Everything You Need to Know: The Forums
WriteOnCon 2017 is just a week away, but you don’t need to wait that long to start working on your writing – the public critique forums open today! To help you get ready to jump in with your manuscript, we’ve prepared some instructions and guidelines.
Accessing the Forums
The forums can be reached from our main website, or directly by going here. You can browse the forums as a guest, or you can post and interact with others by logging in.
Accessing the forums is and will always be free. They will be open until next year’s conference, at which point the forums will be archived and new ones created.
To post to the WriteOnCon forums, you will need to register an account. This account will be yours for this and all future years of WriteOnCon. On the far right side of the navigation bar, click on “Register” and follow the prompts. All fields must be filled in.
Once you have registered and activated your account, you will be automatically logged in.
NOTE: The service we are using to host our forums requires that you enter a gender, and only offers a binary choice. If you are uncomfortable with these options, you still must pick one to sign up (we’re sorry!) but you can hide the gender from display via one of your profile settings.
Setting Up Your Profile
Before you get started posting in the forums, you may wish to set up your profile details. Click on “Profile” in the navigation bar, and then on the button “Edit Profile” on the right. Here, you can change your profile picture, your personal information, your privacy settings, and other details of your account.
We highly recommend setting up a signature that includes your posted manuscript materials, if you choose to share them. At a minimum, include your manuscript’s title and genre, and the links to the threads for your query and/or first 250 words and/or first 5 pages. This will help the ninjas and other writers easily find more from your manuscript if they are interested.
Posting in the Forums
Once you’ve registered and your profile’s set up, you’re ready to start posting! To start a new thread, navigate to the subforum you’re interested in posting in and click on the yellow “Create Thread” button at the upper right. To reply on an existing thread (including your own), click on the yellow “Reply” button at the upper right, or scroll to the reply box at the very bottom.
Guidelines for starting critique threads are sticky-posted to the top of every subforum. Please make sure you read these! Following the guidelines will make it much easier for other writers to leave critiques and for our ninjas to browse and comment on your manuscript. Our moderators will be monitoring posted threads and will remove any that are offensive, inflammatory or otherwise problematic.
In the critique forums, we strongly request that you “pay it forward” once you’ve posted your own manuscript for feedback. Please try to leave constructive feedback (eg., more helpful than simply “this is great!”) for at least five other manuscripts besides your own, within the same subforum (eg., if you posted yours in the First 5 Pages subforum, please leave feedback on five other threads in the First 5 Pages subforum).
If someone leaves feedback on your thread, it’s a wonderful gesture to not only thank them, but also swing by their thread to leave feedback of your own (this is where having your links in your signature is a great help!).
The “pay it forward” request does not apply to the discussion forums.
We have 23 fabulous professionals who will be browsing through the forums throughout the conference. These people are literary agents and editors from well-known agencies and houses, and have many years of industry experience that they’ll be sharing with writers in the forums by offering feedback on the writers’ materials.
However, while we have shared the list of people participating as ninjas here, you won’t know which is whom. Ninja accounts are completely anonymous. Watch for comments from users named in the style of “Ninja Bubbles”, with a ninja wascot profile picture.
Ninjas may pop into the forums at any time. We ask that you allow them their privacy and please do not contact them directly. However, if they leave a comment on your thread, feel free to reply to it (within your thread). You may not necessarily agree with everything they say, but please be gracious in your response – they are simply offering their honest, subjective opinion.
In some cases, a ninja may like your manuscript so much that they would like to request to see more of it! Lucky you! All manuscript requests will be made through Private Messages within the forums. To check your messages inbox, click on “Messages” in the navigation bar. The ninja will provide instructions there on how to submit your manuscript materials to them.
If you get to the forums and have additional questions about how to do anything, some of these help guides may be of use to you:
The WriteOnCon forums are an amazing opportunity to network with other writers, find new critique partners, get feedback to help strengthen your writing, and even – if you’re lucky! – catch the eye of literary agents. Please follow our guidelines and treat your fellow writers with respect while here, and others will do the same for you. We hope you have a great time!