Sunoasis Writers Network

Job leads, News, and Conversations with Those Who Write and Edit

I received a message from Ning about it's future plans. Some members are aware of the changes Ning proposes. The gist of it is that Ning will no longer host "free" networks such as Sunoasis Writers Network. They will charge a fee ($20) every month but (1) will add some features, and (2) help those free networks migrate to other free networks. The end of free networks will come in July of this year. That $20 fee is from the Network and not from every member! It amounts to an ISP fee. 


I have mixed feelings about it. I certainly would like to continue with this Network. Other commitments have not permitted me to be as active on it as I would like but I still view it as a positive experience for people. I see it as potential, in both literary development and for connecting writers, editors, and people who hire them. At some point the recession will lift and jobs will be available again. I'm impressed with the quality of writers and the books they promote.  These Networks are a work-in-progress and have to be shaken up occasionally to find out what really works.

At least the spam factor has been dealt with. For awhile there was a tsunami of spam that got close to getting out of control. Now, when a person becomes a member they have to be approved by me and my only criterion is the smell factor. If the new member has a link to a product that has nothing to do with writing I deny the membership. If the new member has some basic bio that looks legit to me they become a member. The spammers are very bad at disguising who they are. 


This discussion will be open for the next month as we figure out what to do. The Network should be more highly defined but I'm going to look for feedback and think a lot about this in the upcoming weeks.


Your input is very welcome! 


Thanks,

David

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It would be a shame to have to do away with the network, but there are other potential sites where it would be free. I already have a Facebook account, so that would work for me, but there are also many free websites, though I don't know if they offer the same advantages as Ning. I don't know about the others, but I would be willing to chip in a few dollars to keep the Ning network alive.
May I suggest another option? Why not set up a Sunoasis writers website? It's quite easy to do using wordpress, and adding a forum to the site.

The website and the the Facebook group can then be used in tandem. This would also prevent the hassles involved if this were to happen at another network in future.

The domain name would cost a round $10/year, and I can host it on my server for nothing.

Allan
Allan beat me to the punch. I would much prefer a regular website to just using a Facebook page, for many reasons. I pay for my hosting, but only about $9.00 a month -- half price of what Ning is proposing. Wordpress is good as Allan suggested. I use Joomla for my websites which also includes forum functions. I'm willing to donate some time to help out in any way I can.
I think that a Facebook page has its place, especially if it can lead to a growth in the size of the network, as well as providing links back to the website.

Having said that, it is limited as to what we could do as a group there.

The value of the website is that it can built the way the network wants it done, rather than the network adapting to someone else's framework (i.e. Ning etc).

Also, I have a template that would allow writers to list their services, and hopefully get work out of it. The possibilities are endless.

Cheers,

Allan
What is the latest news on the network? I'm just curious since there have not been any updates recently.

I would certainly hope that this uniquely valuable community for writers can continue here. If that means asking donations via PayPal  from the members for the monthly $20 fee, it shouldn't be out of the question.  It's a small price to pay  (50 cents from 40 people for goodness sake) for the ambiance and intentions created here by David, who has been an invaluable guide and supporter of writers and writing since practically the beginning of internet communities.

Please, let's brainstorm on how we can keep it going.

Ning, to many of us, has advantages over the current "mainstream" bandwagons, and writers need this.

Besides that, a website would have its own higher maintenance issues and possible costs.

Hi Barbara,


Thanks for your kind words! I appreciate that. It does seem like the beginning, perhaps it was. I know when I started Sunoasis Craigslist was a local entity few had heard about. I lived by Craig and asked him permission to use his links and he said "sure." At any rate, I know the last group to ask for money are writers. I'm a writer myself and I know the score on that one. I did post a donation button on the site and did get a bit of help from that but have decided that I can take the site to the end of the year.

I do see changes coming up though. It's going to get to be a more tightly focused site. To post anything it will have to be orientated to the exact purpose of the site. With the paid account Ning does offer services that I haven't yet tapped into so that is on the horizon. I would like to improve it and make it more dynamic. There is a lot of talent in the membership and I'm aware of and respectful of that.

I'm not a great fan of Facebook and I do like Linked In. This site is interwoven with Sunoasis Jobs which has always been a career and market enterprise. So my own prejudice is toward a professional slant rather than a chatty one. My feeling was that the network was what the members wanted it to be. But it's also true that a network site doesn't work by itself. So with that in mind we go onward and upward.

I enjoy the mixture of copywriters, poets, fiction writers, journalists and so on that make up the membership. They should know they can do a lot more with their personal site on Sunoasis than they probably do. I tried to outline some of that in the introduction to the network.

For myself I'm going into a much more dedicated publishing mode in this new publishing environment. I have a small publishing entity called Sunoasis Publishing that has one book, A Ship With No Name for anyone interested in WWII or the naval operations during D-Day. I have a lot of manuscripts in the hopper and am entering a maturing phase in my writing life I hope.

As I said I have enjoyed Sunoasis beyond words and have learned everything about the Net through it. I can take it to the end of the year. After that its existence will depend on a number of factors.

Thanks again Barbara for your kind words. They are meaningful to me!

David

I strongly recommend Oxwall; I used it for a community site and it had pretty much the same features as Ning. It is bit new though and might take some time to become an established platform.

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