The Australian Writers’ Forum allows writers and associated people to communicate with one another over the internet, using a bulletin board (aka forum, threaded discussion board). In addition, we regularly run interactive real-time writing events using a web-based chat room.
This internet-based writing group is especially useful for people who aren’t able to physically attend writers’ group meetings. (Writers’ group meetings are often organised through a writers’ centre.) The Australian Writers’ Forum thus allows Australian writers to get help and support from other Australian writers, regardless of location.
Best of all, it’s free (although donations are welcome).
- The forum is for fiction and non-fiction writers (professional, amateur or interested) and people with associated interests (agents, publishers, illustrators, etc).
- You need to be Australian and/or currently living in Australia.
- You must not post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-orientated or any other material that may violate any laws (including those of your country, Australia or international law). Doing so may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned, with notification of your Internet Service Provider if deemed required by us.
- You must not ask others to post anything potentially slanderous or libelous, such as seeking dirt on shonky agents. If you need that kind of information, ask people to contact you privately.
- Advertising/marketing/promotion of your writing or services should be limited. Details here.
- In sections other than ‘Off Topic’, please don’t stray too far from the topic for too long.
- Forum moderators may remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time, should they see fit.
- Forum moderators may deny any member access to this site at any time, should they see fit.
- Forum moderators will not be held responsible for things that other people post on this forum.
- There are a few other legal and technical conditions associated with the forum software. These are listed on the forum registration page.
No method for distributing or securing your manuscript (MS) is 100% safe from the risk of plagiarism and intellectual property theft.
Most publishers won’t accept a work that’s been previously ‘published on the internet’ (or anywhere else). If that’s a concern, you’ll need to decide what ‘published on the internet’ means.
The more people who have access to your MS:
- the more likely it is that it will be stolen or considered published
- the more reviews you may receive and the more likely it is that someone influential will help you get published.
Thus, there is a trade-off between security and benefit. Different writers prefer different balances between those outcomes.
A secondary consideration is whether you have the confidence to approach potential reviewers directly (vie email or PM), or whether you’d rather canvas for reviewers in a more open post.
AWF provides a range of options for requesting reviews so that individual writers can choose the compromise with which they’re most comfortable. All forum members (including new members) have the following options:
|Option||Visibility of MS1||How to Do It|
|Introduction Forum||All forum members (but not everyone on internet)||Post MS in your Introduction topic (once only, no more than 4,000 words).|
|Writing Forum||All forum members (but not everyone on internet)||Create a new topic in Writing and post snippet (three paragraphs maximum).|
|Special Consideration||All forum members (but not everyone on internet)||
This is a fast-track way of getting full access to Reviews, like a forum regular.
Regular forum members (ie, those with 30+ posts over 30+ days) have the following additional options:
|Option||Visibility of MS1||How to Do It|
|Members-only Forum||All forum members (but not everyone on internet)||Create new topic in Reviews, and post MS therein.|
|Regulars-only Forum||All forum regulars||Create new topic in Regulars Only, and post MS therein.|
|PM/email||Members chosen by writer|
Determine potential reviewers. Options:
|Private Fora||Members chosen by writer (plus AWF administrators)|
Determine potential reviewers, as above.
Ask forum administrator to create private forum, specifying:
Disseminate and discuss MS in private forum.
Any one forum can be used for multiple MS and multiple authors, possibly defined by genre, at the discretion of the group’s originator.
In conjunction with any of these options:
- You can post excepts liberally but be more circumspect with your complete MS.
- You can password-protect your document before posting or distributing it. If you do this, you’ll have to let reviewers know the password. Passwords can be disseminated by PM or email.
- You can upload your MS to an internet (‘cloud’) storage service, such as Google Drive, and disseminate the access password to reviewers. Beware that this may be less secure than posting the MS privately on the forum, since many internet services reserve the right to access uploaded content and use it as they see fit (or they may change their terms of service in future to allow this). Encrypting your MS before uploading would provide added security.
If you’re willing to be approached via email/PM with review requests, please indicate this in your forum profile’s ‘Interests’ area, noting genres of interest/disinterest. Forum regulars also have access to a list of other regulars who are willing to be approached directly with review requests.
How to Join
- Click to open the forum’s registration page.
- Click ‘I agree to the terms’ if you do.
- Fill in the required information and click ‘Submit’.
AWF is funded by donations. The current list of sponsors is here. If you’d like to donate, please click the Donate button on the left to pay by credit/debit card or PayPal. To pay by direct bank transfer, please contact the AWF administrator.
Sponsors receive the following benefits:
- your AWF user name listed as a sponsor on the members page (unless you opted out)
- an optional email address @australianwritersforum.org.au
- the offer of a refund if advertisements are placed on the AWF site within 12 months
- the offer of a refund if you would like (or are asked) to leave AWF within 12 months
- gratitude from all AWF members and visitors
- a warm fuzzy feeling.