Today is Hiveword’s fifth birthday! Or anniversary. Whatever you call it it’s been five years of helping writers achieve their dreams. I’m both excited and proud of that.
This post is a bit of a retrospective. There will be behind-the-scenes information and maybe even a baby picture. Tomorrow I’ll have some great tips from Hiveword power users so be sure to check that out, too. But for now it’s time to get retro.
In 2008 I conceived the idea for Hiveword. Man, was it going to be cool! However, I didn’t start development until 2009. Sadly, 2009 passed by. Then 2010 and still Hiveword was not available to the masses. I’m not even sure why it took so long. Crazy.
In January 2011, Hiveword was born. Sort of. You see, while I was working on Hiveword, author Elizabeth Spann Craig and I joined forces to unleash the Writers’ Knowledge Base (WKB) on the world. The WKB is a search engine for writers with nearly 40,000 articles on writing.
The collaboration was serendipitous in that I had had a back-burnered idea for capturing writing articles in a search engine and coincidentally Elizabeth wished for a way to make her tweeted articles significantly less ephemeral than the Twitter experience.
Here’s a baby picture of the WKB that I sent to Elizabeth in the early days:
You can learn more about the WKB birth story here.
So, Elizabeth got me as a developer to help with her problem. I got a shiny new project to work on which was great for procrastinating on Hiveword. What could go wrong?
Nothing went wrong and the WKB has been a well-loved resource for writers. To this day it captures Elizabeth’s tweets and makes them available to writers via the search engine. A very recent development is that the articles are now categorized such that the WKB will be a search engine AND a directory of articles on writing.
While you may look at the WKB and see a stand-alone website, it’s actually an integrated part of Hiveword under the covers. In fact, that integration is most evident via MyWKB (launched in 2012) which is a personalized form of the WKB. For example, MyWKB will show you a list of the new articles since the last time you logged in. This will eventually allow you to get emails of new articles by category if you so choose. Basically, the WKB continues to grow up.
Speaking of growing up, Hiveword had been gestating for a long time by this point. Finally, in November 2011… Hiveword was born!
Hiveword is a free novel organizer which lets you track characters, settings, scenes, etc. Tens of thousands of people have used it to organize their novels and it makes me very happy that I’ve been able to help them in this way.
Is Hiveword pretty? No, not in the least. My baby is UGLY. But, it is functional and I’ve gotten many compliments on how easy it is to use so that warms my heart.
Between 2011 and early 2013 Hiveword was steadily improved but nothing flashy. As I mentioned above, MyWKB was released in 2012 to personalize the WKB. Then, in early 2013 I approached author and writing coach James Scott Bell to see if he’d be interested in collaborating on a software product for helping writers. Luckily, he was interested and in 2013 Knockout Novel was introduced.
Knockout Novel is based on Bell’s Plot and Structure book and guides the writer through interactive, self-paced prompts to polish a story to a fine sheen. Like the WKB before it, Knockout Novel is an integrated part of the Hiveword novel organizer. In the case of Knockout Novel you can have your story with all of its characters, scenes, and whatnot along with your answers to the Knockout Novel prompts. Knockout Novel gets you lifetime access to the product and you can use it on as many stories as you’d like.
Knockout Novel was my first real foray into charging for a product. Getting some money coming in was great because it helped to defray the cost of running the site. A free novel organizer isn’t free to everyone, after all, and I was glad to have some help footing the bill.
Things were kind of quiet after Knockout Novel was released until early 2016 when Hiveword Plus was introduced. Development in that area has been at a feverish pace. Plus is a set of premium features for Hiveword including custom types and fields, image uploads, etc. While most people can (and definitely do) get by on what I now call Hiveword Basic (the free version), folks serious about organizing will love what Plus offers.
To my knowledge, no other organizer allows you to create your own types or add fields to existing ones such as scenes or characters. Want to track spells? You can do it. Want to add an area for Theme on a story? You can do that, too. This is by far my favorite feature because users can customize Hiveword to their needs.
Hiveword Plus is under very active development. It’s a subscription service and is billed yearly. Today, it’s still at the introductory rate of $25/year as a thank you to early users.
So, you’re now current on history. I hope it wasn’t too boring. I have so many awesomely huge ideas for Hiveword that I will continue working toward my original vision for some time to come.
Tomorrow I’ll continue the birthday celebration with some awesome tips from Hiveword power users.
What’s your favorite part of the Hiveword suite?
There are only two days left to win Hiveword Plus or Knockout Novel. Check it out before it’s too late!
Today I’m at author Elizabeth Spann Craig’s blog talking about a cool new feature in the WKB: article categorization.
Check it out and let me know what you think!
If you’ve used the Writer’s Knowledge Base (WKB) you know it’s a search engine that only contains articles relevant to writers. Search for “plot” and you’ll only get articles on how to plot your novel and not the myriad contexts that Google would give you. The WKB works great for that.
However, the WKB could be so much more. Something a bit more personal. So, Elizabeth and I are pleased to announce the launch of MyWKB. It’s the same good ol’ WKB but tailored to you.
What’s it do?
- List and sort articles without searching
- See which articles you’ve read
- See your search history
This is just the beginning of the planned features so expect more in the future. Numbers 2 and 3 are fairly self-explanatory but let me tell you a little more about the list/sort feature.
As you know, Elizabeth tweets a bazillion writing-related articles. Before MyWKB the only* way to get at the articles was to search and while you got the best results they might have been from a year ago. The list feature gives you a chronological view of the tweeted articles that you can sort by date and website. Want to see which articles Elizabeth tweeted yesterday? You can do it. In fact, MyWKB will show you the articles you missed since your last login.
Speaking of logins, MyWKB does require an account to provide the personalization features. Without it I can’t properly personalize your experience. Rest assured, however, that MyWKB is free. Also, if you have a Hiveword account you can already access MyWKB. Simply sign in with your Hiveword credentials.
Hmm, I wonder who’s article was the first to be added to the WKB? MyWKB knows…
I think that’s it for now. You can sign up for MyWKB here. If you have any questions, comments, or feature requests please feel free to comment below. Contrary to what you might have heard about programmers I would relish the interaction. 😉
* By “only way” I mean on the WKB, of course. You can always get the tweets from Elizabeth‘s Twitterific post every Sunday or via her tweetstream.
As you know, the Writer’s Knowledge Base (WKB) is a searchable collection of links to great articles about writing. The purpose of the WKB is to:
- Enable writers to find great content that matches their needs
- Expose great bloggers to a wider audience
The obvious way to achieve those goals is to have people go to the website and search. They’ll get the content they seek and, hopefully, discover and follow the bloggers that provided the information they needed. It works and it’s a rather personal experience.
Elizabeth and I decided to try to extend the reach of the WKB via a free newsletter. It helps to achieve our goals in a new way — namely, through “push technology.” OK, email if you must. The newsletter will bring the best of the WKB to your inbox every month. We plan on having “best of” lists but most importantly we’re going to interview a top blogger each month and profile a random one, as well.
Here’s what you can expect in the first issue:
- Our featured blogger is Jason Black of Plot to Punctuation. In his interview he provides great advice that will help you up your game.
- Our randomly selected blogger is Michael Hyatt from Intentional Leadership. He’s a mover and a shaker.
- The top 12 most popular links from February
- The top 10 most popular links on the web from February
That fourth one is interesting. Of the links added to the WKB in February, this list ranks the best-performing ones as determined by readers from around the web. Meaning, outside of the WKB. It’s very possible that this list will be different from the most popular links in WKB searches. Let’s just consider this a little WKB secret sauce, shall we? 😉
The first newsletter comes out this Saturday, March 5th. You can sign up for it at http://writerskb.com/newsletter. It’s free, of course, and you can unsubscribe at any time. We hope you’ll give it a try.
I wrote a guest post over at Elizabeth Craig’s blog about how a “Reese’s moment” spawned the Writer’s Knowledge Base (WKB) along with some background on how the system works. There’s quite a bit of detail there but you can also find more information in the announcement posts by me and Elizabeth.
You also might find the original mockup of the search screen amusing. I posted that on the WritersKB Facebook page.
The Writer’s Knowledge Base (WKB) has been taking off like crazy. Writers are using it to find relevant articles for all of their writing needs. If you have articles in the WKB then you may see referrer entries for hiveword.com when users click on the links to you.
Upon reviewing your website stats you may wonder “What is this Hiveword source?” and then proceed to the site. Then you’ll be stumped. Sorry about that. Due to poor timing on my part I didn’t get a link on the main page to the WKB which is ultimately the source of your traffic.
In a nutshell, then, the WKB is a “sub-site” on the Hiveword domain which may send you traffic.
If you’ve ever tried to do a Google search for articles on the craft of writing you may have been seriously underwhelmed. Using the contextually obvious “plot” or “character” keywords will bring back tons of results that will be of no use to you as a writer.
Enter the Writer’s Knowledge Base (WKB). The WKB is a service provided by Elizabeth S. Craig and me for finding high quality articles on writing via a Google-like search. The search is done instantly over thousands of writing-related articles ranging from character development to author promotion on social media. Unlike Google, all of the results are relevant to you as a writer. They may not all interest you, of course, but at least searching for “plot” will bring back articles on how to plot your story and not news articles on terrorist plots.
The WKB is an extension of the work Elizabeth does on scouring the web for great writing articles. She filters more than 1500 feeds so you don’t have to and tweets the best links she finds at @elizabethscraig. After being tweeted the links get added to the WKB where the full content of the articles is indexed so that when you enter a query the results are ranked for relevance just like the big search engines do.
The WKB can also provide random links from its repository so that you can stumble along and find interesting articles that you didn’t know to search for in the first place. Sort of like a “box of chocolates,” I guess. 😉
So, give the WKB a try and let me know what you think. We have plans for making the WKB better for both readers and article authors but please feel free to provide any ideas you have for making the service better.
What features would you like to see in the Writer’s Knowledge Base?