Online Writing Community Ratings/Reviews (CATEGORIES)

Photo Source: Daretodream.typepad.com

Photo Source: Daretodream.typepad.com

In an effort to be transparent in my reviews of online writing communities, here are the categories I’m considering. The ones with asterisks are the ones I place a little extra emphasis on. Feel free to make mental adjustments to the scores to meet the standards that you prefer in an online writing community.

  • Audience*Is the site designed to lure mostly writers with a more advanced skillset, or is it more tailored to the casual writer? Certainly this is subjective and circumstantial, but there are things a site can do to affect this. For my purposes, I’m looking for more advanced writers than more casual writers.
  • Community*– Is there ample opportunity to interact and connect with other writers and readers? Does the site provide a safe environment for said interaction (is the ‘trolling’ down to a minimum)?
  • Review Traffic*—This is a biggie for me. Is it hard to get reviews for your works? Do you have to overexert yourself for feedback? This category speaks specifically to the amount of traffic. Quality of reviews/feedback is touched upon under the Audience category.
  • Cost*—The site doesn’t have to be 100% free, but it sure helps. If there is a cost, however, I’d like to see the free option being functional enough where one could still participate in the community just fine. I know this won’t be a factor for everyone but, for me, there are other things I’d prefer to spend my money on. Call me cheap if you want, but it’s something I factor in.
  • Features—This isn’t as high on my list as it might be for others. Does the site provide a variety of ways to showcase your work, to interact and to stay motivated to write? Does it include contests, opportunities to raise your status among members, feature writing games, etc.? Sometimes having a lot of features can be a good thing, and I do score it as a positive. However, one caution—sometimes having too many features can invite an audience of more casual writers.
  • Site Navigation—Pretty simple here: is it easy to find your way around the site
  • Control—How much control do you have over the manuscript you post for review? How are the loading and editing functions in terms of what you can and can’t do with your MS once it’s uploaded.
  • User Friendly—Is it plug n’ play, or is there a high learning curve before you can participate? Do you need to know how to code? Is it not/less compatible with certain browsers?
  • Portfolio Organization—How easy is it to organize your portfolio to your liking? How easy is it for me to navigate others’ portfolios?
  • Writing Help/Guides—Are there professional development opportunities (articles, video tutorials, etc.)? Are they free or are there some costs?