hi @glitchtooth, welcome to Narrative! And way to jump in!!
Yes that is how we all start, initially at 0. The more you engage in Alpha, the quicker you will see your reputation rise. As of now we don't exactly know what gets rep calculated and what doesn't. But a pretty safe assumption, is to make suggestions for niches, frequently vote every day, and try to make thoughtful comments.
Although the community page doesn't calculate your rep score, I think it helps towards your overall real reputation. Here you can determine a bit more about people. Who you find interesting, thought provoking, etc. Perhaps an early indicator of whose content you may enjoy, once we are live. So it makes sense to start engaging with people, just like you did now.
Do all that, and I am pretty certain you will see your rep grow quickly.