Saturday, October 2, 2010

Publishing, Online Communities, and Competitions

The Internet is a wonderful tool in most of it’s plethora of applications. For the writer, it has forums and other online communities, but now it goes much further than that.

Online Publishing, Flash Fiction, and the occasional professional-level review are all possible here in the Cloud.

FictionPress is one such site, though I would caution any who create an account and spend time using it. An advantage of the site is how many users there are. There is always something new to read, and generally always something crawling along the web and finding something to read. On the flip side, there are too many pieces, and not enough talented authors. Reviews are generally scant and not worth a lot. While you can establish relationships with other users through the forums and community-level groups, and can grow through some relatively great feedback, it is difficult to maintain as the consistency is just not there. That and you have to be careful about what you put up there. You cannot delete your account, though you can remove your pieces, at least on the front-end. Don’t be too scared, but definitely be cautious. Copy & Pasting is still a viable resource for talentless crapholes. I no longer have anything on there due to the above constraints and cautions. I did, however, get some really good feedback and become a better writer for the two months that I spent on there.

Webook is another site, one in which I currently am very interested in. In many ways it is similar to FictionPress, but I believe it is on an entirely different level, overall. For one, the users generally write better, but the site actually has funding and is updated with user input, etc. You can actually contact them, unlike FictionPress. Also, there is P2F aka “PageToFame” which is a competition with three rounds (hopefully you’ll make it all the way!) that serves as a community-picked writing competition to get you to the bucket where participating literary-agents look. If you make it to round 3 then you have a really good chance of getting the attention of an agent. There is a fee, $4 summer special for novels, normally $10. There are also poetry and shorts, though I’m not sure what the associated fees are. Either way, if you are confident that you have something special on your hands and you think it can stand up to some pretty high standards of writing (again, community-picked at first, which means a spectrum of talented and not-so-talented reviewers… (at least for the first round or so)), then I say go ahead, send your fee and copy your submission in. Each round takes time, and rates are 1-5, 5 being the best. You don’t want under a 4, but a 3 isn’t bad, though it does actually hurt. I got a coupon for a free submission and I put The Defender up (round 1 is a one-page submission, 2 is 5 pages,and 3 is 50 pages). Round 1 has taught me a lot about my writing and I wish I’d waited a bit to put The Defender up because my rates have not been as high as I’d expected. Whoops.

There are many other sites,, which I know almost nothing about. But you may find your muse there!


Good luck!

-jheld out.

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