“Identifies Revolutionary Online Community as Vision of Veteran Glbt Author. For first time, Writers, Artists, Publishers Unite in Retail Environment Independent of Traditional Bookselling Industry.”
Adelaide, South Australia – June 25, 2009 Bestselling gay author Mel Keegan has masterminded a web-based cohesive organization combining the skills of writers, publishers, editors, agents, reviewers and artists in the GLBT community to provide an unprecedented public access portal to independent- and small-publisher titles. GLBT Bookshelf is an online resource designed to counter the perceived discriminatory practices of major players in the book retail scene.
Frustrated by the infamous “AmazonFail” fiasco of early 2009, in which the online retail giant was suspected of attempting to deny GLBT literature the benefits of its promotional systems, Keegan conceived of an online community in which all such systems were circumvented -- replaced by “community promotion” with direct links to authors’ and publishers’ pages.
Keegan is highly motivated toward the success of this venture. “Nothing convinces you to act like being forced to the margins of an already marginalized community. In a way the AmazonFail business was a desperately-needed kick in the pants. Now we have a public contact venue and direct sales channel which is not dependant on the big boys, their promotional tools, their advertising -- not even their search engines.”
In creating GLBT Bookshelf, Keegan set out to answer the needs of most GLBT writers and artists: Create a place for their works to be cataloged, described and sampled, linked to their publishers and independent sales pages -- and promoted by joint funding amounting to peppercorn contributions from community members. In this way, all writers benefit from wide media exposure while no individual foots the advertising bill.
The site takes the form of a “wiki,” where users sign up (free) and a pilot page is created for them. They then use editing tools to flesh out their pages with text, graphics and video. They develop their own virtual website within the wiki, which is built on the EditMe engine, operated by EditMe.com.
Visitors find authors, titles and publishers via multiple, categorized contents lists, as well as the fully-featured Search function. The site features user forums, book reviews, author pages, and directories for publishers and cover artists. A free PDF user’s manual is available, and the public launch is underway.
After just one month GLBT Bookshelf boasts around 200 “authors and others” online. Writers are booking low-cost advertising in high-traffic page locations, months ahead. More than 1000 user-pages have been created, and 500+ books are currently cataloged. Projected growth rates suggest this is the tip of the iceberg.
Visit GLBT Bookshelf, and watch for developments in the months ahead. While it remains early days, Mel Keegan is highly optimistic. “We could be seeing a quiet revolution in GLBT book marketing, in which the community takes its fortunes into its own hands. Technology has freed us from the restrictive practices of the traditional industry -- the Bookshelf is the joint venture of a lifetime. We must evolve new ways of thinking to take full advantage of our opportunities.”
Mel Keegan lives with an eccentric family in South Australia and is the author of more than 25 books. “The Deceivers” won the Stonewall Fact and Fable Award in 2003, while “Death’s Head” was nominated for the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 1992. GLBT Bookshelf is the culmination of Keegan’s creative vision.
I write novels, short stories and screenplays.
I am the author of eight published novels and three unpublished screenplays. You can read about all my pubished works at http://alanchinauthor.com
I live and write half of each year at my home in Southern California, and spend the other half of each year traveling the globe with my husband, Herman Chin.