FAQ

1. What is this site about?

Writers upload their own work and review the work of other writers. If a writer's work gets a high enough Heft, it will get noticed. See How to Get Published


2. There are lots of sites like that. How is this different?

Writers earn and/or are assigned a reputation, on a scale of 1 - 10, that is used to weight the reviews. The total reputation of the reviewers comprises the “confidence” of a work’s rating. Writers are encouraged to bring their workshop groups to the site and to workshop stories, but they should not put publisher groups on the viewer list for their work unless they want it considered for publication.


3. Let’s say I’m a new writer, why should I care? I can put my work up for SALE at Amazon, earn 70% (minus small fees), and get reviews there.


First, this is not a self-publishing site. It is a site to grow your work, build its reputation, submit it if you wish, and even promote it post-publication. It was formed especially with self-publishing in mind. Your big challenge if you want to go the route of self-publishing is marketing and credibility. This has always been the challenge. Frank Herbert’s DUNE, the most popular science fiction novel of all time, started its life in Analog magazine as a series of stories; as a book, though, it was rejected by twenty publishers before it was picked up by Chilton’s, the car-guide publisher. J.K. Rowling shopped Harry Potter to a dozen editors before Scholastic finally bit at it. We’re offering you another, hopefully less frustrating, avenue for getting your work noticed. If your work reaches a Heft of three or higher, we will offer you a publishing contract, which you don’t have to take, but you can consider yourself blessed by our operation and use your rating to market your book anywhere you like. You will have an audience.


4. Let’s say I’m a pro, why should I care? I’ve already got an audience and a solid network of fellow professionals.

Several reasons:

1. You can post samples of your work with links to major retailers. The reviews you get on our site may help you promote your book. Amazon does not have a weighted review system, but ours does, so people cannot easily sabotage your rating.

2. You can limit your reviewer circle to be as tight as you want and use the site to develop work in progress.

3. People earn credits for participation on the site. The higher your reputation, the more credits you earn for the same activities. Those with a pro-level rating, 6 or above, will eventually be able to redeem their credits for cash.

4. If you are an instructor, you can help nurture and promote the work of students.

5. We or one of our partners may be able to work out a publishing deal with you. You’d be in good company. We publish world-class talent.


5. Who are you to determine what MY reputation is, and how can I trust that your reputation ratings mean anything? What if people game your system and unfairly get a high reputation?


Your starting reputation depends on where you are in your writing career. If you have never published work or been employed as a professional writer or editor, you may start with no reputation at all. Contact us with your writing credentials if you want us to set your starting reputation. You can bring up your reputation by reviewing other people's work. Gaining reputation is not easy. The best way to earn activity points is to write reviews that get dittoed by other members. For a ditto, you get one activity point for each reputation point that member has. You must have a 5 reputation to ditto people's work. Each member can ditto only one review associated with a given project, and cannot change their ditto for a week.



Reputation Scale (tentative)

1 Earn 10 activity points* on the site
2 30 activity points
3 60 activity points or win a state-level student award.
4 100 activity points
5 300 activity points; or attend Clarion or Clarion West, MFA from approved school, or first short story sale to market paying at least $.05/word**, hold a major editing job for at least a year, or win a national-level student award.
6 1000 activity points; or qualify for SFWA membership, publish a novel with ElectricStory or a major print house, publish third short story to a market paying at least $.05/word, or hold a university adjunct or assistant professorship in literature.
7 3000 activity points; or publish third novel or critical work by a major print house*** or ElectricStory or 10th short story in market paying at least $.05/word, be nominated for a major professional award, win a state-level (non-student) award, or hold a tenured associate professorship of literature.
8 5000 activity points; or have fifth novel or critical work published by a major print house, be a department chair in literature, or make a state-level bestseller list.
9 10,000 activity points; or publish tenth novel by a major print house.
10 20,000 activity points; or win major professional award**** or make the NY Times bestseller list.

*Members get some activity points for merely posting or reviewing work, but they gain major points for having their reviews dittoed by high-profile members.

**Or whatever SFWA currently deems to be pro rates. Minimum of $50.

***DAW, Baen, Tor, Harper-Collins, Scholastic, etc. At some point, we'll make a comprehensive list.

****Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, International Horror Guild, Stoker, National Short Story, Campbell, or other prestigious award.


6. What does the rating mean? What is confidence, and what's "Heft"?

The confidence behind a rating is the sum of the reviewers' reputations. A work’s current rating is determined by this formula:

(points equal to the sum of each rating score times its rater’s reputation) / the sum of the reputations.

Therefore, a work given a 5 by a level 10 (50 points, 10 reputation) and a 3 by five level 1 members (15 total points, 5 total reputation) would have a score of 65/15, or 4.333 rating at a confidence of 65. Instead of having to know the reviewer reputations to make sense of a project rating, we assign a "Heft" score, that is, a rating that accounts for the various reputations of the reviewers. To generate a Heft score, every new project receives a 2.5 rating at a confidence of 100, and when actual people rate the work, they budge the Heft one way or another. A 2.5 Heft is completely neutral; a 3 is very good and earns our site endorsement; a 4 is very, very good!


7. Is my work considered “published” if I post it on your site? What good is this if I can’t sell the work to F&SF or Asimov’s later on?


Even if you let your work be viewed by “everyone,” only members who log in can view it. It is not therefore “published,” according to our understanding. However, you can limit the audience for your work to avoid the charge that it is published by creating a private group and inviting friends to it.


Gordon Van Gelder of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction answered our question as to how much is too much exposure on the Web. He said it depends, but if a story is accessed by password and is being "workshopped," he "wouldn't consider that an impediment to publication in F&SF."


Note that we intend to support other publishers, both book publishers and magazines. To submit to these markets, you will make your work visible to their approved “groups,” any of which may have entry and/or submission requirements. The group or groups may include just their editors, or they may include a circle of pros they trust to evaluate work. The group system ensures that the editor won’t be nervous that your work is already considered “published” online.


8. If I get a book approved by your site but don’t want you to be my publisher, will you let me keep my work up so I can promote it?

Yes, of course.


9. If I get a book approved by your site but want to publish it myself, will you help me?

We will offer resources to help you. Some services you would have to pay for, like editing and eBook production. But, if you like, you could consider yourself one of our authors, and we will give you reasonable free assistance in promoting your work.


10. What does it cost to join?

Membership is free. We may offer premium accounts and services like eBook conversion and access to writing and publishing tutorials for a fee.


11. What incentive do people have to read and review my work?

As your work gets some attention and good ratings, you’ll presumably get readers. Also, people earn credits for reviewing work. They can use those credits to access premium content on the site, and to trade reviews with fellow site members. When you purchase a review with credits, you will not know who the reviewer is until the review is posted, but you will be able to select a reviewer by reputation.


12. What makes you think this will work?

We have a few things going for us. We’ve been in the e-publishing business over a decade, we have an excellent network of professionals, and we are excited about this.


13. How do I ditto a review? I don't see an option to ditto. My reputation is 4.

You must have a reputation of 5 or higher to ditto reviews.


14. How do you earn activity points? I wrote a review and didn't get any points!

When you write a review, you must wait for the project creator to verify the review. You then get one activity point, and the person verifying gets an activity point. When one of your reviews is dittoed, you get a number of activity points equal to the dittoer's reputation.

15. How do you earn spendable credits? I wrote a review and didn't get any credits!

When you write a review, you must wait for the project creator to verify the review. You then get credits equal to half your reputation, rounded down, or twice that many credits if you're the first or second person to have a review verified on the project.

16. What is Jumpstart?

A Jumpstart is a project or solicitation for a group of projects in which reviews are not revealed until a countdown period ends. Reviewers can earn extra activity points for rating a work at or close to the community consensus. Remember, activity points help you build your reputation. Jumpstart turns reviewing into something of a game. Most Jumpstarts are predictably low wordcount, and there's suspense in wondering how your review will stack up against the others. We hope both these elements will encourage more reviewing participation. A week after a Jumpstart period ends, a project is automatically removed from Jumpstart and put in the general catalog. However, an author can move their work out of Jumpstart into the catalog anytime after a Jumpstart end.

You cannot submit to Jumpstart unless an admin manually assigns you the Jumpstart role, or until you have earned 100 activity points by rating Jumpstart projects.

17. There’s hardly anyone on the site yet!

The site is in beta testing.