Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Literary Web Space for Authors and Readers

I found this news from San Francisco very exciting (and not just because my daughter lives in SF). The San Francisco Chronicle, on Tuesday, January 8th, reported on a new literary website called Redroom. is an ambitious online community for writers started by entrepreneur Ivory Madison. The site aims to be the equivalent of MySpace, doing for writers what MySpace did for musicians – provide a means for them to network and promote themselves.

Started on December 21st, it already features 150 authors and expects to soon have 400 more. It won’t feature just the big names, although there are some of those already on the site. It’s goal is to put all authors on equal status. Each will have a Web page and a blog, plus authors can “designate their favorite charities or nonprofits, and a portion of the revenue generated from page and ad views goes to good causes.”
The site is meant to appeal to readers, authors, booksellers and publishers as a kind of one-stop shop for biographical information, book reviews, blogs, video and audio content and author appearances. It's a virtual place where "midlist" authors in particular, who are watching their books get knocked off store shelves with alarming speed, can network and promote themselves, much as emerging musicians do on

Lest you say that this is a pie in the sky concept and it won’t work, consider Madison’s track record. She has an entrepreneurial history, from starting her own coffeehouse and restaurant to a chapter of the National Organization for Women, while earning her law degree.
Some 10 percent of Redroom Omnimedia Corp. is owned by private investors, whose ranks include venture capitalists and investment bankers as well as publishing industry executives such as Nion McEvoy, chairman of Chronicle Books (not affiliated with The Chronicle); Internet guru Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; and writers with good fortune and the financial means to invest, such as Robert Mailer Anderson, author of the novel "Boonville."

So, she’s not going it alone on this venture. She has raised money and hired staff.
Madison has collected $1.25 million in venture capital for the business and has hired a staff of 15, and anticipates raising $2 million more in the coming months. She said she expects to break even in 2008 and make $15 million in gross revenue in 2009.

You may be wondering how much this is going to cost. A big name might be able to afford to join, but could a small author or a midlist author swing it?
All writers join the Web site for free, and soon readers will be able to have their own free pages, too.

Now, I’ve not put any money into Redroom, so I have no vested interest. So, as an uninvolved party, I recommend you look into it. Check out Redroom's website. See what you think. It sounds like a promising idea to me.


  1. Looks good, will have to join if I ever make it into print!

  2. I think it has real possibility. Don't know whether it will have the success for authors that MySpace did for musicians, since MySpace has such a huge membership from all walks of life and this one seems geared specifically to writers and readers, but it would be nice if it evolved into a way for authors to reach readers and increase their profiles.

  3. Thanks for the wonderful words, Helen. I'm one of those employees of Red Room you mention, and I can tell you that we're genuinely excited to be creating this community.

    Mike French, I encourage you to join Red Room as a member and see what you favorite authors are doing. You can even connect with them one on one, since most of them are blogging actively on the site and they welcome comments.

    -Huntington Sharp, Red Room.

  4. Thanks Huntington. It's nice to hear from an insider. Let me know if you'd like to do a post about the progress of Red Room.


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