Hi Thomas. Welcome to the site. As (bad) luck would have it, we're still recovering from a recent, catastrophic server crash, so an extensive post of suggestions I made to maximize incoming reviews was lost, and I haven't had time to recreate it yet.
The big suggestions included:
- Review, review, review. If you review the work of other authors, almost everyone will reciprocate if your posted works are sufficiently appealing to them, and most people recip to everyone. You're likely to get a few unsolicited welcome-to-the-site reviews, but after that, you need to start reviewing.
- Please be patient when awaiting reviews from others. A lot of people on the site write part-time, and it can take some of us days to weeks to review your latest work. However, you should expect to receive a "reply" to your review fairly quickly (e.g., within a week, usually much less) since the reply is the first step to keeping your reviewers happy.
- Try not to post very long chapters as it takes a lot of time to review them and may delay how quickly someone can free up enough time to do so. Shoot for about 1500-3000 words per post (preferably 1500-2500), which costs about 5-10 points to put up. If you have something much longer to post, consider splitting it into several parts (most of my Archangel Syndrome chapters are two parts). You can do the same with short stories. Just name the parts logically (e.g., "For the Republic - Part 1", "For the Republic - Part 2", etc.).
- Please do your best to proofread your posted works before you put them up, otherwise we'll waste time on correcting things that you might be able to catch yourself. But if you're unsure about certain things like punctuating dialogue, grammar, breaking stories up into paragraphs, filter verbs, the evils of excessive -ly adverbs and was/were verbs, etc., that's all fair game for feedback. However, the more polished your posted works are up front, the more likely you are to get higher (story-level) feedback, rather than simpler things like punctuation.
Due to the crash, not everyone is back online yet, so be sure to check the last month they logged in on their profile page (usually by clicking on a member's name (user id) when you see it somewhere on the site). If it's before October of this year, then they're not yet back. You should expect to see either October or November, 2023, and most of those are the folks who are back to writing and reviewing (a few logged in merely to see what all the fuss was about, but may not be back regularly yet).
The other way to find recent works is simply by scanning down your home page and looking at the posted date on the right. If it's October or later, it's new. Since many of us have multiple works on the site, if you see something recent on the home page, you can either review that, or you can go to that author's profile page and click on their Portfolio tab to see everything else they currently have up as well. Then dive in. The author may want to steer you to their newer works, though, since that's usually what we want feedback on most. If so, they'll tell you when they reply to your review.
Naturally, there's more to getting up to speed on the site, but I suggest joining the Writing Tips & Site Help group and posting more questions in that forum, so I don't overload this poor welcome thread with my endless, rambling replies. :-) Also, we're still in the process of getting rid of stale groups. The initial cleanup was done, but the restore of the site brought back a lot of old groups we had already deleted. I'm in the process of whittling down the list for our site admin (SolN) to perform the cleanup (I'm just a lowly volunteer). See the thread entitled Group Cleanup - Feedback Please in this forum for a list of active groups that are likely to remain once the cleanup is redone. The most active forum is this one, but you may find written works posted to any of the other active groups too.
Sol has put up a lot of information on the site that should help too. Click on your menu on the upper right, then click on Help Guide. There may be other help elsewhere on the site, but I've been here since Adam and Eve were still dirt, so I never needed more. :-)
I'll post more info for you in the Writing Tips & Site Help group as time permits. Don't hesitate to ask as many questions as you like, though. It's faster that way. If no one in the Writing Tips and Site Help group can help you (someone almost always can), feel free to punt your questions to this forum anytime. The latter is seen by everyone, so responses come quicker. The Site Help group is simply a handy way for us to collect all questions and answers about writing and the site in one place for reference by others.
Feel free to send me a connection request if you'd like to exchange private messages with me directly (click on Dirk B. above to go to my profile page, then click the Connect button on the upper right). Happy to help. Connections with other members also allow the site to notify you via email if the member has posted something new to the site (you can disable those emails if you prefer). If you prefer, you can leave people public Quickees on their profile pages. The latter don't require a connection, but be sure you're on the targeted member's profile, not your own, otherwise you'll just be talking to yourself. That's true even when responding to a Quickee from someone else. Think of it as writing on someone else's wall, rather than your own.
EDIT: Some of the above suggestions do not apply to poetry. Unless you're posting "The Iliad," wordcount won't be a problem, although the cost of posting poems is higher per word to be fair to other authors who post chapters and short stories, which are costly to post.
I hope that'll get you started.