Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the idea behind Taylz?
The Taylz masterplan is to build a comprehensive library of the latest, most exciting new short stories available online. We want Taylz to be a natural port of call for readers interested in new voices in fiction, as well as a lively, creative forum where new and established writers can receive constructive feedback.
To reach this goal, we needed to build a following of serious writers, and so have developed a critiquing system to provide thoughtful, frank feedback on your writing.
We have built Taylz on a shoestring budget, and are focussing on gradually building the site that our users want. We want to foster a respectful community of like-minded reviewers who are passionate about improving their craft and supporting others to do the same.
How will Taylz help me improve my writing?
Honest, informed feedback is very hard to come by for writers, both new and established. Even in writers’ groups, where feedback is given in person, there can be a tendency to sugar-coat the pill.
The Taylz review system, which has been designed, tested and honed by working writers, encourages reviewers to be supportive but honest, and to focus on specific areas that the writer might wish to look at. A good Taylz review should be helpful above all else. It should leave the writer eager to get back to their story and make it even better.
Once we have extended the site to include the reading public, only the very best stories will be promoted, but all writers should benefit from putting their work through the Taylz review process.
How much does it cost?
Nothing. Taylz is free.
We pay for the site out of our own pockets, so have to be creative and only make the changes which are really necessary. This may all change in the future if we ever need to fund further development, but have no plans to make Taylz a money-making business.
How will Taylz find the best new short stories?
By encouraging new and experienced writers to upload their new pieces of short fiction, giving them a platform to receive objective feedback from their peers, and then (eventually) vigorously promoting the best stories to the general public.
Stories will be reviewed using a scoring system based on a wide range of reader reviews, and the top stories will be the ones that have consistently appealed to these readers. There are no shadowy gatekeepers on Taylz, no panel of anonymous critics sitting in judgment, which means that a brand new writer will have as much chance as an experienced one of having his or her story discovered.
How does it work?
Writers upload their stories and are then asked to anonymously read and review other writers’ work. Each writer receives one review of their own work for each review they complete.
Reviews are structured around a series of questions covering all the key aspects of writing fiction. These questions have been designed to encourage useful feedback, rather than simply shapeless opinion. Writers can also, if they wish, ask reviewers to comment on particular aspects of the story.
Each reviewer then gives the story an overall score out of five, and stories with an average score above a certain threshold are promoted to the readers of Taylz.
It’s important to stress that while the top-stories are not selected by secret judging panels, neither are they determined by thoughtless populism. There is no kneejerk ‘Like’ button on our site. Our system is designed to create careful, considered reviews and we’re confident that the most polished and interesting stories will rise to the top.
How many readers does Taylz have?
None at all at the moment. We first need to build a critical mass of excellent short stories in our story-building phase, then have ambitious plans to promote them to readers around the globe soon after. It’s our goal to offer commuters a genuinely exciting alternative to free newspapers and mindless mobile phone apps.
Who are your reviewers?
Other authors like you. We have marketed our site to a wide range of authors. Writing circles, published authors, literary students, hobby writers… As with readers, your reviewers will come in all shapes and sizes, but we have designed our review system to provide you with thorough, comprehensive feedback.
Why should I get involved now?
Getting involved now means you can benefit straight away from the Taylz review process.
You can also tell us what you do and don’t like about our site so that we can change it to suit your needs.
Who will own the copyright of my work?
You will. You can submit your Taylz stories anywhere else you like at the same time, and remove them from the site whenever you wish.
Can I sell my stories on Taylz?
No. Taylz is a free site both for writers and readers (with no advertising!). We plan to add functions to link your Taylz profile to your website, or Amazon pages, for readers who want to find out more about you. We aim to provide our promoted stories with an enthusiastic readership, and hope that Taylz will be an invaluable step for new writers in reaching a wider audience.
Can I communicate with others on the site?
Not at the moment. We have decided to put anonymity as a priority, because in our tests this seems to provide the most frank and constructive reviews. However, we will be listening to what feedback we get from our users on this topic, as in-site communication is a particular area of interest.
I disagree with/was offended by a review I received
We strongly encourage our reviewers to give frank, honest feedback when submitting reviews, so if it is a case of your not liking somebody else’s opinion, then unfortunately we can’t help. Constructive criticism is what our site is all about, and even the best writers have their detractors.
If, however, a review you receive is abusive or factually inaccurate then please let us know and we will certainly look into it.
We also ask that you to let us know if you consider any of your reviews as lazy or non-constructive, so we can keep an eye on quality-control and user satisfaction.
What if somebody copies my work?
If you think that somebody has directly plagiarised all of, or parts of your work, then please contact us, and we will look into your claim and take action if necessary.
Please bear in mind that there is no copyrighting of ideas, and many people often have the same ideas even titles for stories purely by coincidence.
Who runs Taylz?
Taylz is run on a voluntary basis by a devoted team in the United Kingdom, who are passionate about developing this site to help other writers.
The belief we have stuck to in making Taylz is that if we could build a resource which was valuable to both writers and readers alike, whilst not costing either party a penny, and being free from annoying advertising, we would have a good chance of achieving our goal.
What is the future of Taylz?
We have many bold ideas about how to develop Taylz to best serve both our readers and writers.
At first we are just providing a basic but comprehensive feedback service, using only the elements that produced the best results in our testing. Additional bells and whistles will come later, but only after rigorous testing and analysis of user feedback. We want to create the site our users want, which has the best chance of success.
We kindly ask that you take a moment to complete any newly listed questions in our ‘tell us what you think’ section on the home page, which will help us to know what is and what isn’t working.
What are the rules?
These are some of the basic principles of Taylz, and a few pointers about onsite conduct. For a detailed list of our terms, please see the link at the foot of the page.
1. Word count.
All stories submitted to Taylz must be between 1,500 and 8,000 words.
These are entirely artificial parameters set by Taylz. We know there are many excellent stories both longer and shorter than these limits, but have decided to provide readers with stories that they can read comfortably in one 15-20 minute sitting.
2. Adult/offensive material.
We are opposed to censorship, and will allow stories on our site that some may find to be crude, offensive, obnoxious or childish. However, we will not allow stories that describe sexual acts involving children or which seek to promote hatred of any kind. If you come across a story that you feel contravenes these rules please let us know immediately.
We don’t encourage pornographic stories (i.e. stories which have no other aim than to arouse the reader sexually) – we believe there are one or two other sites on the internet which cater for this type of material – but we do not prohibit them.
3. All your own work.
Users must own the rights to any work they upload to Taylz. This means that your stories must be all your own work, not lifted, wholly or partly, from another source. Users must not use characters created by other writers or actual living persons, unless they have their permission.
Taylz is primarily intended to promote new writing. However, you may upload a story that has been published elsewhere, either in print or online, as long as you fully own the rights to it. If in doubt, please check with your publisher.
4. The Golden Rule.
Treat other users as you would like to be treated yourself. This is of course not a hard and fast rule, but common sense. We ask that you:
• Read all stories that you review thoroughly.
• Be honest when reviewing stories.
• Be as constructive as you can in your criticism (this doesn’t necessarily mean being positive).
• Be as thorough as you can with your reviews.