I'm a member on Inkpop.com, a writing website for the writers of the YA genre (although the majority of the members are teenagers to college aged). You have to be at least thirteen to join and there is no fanfiction allowed. Plus I think it's great! And Inkpop lets you keep all rights to your work.
- Feedback- I love getting feedback on my work. And since I've joined Inkpop a year ago I can't even begin to tell you how much my writing has grown from it. Now my brother asked why I needed feedback, so in response I'm saying this: because I want to know what I'm messing up on and what I'm doing good on. Plus you have people looking at your work with fresh eyes and they are not attached to your story as much as you are (come on, you have to admit it, you love your book like it's your child and dare anyone to say anything bad about it!). This way they can tell you what's wrong and it's probably something you wouldn't have noticed. Now I'll admit that it does hurt to see someone write something disappointing, but you have to suck it up and learn from it. Because most of the time the comment will help.
- It's strangers (most of the time)- What do I mean by this? Well, first of all, we all know that in most cases if we bring out beloved story to a friend or family member they will tell you it's wonderful because they don't want to hurt your feelings. Now if you have someone who you will probably never ever meet and someone who can't make opinions about your work because they don't know you, they can tell you straightout what's wrong and what's good without feeling guilty about it.
- The community- I love going on Inkpop and talking to other writer like myself. It's nice to know that I'm not the only person who will stay up late trying to write something or who carries a notebook around with them all the time. Not only do we talk about writing but we talk about stuff in everyday life. I've made friends on Inkpop (even though I've never met them, they're online friends). But saying that, I need to say that you should ALWAYS be careful what you say on the internet. You never know who you are really talking to.
- Reading other work: I love reading other people's work! It's cool to see other people like me who are struggling to get published and seeing what they write. Plus since I've come onto Inkpop I probably found other genres to read that I would have never picked up before.
- On some sites (like Teenink and now Inkpop) you may get a publishing deal. Here on Inkpop, if you make it to the Top 5 (meaning if your project gets the most picks (likes) than any other project except for four other ones), your manuscript will land on an actual editor's desk and they will give you a review. Now if your project is done (it helps to have it done by the time it's in the Top 5) and an editor really likes it, they might offer you a deal. (Leigh Fallon and Wendy Higgins are our first two members to get published off the site. You can follow their blogs on the side of this one). On sites like Teenink they do it a different way, but since I'm not a member I'm not totally clear on this.
- On sites like Inkpop, we have this thing where we are actually able to talk to real authors, publishers, editors, etc and ask them questions. It's usually on a Wedensday and for an hour. It's called an author chat and it's so fun!
The Bad (and yes there are some downfalls)
- Copyrighting issues- Yes this is a really big deal to us writers. Death to any who might copy something of ours. Now on Inkpop copy/paste is turned off so that people cannot do this (although there's ways to get around it. Trust me, there's always a way). Now I won't be all "oh trust me this never actaully happens", but here's the big and ugly truth. Stealing someone else's work does happen and it can happen to anyone. Yes, that means you. I've been a victim of this myself. Now I know who did it and I was able to make them stop, but it wasn't obvious to anyone but me that she stole things from my work. One girl's first chapter was copied word or word some how and nobody noticed but her , but by then the "short story" has somehow gotten into the Top 5 without anyone noticing it was a stolen work. Of course you also have to realize that barely anything today is original (Here I'll do another post on this subject later, how's that?) and that most people won't copy your book word or word if they can't copy and paste. Plus it's unpublished.
- Not getting feedback- Yes, it's hard to get feedback on your work. Here on Inkpop you might be lucky to get a "Free Read" everyone once in a blue moon, but most of the time if you want someone to read something of yours, you have to read theirs first. This is called a swap. (i. e. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours) Of course, some people don't care about promoting their work and it just sits there but most people will "swap" do get a read.
- Trolls (Meanies): Of course you'll meet people anywhere who are unnecessarily mean or rude, but you have to grow a spine. By this I mean, if someone is rude you don't be mean to them back or call them out for the whole site to see, the proper thing to do is message them about it and calmly and politely explain to them why you think they were rude and listen to their side of the story. This is called being professional and graceful when you don't agree with it. And if you want, you can always report them.
- Stranger danger- Remember when you were little how everyone said never talk to strangers? Yes? Well here you have to be careful about what you say. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, I'm just pointing out now that you never give away any personal information online. That's dangerous.
- You can't get on if you can't access the internet or if the site if down for various reasons (like if they are redoing it. They just redid Inkpop the other week and no one could get on for three days).
So what I'm trying to say here is that I (personally) think that the good outweighs the bad. But of course it all depends on you. Now I'm not saying that a writing website is for everyone but for those who think it'd be a good idea you could check one out. There's also the issue of finding one that fits you. Some websites are small and require you to get on daily while others are more relaxed. It all depends on what fits you. If you'd like to see a list of suggested writing websites, I'll be posting a list of them under the Resources tab soon.
So readers, are you on a writing website? What do you think the pros and cons are? If you're not on one, would you ever consider joining one? Why or why not?
Video of the Day: Planking
I think it's pretty interesting.