I’ve mentioned four websites in previous posts, and decided it’s time to further explain their significance to you as a writer. They are:
However, the main discussion of this post doesn’t necessarily pertain to the websites themselves (and you are welcome to visit and learn more of what they have to offer). Rather, their feature of audience feedback to the writings you post (and your efforts to perfect your story, essay, poem, etc. based on that feedback) mirrors the notion of crowdsourcing.
To put it in latent terms, crowdsourcing is the process of a customer / consumer teamwork in perfecting a product. The producer receives feedback on what they produce, and the consumer has a hands-on involvement in helping the product succeed. For writers, the hands-on involvement comes from the feedback we receive from those works we post on story-sharing websites that we one day plan to bring to the book markets.
There’s even another example of crowdsourcing for writers: Google Docs (which many of you may be aware of). For those of you who aren’t, Google Docs permits multiple users to write / edit / comment on a single document. The platform is a lot like Microsoft Word, only it permits crowdsourcing in the fact that not one person, but many people, are active in creating a written work.
Think of the potential this platform has for writers (both on the amateur and professional scale)? You can write-up a story in Google Docs, then (by using the Share feature presented in the upper-right corner) specify the email addresses of people you wish to edit and critique your work in progress. (The photo below shows the location of the Share button–the text of the document being my typical disclaimer for stories, which all writers should use in establishing that none of their characters portray real, living people):
For crowdsourcing, one question that arises (and indeed rose from me when I first learned of it) is that the consumers who help a product fulfill its goals should be compensated for their help. This is still a belief shared by me, though it is also said that the consumer is rewarded through the success of a product they care for (and will indeed purchase if it fulfills their desires).
Applying this to the literary work you produce, you are rewarding your readers by taking their feedback into account on your work. They are your audience–we are your audience–and we want to feel that our opinions and concerns matter in order to feel fully engaged to with story and work.
The exercise today: look into making an account on FictionPress, Quotev, etc.–any of the story-sharing sites that have been mentioned. In fact, consider experimenting with Google Docs. For any story you’ve written (or plan to write), consider sharing it with your friends / audience / etc. through the Docs platform. You will be amazed at how quick and efficient the digital platform makes feedback to the writer (compared to waiting days for a letter from an editor to return to you–though professional editors should still be valued as they are well-versed in the book market and know what your readers are looking for).