Writing Sites in Review: FictionPress

Writing Sites in Review:



Of all the writing sites I have visited, this one has more than its fair share of hoops to jump through as well as rules. When you first join, you cannot post stories for 3 days, you cannot send private messages for 3 days … in fact, you have to wait 72 hours to do ANYTHING on that site.

Here, a quick breakdown of the rules, regulations, and why I do not suggest this site.

1.  All writers, no readers.  I posted the first 3 or 4 chapters of The Red Fang there more than a month ago, and in that month there have been exactly ten (count them, people, 10) reads between all of the chapters and only 1 review, and that review was done by an author friend of mine from XN.  There are many contributing factors to the dismal amount of reads, or the lack thereof, that seems to plague the site. First, your place on the theme pages has nothing to do with your ratings. New stories are posted on top of the old ones, so as new stories are posted, your story steadily moves down the page until it is completely buried. And since most readers seldom get past page 1 when scrolling for something interesting, your chances of getting read decrease with every single story that gets posted. Second, since this place attracts writers and not readers, no one is really reading anything. They come to the site to showcase their work, not read other people’s stories and novels.

2. Too many rules to name. Aside from having to wait 72 hours after creating an account to actually use the account, you are not allowed to post stories to the forum. You may not include links to any content outside of FictionPress so you cannot promote your own website or any other site that hosts your content, not even your own personal blog. This no link rule applies to your forum posts, to personal messages sent to other members, in the community posts, nor embedded in your stories or other content. In addition, you cannot mention another site or link to another site in PMs, the forum, or your story posts.

3. That private message? Guess what, it isn’t really ‘private.’  All private messages not only go to the intended recipients’ mailboxes, but also the site mailbox, so the administrators and moderators can read the entire conversation.

4. Limited content rating. In addition to all the rules, you cannot post any content that is considered to be rated above an MA rating, which means it cannot contain graphic violence or sexual content, illegal actions, or any situations or scenes that would not be suitable for anyone under the age of 18.

5. Teenage safe haven. Like 99% of the ‘writing’ forums out there, this one is also a home to a very large amount of first-time writing teenagers. As I have pointed out, if you want actual readers and not a lot of teenage writers reading and reviewing your creations, then FP is NOT the place to be posting.

All in all, I would have to rate this site at the low-end of the heap as well. There are too many rules, too many hoops to jump through, no rating system or way to get noticed, too many writers and no actual readers, no traffic, and way too many inexperienced teenage writers to appeal to the more mature, more experienced writers out there. The community and forums are a joke at best, with no real feel of ‘community’ that you would expect in a circle of writers. My rating? Two giant ‘thumbs down’ and stay clear of this place if you want to actually get your creations read.

Writing Sites in Review: My Shit List

Writing Sites in Review:

My Shit List


In the eight plus years I have been searching for, examining, exploring, and posting to writing sites, there are only three that make my shit-list. Okay, so that’s not exactly true. There are actually closer to a dozen that have been on this list at one point or another, but for the most part they were such small-timers that they do not warrant a mention simply because they did not have the membership and numbers that would draw enough writers and readers to them that I would feel the urge to warn people to stay away from them. The problem with the three I am about to list is that I do not know which one I loathe the most. Two of them I still have a few articles posted to and the other one I will NEVER go back to even if they were to invite me back. With this in mind, I will start with the one that I no longer have a membership with.

Lushstories. If you value your talent as an independently thinking author and do not want to fall prey to moderators who abuse their power, then avoid this site at all costs.

1. Content guidelines. These rules are so draconian that it makes it next to impossible to actual have anything aside from the most vanilla and benign stories accepted on the site. You cannot have characters under the age of 18 regardless of content, your stories cannot contain sex between humans and non-human entities, even if those entities do not exist in real life, which means that you cannot write about vampires, werewolves, ghosts, goblins, fairies, zombies, or any other fictional, non-existence entity.  Likewise, your stories cannot contain graphic violence, so you cannot have sword fights, gun fights, street fights, or mention the shed of blood or violence in any form. The really moronic part of this rule is that the site actually has a BDSM theme section. Do I even need to spell out what the people are that not only run it but moderate it? The last time I checked, BDSM involved violence, however mild, and none of it is allowed, even using fuzzy handcuffs and blindfolds.

                In addition to the content guidelines, there is the problem with the stories being cleared for posting and then having the moderators come back and remove the story because a friend of theirs wanted it gone from the site because your story is getting more views than theirs.

Which brings me to another fault of the site:

2.  I am Moderator, You are Scum.  The moderators of the site blatantly abuse their power for not only their own gain, but will abuse it to make certain their forum friends get ahead as well. They will pull your story if it has been flagged by anyone (usually an author friend … is that the green-eyed monster I see?) and states you broke a rule that is not even posted on the site or they will claim you broke an actual rule that you did not actually break. In other words, they can interpret the rules however they see fit and remove any story at any time without actual proof and no one can do a thing about it. So if you are not in their little click of authors and your stories are doing well, they will be pulled. And when you complain to the owners of the site, the owners will revoke your account. So you simply cannot win.

3. No traffic. Unlike XN, this website does not see 1/100th of the hits that XN stories see in any given month. In addition, there is really no rating system and no way to find good stories. The new ones are placed on the top of the page and roll down the older ones, so your stories will eventually roll down to the point where they disappear from the reading radar. Unless you are constantly posting, your stories will end up buried far down into the abyss where no readers ever venture.

Number two on my shit-list is just simply ‘Writing.’ While there are a significant amount of people on this site,  usually a few thousand on any given day, the place was geared more towards writers, so who you get reading, and ultimately reviewing your work, are writers. If you are a newbie who thinks you actually need a bunch of teenage wannabe writers telling you how you can follow some used-up hack author’s 100 Ways to Become a Better Writer along with their own ideas of what makes a good story good, then by all means, hop on board this teenage train wreck to nowhere.

Why you shouldn’t join this site:

1. Free isn’t really free. They only allow you to upload 10 items into your portfolio for free. After that, if you want more space, you either delete stuff out of your portfolio or you pay for more space, which can cost you between $10/month for the basic of memberships to $140/month for their most expensive package. I ‘m afraid I’ll have to call bullshit on this one. There are far too many sites out there that have a thousand times more readers and members that will not charge you a single dime to upload as much of your work as you want. If you insist upon wasting money each month on your work, you would come out much better to put that money into a publishing package and try selling your own work instead of helping to line the pockets of people who are only there to take advantage of the writing community.

2. Writers aren’t critics, and they shouldn’t be critiquing your work. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Writers can help you out if you are a complete newbie that has absolutely no idea on where to begin. Unless you have absolutely no grasp of the English language and only rudimentary understanding of grammar, writers really can’t help do much of anything but confuse you and make you think you can’t write.

                If you take 500 writers and ask them for an opinion, about the only thing they are going to agree on is that you should watch your grammar and spelling. Everything else is just opinion, and every one of them is going to have a different opinion on exactly what will make you a better writer and what you should have done differently.  Every one of them will point out different things you need to change about the characters, the storyline, the storyline progression, the action sequence, the romance scenes, so on and so forth. Trying to nail down exactly what you should be changing to make things better becomes too much. In the end, you would be rewriting the entire thing. But if you take 500 readers and 100 of them are pointing out the same problem that they are having with the storyline, progression, characterization, etc., then knowing what parts to rewrite becomes much easier. As a writer, you want to go where the readers are, not necessarily where a bunch of writers are. And if you are looking for real readers and real critiques that might help you hone your skills, you definitely will not want to waste your time, and heaven forbid any money, by visiting this site.

3.  Congratulations, you’ve been spammed …. with useless newsletters and articles.  When joining this site, you can expect to receive roughly 7 emails into your private email box all from the admins of the site with newsletters and random articles.  They are mostly newsletters filled with promotions for the sites and riddled throughout with ways to ‘get yourself noticed’ on the site by uploading more stuff to your portfolio (by purchasing a membership) or articles written by the owners of the site or their friends that will tell you all about how to write a review (see #2 on why writers should not be writing ‘reviews’ in the first place), promoting contests etc.  It’s basically a giant promo flyer for the site, the owners, and a select group of writers. Thankfully you can go in and get yourself removed from the spam newsletters, but if you write a blog, they give you endless ideas on blog articles that revolve around ‘what not to do when you own a writers’ writing site.’

4. Want traffic and lots of reads? Forget it, because no one is reading on this site. And the ones who are reading appear to be making their entire writing career revolve around dishing out reviews when they are supposed to be writing stories, novels, and poetry. In other words, since it is so full of writers, you will only get a few dozen reads a week, and you may or may not get a review. In fact, the only thing I have gotten any type of review on are my writing articles. And while I have had a lot of young writers and even seasoned writers tell me they wish they had some of my advice back when they first started writing, I still can’t see posting any more on the site simply because I actually get more exposure on this blog than I do over on that site.

What this site has going for it:

In all honesty, I can’t name you a single thing about this site that I actually liked. It’s a giant promotional flyer trying to get you to spend money on the website. The interface is not user-friendly, moving around and finding all the things the site provides is difficult, and more than 80% of what the site offers is only accessible with a paid membership. The read count is incredibly low, the reviews on actual stories and novels are virtually nonexistence, and the admins and moderators abuse their power. I had articles that had sat on that site for weeks but once they began getting reviews, every one of the ratings on them was quickly changed. And while I have no problem with that, it just proved that if you piss off the wrong people, you could very well have your membership revoked. Now imagine what could happen if you had actually paid for that membership.

And finally, the last site on my short shit-list is the WritersCafe

Why you should stay away.

1.  Overrun by teenage wannabe writers who think that because they jotted down some poetry in a notebook while listening to My Chemical Romance they are suddenly the know-it-all when it comes to writing.  If you don’t mind having your work critiqued by a bunch of teenagers, then this is the place to be. Otherwise, avoid this one as well.

2.  Lots of potential, but no one is minding the store. The really sad part of this site is that it has so much potential. In addition to being able to post your work, there is a forum, you can write and post writing courses, create and maintain groups. The problem is that the owners of the site put it together and then abandoned it years back.

The forum:  The forum is pretty much dead except for the occasional newbie who comes along and starts posting, quickly realizing that no one is actually visiting the forum.

The writing articles: This one makes me cringe every time I think about it. Since the place is mostly home to the 13 to 15-year-old class, 90% of the articles are a bunch of BS vomit that teenagers have slapped together by rewording advice they read in ‘How To’ books and articles on what makes you a better writer. What makes me sick to my stomach is the amount of little 13-year-old followers that some of these teenagers can amass who not only follow these kids around on that site, but actually think the hacks are helping them become a better writer. The funny part was these same kids did not actually write stories or poetry or anything other than the articles. And this is a good rule to remember if you find yourself reading a bunch of ‘how to’ articles. If the author has not written anything but the ‘how to’ articles, you might not want to listen to them. Unless you are writing fiction and novels and stories, you can’t very well know how to write them. It’s like writing a book on how to perform heart surgery when you have not actually performed it. When I was a teenager, I would have never asked my fellow writing peers what they thought of my work. There is no point in asking someone with less experience than you, or the same amount of experience as you, how to write. If you are not actively seeking out input and direction from those who have actually written and been in this line of work longer than you, then what is the point? They can’t help you, time to move on.

The social groups ….. and the enormous amount of underhanded writing ‘gimmicks’ that went along with the entire site. Since there are not any moderators or administrators on the site, you can create as many accounts as you want. What I have seen is numerous people create literally dozens upon dozens of accounts in order to ‘review’ the primary account’s stories. This bulks up their rank and will eventually get them the automated ‘badges’ that were implemented in the site back when it was first created. I have also seen these people use their accounts to create countless social groups, create writing contests, and then use all the spare accounts to ‘vote’ on their own writing so they will win more badges for winning contests that they rigged. And last, but certainly not least on that site, they will use the accounts to create tons of writing articles so they will win yet more ‘badges’ for having the most articles written and badges for having the most reviews and comments on those articles.

In summary, there is nothing good about WritersCafe.org anymore. If there were moderators taking care of the site and cleaning out the troublemakers, those abusing the system, and those who were not writing quality articles or using social groups to further their own agendas, then the place might be pretty decent. They would also have to address the very serious issue of all the teenagers on there who harass other authors and run them from the site because they only want their own little clique of friends on there. Until there are moderators placed in charge of the store,  you will not get any true writing help, reviews, critiques, or any real reads of your work on this site.

Writing Sites in Review: XNXX

Writing Sites in Review:

The Good, The Bad, The Worst

 Part 1: XNXX


Before I get to the sites that I do not like, I wanted to touch base on the one site that I still post to on a regular basis and why I continue to stay with this site.

As my readers know, I post almost exclusively to the story site of XNXX. Even though this is an adult literature site (read: adult porn site that deals with explicit stories involving sex), it is one of only two places that I know of that will allow unlimited story posts with unlimited story lengths and has but one rule when it comes to content: no blatant pedophilia stories. This ‘rule’ is vague for a reason. The owners of the website have the sole discretion as to what they want to pull from the site. And since the owners are pretty much AWOL, basically nothing ever gets pulled from the site. The forum, however, is a completely different story. Of course, you won’t get 1/1000th of the reads on the forum as you get on the story side, so while I do post to the forum on a trial run, it is to the story side of the site that I do the most story posting.

 With this said, I will systematically go through all the story sites I have tried over the years and give the pros and cons of each one, starting with XNXX.


1.  No real rule on content. While the forum side of XN is actually moderated and the story must be reported, read by a moderator, and its fate decided upon, no one is actually reading the stories over on the story side of XN. So while the only ‘rule’ there is no blatant pedophilia stories allowed, you can actually post anything you want on XN and not have it removed, even if YOU are the one requesting it be removed by emailing the administrators of the site. There are no rules on character age, violent content, even non-sexual content is allowed. So whatever you are looking to write about, you can upload it to XN without fear that it will be taken down by the administrators of the site.

2.  Unlimited upload space. You can post as many stories as you want and they can be as long as you want them to be. The site does not have any type of size limit on files and does not limit you on how many pieces you can have in your online portfolio. Best of all, they provide this for FREE.

 3.  No charge. Authors are given the same privileges as the readers in that they can upload all they want and not be charged anything. The readers get to read all they want for free, authors get to upload as much material as they want for free.

 4.  HUGE traffic flow.  XNXX has the most traffic flow of any of site I have come across. While adult sites tend to get a lot of traffic, the stories of XN get even more hits than places like Lit and Lush simply because they have no restriction on content. It is not uncommon for some stories to reach more than one million views in under a year. One of the stories I posted had over 350,000 reads in under 30 days, and then I pulled it because it was being plagiarized all over the internet. The amount of reads that a story can gain is unprecedented and unmatched on any other site I have come across.

5.  Ratings. Unlike many other websites, the ratings you receive on XN secures a story’s place on how it is ranked on the site. If you have a high-ranking, your story will remain on the top pages under the theme tags you used to describe the work. You do not have to worry about it rolling off the one and only page that shows new stories simply because the site had 500 stories posted to it that day. It will get more exposure and more reads. However, there is a con to this. Because of the trolls voting negatively on the stories, the story could end up with a low rating and therefore steadily further down the list until it is no longer being found by readers.


1. No way of deleting or editing a story without emailing an admin and then waiting, and waiting, and waiting. If you are going to upload to XN, you have to be sure you are happy with the final product because you have no way of editing and the only way to get it off the website is to email one of the administrators who are basically AWOL all the time. I have seen it take more than half a year for authors to get their work removed. However, since no one is actually reading the stories and not taking them down even when the author requests their removal, you don’t have to worry about your story being removed because someone found it offensive or because it broke some content or rating rule. There are no rules, so it is not going to be taken down. On the other side of the coin, if you post it and ever decide you want it removed, you may never be able to get the admins to take it off the site.

 2.  Trolls, trolls, and more trolls. The site is full of trolls making asinine comments and writers who will make dozens of sock accounts and use those accounts to vote other authors’ stories down in an effort to keep their own stories on the front page. It is a huge problem that has actually driven many fine authors from the site. The only problem is that there are NOT any other sites to go to that will allow any type of content to be posted. So if you want complete freedom to write whatever you want and not have to worry about it getting taken down, you will have to put up with the trolls and create your own sock army to try to do damage control to combat all the negative votes that other jealous authors will bestow upon you.

3. No control over the comments. Most other sites have some way of doing damage control over troll comments. They will either allow you to request their removal or remove anonymous comments altogether. XN, however, does not offer anything like this. The closest thing you have is to either allow comments or disallow comments. It is basically an ‘all or nothing’ setup. You either put up with the troll comments along with the encouraging comments and reviews or you do not allow any type of comments/reviews at all.

 To recap, XN does not charge an author to upload their material. There are no type of membership fees and you do not have to pay for more space. You have unlimited space to upload your material. You have unlimited control over what type of content to publish. In addition, you can possibly receive hundreds of thousands of hits in just a few short days because of the way the ratings and tag pages are set up. On the other hand, you have no way of editing or deleting out the stories once they are posted so you have to make certain you are happy with the story as is. You also will have to put up with troll comments and jealous writers who will consistently vote down your story which will keep it moving down the page.

 All in all, XN is one of the few story sites that will give your stories the exposure of tens of thousands of readers per day and neither charge you for your membership or only allow you a set amount of space and still allow you the right to post any type of content you wish. It does have its flaws, however, but the amount of exposure and ability to post as much as I want of any type of story that I want overrides the flaws and keeps me posting. The site is not for everyone, like those who are under the age of 18, which in itself can be a good thing. Because of the age limit of its members, I do not have to put up with all the teenagers who think they know everything there is to know about writing because they slapped some poetry down in a notebook. However, since no one is reading the stories, there is absolutely no standards on quality of work, so you will find novels that are worthy of publication sitting right next to stories that read like a blind dog tap-danced across the keyboard. It’s up to you to decide if you want to brave the murky waters that can be both beautiful and treacherous at the same time.