I use several different pages and blogs to keep up to day with the writing industry and keep myself informed. Personally, I’m of the opinion that the job doesn’t end when you write down that last word, or place that last period.
Au contraire. That’s when all hell breaks loose. Writing is the easy hardship. The hardship you know how to deal with. You sit down, cry, bleed, type, cry some more, bang your head against the wall a couple of times and BANG! You’ve got yourself a novel. Afterwards comes the scary part. The unknowingness of it all that makes the prospect of publishing a rather terrifying thing.
To avoid the root of all evils (the lack of information), I have gathered a steady list of resources I use frequently as support.
Here they are:
1 – Writer’s Digest:
An absolute given! Writer’s Digest is the writing resource by excellence. With their motto “Write Better, Get Published,” this online community of writers and literature professionals features as one of the most complete, most successful systems to help writers become better at their craft. They offer tutorials, classes, interview with industry leads, contests, literary services like editing and critique, as well as an annual Conference and their iconic, information-packed Writer’s Digest Magazine. All of this for a price, of course, but if you are serious about your career, then it is definitely a worthy investment.
On the flipside (the FREE side), you also have the Writer’s Digest Forum, where a community storytellers gathers up to discuss relevant topics, offer prompts and give encouragement and tips to help you improve. Have questions about writing buddies, beta-readers or need a good-hearted critique for your chapter? This is the place to go!
Whether you are a seasoned pro, or just starting out in the field, this is definitely a page to bookmark.
Some links for those of you who want to check it out:
2 – Poets & Writers:
Poets & Writers is a magazine that also offers some awesome writing improvement tools. I regularly check on whatever literary contest are open, just to see what’s out there, and this magazine is a great resource for that. It offers a detailed list, with many additional data like what kind of literature the contest asks for (poetry, novel, short story…) as well as entry fees and contest summaries. They also have a good database for publishing houses, agencies and journals, basically on the same line as Writer’s Digest, but while some of the services WD offers might be costly, Poets&Writers does it for free.
It’s definitely one to check out, specially if you are a newbie and want to take your learning process slow. While Writer’s Digest’s sheer amount of information and links can be overwhelming to some, Poets&Writer offers a far more condensed approach that can be better for you.
3 – Query Shark:
I love, love, love this one! Query Shark is a blog dedicated to the evaluation, revision and critique of query letters. It offers hundreds of real-life author submissions and their mistakes, as well as a list of success stories to learn from. It teaches you what the agents want and don’t want to hear, as well as what’s making or killing your query letter. The letters are broken down into individual paragraphs and revised piece by piece, with very useful comments about where it’s going wrong and what needs to get better.
The critiques can be harsh though (which to my masochistic writing self is like manna from the heavens), so you have to learn to be receptive and patient if you want to take the dare. Anyways, even if you never write and just benefit from previous posts, the site has an archive starting more than a decade ago, so you will have plenty to look at.
4 – Box:
Box is basically your average cloud storage service, but in the last three years it has become pretty much irreplaceable to me. Once you sign up you get 10GB of free space to store your data, and you can sign up as many times as you want, as long as you provide a different email address.
This site also has an available app across nearly every platform. For avid Kindle Fire and above (HD, HDX, HDX 8.9′) users like myself, this little trinket is specially useful. It allows you to make real time changes to any document, and has an “Offline Viewing” option that lets you access your content in places where Wi-Fi connection is poor, or where there’s none whatsoever. This is a great way to have a good deal of data available to you without actually making a dent in your device’s storage capacity. I understand there are many other Cloud Services out there (Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Docs, etc.), but at least as a Kindle user, I have yet to find a better-working one.
Especially when you want to have your stories available so you can pick them up anywhere you go, this resource is of utmost value. Besides, come on, who doesn’t love cloud storage?
5 – Wikipedia:
Yeah, yeah, I know Wikipedia is the devil in disguise and we should never trust its devious ways. However…
I come from a history of having to rely on hard copies as reference for my writing. As a result of this, my desk is always overflowing with all sorts of research materials. It could go from books on how the Egyptians lived in 3000 BC to Anatomy manuals about the internal ear or what is a synapse. With this in mind, a page that gathered information from several sources in one place was like a godsend.
When I look something up in Wikipedia, instead of reading the actual article, I instead go to the sources and reference links. Even if the article is bad or the information is inconclusive, from all the sources there’s bound to be at least one that’s reliable and has what I’m looking for.
That way, it makes my job a lot easier!
This are the main resources I work with right now. As I discover more useful links I’ll probably make new posts about it, and next time I’ll tell you about the pages I use specifically for writing Romance, so stay tuned!
For today that’s all. Let me know how you liked it, and tell me about what other pages and links you use to aid you in your writing and publishing endeavors!