Monday, July 21, 2014

(UPDATED 10/29/15) 14 Writing Websites: Overview with Charts

So I took a marketing class this summer and ended up doing pretty well in it. For the class, I had to write a marketing plan for a start up idea, so I used an idea for a writing website. Part of the plan needed competitor information which I complied into charts and listed out the main attributes among other things. The marketing plan ended up being 45 pages long (12 page minimum), I got an A and my professor was impressed with my work.

But knowing that this kind of information is often sought out by writers, readers, and like minded individuals about writing sites and what they offer, I decided to share my findings with you. Here I've presented all the information in one GIANT post, so that you can share it (make sure to credit me please!) or use it as a reference.

If there's anything missing, incorrect, or something you would like to add (even leave a review of a site listed), feel free to comment or message me. You can even suggest other sites if you'd like me to look into.

UPDATED 10/29/15: to reflect two websites that are gone now ( I know, sad-face).






    • Offers stats
    • Offers a wide variety of in depth, free courses
    • Has features to search for literary agents, publishers, and literary magazines. They also recommend several different self publishing services.
    • Users are on a “trial” account with restrictions when they first join until a moderator approves their application.
    • Credit system earns points by critiquing.
    • Critique queues last a last before they switch (there are five types of public queues). Queues work by number of critiques, waiting length to get into a queue depends on number of critiques that week.
    • Premium members can create their own queues.
    • Newbies get special queue (newbie stories can only get six critiques, but other queues can have an unlimited amount), and can ask a moderator to evaluate their critiques. They also get a special page for a month.
    • More than one story in queues at a time will cost more credits.
    • Once a month, “hook” queue for story beginnings.
    • Receiver can evaluate a critique. Critiques receive an average of the evaluations of their critiques for every five critiques they give. They cannot see personal evaluations.
    • Must be logged in to see stories.
    • Different levels of story accessibility.
    • Accounts automatically deactivated if no login for six months.
    • Stories are removed if they are over a year old. They are archived and a specific file is sent to the author which can only be read by uploading it back to the site.
    • There are three types of critiques (Template, classic and inline) and critiques are autosaved.
    • Critiquers can send private critiques to the author.
    • Other critiques can only be read once it has been critiqued and archived.
    • Erotica and esplicit sex cannot be displayed publically.
    • Published or soon to be published stories cannot be posted.
    • Full manuscript critiques allow a manuscript to be downloaded, and an author can pay them credits for the help.
    • Activity ranking
    • Quality + quantity critiques can get a free pass (plus keep multiples) to have stories bumped up in queues. Premium members can buy free passes for 15 credits.
    • Allows printing
    • No age limit
    • Users can blog for CC
    • Premium members can create private forums, showcase their works outside of CC, and have access to a Novel System that allows them to string their submissions together.
    • Has a Notebook feature for planning (limited for basic members)
    • Displays for Manuscript Progress
    • Can connect to Amazon books
    • Outlining Workshop for characters (basic members allowed two, premium unlimited)
    • Offers blogs and magazines
    • Tutorials on lots of different subjects
    • Special section for reviews and articles
    • Lots of forums
    • Merged with HarperCollin’s “Inkpop”- Now owned by RandomHouse
    • Mobile App
    • Has comments and reviews (although mostly comments)
    • “Hearts” another name for “votes”
    • “Early Access Codes” - Personal URL links to hand out to select readers
    • Offers badges for accomplishments
    • Story “reactions” (laugh, wow, and cry)
    • Can be used for educators in classrooms
    • Public and private groups
    • “Chats” with published writers, editors, and professionals
    • Offers polls and quizzes
    • Target market is more towards teens (posts a specific crisis hotline page), site is known for immature users and drama.
    • Sister site to “FanFiction.net”, offers only original, fiction works
    • Wide variety of genres, including poetry
    • No copy paste on stories
    • Beta readers allow for more in depth critiques
    • Communities for custom archives
    • Can change font style of site as well as language
    • Offers a mobile app
    • “BooksieSilk” is the sister site for mature, adult content
    • User “portfolio” including a micro-blog/journal and a page for published works
    • Can upload audio recordings and podcasts
    • Books (previews of published works, 1 chapter) vs Novels (multiple chapters)
    • Markets for only teens
    • Can submit poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art, videos, and more
    • Monthly 48-page magazine of best selected writing and art published from submissions on site (published for free. Magazine is not free).
    • NYC summer writing program for girls in grades 9-12. Includes housing and events. (Not free)
    • Online writing classes taught by professionals. Students receive a year free subscription to magazine.
    • Book series of best work in magazine
    • Celebrity interviews
    • Wide variety of contests
    • Book reviewing program for ARCs.  
    • “Spotlight” is a list of works that are being featured. There are four types- Main, New, Good Critiquer, and Personal for premium members. Each spotlight has different rules and depends on number of long critiques.
    • After a work is featured in spotlights, it is only open for 30 days afterwards, then it is locked and cannot be critiqued any longer. Works can be unlocked for 5 karma points.
    • Features a “Karma” system that reflects works posted vs contribution to community/reactions to critiques.
    • Features reputation points for users
    • Groups
    • Premium members can include images in their works
    • Quotes are used in critiques in a specific manner, karma can be cheated by quoting wrongly
    • Features an Academy
    • “Writerfolio” (Portfolio for writers)
    • Dedicated to various forms of collaborative, interactive fiction
    • Features Addventure writing (RPG style)
    • Portfolio style author profiles
    • Offer collaborative works called “branches”
    • New postings can only be changed for 24 hours unless the original author allows it
    • Has a section for author notes
    • Can split chapters into a new work
    • Author Guidance allows original author to put in  extra story information
    • Also allows solo works, which are not collaborative pieces
    • Allows for printing of projects
    • Authors who are reported for misbehavior are disqualified from top rankings if the matter is unresolved or found serious enough by a moderator. Also publicly broadcasted.
    • Special groups feature
    • Profanity filter
    • 140 character minimum for story lengths
    • User and story Statistics
    • Editor Picks and Feature Author/Groups are for selected members to showcase their work based on quality, activity, and other factors.
    • Allows for recommendations.
    • Allows friending and subscriptions to favorite authors
    • Status updates
    • Broadcast messages to followers
    • Private and public messages
    • No friends (followers instead)
    • Ability to dedicate a chapter to another user
    • Votes per chapter (how much you liked the work)
    • Story comments have a WC limit of 2,000 characters
    • Story statistics
    • Stories feature:
      • Pictures, web links, and videos
      • Easy to share
      • Story ratings
      • Public vs. Private chapters
    • Strict about sharing your stories on the forums
    • Lots of forums/genres
    • Book clubs to meet new writers and get your work read and commented on
    • “Magazines” published by users
    • Can follow published authors
    • Read classic books and other non-copyrighted writings
    • Public and private libraries
    • Mobile app allows you to change the page color
    • “Kickstarter” (crowdfunding) for books/projects (complaints that its only for popular writers)
    • Experimenting with “extra” content as in paid bonus chapters after a story is completed.
    • Features awards and many publishing contests
    • Many popular stories have been published.
  • Inkitt

    • No book covers, instead there are specific 1280x420 banners on the top without text.

    • No ranking system

    • Stories are "curated" every 24 hours by staff

    • Features several basic forums in a post/comment style

    • Profiles feature basic profile picture/banner

    • Sleek, modern look

    • Stories are read in full browser and feature a variety of reading adjustments including text size and page color

    • Stories feature chapters, titles, a 200-character summery, and chapter titles

    • Rating limit for children, teens, and adults

    • A main genre and a subgenre

    • Story statuses, and language option, and tags

    • Stories can be entered into contests where they are voted on by members

    • Reviews have no word limit and feature star ratings

    • Users follow/friend other users by adding their stories to their reading lists

    • Has a copy paste block

  • WriteOn
    • Created and supported by Amazon

    • Features a variety of forums

    • No rating systems although stories are showcased via "Trending", "Looking for Feedback" and "Recently Shared"

    • Has a "Feedback Fridays" in their forums and "Thankful Tuesdays" as a follow up

    • Profiles feature picture, information about user, activity feeds, following and followers, stories users have written and stories users are following, and recently profile comments

    • Stories feature covers where users can create their own or upload their own.

    • Features two genres and tags

    • Gives number of parts and word counts, and a short description

    • Also shows an update and activity feed of story

    • Users can follow or like a story

    • Story is read in reading box where it can be flipped like a book or scrolled. Also features a full screen mode.

    • Has a copy/paste block

    • Writers can update followers on stories or choose not too.

    • Also features a private (all but the first chapter) or public mode

    • Writers can also list what they're looking for in feedback

    • Reviews have a `10,000 character limit.

    • Writers can also view who follows their story, how many, number of comments, follows, likes, and reads.

*Hexbound (Now Valorpen) As of 2015, no longer exists.
*Authonomy- Like Valorpen, now gone.

4 comments:

  1. First off, these comments are going to be out of order or something, since I can't post more than 4096 characters at a time... and that's one of the points made... limits. DX

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey,

    I just want to start saying WOW, Critique Circle sound overwhelming. O.O And Scribophiles system irks me. But I guess that's because I like to give and receive critiques at a nice pace, rather than fast. I've never used these sites, and probably won't either.

    I haven't tried Teen Ink, Booksie, FictionPress, Mibba, or WritersCafe. They seem like sites I wouldn't be able to get into... but I've never given them a chance. :/ I think the copy and paste / printing thing keeps me away.

    For Valorpen something that I really like is that they have Conversations, basically private discussions with other Members. It can be just two friends, or it can be a bunch of friends of one member, who may not all be friends. It's kind of like Figment's private groups, but a conversation, rather than forums. Wattpad does too, but since any follower can message me is kind of annoying. It's also very basic. Last I checked at least...

    Valorpen also said recently they added a better Copy + Paste block, and I tried it on Internet Explorer 8, and while the text was all selectable (*gasp*) ...I got gibberish. It's kind of like Scribd, only for writers? O.o

    It bugs me that Figment's copy and paste block is really poorly built. So I never upload on there, only talk on the forums sometimes. I don't know if I want to say it has one... since it hasn't made changes since when they ate Inkpop, and it's basically still copyable. :[ Wattpad's is only good when Javascript is enabled. :/

    Wattpad makes me worried with that, but I'm glad the Private Chapters are there.... but it's kind of hard to distribute to the right people on there? And Figment has Early Access, which is cool in theory... but the fact they are invisible and nobody can see them is odd. How do I know they exist? I mean, I know it's supposed to be for certain people, but what if nobody else sees it? They probably won't get useful help on their stories. Valorpen chapters are at least visible as Private. I think that's good since it's basically Members only and Follows only. Invisible chapters nobody can get to is kind of pointless in my opinion. But some people might like them, on a personal level... but since they are supposed to be communities, what if they never make the light of day and they were good. DX

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like the tag feature on some of these sites, but I don't like the genre restriction. Valorpen doesn't have any genres, only tags, which seems like it is pretty useful. Especially since you can search for whatever tag/genre you want. I think Wattpad had plans on making tags more intuitive somehow, but not sure they are going through with it, whatever it was.

    Also, something I think websites neglect to do is show all the members, or even when they are online. Both Valorpen and Protagonize show how many members they have on the site, but only Valorpen shows all the members, and search bar, plus when they were last online. That was a big thing on Inkpop. :[

    I guess you could say apps are a plus for writing sites. I don't know about all of them, but I know Wattpad has one, and Valorpen and Figment don't. That's a big plus for Wattpad, which is why it is so popular. It's very accessible, and even in the early days where it was just reading was really fun for me. But Figment is working on one apparently. Valorpen works just fine on tablets, but it doesn't on mobile phones. :/ Though, apps sound hard to make? I guess we can't expect much from a site made by an Inkie, since that in of itself sounds like it took ages. These other companies pay people to make them, which is not in an Inkie's budget. O.O I can't pay for a site. So expensive just for simple site like a blog. (Tumblr is the savior.)

    And yeah, activity is a major issue with Valorpen. Sooo dead... It's getting better with the name change, I think, but it feels like nobody does anything. I don't know. I think it could be active at some point, when it's more established. I can't do much until then, which is unfortunate because it has some really good features.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wattpad Forums bug me. They're more obscure and hard to follow. It's nice that @username thing does notifications, but Valorpen has @username, and you can search it (which is a plus). It's not the same, but it just means you can decide if you want notifications or not. I don't know. Figment also allows searching, but it's not in chronological order. Not sure how they order it...

    Oh, a website you forgot to mention is Movellas... It's basically all 1D Fan Fictions, but it's still a writing site. I've never became a member, but it has interesting features to offer.

    I hate comment/review limits. And writing limits. It's just annoying. In-depth critiques are non-existent with limits. :/

    Oh, and Valorpen has a tracking bar for progress of projects' word counts. I think that's neat, not as thorough as NaNoWriMo, but still good enough, I suppose.

    Also, another thing I think goes with Community is Moderation. Figment's been deactivating people left and right. O.O I mean, they are pretty trollish, but deactivation is kind of.... pointless? I do know Wattpad is pretty strict about the forums, which is dumb. Valorpen is better at Moderation, but probably because the Moderators are actually active and interactive. They aren't ninja assassins like Figment and Wattpad. O.O

    Deletion is a big thing. I can't delete anything on Figment, I'm glad they added a delete button cause so many people asked how to delete their account when Inkies came over. Wattpad's deleting thing is strange. Remnants of an old account of mine is still sitting there, and I feel like they keep it for numbers until somebody takes the username. I'm not sure what they do with anything that is deleted. :/ I don't think there's anything I can't delete on Valorpen. I notice when somebody deletes themselves. All of their stuff just goes poof, like they never existed.

    I tried Authonomy once, and yeah, it is more of an adult focused site. I think some people get published? But I've yet to see any teens? Inkpop even published adults versus teens... :/ HarperCollins, you let me down. You let me down all the way. Not that I'm publish-worthy with anything I've ever written. Crap, major crap, and super crap. :/

    I think Valorpen can be overwhelming with all the features sometimes, but I really like the Dashboard. Mostly the updates about when the people I follow upload stuff or posted a thread. It's really useful. Wattpad's status update doesn't stick, and the broadcast is strange being a comment, but I guess that's better than Figment's Desk thingy.

    I wish I had more to say... I've just never tried those other sites.

    Otherwise, great overview of these websites! The images of the graph is hard to read though. :/ Since the website names aren't on the second one, but I got the gist.

    Just want to add that this came up when searching google for valorpen. There aren't many results there, and yours is on the fourth page.

    ReplyDelete

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