Friday, March 18, 2011

9 Helpful Sites for Writers

I’d like to dip into my bag of resources today and share some of the sites I often use/visit.  These sites have helped me learn more about the industry and made the whole process of getting published, not necessarily easier, but a lot more organized.  And let me tell you, being organized is very important when it comes to publishing. 

Before I even think about sending out my manuscripts, I prepare them to meet the standard industry guidelines.  To help, SFWA has an easy-to-follow example manuscript.

2.       Doutrope:
This is a site I use to search for fiction publishers.  It’s especially helpful for finding places to ship off your short stories.  They claim to have “3300 current Fiction and Poetry publications” on file, and the dozen or more search options makes narrowing the field a breeze.

Another site I use to search for homes for my work.

4.       AgentQuery:
The best place to find an agent for your novel.

5.       Preditors & Editors:
This is the place I go to see if publishers/agents are legit.  The list will show any agent warnings/recommendations and if they have sales.

It always helps your writing when you know what to avoid.  Not only does this contest give you the opportunity to showcase your worst sentences, but it also invites you to take a break from being “serious” for a few moments and laugh-out-loud at the winners.

Nathan is an agent/author who is constantly blogging about trends and helpful tips for writers.  His posts promote the 5000+ people who follow the blog to delve into many deep and insightful conversations about the publishing world.

Authoress is always holding great contests open to the public.  The biggest one being a monthly Secret Agent Contest where 50 authors submit their novel’s first 250 words.  The winner gets to send the secret agent a part of their manuscript.

Now a lot of advice in the publishing world is contradicting, and to be successful, most people have to personalize a hybrid of dos and don’ts to figure out what works best for them.  But one man’s rules always stick with me no matter how I approach writing. 

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

In closing, none of these compare to the power of one product.  A product that has an endless amount of great taste and absolutely Zero calories.  But not only does this product replenish your taste buds, but it picks you up and bounces you off the walls so you can write that novel you've been meaning to write.

Oh yes, a writer's best friend...caffeine.


  1. Kurt Vonnegut's 8 rules make so much sense! I've come across them a few times before and always stop to read them anyway. I see at least two resources in your list that I've never visited before. Thanks!

  2. No problem. I have a few more I use and will probably make a second list. There are a few other quotes I believe strongly in, but they've escaped me for the time being:)