April 19, 2012

What's up with: Figment.com?

There are so many interesting writing communities online, and being new to them, I'm eager to discover what each offers . . . and which are the awesomest. Now that I've created a million Melanie profiles in every nook and crook of the interwebs, I am prepared to draw some conclusions. This post is the first in a series on writers websites, and today I'm talking about Figment.com!

What's up:
Figment is all about sharing your work. When you sign up for a Figment account, you are rewarded with your own little "desk" in the Figment universe, in which you can write, edit, share, and exchange your work. From your desk, you can manage your writing, who you're following, top features and news, and your social connections--friends and groups.

The "my writing" feature is pretty cool. Rather than just statically uploading a file, each piece you share is displayed in a clean, digestible format, offering other users a chance to comment on and review your work. Figment gives works in-progress the look and feel of published work, which is not only fun but helpful. One-click ratings allow viewers to say your piece made them laugh or cry, or to give you some love, all with little hassle. EVERYONE's work is featured in the Figment Library. Which is admittedly cool.

Target Audience:
Figment is definitely aimed at young writers. When I say young, I mean YA readers almost exclusively, and U-14 more commonly than you would think. So there's a really cool "mentoring" vibe throughout the site. This is not a world of harsh tear-downs and hard core feedback.

Depth of Content:
Features on the site include book reviews and promotions, author interviews, and pop culture bits. You will not find serious articles on the craft of writing, but you will find a lot of fantastic reference material for YA work. The interviews make authors relatable, and if you like Glee, you'll like their TV coverage.

Matchmaking Potential:
The forums and groups are fairly active on Figment, but unless you're under 20 or researching teens, they may not offer a lot of connections. They are however, fascinating to read.

Ease of Navigation:
Figment is easily one of the friendliest websites to navigate. The youth element requires that they pay close attention to the aesthetics of the site, which is refreshing for this designer. The way information is displayed matters. If content is easier for your eyeballs to find, you will have a more pleasant experience reading. Figment nails it on the user experience front.

Best Attribute:
Figment runs TONS of contests. Flash fiction, fan fiction, cover re-designs--you name it, they run a contest for it. These contests are always free and quite a bit of fun. Because Figment is targeted at a younger demographic, there's a lot of emphasis on fast fun throughout the site, and the contests are no exception.

4 of 5 whoots, falling short mainly due to lack of deep content for writers.


  1. Great post, Melanie! Here's an interesting tidbit: Harper Collins sold Inkpop to Figment earlier this year. Authors used to go to Inkpop for review of their work. If it generated enough interest, Harper would give a free critique of the work. Unfortunately, the site dwindle in the last few years after authors felt it worked more like a popularity contest rather than a showcase of good work. Hence, Figment! :)

  2. I'm not a YA author or reader (or under 20) but this was helpful -- looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

  3. This is a great series - I like to really dedicate my time to the communities I choose to be part of so I'm fairly selective. But there are so many out there it is very hard to choose! I will definitely be following your series and I will go check out Figment since I do write YA (even though I can (luckily? Unluckily?) say I'm not under 20).


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