Saturday 22 February 2014

Social Writer - WeBook

WeBook is the first social network site for writers that I fell in love with.  It has come a long way since I joined in 2010 but still maintained the reasons I initially fell in love with it.

What makes it great?

WeBook has a lot of opportunities available to writers.  Almost every website for writers has an opportunity to share work to get feedback.  WeBook enables writers to enter Page 2 Fame, which is a sort of competition where the prize is getting your work read by a pool of agents.  There is also Agent In Box which is a system that has streamlined and simplified the process of querying an agent.  

When you are not writing you can read the various support resources for your craft or the works of other writers to help and provide feedback.  

The website is pretty straight forward and easy to use. I would recommend it.

My WeBook

  • My Home:  An overview of current news (competition winner) and a link to the monthly competition.  The page also hosts links to all my work (Page 2 Fame, Agent In Box, Projects)
  • My Profile:  An introduction of me:
  • My Inbox:  A way to private message other writers.
  • My Groups:  A forum to share thoughts or ideas with like minded people.
  • My Friends:  All the people you've added to your friend list

Page 2 Fame

Writers post their writing to get judged by readers.  If the readers like it then they get elevated to the next round and post a larger sample of their story.  There are three rounds:

  1. Round 1:  Writers submit their summary and first page to be rated.  Readers score it between 1 and 5.  If you get enough high scores (4s and 5s) then you get elevated to the next round.
  2. Round 2:  Writers have up to 2 months to submit their first 5 pages to be rated.  Readers score it between 1 and 5.  If you get enough high scores then you get elevated to the next round.
  3. Round 3:  Writers have up to 3 months to submit their first 50 pages to be rated.  These are rated by expert raters.  To become an expert you need to have rated several pieces of work and given similar scores to the professionals.
  4. Literary Agent Showcase:  To get here is like making it to the top of the slush pile.  Here, your work will be read and considered by a pool of literary agents looking for the next best seller.
There used to be a £3.95 fee but it is now completely free to enter.

Agent In Box

This part of the site has tips and advice to help you with preparing you manuscript and writing your query letter.  The site will filter agents for you to query by genre and help prepare your sample to meet their needs (i.e. first 5,000 words or 3 chapters).  You can then query a group of agents at once.  Your submissions is checked before sending to make sure you have not made any silly mistakes - this can take 3 to 4 days.

This makes submissions really quick and easy.  Although you should still amend your query for each agent to explain why you have chosen to query them.  

This tool was better before as you got feedback from the agents on your submission and the feedback was recorded on the site for you to review at any time.  This feature has now gone.  However, it is now free to use.

Writing or Feedback

This is probably the best part of the website.  Here you can create your writing project and post it for others to read and give feedback.  This enables you to see your story through your readers eyes and improve it.  It is common courtesy to return the favour - so read their work too and give helpful feedback.  

Here you can easily find work posted by other writers.  I often search for writers doing similar projects to me as I suspect that if they are writing the same genre then they must like it.  It also gives me an idea of my competition and if they know their stuff they are better positioned to share advice to help me.


One thing that makes WeBook great is their source of information and support for writers.  This section of the site has guides on everything you need to know as a writer:
  • Writing tips and techniques , 
  • Paths to publication
  • Getting more out of WeBook
  • Buy books published by WeBook


The forum is where you can go to discuss writing or reading.  It's also where a lot of people advertise their projects for feedback swaps.


The WeBook blog usually gives details about competition winners, published work and interviews with writers or agents.

My posts about WeBook from 2010 and 2011:

Monday 10 February 2014

Word Count

Story Length 

Word count is extremely important, especially for novels.  It is generally not profitable for a publisher to produce a book that is twice the average size and will take up twice the average space in a store.  If your story is outside the standard length then you best have a good reason.  Generally, the only writers that can get away with breaking the rules are authors that have a fan base (i.e. longer for sequels). 

It is important to establish the correct word count for your writing project.  You can determine this by the type of story you are writing.  See the table below:

Novel Length

In addition, genre can influence the expected word count.  Agents who specialise in your genre will have up-to-date information on the current word count trend as these figures can fluctuate.  


Children's fiction will have different word counts depending on the age of the reader.

Chapter Length

The truth is that there is no rule on how long a chapter should be. You should write until the chapter comes to a natural end.  Most novels have on average 30 to 40 chapters and an average length of 2,500 words.  However, use common sense when deciding on the length. 

Keep in mind that many agents will request to view the first three chapters of your novel.  Therefore it is always important to make sure these initial chapters are edited well to grab their attention but you also need to keep a careful eye on the length.  If the chapters are too long then they won't have time to read them to see if you are worth investing in.  If the chapters are too short then they won't get a decent feel for the book.   
Here is some excellent advice quoted from Writing World (link at the bottom):

"Page Counts: In most cases, industry standard preferred length is 250 words per page... so a 400 page novel would be at about 100,000 words. If you want to see what size book is selling in your genre, take a look on the shelves. If the average length is 300 pages, you're looking at a 75,000 word manuscript (approximately)"

Therefore, it is a good idea to find an already published novel that you feel has the same target audience as you book (i.e. genre and age group). Then calculate number of pages * 250 = approximate word count


Please see below some useful sites that I read for this article:  

Sunday 26 January 2014

Drift on Swoon Reads

I eagerly awaited Swoon Reads to open their site to submissions and within minutes I was hit upon a problem.  To make my submission stand out I needed a book cover and I didn't have one.  

I knew competition would be fierce so I consulted my friend Neil Anthony Mason of Model Gateway for advice.  Neil invited me over to discuss ideas with himself and Natalie Collins.  It was agreed to use one of my old modelling photos.  With Neil's Photoshop expertise, we transformed the image into a suitable book cover.

It had taken us a few months to get together to do this and then I had my baby.  The delays meant my book Drift did not enter Swoon Reads until January.

Over the next 6 months I need to rack up as many votes as possible to try and win a publishing contract with Macmillan.  If you'd like to help support Drift you can read it here: