The Internet is an incredible resource for writers—if carefully used. Serious, thorough research is essential if a writer is looking for information online. We have checked these sites out, and can recommend them. But we are always open to others, and encourage readers to send us links. If they meet our standards, we would be delighted to include them.
Absolute Write Water Cooler
Though this place is excellent for writers—they have numerous specialty forums as well as a superb Bewares and Background Check forum—I have reservations about it. It possesses a “clique-ish” feel, has a fair amount of aimless chatter, and is closely managed by an excessive number of moderators. AW is recommended—but only if you stick to the genre forum or forums in which you write.
Agent Query is the best database to search for literary agents (though all information should be cross checked with P&E and Writer Beware). In addition to a list of agents and the sales they report, AQ offers information on agents, queries, scammers, publishing, publishers, small presses, literary magazines and webzines and e-journals. This is one fantastic place!
American Society of Journalists and Authors
ASJA was founded in 1948, and is the primary organization for freelance writers of nonfiction. More than 1,100 members who write magazine articles, trade books and other types of nonfiction benefit from confidential market information (who pays, when, and how much, and who doesn’t); a referral service; an annual conference plus seminars and workshops; access to health insurance; an online discussion forum; special interest groups of niche writers; regional chapters; and more. It also represents freelancers’ professional interests such as contracts, copyright, ethics, etc. Membership does not come easily; their requirements are strict, but if you qualify you should definitely join.
Association of Author Representatives
Founded in 1991 as a combined organization of two much older literary agents’ organizations, AAR is a nonprofit voluntary professional group whose purpose is to set agent standards, keep agents informed of current issues, and assist them in representing their author clients. What’s in it for writers? It’s a good place to check up on any agent you are thinking of querying since they only list legitimate agents. But since all agents do not belong—their requirements may take some time to meet—it is just one of several organizations that should be cross-referenced. But it is an important one.
This is one gutsy organization. Its advocacy program and its determination to win for writers the financial, contractual and rights fairness due them is legendary. Since its founding in 1912, it has grown to include 8,000 writers who benefit from the tremendous resources including free book contract reviews from legal staff, discounted health insurance rates in some states, low-cost website services, access to their free Back-in-Print program, a quarterly print bulletin, and panels and presentations throughout the year. Its not an easy organization to join; their membership requirements are strict, but if you qualify do join. If you don’t yet qualify, work on it. This professional organization is worth it.
Backspace: The Writer’s Place
By far, the best forum for writers of all types. The cost is a mere $40 per year (and they offer a free five-day trial), and for that you get to join more than 700 other members in a dozen countries including nearly a dozen New York Times bestselling authors and winners of multiple prestigious literary awards. But there are also amazing discussion forums, an online guest speaker program, how-to articles, an annual writers conference and other events.
Backspace Writers Conference
Unquestionably the best of all writers’ conferences, this two-day annual conference at New York’s famous Algonquin Hotel has leaped to the top with its emphasis on quality, not quantity. No more than 150 novelists can attend, and there are no formal pitch sessions. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to attend quality workshops and mingle with some of the best editors, agents and other publishing professionals in the industry in a comfortable, non-aggressive atmosphere.
Run by Lynn Price of Behler Publications, this blog is smart, snarky and utterly delicious. It’s also excellent reading for writers who are looking for editorial feedback that comes without a sword through their personal hearts. She tells it like it is for those who are serious about their writing—and their sense of humor.
Book Publicity Blog
One of the best blogs around for those with an interest in the publicity end of the industry meaning publishers, publicists, both in-house and freelance, authors, and book reviewers. Yen offers the smartest and most effective tips as well as important information on trends, movements, issues, and more. While you are there, be sure to check out his links to book blogs, bookstore blogs, “future of publishing” blogs, literary agent/editor blogs, marketing/PR blogs, media blogs, miscellaneous blogs, publishing blogs, publishing house blogs, and even technology blogs.
If you are interested in writing for children, this book editor’s blog is a great place to watch. She offers a lot of valuable anecdotes, advice, and feedback (not on queries but on questions). More so than even the world of adult (not porn) publishing, the children’s arena is difficult and complex. Having this children’s book editor guide you through it is an invaluable gift.
“Why you don’t get published” is the subtitle of this entertaining if ruthless blog. Yup, it’s another genuine but unidentified literary gatekeeper blog. Who he is and where he works is a secret, but his gruffness is surely a front for his soft heart. You won’t see the latter in his posts, but it’s there. Why else would he devote a fair amount of his free time helping writers with query letters, book beginnings and questions?
Freelance Writing Blogs & Websites
These sites are well worth bookmarking and following. They are labors of love from hardworking writers who wanted to provide genuine information on writing gigs and assistance on how to do it. You won’t find any scams here, just good, honest advice and leads.
Freelance Home Writer
This wonderfully resourceful site blog offers a number of superb parts all designed to help the freelance writer find and get more work. Among them are the eHow tutorials that provide detailed and easy-to-follow lessons to maximizing your rankings and income. There are also continually updated “Upfront Pay Site” posts. “I created this blog because I was tired of wading through the plethora of websites out there that promise to provide resources and freelance writer jobs,” Willow Sidhe writes. “This blog is the result of my hard work and research. I will not post anything that I have not personally researched and if it sounds sketchy, I’ll tell you.” And she does. This blog is not to be missed.
Freelance Writing Jobs Network
This blog, developed and written by Deborah Ng in 2005, has grown enormously from a source of writing and editing jobs for moms to a huge and truly helpful site for all freelance writers. You’ll find leads, articles, business tips, writing job leads, information on blogging for a living, job hunting tips, and more. It’s an amazing resource that you’ll want to return to every day.
Help! I Need a Publisher!
What a fantastic blog for everyone who aspires to be writers! It’s an even better blog for aspiring writers who should drop the idea and focus on whatever talent it is they do have because, really, they can’t write but still think everyone should read their words anyway. And there are an unfortunate number of those whose queries and letters and manuscripts and column proposals clog the in-boxes of editors, giving them the heebie-jeebies or at least fits of uncontrollable laughter. At least here they can find out the truth from Nicola Morgan, better known as the Crabbit Old Bat, that good writing is more than putting words on paper.
Ms. Reid’s blog is as passionate as the crime fiction she loves, an invigorating combination of professional advice, personal rants, amusing observations, wild fantasy trips and just about anything else that catches her interest. But it is her guidance and recommendations for submitting writers that makes this one of the finest of all agent blogs.
Sadly, MS decided after two years to return to earning a living as an agent. Her blog closed on May 20, 2007, but its archives remain. If you are not familiar with her, she’s the original blogging agent—a New York city literary agent who used the pseudonym, Miss Snark. With her hilarious persona and her claims to “vent her wrath on the hapless world of writers” while “crushing them to sand beneath the T. Rexual heels of stiletto snark,” she rapidly became the most popular of all blogging agents. She was unbelievably generous with her expertise, and all of her advice and wisdom remains available. Be sure to check her links to other trustworthy blogging agents and editors. I am pleased to say BiblioBuffet was honored with one of her rare links to “Cool People," and we miss her very much.
Curtis Brown Ltd. is one of the top literary agencies in the U.S. and Nathan Bransford is one of their agents. His blog is an excellent source of industry information for writers whether they have representation or not.
National Book Critics Circle
NBCC is a non-profit organization that brings together those who write about books—book critics and book reviewers. It supports its members with advocacy, a blog, member meetings and events, and its annual NBCC Awards for the best books as well as two awards for excellence in reviewing and book contributions. If you write about books this is the organization for you.
Poetry Society of America
Google poetry and you’re likely to get a scam. The reason is that poetry is a hard sell to publishers—the small market for it means very few handle it—and those who would take advantage of poets seeking publication is huge. But this site is not only legitimate; it’s a fantastic resource that offers “readings, seminars and competitions intended to challenge and inspire.” If you are a poet or interested in poetry, you should have this site bookmarked.
Poets & Writers
This is probably the best print publication for writers. Their online site offers a forum, links to grants, funding for readings and an e-newsletter for contest deadline reminders.
Preditors & Editors™
Since 1997, this watchdog site has acted as a clearinghouse for writers. It provides information, recommendations, warnings and contacts for those “seeking publication of their work.” Founder Dave Kuzminski is a published writer of both non-fiction and fiction, as well as a fearless fighter for truth and right. It is regularly updated, and there is no charge for this. (Disclosure: BiblioBuffet has received a Recommended rating from P&E, but that’s not why the site on this list.)
The home of Colorado-based literary agent Kristin Nelson who gives the same clearheaded advice as Miss Snark but without the snarkiness. She’s a very nice—and successful—agent who indulges, as she says, “in polite rants about queries, writers, and the publishing industry.” She also links to quite a number of other trustworthy blogging agents and editors.
Though it does require a fee ($20 a month, and you can cancel any time), this marketplace is probably the best place to check on new and previous publishing deals, to track sales of books, search book reviews from over 60 leading newspapers and magazines, create a professional web page, post proposals and rights offerings to interested agents, publishers and other licensees, and to search an extensive database of industry contacts. This is an essential tool for any serious writer.
Romance Writers of America
An excellent professional organization for “career-focused [published and aspiring] romance writers,” RWA uses education, networking, and advocacy to support the interests of its nearly 10,000 members. It hosts an annual conference with more than 100 workshops and interviews with romance editors and agents. It also honors the best in romance writing with awards; has a literacy outreach program; offers local, online and special-interest chapters for writers to come together; and fights for writers’ rights.
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.
SFWA, founded in 1965, supports all writers and illustrators of speculative fiction with strong programs and work. They were the only writers’ group to demand and conduct a blanket audit of a major publishing house. They have also been able to have “offensive language” withdrawn from standard contacts, and investigate “claims of illegal or unethical contracts, assertions of plagiarism, evidence of contract violation by editors and publishers, misuse of royalty statements and funds, and other complaints of professional concern.” Member benefits also include a quarterly newsletter, a membership directory and the Nebula Awards. Membership requirements are clearly laid out for both novelists and short story writers. If you write in this genre, this is the organization for you.
Sisters in Crime
SinC’s mission statement is to “combat discrimination against women in the mystery field” with education and support. That may seem odd given how many mystery writers today are women, but it was unfortunately true even only 20 years ago. Women, Sara Paretsky pointed out, were the primary targets for “the use of graphic sadism” in mysteries. In addition, women were not being nominated for the famed awards from MWA, the Mystery Writers of America, nor were they being reviewed at a percentage equal to their participation in the field. The result was SinC, the professional organization that offers its members a large array of benefits. Anyone—authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians—is welcome as long as they love mysteries and support the women who write them.
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
SCBWI, the best resource for those looking to write for children, was formed in 1971 by a group of Los Angeles-based writers. It acts as a network for the exchange of knowledge and information among people involved in literature for children. It sponsors two annual conferences, a number of regional conferences and events, prints a bi-monthly newsletter, offers grants and awards, lobbies for important issues such as copyright and fair contract terms, assists its local chapters, hosts online discussion boards, sponsors manuscript/illustration exchanges, and offers discounted health insurance and a credit union. If you write or want to write for children, you must join them.
UCLA Extension Writers’ Program
UCLA’s extension program is one of the best in the nation, and probably the jewel in this crown is its Writers’ Program, which offers more than 550 courses annually plus certificate programs, Master Classes, Writers’ Studio, script and manuscript consultations, and a screenplay competition. More than 250 superb instructors specialize in the fields of screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting and poetry. Classes include online, daytime, evenings, weekends, master courses for writers with near-professional work, and an annual intensive four-day writers’ studio. There are even scholarship opportunities. If you are looking for a writing class, you simply cannot do better than this.
UCLA Extension Writer’s Program Blog
Corey Campbell, program representative for the Writers’ Program, writes a chatty, extremely informative blog about programs and events of interest to writers in the southern California area. It’s not a marketing tool of the Writers’ Program though the connection is strong, but an unusually well-written series of columns for anyone who shares Corey’s passion for the written word.
Successful mid-list SFF authors Victoria Strauss and Ann Crispin run one of the best writer educational sites around, and they do it because they care about other writers, and, as Victoria told me, grinning, because they “find the sleazy mental processes of scammers irresistibly fascinating.” Their home page has numerous links (and sub-links) that if read in full could easily be a university-level education in publishing. (Consider “enrolling,” and you’ll be glad you did.) They also offer warnings about scammers who prey on new writers. If you are writing with an eye to publication, you should definitely take the time to read through every bit of information here. You can also write to them with any questions and they will check their extensive files and databases. It is continually updated, and there is no charge for this.
Writer Beware Blog
In addition to the Writer Beware website, Ann and Victoria keep this blog about their ongoing efforts to hunt “down scam agents, and get information on writing and publishing.” Cons preying on na&iulm;ve writers abound, but you will, as they say, “get the straight dope here.” Their information is extremely valuable—essential, in fact—if you are or want to be published.
Writers Specialized Resources
These pages listed below offer links to enormous numbers of online writers’ resource style guides (Purdue is a source itself rather than a list of links) including those on acronyms, words, clichés, common English errors, quotation marks, grammar, apostrophes, language, writing, word origins and old English sayings. There are also links to dictionaries, glossaries, encyclopedias and digital style guides. They are amazing sites, though writers should never be without their own print library of reference materials.
Chicago Manual of Style Online
Internet Public Library
Online Etymology Dictionary
The Owl at Purdue
OneLook Reverse Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
Style Guide I
Style Guide II
Writers Resource Page Links
The pages below offer information for writers. These are not style guides. They are links to experts, cultural references, oddities and many other sources of information that writers of all types will find invaluable.
British Printed Images to 1700
This site is an online library of more than 10,000 printed images from early modern Britain. Images will be searchable by producers (artists, engravers, print sellers, etc.), people (including “sitters” in portraits), subject, place, and date. Categories within which one can search will include agriculture, industry, and commerce; society; buildings; learning and the arts; nature; human beings; military and war; events’ politics; religion and belief; Bible; mythology; ideas and concepts.
Holidays & Celebrations
Internet Resources (for writers of fiction)
Resources for Readers and Writers of Mystery Novels
Virtual Salt: Literary Terms and Rhetorical Devices
Writers Free Reference