Your Novel and CC's Novel Feature

I particularly like CC’s Add Novel feature. I used the feature soon after joining CC, and as a newbie, I made plenty of mistakes. Some were humbling, and others cost me precious credits. This blog post describes what I learned, so others can avoid my mistakes. This post also gives tips that go beyond adding your novel and into tips for encouraging others to critique it.

Steven Malikowski
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Making the Most of CC’s Add Novel Feature
I joined CC in October, 2020, and it quickly became the website I stop by most. I particularly like CC’s Add Novel feature. I used the feature soon after joining CC, and as a newbie, I made plenty of mistakes. Some were humbling, and others cost me precious credits. This blog post describes what I learned, so others can avoid my mistakes. This post also gives tips that go beyond adding your novel and into tips for encouraging others to critique it.

Since I’m still new at CC, I don’t’ use much jargon and other terms more experienced writers might use. That might make my instructions clearer to other newbies, but my instructions might also have some mistakes. If you see any, please point them out in the discussion for this blog post, so I can improve these instructions.

Overview of CC’s Add Novel Feature
CC has some great help resources. The FAQ describes how to add a novel, and there’s also a video. As they describe, adding a novel creates a webpage just for your story. That page contains an overview for your novel, all your chapters, an overview for each chapter, and if you like, you can add a synopsis for each chapter. The webpage for your novel also has all the critiques for all the chapters with links to the critiques and critters who made them. There’s actually more on the webpage for a novel. I’ll stop here since I don’t want to get into a long list of technical bits. Overall, having a webpage for your novel gives you and others a single place to view key parts of your story.

The Add Novel feature is only for Premium Members. Part of my day-job has involved software development, so I respect that software like the Add Novel feature isn’t cheap. But honestly, the cost of a Premium Membership feels like it.

Of course, there are some disadvantages to the Add Novel feature. It provides many options, so it takes a while to learn them. The process of setting up a novel and getting people to read it takes a respectable time investment. A private queue can also be part of the Add Novel feature. Those queues have their own set of benefits and challenges, described later. Considering these disadvantages, you probably should not use the Add Novel feature if your story has a small number of chapters or if you’re satisfied with the critiques you’re getting on CC.

Even with these challenges, the Add Novel feature is still my favorite part of CC. Hopefully, the process described below will help you decide if you’d like to use it as well.

The Process of Adding a Novel
The steps below show a process for adding and getting the most of CC’s Add Novel feature, by including and building on what’s in the FAQ and videos. I tried explaining only the steps you need most. You can learn more later. This process assumes you have written some chapters in your novel.

Step 1
Critique several stories and pay attention to the number of words in the stories you critiqued.

  • Ask yourself, “How many words are in the stories I like to critique?”
  • You'll use the answer in the next step.

Step 2
Revise your first chapter(s) so their word counts are close to your preferred word count.

  • After I completed this step and exchanged email with critters with years of experience, I divided my 6,000 word chapters into 3 chapters each.
  • Dividing long chapters wasn’t easy, but like most of the hard parts of writing, I was happy with the result. Shorter chapters give readers more choices about where to pause reading.

Step 3
Create a private queue for your novel by following the instructions below

Step 4
Add your novel by following the instructions below.

Step 5
Add your first chapter to a public queue.

  • It may seem odd to add it to a public queue when you recently created a private queue, which is also called a Custom Queue. Adding your first chapter to a public queue can help get people to join your private queue. This works best if you add a message to the “Submission notes for this chapter” asking people to join your queue.
  • Here’s a revised version of the message I used, in case it helps.

Thanks for reading Chapter 1 of Cancer on my Bike.

Upcoming chapters wander away from sadness and into appreciating life, laughing more, and bring you along with while I cycle across the US. If you’d like to read more chapters, please consider joining my private queue. It's in the Queue classifieds, at the bottom of the main "Story Queue." My queue is called Cancer on My Bike – Memoir. Thanks again.

Step 6
Add the first chapter to your novel.

  • While your first chapter is being reviewed in a public queue, add it to your novel, which is described in the Add Novel video and FAQ mentioned above.
  • Make sure you do not add a new chapter. That would be a copy of the chapter already being reviewed and would cost you credits. Instead, look for the option to add a chapter from a public queue, which is also described in the video for adding a novel.
  • CC FAQ: Adding existing submissions to a novel https://www.critiquecircle.com/faq.asp?all=&cat=10#313

Step 7
Now that your novel and private queue are set up, you need to work on getting people to join your private queue. This process is a bit like marketing a book, which we all need practice at. But in this case, you're marketing your private queue. Here are some options:

  • Add your 2nd or 3rd chapter to a public queue and repeat steps 5 and 6, adding a message at the end of the chapter(s) asking people to join your private queue.
  • Ask friends on CC to join your private queue.
  • Add your private queue to the “Queue Classifieds,” which is also described in the video and FAQ for adding a novel.
  • Add the first 1,000 words of your first chapter to “The Hook” Queue CC FAQ: What is the Hook Queue https://www.critiquecircle.com/faq.asp?all=&cat=7#411
  • If you use The Hook, add a message at the end encouraging people to join your private queue.

I hope these instructions help you decide if you want to use the Add Novel feature, and if you do, I hope they help you get started. If any step is confusing, please ask about it in the discussion for this blog post.

I’ll end by asking you to consider joining my private queue.  It’s in the Queue Classifieds and called Cancer on my Bike – Memoir.

Thanks for reading,

Steven aka CycleWritr

10 Comments

Szabot

This is great! I’ve been thinking about getting around to using this feature soon. I’m so happy for this post. Thanks!

Mar-29 at 14:01

Cyclewritr

Thanks!

Please let me know if any part of the instructions are unclear or could be improved.

Mar-29 at 20:56

Kevinc

Thanks for this. The instructions ar clear and it clarifies what is otherwise a confusing process.

Mar-30 at 07:22

Jimvread

That’s a very helpful post, thanks for sharing your experience so the rest of us can start with a leg up! I had a little trouble understanding the second bullet point on Step 6. I read “don’t add a new chapter. That would be a copy of your chapter in the public queue” and I was confused why a new chapter would copy the existing chapter. Then I read on and realized you meant the Add a New Chapter function. It would have been slightly clearer to me if it had been capitalized or quoted or something. But I’m uniquely able to misunderstand what people say with unusual interpretations. It’s actually a problem, it cost me a job at Lockheed/Martin… anyway, thanks for this post! Really very helpful before diving into this myself!

Mar-30 at 15:34

Cyclewritr

Thanks for suggesting a clearer option for Step 6!

And sorry to hear about losing a job from something similar.

Mar-31 at 14:04

Lmdewit

Hi, thanks for putting this!
I’ve done lots of Novels so I’d like to add some things and clarify others.
Novels make it a lot easier to:

  • Track your stories
  • Organize them
  • even help your critiquers to locate your chapters easily but that’s a minor thing.
  • You can add Author’s Novel notes, which are fixed notes for every chapter, thus eliminates the need to explain the same over and over again.
  • You can add synopsis of the novel, as well to every chapter. This is very helpful to both the writer and the critiquer.
  • You can submit a new version of the chapter.
  • You can quickly navigate to the previous or next chapter.
    When you’re revising, novels are a magnificent option since sometimes it’s hard to remember which chapter is which, especially if you’re working on several revisions–I’m working on a novel that has several and then I remembered something I did a few years back so I went to my novel and found the right version.
    You DON’T need a Private Q in order to use Novels. You can certainly create your novels and work on them on the Public Qs. Whether to use Private or Public Qs is another matter :slight_smile: The trick to have your private Q and send chapters to Public to entice critiquers can also work with normal submissions :slight_smile:
    Also you can add as many chapters as you like in the Novel feature and edit them as you like. Submitting a chapter though that’s another thing–it would depend whether you send them to Public or Private and there you follow the guidelines.

There are many other great features that one keeps discovering as you use novels. I even used them for a short story with 5 chapters and I found it worked very well to me. Again, it helps to organize!

Bottom line, Novels are a great perk for paid members (*)

Mar-31 at 15:52

Shayward

Thanks for these tips. Question about adding a story to a public queue, then adding to a novel later. Even when it’s added to the novel, it will still be listed in the public queue, not your private queue. Is there any way to take it out of the public queue and into the private one?

Apr-09 at 16:23

Cyclewritr

I’m happy to hear the tips helped.

It’s been a while since I listed a story in a public queue, but I’m pretty sure you can’t take it out of the public queue. But you can set the story to no more critiques and hide it. I think hiding a story will hide it both in the public queue and in a private queue, if you also added the story to your private queue. I’m not entirely certain about this, so if anyone could confirm or clarify, please do.

Apr-10 at 00:38

Rellrod

Great summary, Steven.

I put a novel through the Novel Experience a few years ago, with all the bells and whistles – character list/glossary, novel summary, chapter summaries – and I’m still wondering whether any of the critters found all that apparatus useful. I must admit :S that I’ve never thought to seek out the novel page for any of the chapters I’m critiquing – which is what leads me to wonder whether others do.

Rick

Apr-17 at 16:46

Cyclewritr

Hi Rellrod,

Thanks for your comments. I can see why you wondered about using all the options for the CC’s Novel System. At first, I only used the novel summary and chapter summary, but after a while, I only used the chapter summary when there was something clearly important to mention in a chapter, like sections I was concerned about. Lately, my chapter summaries simply say, “Please see the Author notes.”

A couple of months ago, I had many critiques in the first 1/2 of my novel and very few in the last 1/2. That led to using more features, in CC’s Novel System. For the chapters with many reviews, I locked them and wrote a synopsis for each. I also made an outline describing characters that were introduced in the early chapters. To help critters who had not read those early chapters, which were now locked, I added this info to info that appears when people view my novel:

Overall, I only used features when I had a need for them. Then, I clarified how critters would benefit from using the features, with the info above.

Apr-21 at 21:59
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