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Frequently Asked Questions


What is Fictionaut?

Who is behind this?

I have friends who would enjoy Fictionaut. How can they join?

What kind of writing can I upload?

What's the author's note for?

What about the excerpt?

What about copyright?

Can I delete stories I uploaded on Fictionaut?

What does it mean to add someone as a contact?

What are tags for?

Do you have any advice about leaving comments?

What does it mean to mark a story as favorite?

What are Groups?

I don't write, but I like to read. Is it worth signing up?

I'm an emerging writer with only a few or no publications. Why should I join Fictionaut?

I'm an established writer with lots of publications. Why should I bother joining Fictionaut?

Not bad, but I have all sorts of ideas how you could improve this site.

What is Fictionaut?

Fictionaut brings the possibilities of the social web to literary fiction. Part self-selecting magazine, part community network, Fictionaut is a way for readers to discover new voices and for writers to share their art, gain recognition, and connect with their audience and each other. For more, see our About page.

Who is behind this?

Fictionaut was launched by Carson Baker and Jürgen Fauth. The Board of Advisors is comprised of Frederick Barthelme, Alex Glass, Lauren Cerand, Marcy Dermansky, John Minichillo and Lizzie Skurnick.

I have friends who would enjoy Fictionaut. How can they join?

Fictionaut is still invite-only, which means that your friends need an invitation to join. As we test and improve the site and grow our community, we will give out invites for you to use. (You can find your invites in the user menu.) Eventually, we'll throw the doors wide open to anybody who would like to be a part of Fictionaut.

What kind of writing can I upload?

The focus of Fictionaut is short stories, but even the dictionary definition of "fictional and concise prose narrative" leaves lots of room for interpretation — and we like it that way. Poetry, short shorts, flash fiction, prose poems, novellas, and novel excerpts are certainly welcome, provided that you identify them as such in your author's note and with appropriate tags. There is no word limit on Fictionaut. Uploaded work can be unpublished or previously published elsewhere — the rights to a published story revert to the author upon publication. We recommend you credit the previous publication in the author's note. Please don't upload spam or other advertising, and don't post stories you didn't write yourself.

What's the author's note for?

The author's note is a place for you to introduce the story — what inspired you to write it, whether or not is has been previously published, who it's dedicated to. Think of it as the few words you might say as an introduction at a reading.

What about the excerpt?

The excerpt is a short snippet of your story — the beginning, or perhaps a key sentence — that gives your readers a quick taste of what's to come. We'll use the excerpt to promote your story around the site. If you don't fill this field in, no problem — Fictionaut will automatically pull in the opening lines.

What about copyright?

Anything published under your name is automatically copyrighted. By default, your story is protected by a traditional "all rights reserved" copyright. We also offer Creative Commons Licenses, which grant others certain rights to reuse your work. For more information, see the Creative Commons FAQ. You can select a license for each story on the "edit story" page.

Can I delete stories I uploaded on Fictionaut?

Yes. If you decide you don't want a certain story to appear on Fictionaut any longer — for whatever reason — you can always go to the edit story page and delete it with a simple mouse click.

What does it mean to add someone as a contact?

You can add any member of Fictionaut as a contact by selecting the appropriate button on their story or profile pages. When you add somebody, they will be notified with a message, and if they like, they can also add you as a contact. Fictionaut automatically keeps you updated about activities by your contacts.

What are tags for?

Tags are a way to provide keywords for a story. You're free to add as many or as few tags on your stories as you like, but the more tags there are, the easier it will be to find the story for somebody looking for a specific topic, genre, or theme. All users can add tags to any story, but only the author has the right to delete them.

Do you have any advice about leaving comments?

Entire books have been written on the ancient art of commenting on other people's writing, but there are a few key points worth remembering: everybody likes praise, and criticism is easier to digest if its offered with respect. We'd like to keep things friendly and useful here, and it's probably a good idea to not only read the entire story but also take a look at the author's note to see what kind of feedback he or she might be looking for. On Fictionaut, anybody can comment, but only the writer of a given story can delete abusive or unwanted comments.

What does it mean to mark a story as favorite?

When you find a story you like, you can show your appreciation by marking it as a favorite. The author of the story will be notified of this, and the story will appear on your profile as one of your favorites. Stories with many favorites are more likely to show up on Fictionaut's front page. You can unmark a favorite at any time.

What are Groups?

Groups are a way for Fictionaut's members to gather and discuss, and they can be dedicated to topics, forms, genres, places, writing programs, magazines, or just about anything else. Anybody can start a group, and groups can be private, public, or invite-only. Once you joined a group, you can participate in its discussion forum and add stories to the group pool.

I don't write, but I like to read. Is it worth signing up?

Fictionaut is, among other things, a community-driven literary journal. For readers, Fictionaut offers new ways to discover interesting writing and to interact with the authors. You can search for story by author, title, topic, or tag, you can find the most popular (or most controversial) new fiction, follow individual writers you like, give them feedback on their work, and collect stories you like into anthologies. You can subscribe to stories via RSS syndication, email, and (soon) via a storycast that synchs directly with your mobile device of choice. By sharing your tastes with the Fictionaut community, you also help edit the front page content and guide what other readers will see.

I'm an emerging writer with only a few or no publications. Why should I join Fictionaut?

For emerging writers, Fictionaut provides an open-minded alternative to traditional literary journals for sharing their work, gaining exposure, and receiving feedback. A popular story on Fictionaut has a potentially unlimited readership, and through comments and favorites, you get direct feedback from your audience. Groups let like-minded writers get together to inspire one another, discuss each other's work, and collect their best stories into ever-evolving anthologies. Fictionaut was started by writers with years of experience of both submitting to and editing literary journals, and we believe it's time to try something new.

I'm an established writer with lots of publications. Why should I bother joining Fictionaut?

If you've already built a successful career through the traditional ways of doing business as a writer, Fictionaut can offer you an additional platform to strut your stuff, connect with your fans, and give something back. Your profile page features prominent links to your books and website, and you might want to consider posting stories that would otherwise languish in unavailable back issues of print magazines. The rights revert to you upon publication, so why not share them?

Not bad, but I have all sorts of ideas how you could improve this site.

Great! We'd love to hear about it. Please drop Jürgen Fauth or Carson Baker a line, or post in the help forum.