Of sorts. It’s called WriteClique.net, and it was created and is run by the British Council of Sri Lanka. The British Council created it to encourage writing in Sri Lanka and to bridge the gap between writers and readers.
I applaud them for making an effort to encourage writing in Sri Lanka. I think it’s a worthy goal. Of course, being a writer, I’m biased…
WriteClique.net succeeds on their primary aim:
WriteClique.net is an online community of both established and hobbyist writers looking to share their work with a wider audience over the Internet. Members have their own pages with information about themselves as well as links to their writing. So if you’re a writer just waiting to be discovered, or a curious reader looking for something different, WriteClique.net is just what you’ve been waiting for.
You can search their author listings alphabetically and see everything a writer has posted. You can rate their posts, too, and the top-rated works show up on the front page of the site.
Each author, with their membership, can submit their written work – poetry, short fiction, a short play, or an excerpt of a longer work like a novel – as long as it’s under 3000 words. Each member can also submit a list of their publications outside of the site, can set up a blog, and can have biographical and contact information on their profile page. And each piece posted on the site can be rated and receive feedback.
So far, so good. But is it all so rosy? Unfortunately, no.
The first problem with the site I noticed is that it’s not intuitive to use. If, for example, I want to sign up, it can’t be done via any links from the login page or from links on the front page. Instead, you have to click on the drop-down menu for Publish, then click on Sign-Up. There are also non-functioning links, like to the forum, which I would have loved to check out – see what features it has and how the writers use it. But really, these are minor nitpicks.
The forums don’t work
It would be nice if their forum worked – I would like to check it out and see what it offered. Also a fairly minor nitpick. Sort of.
If their forums worked, I would love to see it become a resource similar to what’s available at the Absolute Write forums – writers and authors, published or not, paid or not, helping each other learn the business, improve their writing (regardless of language), and so on. Support each other to become better writers.
WriteClique.net could help you get published!
The biggest problem for me is in their aims. They say this:
If you’re a publisher, we hope you will find material here that you would like to publish, or a writer you can ‘discover’. Please feel free to contact the writers directly, or contact us to discuss how we can help.
Um, no. That’s not how the publishing industry works. Publishers have enough to look at with the submissions already in their slush piles, slush piles with backlogs of months to a year or longer. And those slush pile submissions are usually read in their evenings and weekends when their editorial day is finally over. Publishers don’t search the Internet for new writers – they don’t have the time.
Instead, publishers let authors submit their pieces to them for consideration, either directly or through an agent.
I would prefer that they instead provided quality information on the submission and publication process, whether from articles they hosted on their site or through links to other sites with accurate information. That, I think, would be of great service to Sri Lankan writers looking at publication.
First Publication Rights
Submission to WriteClique.net – that is, short stories, poetry, etc. that a writer posts on the site – is limited to 3000 words. My only complaint here is that WriteClique.net doesn’t explain to the author’s submitting their works that their first publication rights are now used up.
If the writer has no intention of publishing that particular piece of work elsewhere, or is fine with selling first print rights or other rights other than first publication rights, then no problem. Heck, I post some of my flash fiction here – I have no intention of publishing it elsewhere, so I don’t care that I’m losing first publication rights.
The problem is that the authors should know what rights they’re using up by posting their work online – yes, indeed, that is publishing it.
Is my writing secure?
And my last beef? That WriteClique.net is misinforming its writers. Perhaps inadvertently, not understanding technology and how it works, but misinforming all the same.
On their FAQ page, they say this:
How safe is my writing on this site?
Many writers are concerned about their intellectual property on the Internet. The truth is that no amount of safeguards can make it IMPOSSIBLE for someone to steal your work – this applies to any form of publication. On the Internet, we have to strike a balance between security and accessibility. Our current system makes writing on this site as safe as it would be in a printed book. The only way to copy any of the writing found on this site is to print it out on paper along with the name and copyright of the writer.
(Bolding added.) Um, no, actually. Yes, one way to get a person’s writing off the site is to click on the print button on the bottom of the submission, but that’s not the only way. Another way is to highlight whatever contents you want – whether the entire poem, for example, or parts thereof, and paste it into an external application such as a word processor or an email client. At that point, you can edit it at will. Theft of the work in question is remarkably easy.
But this is not to say that it’s any easier at WriteClique.net than elsewhere – it isn’t. What I described can be done on any site unless the text is not in text form – ie, it’s been made into a graphic.
On the Internet, if someone wants to steal something, they can. It’s easy. That doesn’t make it right, of course – that’s a whole other discussion. The point here is that WriteClique.net should not be giving their members a false sense of security.
Instead, they should provide clear, accurate information on intellectual property rights, DMCA, plagiarism, and the like – inform their members of the reality of publishing their work on the Internet and what actions they can take when their work is stolen.
As long as you understand the pros and cons of the site, you could find it exceedingly useful. If WriteClique.net changed those items listed above, I think it could be an even better resource for Sri Lankan writers.
ETA: I emailed the British Council to let them know of my concerns. I received an email back thanking me for taking my time to express my concerns and saying "we do hope to ensure that the points you’ve raised are taken into consideration." Which could mean anything from "thank you and piss off" to "thank you and we’ll change it".
I’ll post updates.
- Should you post your manuscript online?
- Slush Pile Reader
- Self-Published Author Signs 7-Figure Book Deal
- Preditors & Editors
- More Copyright Violations
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