Writersky

Website review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
Writersky Website Poster Image
Mostly clean writers' platform could use a bit more jazz.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about the relationship between writing sessions and a final product as well as the nature of online publishing tools and what it means to respond to readers. If kids are looking for excitement and a highly engaged community of writers, they'll need to be prepared to generate it themselves. On the plus side, irrelevant and distracting clutter will not get in the way of the primary goal of writing. Writersky empowers writers and provides a framework for the mountain of writing to be conquered but fails to provide much in the way of excitement or foothills for them to tackle along the way.

Positive Messages

Level of autonomy and retained rights over uploaded material indicate this site lets users get work out there while retaining all rights. Ability to link finished pieces to Amazon may reinforce creative focus.

Violence

Many well-represented genres linger in scary zone; no excessive, gratuitous violence was encountered upon review.

Sex

Erotica genre has some explicit material, links.

Language
Consumerism

Links to Amazon help writers connect with a consumer outlet for their work, but there's no built-in way for writers to claim their work as copyrighted.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Writersky is a straightforward platform for writers to get their work read, seen, and discussed. There's an Erotica section with only two pieces, but one of them is definitively for adults and sends readers to a separate website that solicits phones numbers for the purposes of texts that are part of the story. The site is closely moderated and appears to avoid the free flow of mindless commentary and fluff found on other writing-platform sites, although there's a link to the Amazon marketplace to promote and sell completed works.

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What's it about?

WRITERSKY allows users to browse about 100 to 200 titles by various categories (including Popular, New, and Recently Updated) or by a loosely interpreted list of genres. With email registration, writers can easily create a story by uploading a cover, selecting a genre, then crafting a summary and body text into a moderately powerful editor. Finally, writers indicate whether the piece is ongoing, excerpted, or completed. Readers can post comments that get immediately forwarded to authors via email. The Takeover feature is the classic "and then" or "story in the round" wherein one contributor starts a story and others continue it. Most activity is posted to the Writersky Twitter account automatically, and writers can connect users to their pieces on Amazon via a "Buy" button. Login via Google+, three RSS feeds, and mobile device and tablet optimization make integration and access easy.

Is it any good?

Writersky has potential -- not as a publishable story site by itself but as an easy-to-use platform for aspiring authors. Unfortunately, this Canadian-based endeavor has yet to gain a ton of titles, views, or traction. For writers struggling for exposure, it's relatively easy to make the main page, since new submissions are displayed chronologically, and some pieces seem to be using the site effectively as a link to the Amazon Marketplace to sell their work. Layout and navigation are super simple and mostly intuitive -- one of its best features -- although its menu areas could be consolidated into two. Content-wise, quality of writing is relatively high on average, and comments from readers are consistently positive but not particularly plentiful or necessarily focused on craft.

As it stands, the Takeover feature and blog are the only supporting engagement factors, and both appear to be falling a bit flat. Mystery, Fantasy, and Action are the most represented genres, but since the system allows users to assign an apparently unlimited number, there's a great deal of repetition, and the site is lacking some mainstays such as Historical Fiction. Non-fiction genres such as Biography also are absent, but a lonely Business & Finance sits with no entries. At least Writersky's moderation is a boon for parents and teens wanting to avoid the clutter and noise of other similar sites, but it may be contributing to the overall lack of activity. Some community- and energy-building additions, plus writing tips and resources, likely would provide a much needed spark.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the writing process. How useful is feedback from readers? Do you prefer to wait until a piece is finished for commentary, or do you like to be guided as you discover your way?

  • Reading is one of the best ways to become a better writer: Encourage your kids to read and consider the other pieces on the site. 

  • Model specific commentary that focuses on what you like about a piece. Ask your kids specific questions: What do they think of the word choice in the title or in a climatic paragraph?

  • Discuss the various online-publishing options. Read all the rules and features related to selling pieces on Amazon before moving forward with that option.

Website details

For kids who love writing

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