Through a bit of conniving and some blatant pilfering, I’ve opted to provide a set of links for Writer’s Resources that may be of benefit to you. I had originally started compiling individual locations and websites, with nifty graphics for each individual resource. But then…you know this internet thing? Well, other people and groups have already blazed this trail. So I decided to defer to their genius and present them as the loci for your stepping off point.
Granted, not every one of the websites or places of contact will be a good fit for you, personally. Check out the ones that draw you to them, the ones that seem to call your name, beckoning your attention. Be judicious. As with every new contact or person you meet, it may take a little bit of time together before you realize you were meant for each other, or that you need to cut the ties and move on. I recognize it will entail a bit of reading, but that’s what Writers do anyway, so don’t shirk on it. And do remember: This is a starting point, with a few clear signposts. Now it’s just a matter of finding out where each road takes you.
Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi bring the magic of happenstance and good timing, plus a wealth of tools and resources, out of the shadows and into the light for the rest of us to use. Think I’m kidding about kismet and a dash of fate? Read the story of how they met at Disneyland. Now… Don’t you think it’s more than mere coincidence I’m pointing you in their direction, to utilize the tools they’ve made available? Mm-hmm…
Carrie Smith compiled this list of the best resources known to man or woman, suitable for every aspect of your career in writing. She organized it into logical categories: Blogging / Creativity & Craft / Entrepreneurship / Freelancing / Literary Agents / Marketing / Publishing / Writing Communities. She undertook this for the team of friendly folks who host The Write Life. Don’t stop at this one laundry list; check out all the wares in this no-cost department store for all things pertaining to writing in this new age.
“Open Education Database is the most comprehensive collection of online college rankings and free courses anywhere online.” Straight from their website. And it’s true. They are a veritable treasure trove of courses designed to make you better, stronger, faster, more marketable, and even to enjoy doing so. The site lists resources arranged by categories, making your search easy-peasy. The links range from Blogs to Business and Legal Matters, Citation and Style Guides to English Language Skills, Genres to Information and Data, News Digests to Media Resources, (Personal) Organization to Professional Organizations, Rhetoric to Tools, Word references to Writing Services, Writing Skills Help to Writing Software. All-in-all, a great compendium of practical information and tools to enhance your journey to become the Writer you should be.
Many Writers agonize over whether or not to enlist the services of an Agent to help them market their manuscripts. There are plenty of pros and cons in this debate, but you must admit that having an ally who will champion your cause (find someone to publish your story) is a great way to mitigate some of the stress of the whole process. AgentQuery.com is straightforward in design; it allows both Writers and Agents to join (what a nifty symbiosis); it has plenty of resources for you to read / download / consider; it provides the opportunity to network with your peers; and it gives sage advice for getting an audience with the big-name publishers, or for doing most of the work by going the self-publishing route. Take your time to really consider which route suites you best, or try it each way as a comparison study. The choice is yours.
[ NOTE: WM was recently sold to Penguin Random House as part of the F+W Books acquisition. The website is currently unavailable. I’ll update with new links as they come available. ]
Are you willing to spend a little money right up front to get an inside edge on the publishing world? Then purchase a subscription to Writer’s Market, the premiere source of all things pertaining to book publishing. They offer–and I quote–“Over 9,000 listings for book publishers, literary agents, magazines, online publications, contests, conferences and more!” Yes, you will have to sift and read, but their publication and their online presence is organized for ease of navigation, so find what you’re looking for quickly by a variety of category breakdowns. At the time of this writing, their rates ranged from ~$6 per month to ~$40 per year. Consider it an investment in your future.
As with any large business or endeavor in life, it may well be worth your while to ensure you have representation for the benefits of your job. Especially as a Writer. Have you given it some thought how daunting it would be if you had to face legal actions, or try to negotiate a payment settlement for your work, or figure out where medical aid comes from in this line of work? Stack the deck in your favor by joining a Union, or at least see if what the NWU has to offer is right for your situation. You may be glad you did.
Locus online is an extension of the paper copy magazine, with most of the content, but not all. Why would I include this? If you’re a Sci-Fi / Fantasy geek (like someone else I know), this site is an invaluable resource to keeping an eye on the current market in these genres. If you sift the Links to the Publishers, and pair that info with the current year’s info in Writers Market, you should be able to determine which company might grant you an audience. Tailor your Query Letters to each, with an understanding of their firm and their guidelines plainly written into your fishing expeditions, and you’re more likely to land a contract. (Psst. Look above at AgentQuery to partner with someone who can lend a hand.)
Are you seeing a trend here? Sci-Fi / Fantasy… Yeah. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America is an organization that “informs, supports, promotes, defends, and advocates for its members,” according to their website. And they do. They’ve been a driving force for the Writers of these genres since 1965, and they do a good job of it. Check out their Information Center and their aptly titled Writer Beware pages for sage advice on the craft and what to avoid from unscrupulous agents. It is a paid yearly membership in the $100 range, for several levels of involvement, and there are also entry requirements. If you have already sold books totaling over $3000, you can join. This is NOT an entry-level venture. You need to be somewhat established in the business, but when you are, come back to them.
The Horror Writers Association is another yearly paid membership / subscription site, also with publishing requirements, though much more attainable for the common man. You must have been paid by a publisher for your work, and the dues range from just under ~$50 to just over ~$100, for varying levels of participation. The thing you gotta ask yourself is: “How am I gonna get any street cred if I don’t show some performance?” Smash some words together about a situation that totally creeps you out, get some friends to edit it (thoroughly), check into an Agent (or not), and send out Query Letters to the appropriate horror magazines / book publishers. Go on! The goosebumps will go away if you hesitate!
Mystery Writers of America also charges membership dues (a little over ~$100) for a yearly term. The year-long term has a specific date range–July 1st through June 30th–and is prorated if you join after / before the rollover date. MWA has a massive publisher list, as well as a growing magazine / webzine authorized list. Key features of the organization is their push for literacy, and they promulgate the business of independent local bookstores, via IndieBound. If you love mysteries, have myriad ideas for such tales, want to be a name-dropper at book parties, then set aside the money each year and be a part of this grassroots movement.
Here’s a group that’s a little different, because they don’t ask for a paid yearly (or at all) membership. I have to share this marvelous quote from their site: “ITW is an organization devoted to service and fellowship. Instead of charging dues, ITW asks its members for their volunteer work, their effort on behalf of fellow writers, and their time and energy supporting reading and literacy.” [emphasis with italics was mine] Yes, paying to be part of a club is good in the respect you’re ‘putting skin in the game,’ but you should treat this membership with equal diligence. They help you; you help them. It’s an age-old tenet where the ones who’ve already navigated the course help the next generation to do as well or better. Get on board with them. Oh, and check out their list of publishers to help you aim for a contact.
Ya gotta love these people! Romance Writers of America is an organization with yearly paid membership dues just under $100. They advocate for best publishing practices and fair contracts / wages. Their online RWA University is an education hub for improving your craft in this genre. They hold conferences and contests, provide leadership opportunities, grow new local chapters for writers to work together, offer a variety of informative links and newsletters to keep you abreast of news in the industry, and give discounts on products and services in the venue. Your tender side longs to join them.