Friday, November 04, 2005

Finding the Right Writers Forum

Writers Forums - they are everywhere. Yahoo has hundreds as do most electronic literary journals. They crop up everywhere; just Google and you will see. But how do you know which forum is right for you? How can you possibly make an appropriate decision with all the choices available?

First, you must determine what you want from the forum. Are you searching for an agent? Do you need help with grammar and punctuation? Are you searching for publication or just someone to critique a chapter?

Think about how much time you intend to spend on the forum(s). Most forums are beneficial but can become procratination tools and out-and-out time wasters if you aren't careful.

Some forums are specific to genre while others are more general. Again, this is where you'll have to know what you want to get out of the forum.

Then there is the question of what you can bring to other members in the group. Are you a published author? Sharing your path to publication is a wonderful way to help other writers. Are you fluent in another language? Great. Are you proficient with HTML coding and website design? Share it.

Now that you know what you want out of a forum and what you have to offer, the next step is finding one with other dedicated writers. As we all know deception and fraud is prevalent on the internet. Predators can lurk on writers forums just as anonomously and maliciously as they can on a youth oriented message board. Don't think you are safe just because you can click the over 18 button without hesitation.

As a veteran of quite a few message boards, my best advice is always use an alias on a public forum. It protects your privacy and when you become a best-seller, all those stupid newbie questions and responses cannot be googled and come back to haunt you. Lurk for awhile before posting. Are the members cordial and friendly or constantly sniping and degrading one another? Keep searching until you find one you feel comfortable with.

Here are a few I recommend:

Backspace - $30.00 year but well worth it and you get a free five-day trial period. There are over 400 members and a Guest Speaker program with agents, publishers and best selling authors. Since it is a private forum, it cannot be googled.

AbsoluteWrite - with over 4,000 members Absolutewrite boast an all incompassing array of boards in which to post questions and gather information. It is frequented by authors such as Victoria Strauss, Ann Crispin and Dave Kuzminski - the watchdogs of scam artists.

Hatrack - Hatrack River is the official Website of Orson Scott Card and boasts a writers forum with many knowledgeable and seasoned writers from all genres.



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