Online Communities

Among the benefits of the Internet are the online communities that have sprung up for almost every special interest group imaginable. Writers have not been neglected. If you’d like to join a writers’ group but time, location, or money is a problem, one of the following online communities may be the perfect substitute. To visit a community, click on its name.

Absolute Write
A free community for writers in all genres. The core of the community is a massive forum where members can discuss topics such as writing problems, e-publishing, markets, and search engine optimization; ask questions of guest editors and agents; and participate in writing exercises and games.

Crimespace
A free community where writers and readers can discuss crime fiction. It features a discussion forum, member blogs, and member pages.

Forward Motion for Writers
A free community founded in 1998 whose core purpose is to help writers become professionally published. It includes an extensive discussion board, chat rooms, writing challenges, critique circles, and an excellent e-zine. Founded by fantasy author Holly Lisle, the community now is for all genres but still seems to have a high percentage of speculative fiction writers.

Goodreads
A free community founded in 2006 to allow members to catalog and review the books they’ve read, and discuss books and share reviews and recommendations. It boasts a membership of “more than 11 million book lovers.”

Library Thing
A free community founded in 2005 to allow the cataloging and sharing of book data by readers, authors, libraries, and publishers. In January 2014, it was both larger and smaller than Goodreads, with just 1,700,000 members but 82 million books cataloged. Members can discuss books on a general discussion board and in specialty groups.

Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror
A subscription community whose goal is to help speculative fiction writers improve their craft. Writers who actively review other members’ writing can post excerpts of up to 75,000 words each of their own writing.

Savvy Authors
A combination free and subscription community dedicated to providing tools, classes, and networking opportunities to help authors progress in their careers. Originally intended for romance authors, its membership now crosses all genres. An annual springtime event is a month during which groups of writers compete to write the most first-draft words, followed by a month of editing and a month of pitching to visiting editors and agents.

SFF Net
A subscription community for readers, authors, publishers, and editors to discuss genre fiction. Features include news groups, blogs, member pages, chat rooms, and a discussion forum.

Shelfari
Amazon’s version of a book-cataloging website. A free community, it allows members to list and review the books they’ve read, and get recommendations on books to read in the future. Members can connect as friends and in groups.

The Writer
An online, super-sized version of The Writer magazine. Part of the website is free, but part is for the magazine’s subscribers only. In addition to the same types of articles, columns, and market listings featured in the magazine, the website also offers an active discussion forum that includes sections for “Fiction Critiques” and “Other Critiques.”

WritersCafe.org
A free community for writers of all genres and skill levels. It offers special interest groups, a discussion forum, workshops, and contests.

Writer’s Digest
A free community that combines everything Writer’s Digest has to offer, including Writer’s Digest magazine, Writer’s Market, the WD competitions, Writer’s Digest University, and the critique services. Added to these are a discussion forum and the Writer’s Digest Community, with member pages, blogs, and groups.

Writing.com
A combination free and subscription community of almost one million readers and writers. Writers can post items in their portfolios and invite other members to leave critiques. The Premium Plus membership level includes website hosting.