Friday, September 28, 2007

Clarification from HarperCollins

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post called “HarperCollins’ Author Assistant.” One comment on that column was from “anonymous.” Don’t know who anonymous is, but from the content of the comment, it sounds like someone representing HarperCollins.

In case you read the post when I first put it up, but haven’t returned to read the comments, I thought I’d post what Anonymous wrote. S/he cleared up a problem I had with the site, specifically getting into the authors’ sites on HarperCollins. Basically, the URL I had was for authors to sign up with HC’s Author Assistant program. Visitors wanting to see the author sites have a different URL to browse.

The only other thing I’ll add before letting you read the comment post is that in points 2 & 5, s/he used the acronym SEO. SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.”

Okay, here it is:
Wanted to step in to clarify things :)

1) The site is where the authors go to log in and access the tool for creating web content. Since the press release we've seen confusion and so are changing the login box to reflect that.

2) Once authors update content, it goes to an in-house managing editor to look over (they suggest SEO type changes but generally just copy edit) and then goes live immediately.

3) The consumers/fans access the sites by typing in for example you can go to to see her new site and all the content. For the list of 40+ authors go to and look at the press release. The authors are listed in it with links.

4) The idea of having a publisher create the tool is so the content becomes database driven and therefore it can be used not only on the author site but also the imprint/genre area, the hc homepage and maybe syndicated in the future. It allows the publisher to cross market and expand the fan base of authors.

5) As far as SEO. Of course authors will be found by those typing in their names or book titles. BUT isn't a goal to reach those who do not know about you? How about the romance fan that loves paranormals and wants more but doesn't know who to look for? By using great meta information, teaching authors to use key words in their text and headers, etc. their chances of being found in alternative ways grows exponentially.

6) Authors using the AA tool are encouraged to list all of their titles and recommend authors and books that are not HarperCollins. Fans love an author, not the house. They should see the whole author on the web, not a part :)

Anyway, hope that's helpful.

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