Now we've finally got our threads properly working with the appropriate authors attached, it's time to think about spreading the word about BGO!
It's been excellent seeing our recent new members join up, especially after spending so long having to keep sign-ups restricted. I'd like to see many more, though!
Hazel and tagesmann have already been doing sterling work promoting us through Facebook and Twitter, and if you use those sites then don't forget to draw people's attention to our presence where appropriate.
But there are other things too. Binker suggested an excellent idea to me a while ago - posting on authors' websites. If you start a thread on an author's book and they have a website which allows comments then you could post with a link! Obviously others who visit the site will be interested in books and they may well be tempted to join after visiting us.
Of course if your review judges the book to be a steaming pile of excrement then that probably isn't such a good idea.
Wherever you are online, think about whether BGO could get a mention. But, the crucial point here is not to spam people. We don't like it if people turn up just to sell their wares and I don't want BGO to get a reputation for that kind of approach.
Don't forget Krey's excellent bookmarks - you can always print off a number of them and leave them in library books or in strategic places!
And needless to say, if you have friends or family who enjoy reading, don't keep us a secret!
Any other good ideas for spreading the word? Let's hear 'em...
If you're an author or someone seeking to promote a book then you are welcome to tell our members about it. However, there are guidelines we ask you to follow:
Please be open and honest about who you are and your connection with the book. Posts in which people pretend to be ordinary readers who've found this wonderful book they want to tell us about are always very obvious and deleted. Don't just copy and paste the book's blurb. This is a forum, not an advertising board, so we want people to write in a more personal way. Please don't provide links for purchase. The board's income is from our Amazon links and these are the only sales links we permit. If you contact me with the details of the book I will create BGO Amazon links for you. Please don't create multiple threads for different books. One thread per author. Please don't bump threads or post repeatedly with very minor additional information to keep the thread high up the forum. Sorry be so proscriptive, but plenty of people have abused this in the past. Fundamentally this board is for readers, but so long as writers and publishers respect our rules, we're happy to let them tell us about their books.
BGO is a great place, but it can seem a bit bewildering at first! So it’s worth taking a while to look around and see how everything is organised. Many questions about the technical side of using the board are answered in the help section, which can be accessed at the bottom of the board.
If you have any other questions then come back to the Site News and Support area. You may well find your question has already been asked there, so use the search bar at the top right of the site – if you’re in Site News and Support your search will be confined to that forum. And if no one’s asked before then start a new thread for your question. You will find the board's policy on signatures here.
Using the Forum
BGO is the place for readers to discuss what they’ve read, whether they love it or hate it! We’re all here to share opinions and the community will enjoy hearing your thoughts.
Our membership includes a wide mixture of people. Some like to write wonderful, detailed reviews and have a very academic knowledge of literature; others will enjoy a good romance or thriller and like to share their experiences in a short paragraph. The board is such a great place because of that very mixture, so never feel you have to work up some minor masterpiece of a review before you can post anything – just write what you think. We’ve never been a site where we have very basic posts along the lines of, “Whoa – this book rocks!” There isn’t a great deal of point to that, but a simple explanation of what you liked or disliked is very welcome and helps get discussion going.
Don’t be disheartened, though, if you start a thread and find it met with deafening silence – it happens sometimes to all of us! It’s nothing personal, but if no one has read the book in question there may not be much to say. Who knows – perhaps someone has been intrigued by your post and will reply several months later after reading it from your recommendation! That’s the great thing about BGO – the book threads form conversations that can literally go on for years!
That’s why we also like it when new members revive long-dormant threads. Don’t be put off because the last post was 3 years ago! That only means the rest of us ran out of things to say – your new contribution can often spark discussion off again.
Inevitably in a community like this we’ve all grown to know one another very well and indeed many of us have made good friends and even started relationships through the site. As someone new you may feel awkward about joining in a discussion where people who clearly know one another are throwing comments back and forth or sharing in-jokes you don't get – it can easily feel like you’re interrupting. Please be assured you are not and we'd love new people to join in these chats.
Do take a look at the forums carefully before posting a new thread to make sure it’s in the most appropriate place. It’s not a problem if it isn’t – the moderators will be able to move it – but it helps!
BGO is a friendly site where people come to discuss what they’ve read. Frequently an interesting discussion involves disagreement and often people have quite firm and passionate beliefs. That’s very welcome! Discussions where everyone agrees with one another are actually quite dull.
However, we ask that all posters argue in constructive, measured and respectful terms. Discussion must always be focused on the issues, not the person. If you disagree with someone then engage with their ideas rather than any opinions you may have formed of them as an individual or assumptions you have made about them. If you disagree with a member's views about Dan Brown that’s fine. If you speculate about their personal hygiene or presumed affiliation with the Nazi party it’s not.
Ultimately the moderators are here to ensure a pleasant board and to regulate discussion. If you have a problem with someone’s posting then please don’t take a broadside on the board but contact one of us. You can do this by sending a Personal Message or using the ‘Report’ feature at the bottom of every post. Equally, if a moderator signals that something is inappropriate their judgement must be respected by all parties concerned.
Not Just Books!
In addition to all things bookish we also have the Anything But Books area where other media and issues are discussed and games are played. This is a particularly busy area of the board since many members visit daily but of course won't necessarily have a new book to post about every time! There are some lively discussions here and a lot of good humour, so we look forward to you joining in there too.
Book Group Online is a self-funding community – no individual owns it. Our current existence is down to our Partners – members who contributed funds to move from our old, very outdated software to the modern board you see today. From that point onwards, however, the board has been funded through our Amazon Associates membership. Enter Amazon through one of our banners (UK at the top, US at the bottom) and you can shop as normal through your established account. We get a small return on that – though you pay no more than you would have done.
This provides us with enough money to pay for the site’s hosting and maintenance. So if you enjoy your time here we would appreciate it hugely if you did any Amazon shopping through our link.
Finally, I hope you enjoy BGO as much as all the regulars here. We think it’s a very special place and we’re pleased you’ve chosen to join us!
Once a new member has built up 20 posts they are entitled to a signature - text and links at the bottom of every post they make.
We think signatures are a great idea - they allow members to share things which are important to them, such as links to their own blogs or reading lists, as well as to express their personality a little. However, they can also be distracting and if too long can be a pain to scroll through - especially if someone with a long signature makes several contributions on the same page.
So the mods have agreed a set of signature rules which we would ask everyone to follow:
Only two lines of text. If you have several reading list links these can easily come one after the other horizontally. No links to commercial sites. Font size no larger than the standard for posting - 14 point. Choose any font you want from the options. Colours are okay, but nothing too garish please! If something is clearly trying to draw attention to itself then necessarily it's distracting when reading the page, which is what we're trying to avoid. No images (this option has been disabled anyway). Since I want this thread to be a clear space for the rules I'll close it, altering anything we need to over time. If you'd like to discuss these rules please start a thread in Board Business and I'll link to it here.