Thursday, October 19, 2017

27 Great Websites for Writers

Jos van Riswick
Between author websites, blogs, publishing sites, news, literary magazines, genre sites, resource databases, and online writing newsletters and magazines, there are hundreds of sites for writers. It would be difficult to list them all.

Here are the sites I frequently visit because they have publishing resources that I use for my own nefarious purposes. (Like getting my work published.) Some of these sites you probably will already know about. Others are hidden gems, providing great resources for aspiring authors, as well as writing tips and insights from industry professionals and authors.


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Agent Query

Agent Query is the first place you should look to find an agent. Their database allows you to search for agents by fiction genre, nonfiction topic, by name or by keyword. In addition to their database of 900 reputable agents, Agent Query has great resources for writers: How to write a query, what to do if an agent offers representation, lists of major and mid-size publishers, small presses (many of which do not require an agent), literary magazines, literary organizations, resources for self-publishing, and a lot more. This is a site aspiring authors can live on.

Book Marketing and Promotion

John Kremer is the book marketing guru.  (I read his books when I was publishing my first book, which was quite a while ago.) In addition to helpful marketing articles, his site has a TON of resources: Lists of hundreds of publishers by genre, best independent book publishers, intellectual property rights attorneys, publicity resources, internet marketing resources, it goes on forever. If you are thinking of self-publishing, you want to go to this site.

Duotrope

Back when Duotrope was free, I spent a lot of time perusing the thousands (no exaggeration) of literary magazines in its database. Duotrope has everything - journals of every genre, response rates and times, payscale, type of publication (print, electronic), frequency of publication, whether they accept reprints, and so on. Now that Duotrope charges, I go to The Grinder for submission information. (But, if I want to check out a journal quickly I type the name of the journal and "Duotrope" into a google search. The basic information comes up.) You can sign up for a one-month free trial if you want to try their site. If you are consistently submitting stories or poems to literary journals, I highly recommend Duotrope.

Erika Dreifus

Erika Dreifus is an author, reviewer, and "resource maven." Every Monday she publishes a fresh batch of no-fee writing contests, competitions, and calls for submissions on her blog, Practicing Writing. Resources on her site include: A list of MFA programs, conferences, where to publish your work, grants and fellowships, awards, jobs for writers, and interviews with published authors. (Dreifus has conduced an impressive number of interviews.)

Free Writing Events

Mica Scotti Kole had a great idea. Why not put all the free writing contests and events on a monthly calendar? Nothing could be more convenient. In addition to her monthly list of contests, Mica has assembled a handy list of more than 80 agents who represent science fiction and fantasy. She also blogs about conferences she has attended, which is very useful if you are planning to attend one.

Grad Student Freelancers

Get Published Weekly Roundup is a weekly blog post (Mondays) by Grad Student Freelancers that features new agents, agents changing agencies, contests, and interviews. I have found their roundup very useful because it contains details not readily available on other sites. For a fee, Grad Student Freelancers will compile a list of agents in your genre. But if you go to Agent Query, you can find agents in your genre for free, and compile your own list. It just takes a little more work.

The Grinder

When Duotrope decided to start charging, up sprang the submission Grinder. Essentially, the Grinder does everything Duotrope does. It tracks submissions to literary markets, and it provides a search engine to find markets by genre, submission type (electronic or postal), word counts, whether the magazine is a paying market or accepts reprints and simultaneous submissions, etc. You can also look up individual journals for information on their average response times, whether they are open, and exactly what they pay. The Grinder also allows you to keep track of your submissions. This is a fabulous resource for short form writers.

Jae Writer

Jae runs one of the best sites on writing I have found. Every aspect of writing is covered, from plot structure to characterization, to pace and point of view. She also talks about the nitty gritty - grammar points, sentence structure, and word choice. Jae delves into the practical considerations as well, hiring an editor, how much you should pay for one, the difference between beta readers and critique partners. All in all, Jae does a great job of explaining the nuts and bolts of writing in clear, concise language.

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman is the Wonder Woman of publishing. When she says she has "probably read, reviewed, or at least seen every single advice book, website, and service for writers," she is not exaggerating. Check out her list of recommended resources - it's like striking gold. You'll find a list of recommended editors, copyediting, self-publishing help, book design, author websites, legal matters, industry news, and there's more. You can get her book, Publishing 101, for free. Her blog is phenomenal.

Manuscript Wish List (#MSWL)

MSWL is a place for agents and editors to post what they wish they had in their inbox. While only agents and editors can post, any writer can view anything posted on the site. (Writers can't submit anything through MSWL, however.) The advantage of MSWL is that writers can see exactly what agents and editors are currently seeking. Sometimes, this information is not up-to-date on their websites, or is too general. You can search for individual agents or editors, or search by genre. Once your search results appear, you can click on whoever interests you and read an in-depth bio, including detailed information on what they are looking for and how to submit.

New Pages

New Pages is jam-packed with resources: Literary magazines, author and writing blogs, writing contests, MFA programs, a guide to bookstores (!), and events. The Calls for Submissions list is organized by date posted, rather than deadlines, which is cumbersome, and there is no way to narrow the parameters of your search to only those which pay. Contests are organized by month. The New Pages blog is one of the better lit blogs out there. You'll find everything from literary magazine news, notable literary journal covers, recent writing prize winners, and all things literary. New Pages even provides reviews of new literary journals.

The Passive Voice

Passive Guy is not your ordinary book blogger. To begin with, he's a lawyer. Prior to opening his latest law practice, his business involved high-stakes intellectual property litigation. He started The Passive Voice as an anonymous blog so his snarky remarks would not show up when opposing counsel performed a Google search. (His snarky remarks showed up anyway.) This blog is not for the faint of heart. But if you want to avoid copyright litigation faintness, click on Agents in the sidebar. This is where agents speak honestly and openly about their business. (After reading their candid comments, you may decide to self-publish.)

Poets & Writers

Poets & Writers, Inc. is one of the largest nonprofit literary organizations in the United States. It has served poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers since 1970 and continues to expand its membership. In addition to a print magazine, the Poets & Writers website is one of your best sources for information on conferences, writing contests, literary events, jobs, magazines, review sites, small presses, and myriad other tools for writers. You can even list your upcoming writing event here!

Pub Crawl

Pub Crawl is a group of dedicated authors and publishing professionals who blog about all things reading, writing, and books. Published authors, editors, and literary agents share their thoughts freely on the blog. (Their "insider" perspective is invaluable.) On their Resources page you will find a mountain of links to articles about the craft of writing, as well as publishing resources, tips, submissions, freelancing, and industry articles. Take your time exploring this site. There is a treasure trove of information on it.

Publishers Weekly

PW is the go-to site for industry professionals. This is where you will find the latest publishing news, who has been hired, who has retired, reviews, coverage of book fairs, financial news, bestsellers, resources for marketers, etc., etc., etc. Every week, PW publishes book deals for the week - which books publishers have signed and for how much. Writers hoping to publish should look at this list, because it often shows which agents have represented these books. PW also publishes BookLife, an informative publication for self-publishers.

Query Shark

Literary agent Janet Reid runs Query Shark, a site that really teaches you how to write (or not write) a query letter. The way Query Shark works is that aspiring authors submit their queries to Janet for a critique. If she thinks the query presents some unique query-writing problem, she will dissect it right there on the site, for everyone to see. I can't tell you how instructive it is to read her comments. Seriously, don't send a query letter until you have read at least a few of the queries on this site.

Query Tracker

If you are submitting queries to agents, Query Tracker is a must! After you've made your list of agents to query, come here for details. You can see which genres they represent, the number of rejections they've sent, response times (both positive and negative), and a host of other helpful information. You can also find a list of new agents, as well as recently updated agents on this site.

Savvy Writers

Doris-Maria Heilmann's blog has been running since 2011, and since then has amassed a readership of nearly a million. If you scroll down the list of topics she covers, you'll see why. She includes absolutely everything you would ever want to know about publishing: Contracts, how to get your book into libraries, book distribution, giveaways, book production, book signings, legal matters, designing a cover, ebooks - the list goes on and on. The tips and suggestions on this blog are enormously helpful. Even posts written a few years ago are still relevant. Note: Doris-Maria has a new blog, which you can find here. Personally, I like the old one. But look at both.

Susan Dennard

Author Susan Dennard has a wonderful website, chock full of writing and publishing resources for aspiring authors. You will find dozens of articles here about traditional publishing, how to plan your novel, a step-by-step guide to revisions, how to increase your productivity, story-telling devices, how to write romance, querying, critique groups, genre definitions, even music to write by!

Who Pays Writers

I consult Who Pays Writers when I am tracking down publications that pay for nonfiction. (The Grinder is where I go for fiction and poetry markets.) The nice thing about Who Pays Writers is that payment information is based on what writers actually receive, rather than what the magazines say they pay. (Most markets for journalistic nonfiction don't publish their pay rates.) You can search the site by magazine title or just scroll down their list. Writers also report how long it takes to get paid, which is very useful information.

Women Writers, Women's Books

Women Writers, Women’s Books was launched in 2011 as a platform for contemporary women writers and authors around the world writing in English. Their mission is to encourage and promote the visibility of women writers. They are particularly interested the intersections between genres, nationalities, languages, arts, and cultures. The site contains enlightening Q&As with agents, interviews with women authors, articles about writing, and a library. Women authors can submit articles. Their Facebook page serves as their online community.

The Writer

The Writer is both a print and an online magazine. Their resources are a little sparse (you can find better information about literary agencies on Agent Query and Query Tracker), but the site has a vast number of high-quality articles on fiction writing, poetry, getting published, freelancing, writing for children, writing screenplays and drama, and more.

Writing Career

If you are looking for calls for submissions from journals that actually pay, this is your site! Categories for submissions are: Poetry, Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Nonfiction, Anthologies, and Book Publishers. Writing Career also posts free writing contests for poetry and prose. Their section on agents looking for writers is dated.

Writer's Digest

Before there was the Internet (yes, I was alive then) there was the print version of the Writer's Digest, a publication that writers eagerly thumbed for information on agents, the publishing industry, writing competitions, and everything relevant to writing. There is still a print magazine, but now you can go online and see their new agent alerts, get free writing downloads, and get publishing news. One of their best features is their successful queries column in which agents discuss and analyze successful queries. Before you start querying agents, you should look at these.

Writing World

ALL the things are on this site: Links to Critique and Discussion groups, Writing Career & Business Tips, Skill-Building, Tips for Writing Fiction, Writing for Genres, Nonfiction Freelancing. There are articles on self-publishing, traditional publishing, promotion, technical writing, screenplay writing, and tips on entering contests.

This site has so many useful articles and links, you may be overwhelmed at first. I suggest you go to the site map, and find the area that interests you most. (The site map categorizes articles, and displays them on a list, which is very convenient.)

5 comments:

  1. The Writer's Chatroom is also a good site for companionship, learning and meeting successful authors. Http://writerschatroom.com/wp

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  2. These sites are good resources for the burgeoning writer. Also useful is the Author Learning Center put out by Authorhouse, available for a small monthly fee of course. However, sites like these produce valuable insights for those looking to publish and promote their work. Any help is appreciated in the arduous journey one undertakes in this profession. Kudos! Keep up the good work.

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  3. A HUGE thank you for sharing that list. Namaste, Steve C

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  4. Thanks, this is a great post. :) --- Suzanne

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