No, this post isn't about the movie 300, it's about the number of members that have joined Crimespace in the staggeringly short time of three weeks. I'm thrilled to see so many members coming on board, but now that Crimespace is getting bigger, I have to watch for the problems that popularity bring.
My stated intention with Crimespace is for it to be a 24/7 online equivalent of the bar at Bouchercon or Harrogate or Thrillerfest. Similar wording is in the press releases that you'll soon see in a number of crime fiction magazines, both online and in print. Okay, that's three mags: one online, two in print. But hey, I have to talk the place up don't I?
I'm not going to harp on about this, but I'm very much against Crimespace becoming the desert of multiple "thanks for adding me as a friend" comments that Myspace has become. I know a lot of members feel the same way. They want it to be an avenue for discussion, not a huge one-page ad.
Thankfully, the crime fiction community is more mature than a bunch of teen rockstar hopefuls. But to protect us all from the mindlessly spamming crowd that exists outside the realm of crime fiction, I've taken some measures to help keep the drinks and the conversation flowing smoothly.
At the top of the screen, and on the main page, you'll now see a separate section called Events. I created this section based on requests that have come my way, as well as my general viewing of the forums and blogs. It's already proving useful, as a venue for news, and as a way of keeping the main forum a place for discussion. Have a read of the introductory post for more details.
I've also made information on using Crimespace for promotional purposes clearer, by tweaking the welcome on the main page, and adding to the help. It's worth all of you having a read of the help section for any questions you may have on Crimespace, but I'll include the section on promotion right here.
Can I promote my book / crime fiction site / publishing company?
Sure. That's what the member pages are for. Feel free to use your blog to keep us up to date, but you'll have to use your judgement here. Are you on Crimespace to contribute to the community or just sell stuff? If you're pushing porn or Viagra pills, I'll boot you off without a warning. Otherwise, not a problem.
Where can I promote my product?
Not on the main forum, on anyone's chat wall, or through Crimespace emails. Especially the forum, as that is for discussion only. Please keep any promotional items confined to your blog, member page, or the new Events section. Email signatures, videos and photos are fine too. You will receive a warning or have your membership removed, depending on how you step outside these boundaries. As the site grows, I imagine my tolerance for this will decrease.
What about ...?
I'm not going to put up a list of rules of conduct here, as I think that will destroy the spirit of the place. If you want some guidelines, then treat this place as my house. Would you go as a guest into someone's house and blatantly self promote your wares? No, you'd probably bring a bottle of wine and share a few drinks and laughs. Capiche?
I doubt that issues like this will be much of a problem around here, but it's still important for me to address them. Promotion is a necessary part of the publishing industry and I don't want anyone to feel like they can't enter into discussions about it. I just want this in place, now, before the site gets any bigger.