I’m taking a break from my usual Monday morning book review to talk about something a little bit different: Scribophile.
Scribophile is a writing community website where you can post your work for feedback, critique others’ work, participate in forum discussions about writing, publishing, and random life things, and generally just connect with other writers from around the globe. The site operates on a karma mechanic, wherein you earn karma by critiquing others work (I average about 1.5 karma points a critique) and then you spend your karma to post your own work (5 points to post a work). There are also occasional competitions to earn additional karma, and you can gift your karma out as you see fit.
I have been an active member of the site for about three months now, and I love it. Enough so that I purchased the $9.99 monthly membership that allows me to post more work at a one time, announce publications, and not have to clean out my personal message box every few weeks when it filled up. It also got rid of ads, but those weren’t much of a concern to begin with.
The problem with a lot of these kinds of sites is the mechanic they have in place to help balance people critiquing with posting their writing just don’t work. Scribophile finally found a good balance that requires and even encourages participation in the critiquing process and your work will never get buried and ignored thanks to the Spotlight functions. Each of your works goes in line to be put in the main spotlight on the front page of the posted writing section and there is a bonus amount of karma supplied for those critiquing spotlight works. And it works.
I have never had to wait long for my work to be critiqued—well, at least once I figured out that the suggested word count limit is really there for a reason. People tend to shy away from pieces much longer than the suggested 3k limit, though you eventually WILL get critiqued, it takes a lot longer to get those. But the way you get around that is to chop up your work and post it in segments. A little jarring, but something the critique writers on here get used to fast. Its easy enough to go read the other portions before going back to the end if someone is interested enough in the piece.
Also, the attitudes of the people on the site are open, welcoming, and helpful, and they are quite good at what they do. Out of nearly three months on the site, I have only ever received one not so great critique (out of 8 works posted averaging 4 critiques a piece) and for that critique, he really tried, but english was not his native language and he had never read a science fiction piece before he picked up mine so he struggled with a lot of it.
It does have one little odd quirk, however. I suggest that whatever name you chose when you sign up be something you can live with because you can’t change it after a little while to prevent confusion between authors. Most authors use whatever name they plan to be publishing under so they can announce their publications and start to build a community around their work.
Overall, I think this site is fantastic and I will be here for a long time. If you’d like to read my work in progress, come on over and sign up for a free account! I’d love to get your feedback, and I’d love to see some of your writing as well. You can find me there under Rebecca A. Demarest.