Your Ultimate Guide to: The Forums 2020
WriteOnCon 2020 is less than two weeks away, but you don’t need to wait that long to start working on your writing — the public critique forums open February 14! 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 the navigational menu on our 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 boards will be archived and new ones created.
PLEASE NOTE that your forums login is separate from your WriteOnCon.org login! Our forums are hosted off-site by Proboards for your security. If you do not already have a forums account you will need to create one, even if you already have a WriteOnCon.org account.
To post to the WriteOnCon forums, you will need to register for 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: Proboards requires that you enter a gender upon registration. If the available options don’t represent you or you prefer not to display your gender choice, you still have to choose one (we’re sorry!) but you can hide it from display by changing 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 500 words. This will help other writers easily find more from your manuscript if they are interested (this is especially useful for people wanting to reciprocate with feedback!).
There are instructions for doing this posted in our Welcome boards.
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 into the board you’re interested in posting in and click on the yellow “Create Thread” button at the upper right. When viewing an existing thread (including your own), to reply 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 board. Please make sure you read these! Following the guidelines will make it much easier for other writers to leave critiques on your manuscript, and will ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for everyone. 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 board (eg., if you posted yours in the YA First 500 Words board, please leave feedback on five other threads in the YA First 500 Words board).
We also encourage writers to “pay it back” – 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!). Reciprocated feedback can count toward your five critiques.
The “pay it forward” request does not apply to the discussion forums.
We have 45 Superheroes who will be browsing the forums throughout the conference. These people are literary agents, freelance editors, and traditionally published authors — and with their powers combined, they offer copious experience that they’ll be sharing by offering feedback on your materials.
Our Supers will be hanging out exclusively in the Superhero District this year. We encourage writers to polish up their materials in the main subforums first by gathering feedback from fellow writers and revising as necessary. Once your work is shining, you can then post it in the appropriate board in the Superhero District for feedback from our Supers. You won’t be able to edit your materials once you’ve posted them, so make sure they’re the best they can be! Also, only Supers can leave comments in the Superhero District boards; you can post on your own thread, but no one else’s there.
For more detailed instructions and rules about participating in the Superhero District please check out this thread.
All of our Supers will be wearing their hero identity. SuperAgents will be completely anonymous – you can identify them by their mysterious name and the stars in their avatar. SuperAuthors and SuperEditors wear their alter-ego proudly – you can identify them by their dual identity and the quill held by their avatar. For a full list of our participating Supers, check out our announcement here.
Superheroes may pop into the forums at any time between February 14 and February 23. We ask that you allow them their privacy and please do not contact them directly. If they leave a comment on your materials, feel free to reply to it. 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 SuperAgent 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; you can also change your account settings to receive email notifications of private messages. The SuperAgent will provide instructions there on how to submit your manuscript materials to them. Please keep their identity a secret!
Pitch Events Submission
Once again, this year we will be accepting all submissions for our agent pitch events prior to the conference during designated submission windows. This gives our agents time to review pitches and prepare their thoughts in advance, allowing them to get through more during the live pitch event. It also allows us to control pitch selection to ensure that all writers have a fair shot at selection and everyone gets selected at least once for an event.
Submission will take place here in the forums. Each pitch event will have a designated thread into which you can post your pitch. Threads will be open for 24 hours only, from midnight to midnight EST, three days prior to the date of the event. The full submission window for pitch events will be February 18-20.
Full instructions for submission, including what each agent will be reading, will be provided in sticky posts on each submission thread in the forums. We will also send out full instructions by email newsletter on February 14.
Introducing: Indie HQ
We’re adding something new this year! Indie HQ is an opportunity to engage with indie and self-published authors to learn more about this unique publishing path. This is taking place exclusively in our forums. Here’s how it works.
The Auditorium will host a blog post lecture series. Authors will post a written piece about some facet of indie publishing, and attendees can swing by to ask questions in the thread. Some authors will be available for a one hour window when their post thread goes live; other authors will drop in to give an impromptu talk during the weekend. You can find out when to expect authors in the schedule sticky posted on the Auditorium board. Only authors can post new threads in the Auditorium, but anyone can post comments on these threads.
The Reception Area is where attendees are invited to mix & mingle with our indie and self-published authors, to ask questions and discuss tips they might have about the indie publishing path. Anyone can start new threads in the Reception Area, which will be open from February 14 through February 23, and authors will be popping in throughout the entire forums period.
Indie HQ is not the spot for sharing your materials for feedback – please do that in our dedicated critique forums. It is meant for sharing and learning about the unique challenges and benefits of the indie publishing path.
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!