BookCountry.com (or BC) is where I ended up after Harper Collin’s Authonomy went under. It’s hosted by Penguin Books, which is very cool, but certainly has a unique flavor to it.
Don’t forget to check out the explanations of the categories if you missed it before.
Audience & Features
As BC is a place to showcase novels, and not other forms of writing, it stands to reason that most of its participants are somewhat serious about their craft. After all, writing a novel is a hard endeavor to undergo. The feedback I’ve received there, as well as the contributors to conversations I’ve been involved in the forums, has been mostly insightful, which gives me the impression that there is a quality audience here, filled with individuals who know what they’re talking about.
On the Features side of things, the focus is a bit unique. The variety of features aren’t so robust when it comes to say, community interactivity, but there are a lot of features in terms of publishing options. Yes, you can actually publish your book as an e-book through BC and set up prices and payments. Kind of cool, actually.
Ratings: Audience = 4 Features = 4
Community & Review Traffic
BC has created a safe environment for novelists to connect. Really, I’ve been there a short while now and haven’t come across any trolling. The forums are well attended and there’s some great conversations that happen there.
On the flip side, and maybe the reason why there’s little to no trolling, is that there review traffic is pretty weak. It’s really hard to get constant reviews on that site, because there isn’t much emphasis on reader incentive. I received about two or three reviews for every twenty-plus I gave out, and that was in spite of requesting return reads. Perhaps my works simply weren’t interesting enough, but I’ve had better success on other sites. A definite weakness of BC.
Ratings: Community = 4; Review Traffic = 1
Technical Aspects (Site Navigation, Control, User-Friendliness, Portfolio Organization/Management)
The site navigation works, I suppose, mostly because it’s a simple setup in many ways. However, in other ways, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. An author’s profile is somewhat buried and there’s a few cross-navigation routes that didn’t make sense to me.
In terms of its user-friendliness, the biggest gripe I have is that it doesn’t work well with Internet Explorer. While Chrome and Firefox are better and becoming more standard for such things, it was really a bugger when I was trying to do stuff with my account from, say, a library computer that only allowed for IE. Also, there were often big glitches even when I went through FF or Chrome.
Ratings: Site Navigation = 2; Control = 3; User-Friendliness = 2; Portfolio Organization = 3
There’s no cost–at least not to have a profile and be active from that vantage point. There may be in regards to publishing and other support services (I recall seeing something about this), but nothing that concerned me so much.
Rating: Cost = 5
There are some nice reference tools and the likes available.
Rating: Writing Help = 4
By my calculator and from the scores above, I give BookCountry.com a score of 3.25 out of 5. Remember, I don’t expect any site to get close to a perfect 5 for various reasons. 3.25 is a decent score, I think.
BC is a nice site if you’re looking to showcase your work or are looking for a host to publish your work for money. It’s got a great community, too. Just don’t expect much review activity–at least not without a LOT of pushing on your part. It’s more relaxed/less demanding than some other sites, but less activity, too.
- Score: 3.25 out of 5
- Strengths: Audience, Community, Features
- Weaknesses: Low Review Traffic, Odd Site Navigation, Glitches (or at least I keep running into them)