Figment (website)

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Web address
Slogan Write yourself in
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Community site
Registration Optional, but required to access certain parts of the site and to create content such as books or forum threads.
Available in English
Owner Random House
Launched December 2010; 4 years ago (2010-12)
Current status Active

Figment is an online community and self-publishing platform for young writers. Created by Jacob Lewis and Dana Goodyear, who both worked at The New Yorker, the site officially launched on December 6, 2010. Figment currently has over 300,000 registered users and over 370,000 'books', or pieces of writing. Other features include frequent writing contests, a blog, forums, and The Figment Review. On February 27, 2012, Figment announced it would purchase and merge user bases with its rival site, On March 1, 2012, the two sites merged userbases and works.[1] On October 29, 2013, Figment was acquired by Random House Children's Group.[2]

About Figment[edit]

Inspired by the popularity of the Japanese cell phone novel, Dana Goodyear, poet and journalist, and Jacob Lewis, former managing editor of The New Yorker, created Figment as a platform on which young adults can share their writing and interact with other writers. Figment spent several months in beta, and officially launched on December 6, 2010, gaining over 10,000 users the first week. Users can "publish" and access short stories, poetry, lyrics, essays, and novels either on their computers or with their mobile phones. An app is currently in development.[3] Users are able to review, "heart", react and comment on works by other users. Over 300,000 accounts and 700,000 books have been created. Figment's user base is mainly teens, but there is a significant amount of older writers registered on the site. Those under 13 may not register. Figment has been featured in The New York Times,[4] The L.A. Times,[5] and The Today Show.[6]

Dream School[edit]

In December 2011, Figment published its first print book: Dream School by Blake Nelson. The novel is a sequel to Nelson's widely popular mid-nineties novel Girl. Figment first released Dream School in serial format on its web site as free content for all users, and then printed the book in a more traditional format. “It echoes the way Girl was serialized in the pages of Sassy magazine prior to being published,” said Nelson. “I took a stack of fan letters that were sent to the magazine over to my editor’s office and said this is the audience for this book.”[7]


In March 2012, Figment combined with HarperCollins's online writing community, Inkpop. At the time of the merge, InkPop had 95,000 users and Figment had 115,000 users, with little overlap between the two sites.[8] Susan Katz, the HarperCollins Children's Book president, said of the move: “We approached Figment because we’ve admired what they are doing in the digital space. Together we can broaden our marketing reach for our authors and their stories by tapping into this highly engaged group.” [9]


Figment occasionally offers writing contests to help writers hone their skills. Many of the contests focus on themes and issues presented in popular and upcoming YA books, and provide prompts with which users can create their contest entries. The contests often involve published YA authors.

Contests have included the participation of Paulo Coelho, Darren Shan, Gayle Forman, Jackson Pearce, Sherry Shahan, Lauren Oliver, Lisi Harrison, Billy Collins, Nicholas Sparks, Sara Shepard, Drusilla Campbell and many others.

Types of Contests[edit]

There are generally three types of contests on Figment: Random selection, heart based, and contests in which all entries are read. Resentment has grown significantly about random and heart based contests [10] and various petitions and groups have been created to protest the heart system.[11]

The Seventeen Magazine Fiction Contest[edit]

Seventeen Magazine hosted its 2011 fiction contest Figment. Girls between the ages of 15 and 21 had to write a story of less than 500 words for the chance to win a $5,000 cash prize, the opportunity to have her story published on, and a phone call with Maggie Stiefvater, author of the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy – Shiver, Linger, and Forever. 50 of the 60 finalists were chosen via Figment user votes, and the other 10 were picked by Seventeen editors. The grand prize winner was to be announced on April 1, 2012.

The Zinch Scholarship Contest[edit]

Users in high school or college were challenged to write a 600-character story about their coming-of-age moment and to submit to it the Figment page at for a chance to win a $500 scholarship. The judge of the contest is author Jonathan Safran Foer, writer of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Entries could be submitted until March 31, 2012.

The Requiem Contest[edit]

Lauren Oliver, author of the Delirium trilogy, judged the Requiem Writing Contest, hosted by HarperTeen. Figment users between the ages of 13 and 21 living in the United States wrote short stories of 1,500 words or less using the prompt "Write a story where love is dangerous". The prizes were a 2-day trip to New York and the opportunity to write a column for, in addition to the winner's story being featured on[12] There were more than a thousand entries, and the winner was Rani Lee, author of "Swimming".[13]

Defy the Dark Contest[edit]

Users were challenged to write a story between 2,000 and 4,000 words to be included in a HarperTeen anthology, Defy the Dark. The anthology's editor, Saundra Mitchell, judged the contest.[14] 1242 stories were entered, totaling 3.35 million words.[15] The winner was Kate Espey, author of "The Sunflower Murders". Two additional stories appeared on the Defy the Dark website, "Bogwater" by Grrrillaful and "After Illume" by Emily Skrutskie.[16]

The Daily Fig[edit]

The Daily Fig is the Figment blog, and is a blog run by the admins and moderators of Figment. There are four categories — Books and Authors, The Writing Life, Diversions, and All About Figment. Books and Authors mostly contains book-related polls, contests, and articles.[17] The Writing Life contains writing advice, author posts, and roundups of Figment stories.[18] Diversions, per the name, contains mostly amusing links, quizzes, and polls.[19] All About Figment is a general category with posts from many other categories included.[20] Other posts include recaps of popular Twitter trends, such as #YAsaves, TV show recaps,[21] and giveaway announcements.

Links You'll Like[edit]

Links You'll Like is a roundup of interesting or amusing links from around the Internet that the Figment admins post on a regular basis.[22] Since the Random House takeover, the links have mostly included those from Buzzfeed.[23]


Figment offers 23 different forum sections in which members can interact. The forums are composed of the following:

  • Well, hello there! (Introductions)
  • Suggestions Box
  • General/Random
  • Found Something Good on Figment?
  • The Writing Life
  • Recommended Reading
  • Troubleshooting
  • Self-Promotion & Critique Requesting
  • Roleplay
  • The Cover Studio
  • Collaboration Station
  • Fanfiction
  • From Gaga to the Godfather
  • Fig-Groups
  • Writing Scraps
  • Pitch Perfect
  • Poetry
  • Short Story
  • Full-Length Stories
  • Contest Promotion

Well, hello there![edit]

"Well, hello there!" is a forum designed for new Figment users to get their start in the forum community and that of Figment in general. Older users will often post threads containing tips for how to act on the forums, and stickied to the top of the board is a thread by one of the moderators about content guidelines.[24] This forum currently has over 6,000 topics in it.

Suggestions Box[edit]

The Suggestions Box forum is, as its name suggests, a forum dedicated to suggestions to improve all parts of Figment. Every suggestion is read, categorized, and logged, even though not every suggestion receives a response from a moderator.[25] To date, this forum has over 3,000 topics.

General/Random Forum[edit]

The most community-oriented and largest section of the forums is the General/Random forum. Many of the users that frequent this forum have developed tight-knit relationships with each other, although it is hard to be get in these groups.[26] Often there "figgy" centered events that take place on the forums. Such events include FigProm, the FigAwards, and FigDate Night. In addition, many members participate in popular organized events, such as Day of Silence or "Act like your character" roleplays that span most of the Gen/Ran forum. The longest running "Character chat" was created by Figment user, Indigo Crow. To date, it has over 400,000 posts. Often, users will also form on-site "groups", around topics such as Nutella,[27] Doctor Who,[28] The Hunger Games,[29] and Harry Potter [30] There are currently over 26,000 "groups" on Figment. Members of the General/Random forum have been responsible for many changes on Figment. One instance of this was when a moderator deleted a thread for containing the word 'queer;' the largely GLBT+ positive members were outraged and declared a sort of civil war, forcing the moderators to issue a formal apology. Many threads on Figment are deleted for excessive cursing.[31] Self-promotion is generally frowned upon in the General/Random forum.[32]

A common phenomena on the Figment forums is "trolling", when a new or old member creates an account purely for the purpose of eliciting dramatic reactions. Trolls are often accepted as entertaining, but can also attract negative reactions.[33]

In August of 2014 the guidelines of Figment were changed, including stricter rules about forum behavior. [34]

Found Something Good on Figment?[edit]

This forum is dedicated to recommending authors and books that you've found on Figment and enjoyed. Self-promotion in this forum is frowned upon, as in General/Random. Additionally, the user Rhiannon Danae has created a master list of good Figment authors that has attracted many responses.[35] This forum currently has over 2,000 topics.

The Writing Life[edit]

The Writing Life is dedicated to users who want advice, or want to collaborate on their writing. Frequent topics include character development,[36] titles,[37] and writing tool suggestions.[38] This forum has 2,000+ posts.

The Figment Review[edit]

A now-inactive part of the site, The Figment Review is a section of Figment where YA books, both published and upcoming, are reviewed by a group of over 20 reviewers, ranging from 13 to 24 years of age. The reviews focus on technique, presentation, and overall content, also offering a synopsis of events. Posts include reviews of Tiger's Quest and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. The Figment Review is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Social Media Presence[edit]


Figment has an active Twitter account(@Figment) with over 15,000 followers. @Figment features many giveaways, games, and contests that allow followers to win copies of books and other prizes.


On Facebook, Figment shares links to activities on the main site, information on YA books and authors, and often offers interactive polls on a variety of topics. There are over 119,000 fans on Facebook.

The Newsletter[edit]

The Figment Newsletter is sent out every Tuesday afternoon, and is sent to all members of the site. It includes information on current contests, current author features, the most recent contribution to The Figment Review, Editor's Picks of three member writings, and a list of the most current blog entries. The newsletter also includes the most recent Daily Theme (which is emailed to participating users on a daily basis and provided by published YA authors), and a user-generated section called "What the Fig?" which features short pieces about pop-culture.

Awards and Honorable Mentions[edit]

Figment was chosen as a winning start-up company at the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference 2011[39] and was also selected as a 15th Annual Webby Awards Official Honoree in the "Youth" category.[40]

On February 25, 2012, it was announced that Figment would be receiving the 2011 Los Angeles Times Innovator's Award, as part of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The award honors "cutting edge work to bring books, publishing, and storytelling into the future."[41]


  1. ^ Juris, Carolyn (March 1, 2012). "Publisher's Weekly: "Figment Acquires Inkpop from HarperCollins"". Publisher's Weekly. 
  2. ^ Reid, Calvin. "Random House Acquires Figment". 
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  4. ^ Bosman, Julie (December 5, 2010). "NY Times: " Aims for Young Readers and Writers"". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn (2011-05-13). "Teen writing community Figment gets $1 million in funding". The L.A. Times. 
  6. ^ Huguenin, Patrick. "Teens find a place to write home about". Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Owen, Laura Hazard. "Teen Writing Site Figment Buys Rival, HarperCollins’ Inkpop". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  9. ^ Boog, Jason. "Figment to Manage HarperCollins' Inkpop Writing Community". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
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  39. ^ "O'Reilly TOC Conference". 
  40. ^ "Webby Awards Honorees". 
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External links[edit]