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Guide to Write On

The Write On Credos

Write On is a place for all the people who make great writing happen. Here, you can get support and provide feedback at every stage of the creative process. You can read fresh stories in every genre and find ones that you love–the kind of stories you want to champion, the ones you know could be amazing if they just got the right input early enough. To make Write On a place where all of that can happen, we have four core credos:

Put it out there. Write On is a story lab–which means we’re all about experimentation. Wondering if the crazy idea that’s been keeping you up at night is crazy-good or just crazy-crazy? Write it up, share it, and see. Have a story that’s been in your desk drawer since college? It deserves to see the sun! In the weeds of drafting your novel? Post sections as you go and let readers keep you motivated, keep you company, and keep you moving in exciting new directions.

Show your appreciation. If you read a story that moves you in some way, tell the writer. Let them know what you found so compelling and why. That kind of conversation can make a writer’s day (or month, or year). If someone leaves a piece of feedback on your story, take a moment to acknowledge the contribution and say thanks. Give-and-take is our collective middle name.

Be constructive. A thoughtful piece of feedback is worth its weight in gold. But trading comments is a little like dancing–sometimes you need someone to lead. If you’re posting your own story, make use of the Request Feedback feature. Invite your readers in; let them know what kind of help you’re looking for and where you are in your process. (You can find the Request Feedback feature under More Actions on the story writing page.) Readers – if you’re not sure what kind of feedback the writer wants or expects, look to the right of the story’s feedback section to see if they have left a request. And if they haven’t– ask them to!

Form connections. Follow members whose work you love. Congratulate them when they share an update or post a really smart comment. Join members in the forums to share experiences, swap story recommendations, show a new member how to navigate the site, or just hang out. Make this the place where you feel good sharing your stories and insights.

House Rules: Community & Content Guidelines

Last Updated: July 15, 2015

To keep Write On a safe space for collaboration and creativity, we have a few important house rules. Violations of the following can result in removal of your content or termination of your account. See something on the site that violates these guidelines? Let the moderators know by clicking the Report flag on any story page, feedback comment, or user profile. Out of respect for members’ privacy, please do not use the public areas of the site to report abuse or to ask moderators to discuss specific stories or members.

Be respectful. Share your ideas. Become part of the conversation. But don’t deliberately antagonize or abuse people. Hate speech or content that promotes violence will not be tolerated.

Keep content appropriate and accurately describe that content. Different stories are appropriate for different audiences, and we have a lot of different audiences here. When you post a story on Write On, you agree to give other members clear and straightforward information about what’s in that story.

If your story deals with mature themes or has some adult material, let the community know that by adding appropriate keywords in your story’s Tags section. If your story is really meant for adults only, add an “Adult” label to your story. Use appropriate tags, too. For more guidance, see How the Site Works: Sharing and marking adult content.

What we don’t allow are pornography, offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts, or promotion of criminal activity. What we deem “offensive” is probably about what you would expect. We reserve the right to determine what content is appropriate for the community and how that content should be rated.

Only post stories and covers you own. You can take anything you’ve written or created and post it to Write On, even if you’ve already posted it elsewhere. But it does have to be your content. We take violations of laws and proprietary rights very seriously and it’s your responsibility to ensure that the content you post doesn't violate copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other rights. Just because something is available on the web doesn’t mean it can be posted here.

Don’t steal stories or covers from Write On. You can take a story you’ve written on Write On and share or publish it wherever you want. But you can’t take another member’s story and post it yourself – whether you do so on Write On or elsewhere, for free or for profit, under your name or the original author’s name. The same goes for covers posted on Write On.

Note that when you offer a writer feedback on Write On, you are making that feedback freely available for the writer or any Write On user to use as they see fit.

Don’t spam. Don’t spam anywhere on the site – by which we mean posting multiple threads or comments with nearly identical content, content that is irrelevant to the current story or feedback thread, or content that is clearly gibberish.

The spam rule also applies to asking members to read, like, or comment on your story. No one appreciates being the recipient of an obviously copy-and-pasted request. Take the time to make a real connection before you ask.

You should definitely share all the interesting things you do outside Write On with the community. Just don’t barrage other members with requests to buy your eBook, subscribe to your podcast, or purchase a service. Be cool.

Keep covers, story titles, descriptions, and profile info clean. Respect the public areas of Write On. Your covers, story titles, story descriptions, and profile information show up in lots of places on the site, so make sure they’re appropriate for all members of the community to see. Your profile picture and cover images must not feature nudity or graphic content. Your user name, story titles, and story descriptions must not include profanity or offensive messages.

Respect other members’ privacy. Don’t share your personal information (like your phone number or address), and definitely don’t share anyone else’s.

Don’t impersonate someone else. When you’re on this site, don’t try to be someone you’re not. You can use a pen name; just don’t use someone else’s name. We’re pretty sure you’re not actually J.K. Rowling.

How the Site Works

The Basics

Who owns my stories and covers? What will you do with them? For the full legal story, you should check out our Conditions of Use, but the short version is this: You own your story and any original covers you upload. We have the right to display them in connection with Write On, but not the right to publish or sell them. You decide if and when you want to take them down from Write On. If you want to take your story and cover down and publish them somewhere, go for it. It’s your story, always. Note that you may not use any images we provide you in our Cover Creator tool outside of Write On.

Uploading profile pictures We recommend your profile images be 400 x 400. (You can upload a different size, but we can’t guarantee that it will look pretty.) JPG, PNG and GIF files all work. Your image should be 16 MB or smaller.

Changing your contact preferences Whenever something happens to your content or in your network–when a story you wrote gets a new piece of feedback, a comment you left gets a reply, or a story you’re following gets updated–you’ll hear about it from us in a daily notification email. Want to get updates every hour? Just once a week? Never? You can customize those settings from your Profile Preferences page, which you can access by clicking on your profile picture at the top of the screen. (If nothing new has happened in the last hour/day/week, you won’t hear from us.)

The Write On team will send occasional news items about the community and updates about the product. If you don’t wish to receive these messages, uncheck the appropriate box on your Profile Preferences page.

Emails will be sent to the address associated with your Amazon.com account.

Notifications Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your network. Visit My Stuff to find updates and actions from members and stories you follow, as well as what other people are doing and saying about your own stories and profile.

You can also find your most recent notifications at the top of every page by clicking the speech bubble in the top-right corner next to your profile image.

Reading and Commenting

Following a writer or story Click Follow Story on a story page and it will be added to the My Stuff page, where you can easily find it at any time. (The link to the My Stuff page is in the navigation bar at the top of the homepage.) When the writer of a story you follow makes an update they think you’ll want to know about, it will appear as a notification in My Stuff .

Click Follow User on a member’s profile, to see their activity, such as new stories and forum posts, in My Stuff . You must be logged in to follow a member or a story.

Finding something to read The homepage is a good place to start–you can quickly see all the trending stories on the site, as well as stories needing feedback and the most recently shared stories. (Pro tip: click the little arrow next to the homepage headlines and you can filter these sections by genre.) You can also click Read at the top of your screen and select a category from the menu. From the category page, you can sort by trending, popular, title, author name, or time of most recent share. You can even search for your favorite sub-category by clicking Filter By and choosing a second category.

You can also find a personalized list of recommended stories under the Read menu. These recommendations are based on your past activity – so the more stories you interact with on Write On, the better our suggestions should become.

Liking stories and parts Read something great? Once you are signed in, click the blue Like button at the top of a story detail page. You can also like individual parts of stories – there's a Like button at the end of each.

Finding a story to give feedback on One place to start is the Looking for Feedback section on the homepage. The writers of these stories have recently asked for reader help (using the Request Feedback feature) and could still use your insight and advice. You must be signed in to leave feedback on a story.

Giving helpful feedback Writers have the option of adding a feedback request to their stories, where they can indicate whether they're looking for comments on plot, character, setting, voice/tone, proofreading, the overall story, or some other topic, as well as leave a note. This is a great way to see if what you have to offer as a reader matches what the writer is looking for. And if you're not sure what they want or need—ask!

As far as guidelines for feedback go, we've only got two:

  1. Meet the writer and the story where they are. Good feedback takes into account things like how developed the draft is; how long the writer has been writing; how serious the writer is about revision; and which genre, mood, or style the writer is aiming for. Good feedback doesn't try to make a story something it's not; it tries to make the story the best it can be, on the story's own terms.
  2. Be kind. It's hard putting your work out into the world, whether you've written 10 words or 10 novels. Comments from new readers can be exciting and scary all at once, so put yourself in the writer's shoes before you hit Submit.

Filtering adult content As participants in an open platform, Write On members are empowered to decide how they will alert other members about any adult content or mature themes in their stories. Writers can add information in their story description, they can use tags, or they can make an even stronger designation by labeling a story “Adult”.

The Adult content filter lets you decide whether you want to see Adult-labeled stories in your browse or search results. This filter is turned on by default and you must be signed in to change it. Note that the filter does not hide all stories that feature mature themes or mature content–just the ones with the “Adult” label.

You can change your filter settings at any time on your Profile Preferences page.

If you come across something that you think should be marked "Adult" but isn't, let the Write On team know by clicking the flag icon and filling out a report, and we'll take a look. You must be signed in to submit a report.

Writing and Posting

Writing a new story Click Create at the top of the screen. (You must be on the full site to write a story.) If you have a multi-part work (say, if it has multiple chapters or is a collection of short stories), consider creating a separate story part for each. Type or copy-and-paste your story in the large text field. You can also upload a story from a document. Add all the extra stuff, like a great title, a bold cover, and a catchy description. Note that you must designate at least one category for your work. You must be logged in to create a story.

Uploading a story from a document To upload a story you’ve already written, click Create at the top of the screen. On the story writing page, head to the More Actions menu and select Upload Story. Note that you can only upload a document if your story has not yet been posted. If you have a draft of a story, uploading a document will overwrite that draft. We support upload for .doc and .docx files.

If you’re uploading a multi-part work, the uploader can automatically break your document into its separate parts. Simply add a page break at the end of each of your parts or chapters so we know where they end. You can also use heading styles—use the Heading 1 style on the titles of your parts or chapters and Title style on the title of your work. The uploader supports documents with up to 50 parts.

Uploading a cover image To add a cover you’ve already created, click Upload Cover on the story writing page. We recommend using 1750 x 2750 images or images of the same aspect ratio. You can upload a different size, but we can’t guarantee that it will look pretty. JPG, PNG, and GIF files all work. Huge image files will lead to uploading problems, but as long as the file size is under 16 MB, you should be fine. If your cover meets these requirements but you still run into trouble when uploading it, try re-saving the image using your favorite picture editing program and give it another go.

Creating a new cover image Click Create Cover on the story writing page to launch the Cover Creator tool. The tool will walk you through three steps: choosing a design, styling and editing, and previewing your cover. Note that once you click Save and Submit, you will not be able to edit your cover. Please note, too, that you may not use any images we provide you in this tool outside of Write On.

Sharing your story Once you’re happy with your story and ready to share it with the rest of Write On, click Post Story in the top right-hand corner of the story writing page. You’ll be given the option to choose exactly which parts of your story you want to share.

Whenever you post or update a story, the Activity Feed on the story page will reflect that update. You can also add a status message to your update, if there’s something you’d like readers need to know about it.

Want to alert your followers about an update? After you hit Post Story, make sure the box labeled “Yes, send them a notification” is checked. If you’re making lots of small, frequent fixes, consider unchecking this box — you’ll avoid swamping your followers’ feeds, and help keep them focused on the changes that matter.

Using Shy Mode If you want to limit your story’s visibility, you can set it to Shy Mode. When a story is in Shy Mode, readers who are not logged in will only be able to see the story’s detail page — including comments and part titles — and the first part of the story content. (You can manage your story’s parts from the Manage Parts menu on the story writing page.)

To put a story in Shy Mode, open the story for editing. In the Story Details section, check the box labeled “Put this story in Shy Mode.”

Editing a story To edit your story, go to the My Stuff page. All your drafts and posted stories will appear at the top of the page. Click the Resume Writing button to edit or update your story. You can also edit a story or add parts by clicking the Resume Writing button when viewing your story’s detail page.

Requesting feedback Need help on your story? Ask for it! Tell readers what you’re looking for by adding a Writer’s Request. When editing your story, select Request Feedback from the More Actions menu. You can specify whether you’re looking for comments on plot, character, setting, voice/tone, proofreading, your overall story, or some other topic, as well as leave a note for your readers. Your request will show up on your story detail page just above the feedback section. You can change your request at any time.

Unposting a story or a part of a story Post a story and then change your mind? To remove your story so that it cannot be viewed by anyone, go to the My Stuff page and hit the Resume Writing button next to your story. From the More Actions menu, hit Unpost Story. Your story will revert to draft form and will no longer be visible to anyone. Your story’s comments, followers, and likes will all be preserved should you choose to repost the story later.

To remove a part of your story, go to the My Stuff page and hit Resume Writing. From the list of story parts, hover over the one you want to remove and click unpost. That part will revert to draft form and will no longer be visible by other members. If you remove all of a story’s parts but don’t delete the story, that story will still have a detail page.

Deleting a story or a part of a story If you want to remove a story or a part from the site completely, you must first unpost it (see above for instructions). This will return your story or part to draft form. To delete a story, click Resume Writing on the story you want to delete and from the More Actions menu, click Delete Story. The story will be removed from the My Stuff page and you will no longer be able to access it. To delete a part, unpost it and then go back to the Manage Parts menu and hit delete next to the part’s name. You will no longer be able to access this part of your story. Notifications related to deleted stories and parts may remain in your followers’ feeds.

Downloading a story To download your story, go to the More Actions menu on your story writing page and select Download Story. This will download the current draft version of your story as a .doc file.

Sharing and marking adult content Write On has a House Rule that members must accurately describe the content they post. As participants in an open platform, Write On members are empowered to decide how they will alert other members about any adult content or mature themes in their stories. Writers can add information in their story description, they can use tags, or they can make an even stronger designation by labeling a story “Adult.” (Meanwhile, the Write On team, as stewards of the overall community experience, have the responsibility to re-label content if they feel it’s necessary to preserve a good experience for everyone on the site.)

If your story deals with mature themes or has some adult material, let the community know that by adding appropriate keywords in your story’s Tags section. If your story is really meant for adult eyes only, make that clear to the community, too. Add the “Adult” label to your story. You should also add a statement at the beginning of your story description and use appropriate keywords in the Tags section.

When it comes to adding the “Adult” label, you should make the call you feel is most appropriate for your story. But one question you might ask yourself is, “Would you be surprised to see this story while browsing a bookstore?” If the answer is no, your story probably doesn’t need the label.

You can find both the adult content checkbox and the Tags field in the Story Details section of the story writing page.

Protecting your rights in your work As part of our goal of encouraging collaboration and creativity at Write On, we want to create a safe space for your stories. However, there’s no surefire way to prevent someone from attempting to misuse your work. One way to protect your rights in your original content is to register it with the U.S. Copyright Office. You can learn more about copyright protection in the U.S. (including instructions on how to register) by visiting the U.S. Copyright Office’s official website. Also, uploading your original work to Write On gives you a dated public record of the work, which could be helpful in establishing proof of your original creation for copyright purposes.

If you think your work is being misused on another Amazon site, please follow the steps outlined here.

Discussion in the Forums

Starting a new conversation To start a new conversation, you must first be logged in to Write On. Select a category, then click Post New Thread. Once you’ve added a subject line and typed a message, click Post Message. You can also click Preview to see how your message will appear when posted. Once you post a message, you have 10 minutes to edit it.

Replying to messages To reply to a forum message, you must first be logged in. Click Reply in the upper-right hand corner of the original message. If you want to respond to specific text from the original message, hit Reply, then click the quotation mark icon in the message-entry box. This will add the text from the original post to your response.

Posting a question When creating a new thread, you can mark your post as a question by clicking the checkbox under the subject line. When other members browse that category, they’ll see a little question mark icon next to your thread title. As the question-asker, you can mark replies to your question as Helpful or Correct. (But you don’t have to.) You can also mark a question as answered once you’ve got the information you need, and the question mark icon will turn into a star.

Editing a forum post You may edit a forum post as long as there have been no responses to it. Click Edit in the upper-right hand corner of your post to make your changes.

Searching the forums From the forums home page or any forums category page, type what you’re looking for into the search box and click Go. From there, you can refine your search by date range, user name, or category.

Seeing a user’s forum activity From any forum post, click the Forum activity link underneath the poster’s picture. You’ll be able to see a list of all of their forum posts as well as a list of the questions they’ve posted.

Changing your forum view The default view for forum conversations is a threaded view. You can change this to a flat view (all messages in a chronological list) or a tree view (one message per page with links to other thread posts below). You can also change the number of threads you see per forum page and the number of messages you see per thread page.

Click Forum Settings at the top of any forums page. If you are not signed in, you can change your forum view settings from here. If you are signed in, select Your Forums Settings from the Control Panel to the right to change your forum view.

Adjusting other forum settings If you are signed in, you can change the About Me statement and location found on your Forum Activity page. Click Forum Settings at the top of any forums page. From the Control Panel to the right, you can change the number of threads you see per forum page and the number of messages you see per thread page. Please note that this only changes the information found on your Forum Activity page—it does not affect your main Write On profile.

I Need More Help!

Reporting something that violates the community guidelines or copyright Find something that you think violates the Write On House Rules? Click the flag icon on any story, profile, or comment to send an abuse report to the site moderators. You must be signed in to submit a report.

The Write On team will send occasional newsletters about the community and updates about the product to our members. If you don’t wish to receive these messages, uncheck the appropriate box on your Profile Preferences page.

Emails will be sent to the address associated with your Amazon.com account.

Reporting something that violates copyright If you believe that a work you find on Write On, or another Amazon site, has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please follow the steps outlined here.

Getting help and giving product feedback Have a question about Write On that isn’t answered here? Want to send us some feedback? Visit the Write On forums. You must be signed in to post in the forums.

Getting help with account issues If you have questions about your account that you don’t want to share in the Support and Product Feedback forums, or you are having trouble accessing the site, please contact us at mods-writeon@amazon.com.

Deleting an account To request that your account be deleted, please email mods-writeon@amazon.com from the email associated with your Write On account. Your request must include your user name and the URL of your profile page. You will be asked for confirmation via email before the deletion process begins. If you could tell us why you’re leaving, we’d appreciate it!

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