Abctales.com works in quite a similar manner to the afore-mentioned Readwave. It does appear to have been around quite a while longer. The layout was initially a lot more sparse but perhaps more inviting for those of us happy to not be bombarded by a sensory overload upon clicking a small link. However, it seems to have undergone a recent re-vamp whilst still maintaining its more reserved, about-the-writing approach, and now includes picture features etc. It also has a user forum which separates it from Readwave, meaning you don’t have to go through emailing technical support if you’re easily confused, and provides a great area for people to share news of, for example, upcoming writing competitions, together with a fantastic line in self-deprecating humour usually revolving around rubbish prizes – ‘1st prize-£15 WH SMITH VOUCHER-YOUR DAILY RECORDS AND CHEWING GUM FREE FOR A WEEK!!!’
The forum also has a blogging option, meaning you can involve yourself within that online community on a number of levels. Again, as with all these sites, feedback and interaction is, of course, reliant on how much involvement you commit to yourself. Initially it appears to be a less frequented site than, say, Readwave, with a more hardcore/integrated group of followers – ‘we’d like to welcome you to the site’ – eg, striding into an empty bar in an old western movie and everybody looks round. Nah not really, that’s just online paranoia.
It can be time-consuming to commit to trawling through multiple sites to integrate yourself but the fact there are fewer initial responses and feedback usually means it’s more considered and irons out the mutual-love type comments (unless you can’t get enough of them, but then probably you could get that kind of euphoric high checking your ‘likes’ on facebook posts). It depends on how much you want to get out of these sites, but I see users here who have thousands of readers and hundreds of pieces available, meaning it must be a site and group that nurtures writers and helps them feel part of a community.
I think Abctales would be a site worthwhile investing more time in that I perhaps have so far, as there is no set boundary for story length, no immediate preference for genre, and I continually notice specific advice for wide varieties of writing, including different types of poetry. It seems to have a core group of site veterans who would give you considered, helpful feedback. I think the pieces I have read here have been more interesting to me, and certainly more fiction-orientated, but it’s unfair to compare on that basis.
Abctales also organise live reading events involving their members, although mostly in London, and they award ‘cherries’ to certain stories, as their editors’ ‘cherry-picked’ stories of the day. I luckily received two cherries for my first couple of stories, also perhaps when my site involvement was at its highest. I then had them cruelly snatched away during the site re-vamp, but perhaps this is in fact a brilliant psychological tool, whereby I do not rest on my cherry-related triumphs, and in anger at their loss continue to try and better my writing, forever chasing metaphorical cherries that got away. Abctales.com site link