WriterShelf - The Grand Tour

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The Voice of WriterShelf
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Looking to understand how WriterShelf works? Here's a tour. See how to get started, set up your pen names and start publishing.

Create & Activate Your Account

WriterShelf is doesn't require registration to read articles. To publish articles or make comments, however, you need to create a WriterShelf account.

Signing up is a two step process. First enter your name, email and a password. You also choose a language version.

WriterShelf will send you an activation email.

Click on the Activate button in the email.

Check the recommendations for setting up your pen names.

Activating your account takes you to your My WriterShelf page where you can personalize your pen names and get an overview of your WriterShelf account. Only you see this page.

Tip: You can always jump to your WriterShelf account home by clicking on My Pen Names at the top of the screen.

Account Settings

Click the Account button to see the global settings for your WriterShelf account.

Use this page to change your user name, email and password.

  • Update the Language option to change the WriterShelf edition where your articles are published.
  • Change your WriterShelf Digest options. Digest emails let you know when there are new articles from authors you follow and when others comment on your articles. 
  • Choose whether you receive notifications when others comment on your articles.
  • Set whether you receive backup copies of articles you publish via email. 
  • Choose whether or not to receive emails from WriterShelf about offers we may have available.
  • Confirm whether you wish to see adult content and that you have reached the age of majority in your location.
  • This also the place to delete your WriterShelf account if need be.

If you make changes to your account settings, be sure to click the Update WriterShelf Account Settings button to register the changes.

My WriterShelf Page

Your My WriterShelf page is your WriterShelf account home. This is a private page that only you see.

The My WriterShelf page has two columns. The left column shows your pen names with icons and a private note only you see. The private note is a handy way to set a reminder of how you want to use the pen name.

The right column shows either global info for all your pen names or info on the pen name you've selected.

Global Account View

You'll also find info on notifications, book sales, traffic data and interactions with others.

Pen Name View

Select a pen name to display info and controls for that pen name.

You'll also find notifications, traffic data and interactions with others and a list of the content published under the pen name.

Customize Pen Names

To edit a pen name, select the pen name and click on Settings in the Pen Name Dashboard:

  • Change the Pen Name (Pen names must be at least 2 characters but they can include special characters, symbols and emojis 👍😁)
  • Add a publicly displayed email (for example, if you are using the pen name for a business)
  • Add a Private Note (for your reference - only you can see)
  • Add a Public Description / Tagline
  • Add an About the Author blurb
  • Add a Pen Name icon

If you wish to delete a pen name, you can do so at the bottom of Edit Pen Name page.

Click Update Pen Name at the bottom to save your changes. You'll go to your Pen Name Page.

Example: WriterShelf Account with 3 Customized Pen Names

Here's what a My WriterShelf page might look like with three pen names for different types of writing. The pen name Trent Pearl is selected so the right column shows info for that pen name.

Pen Name Page

The Pen Name Page is the home page for a pen name - the place where readers can find all the articles published under a pen name and understand the author's brand. 

Each of your pen names has its own Pen Name Page.

Click the Pen Name Page button on the Pen Name Dashboard to open the Pen Name Page.

Tip: Clicking on the pen name or pen name icon in an article badge also opens the Pen Name Page.

Author View

As the Pen Name owner, the Pen Name page displays the Pen Name Dashboard to give you access to tools and settings.

Pen names are not connected so readers of one of your pen names cannot see you also write under others.
Reader View

WriterShelf users visiting your pen name page see an invitation to follow. The public tally board shows feedback the pen name has received, making it easy to spot trolls.

For example, here is the Pen Name Page for the official WriterShelf pen name.

Create a New Pen Name

WriterShelf lets you create as many pen names as you'd like. That makes it easy to have different pen names for different audiences and interests.

Authentic Conversations

WriterShelf does not let you use more than one pen name in a conversation.

WriterShelf's one-name-per-conversation policy means when you publish an article, you must participate in that conversation using the original pen name.  You cannot answer yourself with a different pen name.

Likewise, when you first comment or like an article, any additional comments you make must use the same pen name.

On your My WriterShelf page, click the My WriterShelf icon to show global info for your WriterShelf account and display the User Dashboard.

In the User Dashboard, click on Add New Pen Name.

The Create a New Pen Name page will display. Edit the pen name to create the identity you want. Preview the new pen name at the bottom of the page.

Pen Name Tips
  • Pen names are pretty flexible. They must be at least 2 characters but they can include special characters, symbols and emojis 👍😁.
  • Pen names must be unique and are claimed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • WriterShelf does not encourage the use of profanity, offensive language or trademarks held by others. WriterShelf reserves the right to ban pen names found to violate our Community Guidelines.

Paul Cézanne - Mont Sainte-Victoire
Paul Cézanne - Mont Sainte-Victoire - The Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access

Writing Articles

Publishing articles on WriterShelf is a two-step process. First you draft an article, then you publish it.

That means you don't have to finish articles in a single go. You can create a set of drafts that you publish as you finish them. Draft articles are not visible publicly.

Getting to the Draft Articles List

There are two ways to open the Draft List to create a new draft:

  1. Click on the the Draft List icon in the title bar.
  2. Click New Draft in the Pen Name Dashboard in either Pen Name Page or My WriterShelf page.
Draft Articles List

The Draft Articles List shows drafts for all your pen names. It's the place to start new articles.

  • Use the Draft a New Article button to open the editor. Using the button for a Pen Name automatically assigns that pen name.
  • Click on the title of an existing article to edit the draft or use the article command.
  • Existing drafts show you when they were created and last edited.
Draft Editor

The WriterShelf editor is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) tool with a wide range of editing, and formatting features that let you combine text, images and media.

The editor opens in compact mode but offers a full-screen mode for focused editing. Mobile mode for phones offers tailored operation and features.

  • Articles auto-save every 5 minutes
  • Change the Pen Name for an article any time before publishing. After an article is published, the Pen Name is set and cannot be changed.
  • The content of articles can still be edited after publishing.
Mobile Editing

Mobile mode lets you edit on the go. Click the icon to open the editor.

Adding Content

Insert images via URL or upload from your computer. Images inserted from your computer are automatically resized to a maximum width of 800 pixels.

Use the Media command to insert audio and video. 

Video URL

Embedded audio

The Code sample command lets you include HTML or other code in documents.

Using Paste

For many types of content, the editor lets you simply paste summary links into documents. This makes it easy to reference other content on the web and credit the source.


WriterShelf on Twitter — “What you write today doesn’t have to dictate how you write tomorrow. Pen names give you the choice. https://t.co/vzgNTaWGHq #blogging #WriteYourPassion”


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BBC News


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Formatting Text

The editor has a set of built in heading, text and block styles to apply to content.

There are also formatting tools for bullets, lists, alignment, text and background colors. In short, there's lots of flexibility.

Add Tags

Add tags at the bottom of the Draft Editor, separated by commas.

Finding Articles by Tag

Mouse over a tag in the Hot Tags area on the front page to show how many articles have a tag. Click a tag to open the Tags tab to display the articles.

The Tags tab has controls to search and sort by date and popularity.

Previewing an Article

Once you’ve finished your article - or as you are working on it - you can preview how it will look when it's published.

Click the Preview / Publish button at the bottom of the page.

Tip: Exit full-screen editing mode to show the Preview / Publish button.

The Preview & Publish page shows how your article will appear to readers once it is published.

At the bottom of the page you have commands to return to the editor or publish the article.

Return to Editor or Draft Articles List

If you want to make further changes to your article, click Return to Draft Edit without publishing. You'll return to the Draft Editor. Likewise, if you want to keep the article for editing later, choose Return to the Draft Articles List without publishing.

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The Publish Step

Options when you publish let you control when and where article appear. You can add articles to books and mark as premium content.


Articles can appear under up to three categories on WriterShelf. Leaving this empty means the article will appear only on your Pen Name Page.

Show & Hide

If you're ready to publish your article but don't want it to display yet, you have a pair of options. The first is to publish the article as hidden. Pick Hide for this option.

The second is to set a date and time for the article to appear using scheduled release. Click the text to switch to that mode.

Scheduled Release

Pick a time zone and choose the date (Y/M/D) and time for the article to appear. Optionally, choose a date and time to retire the article. Prior to release, the article is hidden. After retirement, the article is again hidden. 

Including in Books

Add articles directly to one or more existing books under the current pen name when you publish. New articles go to the bottom of the chapter or section you pick.

Learn about creating books in this article.

Paid Articles

Paid books can contain any mix of free and paid articles. When you add an article to a book for purchase you can restrict access to paying readers.

The possible combinations are:
  • Paid article in a paid book: Readers must purchase the book to access article.
  • Mixed free and paid articles in a paid book: Free articles serve as a preview for paid content.
  • Paid book with no paid articles: Articles are free to read but readers are able to make a donation. The tip jar model.
  • ⛔ Paid articles in a free book or not in a book: Article are effectively locked with no reader access since book payment is not enabled.

Read more about setting up books for sale.

Readership Controls

Readership controls let you mark articles as premium content and publish adult content restricted to readers over the age of majority.

  • Follow to Read - Readers must follow your pen name to read.
  • Approved Access - Readers must request access to read and comment.

Read more about publishing premium content.

Adult Content

WriterShelf welcomes adult content inappropriate for younger readers, but it must be marked as adult content.

Erotica is OK. Porn is not.

Readers must confirm that they have reached the age of majority to read articles set as adult content.

Read more about publishing adult content on WriterShelf.

Adding a Summary

Summaries let you set the blurb text that appears with article snippets. It is also the text that appears introducing premium content articles. 

Email Backup

WriterShelf can send you a copy of articles you publish as a backup. You get the HTML along with any articles you've uploaded. The feature is on for new articles but switches to off for updates.

Ready, Set, Go...

The final step is to click Publish and admire your handiwork.

Updating Published Articles

As the article owner, when you view one of your articles you'll see an Edit button next to the headline. Click the button to open the article in the editor to update.

Next to the edit button is a button to check the traffic for your article.

WriterShelf is about helping you get your writing out into the world by breaking down barriers to sharing and connecting with others. We value your privacy and help you protect it.
If you have questions or feedback, leave a comment or email us at support@writershelf.com.

Join WriterShelf today!

WriterShelf™ is a unique multiple pen name blogging and forum platform. Protect relationships and your privacy. Take your writing in new directions. ** Join WriterShelf**
WriterShelf™ is an open writing platform. The views, information and opinions in this article are those of the author.

Article info

This article is part of:
Published: 2019/03/18 - Updated: 2020/11/01
Total: 2388 words

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About the Author

WriterShelf is a privacy-oriented platform that lets you write using pen names.
Everyone has a story to tell. WriterShelf gives you the freedom to be yourself.

Conscientious Lavender Walrus
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WriterShelf is a privacy-oriented writing platform. Unleash the power of your voice. It's free!
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