Not every writer wants to post their work online, however there are positives to doing so. If you seek feedback and advice from readers and writers, you might consider posting a draft or two. Even a few chapters or a poem can be uploaded online to get a little audience feedback.
Here are writing sites I’ve explored along with brief reviews of my experience in using them:
Fictionpress | Original fiction only | Covers Opt. — Has a docs feature so you can save works onsite without posting them, plus moderately detailed analytics to show you individual story traffic. With plenty of keen writers/readers willing to learn and help, written feedback is not uncommon here. Quiet and comfortable, but if you don’t update very often readership grows stagnant. It’s also worth noting that you cannot delete reviews or your account. — Adult Material Prohibited.
Major Demographics: All genders, All ages.*
Popular Genres: sci-fi, contemporary, fantasy*
Fanfiction.net | Fanfiction only | Covers Opt. — Sister site to Fictionpress, thus it has all the same features and drawbacks. However, it gets much more traffic than the original fiction site. When it comes to categorizing your story though it can get tricky, and if you have questions or complaints for the administrators, don’t expect a response email soon…or ever. — Adult Material Prohibited.
Major Demographics: Female, All ages.
Popular Genres: epic dramas, fluff, angst, whump
Archive Of Our Own (AO3) | Fanfiction only** | No covers — Invite only, but getting in isn’t hard. High viewership, well organized, and ad-free. Some written feedback, especially if you ask for some, but the “kudos” button is open to the public so anyone can leave their mark of approval. You can also set individual stories to “users only” along with other useful privacy options.
Crossover friendly, so you can finally post that multi-fandom fic and tag each property for search. Ships, subject material, and trigger warnings are also taggable for search (or to weed out in the case of tws). Lets you group individual stories into a series, and has various features for sharing/gifting your work with others. Overall the best place for fanfiction, hands down. — Adult Material Allowed
Major Demographics: Female, All ages.
Popular Genres: smut, epic dramas, fluff/angst, whump
Wattpad | Original & fan fiction | Covers Req. — Wattpad has been steadily improving its features and policies in the five years I’ve been using it. Here, some writers receive tons of feedback and appreciation, but most receive very little. A few authors have gotten published thanks to this site, others have followers in the hundreds of thousands, and still others become site administrators to support the bustling community.
They’ve recently rebranded, and have also introduced a feature to earn writers money. It is currently in beta and being tested with select authors only.
Unlike other sites, this one has very clear international groups and a high ethnic diversity among its writers. There’s an emphasis on supporting foreign authors and their stories in any language. Contests are set up by the site, but also smaller niche ones can be run by individual users.
It’s very fun to use and if the site chooses to feature one of your works you can get a lot of traffic. For the most part however, you have to practice marketing yourself, and/or develop a group of writer friends and read/promote each other’s work. — Adult Material allowed, but along strict guidelines (lots of kids use this site!).
Major Demographics: Female, Teens.
Popular Genres: romance, young adult, supernatural, celeb fic, fantasy
Royal Road | Original & fan fiction | Covers Opt. — This was suggested in the replies, so I did some research. Haven’t used it myself, looks nice, but here are the main points interested writers should know:
- Site does not claim ownership of your work, copyright stays with you.
- Popular stories receive much feedback and viewership in the millions.
- You cannot remove reviews on your own stories, and you must submit a ticket to remove your story or delete your account.
- From their FAQ: “All new submissions are manually checked for appropriate tagging and plagiarism, so expect it to take 12-24 hrs for a submission to be approved.” Also, stories with low-quality spelling and grammar will be removed by moderators.
- Keeping a steady update schedule of “polished” drafts seems to be mandatory, and reviewers sound entitled.
- One-shots seem to be out of the question, this is a site for novels.
- Premium and free options exist for both readers and writers.
- Site is affilated with Amazon, has been running for six years, and is based in Israel.
- Fantasy, supernatural, epic dramas.
- Adult Material Allowed
Smashbook and Livejournal are sites I am aware of, but have too little knowledge of to review. Likewise WordPress, Blogger, or right here on Tumblr you can regularly post stories or novels and receive feedback. However, for those sites you do have to figure out a blogging system for yourself.
While researching good sites for this post, I found this user’s comments insightful. She suggested Writer’s Digest and Absolute Write as good places to seek professional feedback on your work. They don’t appear to be sites where you post work, but rather they provide tips and resources to help improve your work.
There are dozens of other places online where you can post your original fiction, non-fiction, and fan fiction. Things to keep in mind when site shopping:
- READ THEIR SUBMISSION POLICIES & GUIDELINES FIRST
- Search for reviews of the site by individuals who’ve actually used the site and are not affilated with the site.
- See what the site’s policy is on deleting works & accounts. You don’t want to get your name and work trapped on a site with a bad reputation.
- If “popular” stories have very little feedback on them, this means the majority of stories on that site get none.
- If most users haven’t updated in months/years, this means the site is practically dead and may soon shut down. RED FLAG: the site does not date anything.
- If the “feedback” on users’ pages and stories are “Like my work!” or “Read for read?” and other self-promotional messages, don’t sign up.
If a site looks cool to you but you’re still unsure, make an account with a junk email and post something you don’t care too much about just to test the waters. Good/bad doesn’t matter much right now, what’s important is figuring out how traffic works and what readers there are interested in.
Sites to AVOID due to spam, scams, and shifty behavior:
- Inkitt—spam/shifty; claims it’s the #1 site for online publishing, but this is misleading. Their idea of getting users is to send copy/paste “invitations” to pre-existing online accounts (often dead accounts), and lie about how good one’s writing is even though they’ve never read it. Signing up with them also gets you endless emails about their pathetic contests.
- Dreame—spam/scam; similar deceptive invitation tactic, except they are relentless (they’ve “invited” me
fivesix times on two different sites). Their gimmick is to offer you pennies for 5yr rights to your work (and their site is trashy with very little reader feedback).
- FicFun—same as Dreame, both are owned by their Singaporean parent company Stary PTE Ltd. (who personally sent me my 5th “invite”).
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*Based on what I see as receiving the most traffic and feedback on each site. These are not accurate statistics, merely observations.
** “Is AO3 really just for fanfic?” (tl;dr—YES)