It’s finally Friday! Whew, this has been a long week. The good news is this weekend is a three-day weekend for me. Woot.
When Amanda first mentioned this to me, I was intrigued and bombarded her with questions. She was kind enough to agree to an interview so I can share it with all of you.
Without further ado, here’s the interview with Amanda.
Let’s start with the big picture. Why do you want to start a Lesbian Fiction Directory?
The lesbian fiction market is getting bigger and better every year, and that’s a great thing but it also comes with some challenges. New authors can struggle to find an audience, and readers can feel dazed by the amount of choice on offer. Often readers want to try new authors but they aren’t sure who to pick, usually relying on word of mouth recommendations.
The Lesbian Fiction Directory allows authors to have a profile page, connecting readers to their websites, social media, and catalogue but it also matches up similar authors. This means that readers can use a central Directory to find new books to read, and authors can find new audiences. All in one location.
How is it different from other lesfic sites?
While there are other lesfic directories, I believe that the Lesbian Fiction Directory is the only one that uses a database to match up similar authors and displays suggestions to users. It will also be advertised on search engines and social media to find new audiences who may not be aware of the lesfic genre. My background is marketing, digital marketing to be precise, and I will be using that knowledge to make the Lesbian Fiction Directory as visible as possible.
You’ve asked authors to register to determine whether or not there’s a need for the site. How’s it going so far?
It’s going extremely well! There has been some reluctance in some corners but that’s bound to happen when something new comes along. For the most part, people have been very eager to learn more and be a part of the project. It looks like we will be launching sooner than expected as a result!
Why should authors work together?
Many mainstream Indie authors quickly identified the importance of working together but it seems that we’re still playing catch up in the lesfic world. The simple truth of the matter is that many people make more noise than a single person. If authors work together through group promotions, boxsets, sales, mailing lists and more then they reach a larger audience. With a larger audience comes more sales. With more sales comes more visibility and the chance to break into mainstream.
For me, mainstream is extremely important. Not for personal glory or riches, but to bring the stories of lesfic into lives of all readers. Lifting lesfic out of its genre and into a wider audience will help with visibility and acceptance for all of us.
You mention search engines as part of the reason for setting up the directory. Can you explain the importance of your reasoning for people like me, whose eyes glaze over at the mere utterance of SEO?
Ah, the dreaded technicalities of search engines and SEO marketing! It’s all actually quite simple. Google, and other search engines, rank websites based on several factors including volume of content, relevance of content, speed, frequency of change, traffic volume, and much more.
If you think about a single author with a website, it would be extremely difficult for that one author to meet all the criteria to appear when a user types in a search query. But, if that one author bands together with many other authors in a single directory, it’s a lot easier.
This is the principle of the Lesbian Fiction Directory. With 50, 100, 500 authors all together in the one place, search engines are more likely to take notice!
Why do you charge authors to be part of the directory?
We charge authors $25 per year, or 6 cents a day if you prefer, to be a member of the Directory. The reason for this is three-fold, hosting, administration and marketing.
As I just explained, speed is one of the key Google ranking factors. It’s essential that we have a good hosting service that provides a fast and efficient service.
Second, we intend this Directory to continue to grow. This means new authors being added all the time, new books, changes to biographies, new reviews, new social media accounts. When you consider the volume of lesfic authors and the amount of changes required, this will soon mount up.
Lastly, marketing! The Directory will be advertised on search engines and social media platforms to spread the word. We’ll also be working extensively on the SEO side of things to ensure that the Directory rates as highly as possible for organic search results.
We’re also going to be donating 10% of the overall membership fee every year to lesbian charities, as voted on by the membership. The more members we have, the more we can donate. Just another example of working together for the greater good!
Will there be a fee for readers?
No, there’s no fee for readers. We hope the readers will be the lifeblood of the Directory.
What’s the main takeaway you want to highlight?
The Lesbian Fiction Directory is something that can benefit everyone, established authors, newcomers, and readers. It’s the very essence of working together, something I’m passionate about. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of working together! There can be a lot of negativity when something new comes along, probably borne out of fear. But I urge people to get involved, I understand that the cost involved may put people off and this is something we thought long and hard about, but the truth is that this is a big undertaking and one that requires investment. We’ve tried to keep costs as low as we can and I’m sure everyone will agree that $25 per year is a small price to pay for twelve-month access to a full-service marketing platform.
A. E. RADLEY
She describes herself as a Wife. Traveller. Tea Drinker. Biscuit Eater. Animal Lover. Master Pragmatist. Annoying Procrastinator. Theme Park Fan. Movie Buff.
When not writing or working, Radley indulges in her third passion of buying unnecessary cat accessories on a popular online store for her two ungrateful strays whom she has threatened to return for the last seven years.
Thanks Amanda for taking the time to share.
Have a great weekend!