Hi Karen! Welcome to FW! We're practically neighbors. I live in the Southern tier of Western NY, about an hour south of Rochester and an hour north of PA. My daughter works in Bradford PA, well actually in whatever county that is in since she is a school counselor who travels to high risk students. She sees a lot of PA and has had two close encounters with bears crossing the highway.
Congratulations on your novel. This must be an exciting time for you. We have several people who have published many books. There are a lot of perks in the platinum membership for those who would like to promote their books on the site. You should definitely check them out. Also the Open Forum
is a great place to ask questions about writing and publishing. The people here are awesome and are willing to share tips about the publishing process with others. I'm not sure if you're going with a self publishing company or a traditional one, but either way, I'm sure there will be lots of people willing to help along the way if need be. I also bet you are probably able to answer questions for others as well.
The weekly challenge is one of the most popular spots here for sure. How cool that you've taken the plunge and submitted already! I mentioned the platinum membership before and it includes unlimited submissions (well one a week, but unlimited throughout the year) They offer Silver members four free chances to try it. If you can afford the few dollars a month it is so totally worth it. Each week a new topic is given. We just finished the quarter on the theme of EX words, but a new quarter starts in October again. There is a word count limit which has helped me learn to tighten my writing up quite a bit. The deadline has also helped me on my procrastination. I still wait to the last minute but am writing on a more regular basis.There is also some excellent reading material there.There is also a thread for the challenge for people looking for feedback. Once the judges are done, Deb gives the all clear and you can leave a link to your story. The thread for the exam topic is Here.
You also can find a wealth of info on the boards. It's also a great way to make friends. I've become close to people from all over the world. I see you've heard about Jan's Writing Basics.
Jan is a longt5ime member and used to help with the judging. She has a wealth of knowledge for new writers and experts alike. It can be a bit scary to post at first, but she is really good about replying to each post with many helpful hints.
Also The Water Cooler
is a great place to meet people. They have topics that range from regional areas to just popping in to say hi. Another great place to go is Prayer Requests.
It's wonderful to be able to request prayer and to lift others up in need.
Fw is much like a family. There is something for everyone. The people encourage, support, and love each other. Welcome to the family!
I hope I gave you some places to start. The site is huge and there are so many wonderful things here. You may want to check out the FAQ
thread as that may answer many of your questions.
Have fun exploring, jump into conversations and don't be afraid to ask any questions.