War. "Booklocker's online promotion kit and "Secrets of Our Success" both recommend discussion lists as a good way to promote online to a broad audience. What I've found to be rather curious in reality is that there is a surprisng number of list subscribers who deeply resent promotional posts by other subscribers, some to the point of calling them spam. As a result lots of posts are generated arguing and complaining about the propriety of promotional posts. In the end, what's more aggravating, deleting one promo post that doesn't interest you or eight to ten posts bickering over it? Seems like a no brainer to me. I don't understand why someone would subscribe to a list and then complain about promo content related to the subject matter. In my mind, part of the purpose of subscribing is to learn what's new and what others are doing online--a means of sharing. If that involves promo posts, then so be it. Perhaps it's incumbent on the list moderators to clarify for their subscribers whether promo posts are acceptable. Obviously everyone agrees that a promo post about a new weight loss program on a publish list is inappropriate. But as for promo posts related to the list topic, there's currently a good deal of ambiguity, even controversy."
"I began an "Intranet" site rather than a listserv, as I felt that this would enable people to chime in on their own accord, rather than filling an inbox ..." says Julie Selman, Seattle Writergrrl, Webgrrl, Techwr-L'er, Woman of the Woods... "My husband is an active member of a listserv that has been a real community for him for years. These people share the same passion, and they are very, very involved. They will be meeting in the spring for the first time at a conference that they are setting up. I know that he and I will be looking forward to it. Drawbacks that we have both seen is that we feel guilty if we have not read all of the listserv -- and we both subscribe to listservs in digest form. Cross postings do happen, especially if you belong to several listservs for the same community. Managing them is more time than either of us usually have. People on some of the lists are not aware of the "etiquette" of cut and paste -- or don't know how to sign up or get off, or how the communication works -- or about propriety ... some things you just don't post to an entire list! Lurkers are an issue -- how do you know what you are posting won't get back at you in some way? Who is listening, anyway? On the more positive side, it is a constant source for information and contacts in areas that interest us. They can be deleted, and often the archives can be visited on some associated web site. Like the early days of bulletin boards, I would imagine that these lists will evolve, and some of the issues will "fall away."
© Danielle Hollister (2004) is the Publisher of the Free Ezine for Writers featuring news, reviews, and continuously updated links to the best resources for writers online like - freelancing & jobs, markets & publishers, literary agents, classes & contests, and more... Read it online at - http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art157.asp
Forums are a community where a group of webmasters can post a discussion on different topics, like running an online business, web promotion, marketing, web design, etc. You can post questions asking for advice and learn a great deal of knowledge from others who participate. You can also participate by answering questions that you are well versed on.
The Importance of Forum Participation in Promoting an Internet Business
Many internet business owners are really lost when doing anything with regards to their Internet business and this is sometimes because people try to do it alone without any external help. Contrary to the notion that the internet is an unfriendly place, many online marketing forums and internet business forums are filled with very nice people that help each other out. This sometimes can be seen in some people offering free software and advice to other people on the forums. This article lists three compelling reasons why you should be participating in forums when promoting any internet business.
Using Forums To Network Successfully
According to one of the entries found at dictionary.com the definition of the word network is as follows: Something resembling an openwork fabric or structure in form or concept, especially: An extended group of people with similar interests or concerns who interact and remain in informal contact for mutual assistance or support.
Whats The Deal With Discussion Lists for Writers? (Part Two)
What Are the Advantages and/or Drawbacks of Subscribing to Discussion Lists?
Some Quick Tips to Easily Improve the Success of Your Forum!
It is difficult to define a 'successful forum'. However, all forums deal with information and so the amount of information that is transferred across a forum is an indication of its success. The most effective way to boost the transfer of information is by boosting your forum's traffic.
Reward Your Forum Moderators
If you are a forum administrator and you have moderators on your site who are doing a stellar job, consider rewarding them for their assistance. No, I am not necessarily talking about financial compensation, but other recognizable forms of showing your gratefulness.
Chat Forums and Blogs: The Unofficial Internet Posting Rules
Have you been hanging around in internet forums and/or making blog comments lately? Public posting is growing ever-popular. One thing I've noticed, is that if you use it for business purposes and you accidentally blurt the wrong thing, it can get ugly pretty quick. A remark that was never intended to be malevolent turns out to offend somebody, and next thing you know, you're engaged in yet another public forum ping pong match. This can be downright exhausting. So is there a 'proper' way to conduct oneself on the network, in the forum, and on the blog? From what I've seen so far, I have to say yes.
Promoting in Online Forums
Forums can be a useful tool if you`re doing business online. You can learn a lot by reading the content and actively taking part in the discussions. Reading a forum's archives can be a great way to get a basic knowledge about a topic, and it can also give you pointers about the changes in trends and opinions through time. It is always very important to read the terms and conditions of each particular forum for a basic guideline as to what is acceptable. It`s also a good idea to read archived posts in order to see the guidelines in action. If you don`t, you could end up doing something wrong, like spamming the forum, and that could seriously hurt both your name and your business. Taking an active part in forums can help you gain recognition in topics you show some knowledge of, and may even result in some great business leads and contacts. Read through posts, and answer any questions you are able to in a polite, friendly and helpful manner. It`s a brilliant way to get your name and services known, but you have to be aware that different forums have different rules in regards to self-promotion. Some won`t allow any hint of self-promotion, some are specifically aimed at self-promotion, and a lot of them fall somewhere in between, allowing either signature files or URL's to an off-the-page member profile. The in-between ones are the best ones to use for marketing yourself, especially as the ones aimed at promoting usually end up more like "spam boards" than anything else. See if you can choose forums that allow a sig file, which is basically a short block of text about you and/or your services which can be automatically attached to the end of every post you make. No matter what you do, never EVER post a reply to a 'legitimate' topic with nothing but spam in the body of your post. This will annoy forum members who are seeking valid answers, and kill your credibility as an online marketer almost instantly. "Netiquette" is a must-have if you`re planning to use forums. What is netiquette, you ask? Basically the same as offline etiquette. It is essential to have a good understanding of acceptable ways to communicate with other forum members. That`s why it`s so important to do a LOT of reading in the forums before you start posting messages yourself. This is where good moderators come into play. They check the forums for inappropriate posts and spam, they keep the boards clean, and make sure everybody plays by the rules. Forums without moderators tend to turn into ghost-towns, with nothing but spam bots visiting them. A nice clean board needs good moderators to keep it that way. In the worst-case scenario, if you break the rules in a forum, by maybe spamming, or using inappropriate language or behaviour, either the administrators or moderators may well end up banning you from that particular forum. If that happens, they will most likely delete each and every post you`ve made, whether it`s good or bad. Happy Visiting and Posting.
The Value of Forums
There are literally thousands of online forums that cover a wide range of topics. Forums provide individuals, who share a common interest, with a meeting place for open discussion, and a great gathering spot for "water cooler" talk. When used properly forums can be an excellent business tool and resource. By providing well thought out, helpful responses posters can develop a reputation as an industry expert. Establishing a reputation within forums will eventually lead to solid business contacts and relationships.
Why You Should Use (Not Abuse) Forums to Increase Your Traffic
There are dozens of reasons why you should look up the forums that are related to your market and post to them often. Here are 3 to get you started.
Forum Software 101 - Why It is Vitally Important to Choose the Best Software to Run your Forum
When you go through all of the work and trouble to set up your own forum, you don't want anything to get in the way of its success... especially your forum software. Because of this, it is incredibly important for you to have a good forum software solution that will support your forum just the way you want and provide you will with all of the tools and user functions needed to manage your forum. Don't just choose the first forum software you come across, do your homework and choose one that is going to work for you.
The Demise of EZBoard
For years, EZBoard was a community that offered relatively cheap and easy to maintain forums for managers. Virtually anyone could register, design, and layout a site and invite their friends to participate. Indeed, some of the largest forums on the internet are built upon EZBoard. Unfortunately, a recent system-wide hacking attack has destroyed the company's reputation and sent many managers packing. Let's look at the venerable community and the fatal flaw that has toppled the company from its perch.
Dont Over Accesorize Your Forums; Give it Community Content
Have you been to those forums where when it opens up you are blasted off your seat by the stunning colors? Sure you have. We all have. There has been a trend by new forums admins to put every modification they can find onto their forums. While mods and skins are not a bad thing, lets remember that most of your succesful forums dont have all this fancy smancy stuff.
Forum - A Free Way to Get Traffic
Forum is a gathering of people normally have a common interest on certain topic like investing, health etc. People in forum can share ideas, ask questions, socialize get help and give advice.
Seven Must Follow Rules While Participating In Message Boards
Participating in message boards (forums) discussions is a great way of self promotion. It costs you nothing. Not even a penny. All you have to do is allot sometime for this type of promotion.
Marketing Via Messageboards & E-mail Discussion Lists - An Alternative View
One of the most suggested means of getting traffic to a site in the early stages is to get involved in messageboard and e-mail discussions on your topic of choice. The idea is that you can show your expertise and therefore get traffic to your site via your signature file (most discussion lists allow you to include your signature file with your post - a few lines with your name, site address and maybe a very brief description). Whilst this is a valid tip, I don't believe that the real reason for why you should do this has been investigated far enough previously.
Whats The Deal With Discussion Lists For Writers? (Part One)
Are they really free? Are they actually helpful?
5 Reasons You Should Market Online
If you've got a website you'll need to let the world know about it. This is called internet marketing. Believe me, it wasn't too long ago that I didn't know a single thing about this concept. However, ever since I committed myself to learning about the ins and outs of online marketing, my sales have dramatically increased. Marketing online is a completely different challenge than offline marketing but it has its benefits. If you want to take your website to a different level, drive more traffic, and increase your sales, you need to consider the benefits of marketing online.
How to Build a Forum That Doesnt Fall Apart Two Months Later, Part 1
If you can get a big enough following from customer lists and newsletters you might want to start your own forum. But I always see people trying to start a forum and it falls flat on their face, mainly because they make it too big and they never promote it.
How To Get Free Advertising By Participating In E-mail Discussion Lists
Posting messages to e-mail discussion lists is a great way to get free advertising. An e-mail discussion list is a group of people connected together via e-mail that can communicate with one another. When you post a message to a list include your signature file at the end. Your sig file should be no more than 5 to 6 lines. Include an attention getting sentence why they should visit your web site or e-mail your auto responder. Try to select list's that are archived because your signature file will be viewed for years to come.
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