Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Internet Resources for Writers


1. First, I highly recommend that every aspiring and new writer join these writing communities:

- If you’re an author: Backspace, the Writers’ Place:
Backspace is a message board for pre-published and published authors. Editors and agents are also members. You can post any question on any aspect of writing and publishing and two dozen informed answers in a day. It’s also a great, supportive community that exchanges and critiques work. There is a one-time $30 fee to join.

- If you’re an author: Murder Must Advertise – a free Yahoo list that discusses publishing and book promotion. No matter what your genre, you can benefit from this wealth of information.

- If you’re a TV writer: (free)
Message board and contests for aspiring TV writers.

- If you’re a screenwriter:, (both free)

- And specifically for horror writers: (free)

These communities of writers will point you toward a wealth of other resources.

Also, if you've just sold your book (congratulations!) you will want to read Jacqueline Deval's excellent PUBLICIZE YOUR BOOK cover to cover to pick up a wealth of information on promotion

2. You should also join the professional organization in your genre (s) – and think inclusively about which genres you belong to. Most of these organizations have an associate membership status for pre-published writers – although some do not. RWA and Sisters in Crime do not require professional credits.

- Sisters in Crime
- Mystery Writers of America
- International Thriller Writers
- Horror Writers of America
- Romance Writers of America
- Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers
- Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Once you have joined one of these organizations, you can join local chapters and/or online chapters, news groups, and reading groups in your own genre. I particularly recommend the Guppies (Great Unpublished) group, which you can join once you join Sisters in Crime, and which has propelled dozens of members to published status.

3. Here are just some great general blogs on various aspects of the publishing business. These and more are also conveniently compiled at Murderati:

- Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
- A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing
- Bookbitch
- Evil Editor
- Buzz, Balls and Hype

4. And every aspiring author should also go to Publisher’s Weekly and sign up for e newsletters in your particular field (sign up at bottom of home page).


Here are three great resources to consult when you start looking for an agent:

1. Again, the Backspace forums:

2. Here's a site with over 1500 agent listings and software to keep track of your queries:

2; Always check with Writer Beware to make sure the agents you're approaching are legit:

And check out my much longer posts on finding an agent - linked on the right side of this blog under "Writing Articles."


Every author needs a professional website and/or blog. You should set this up BEFORE you publish, because many editors and agents are now immediately Googling new authors who submit to see if they have a web presence.

- To set up a website:

- Network Solutions ( is a low-cost, build-it-yourself web hosting and software service with great customer support that requires no knowledge of code. Believe me, if I can do it, you can.

- If you have more money to spend, is the best professional author website designer I've found at the lowest cost. They did my website and I can't say enough good things about them. There are other examples here:

- To set up a blog: and are two of the most popular free blog sites - most authors I know use one or the other. If you're writing YA or Children's books, LiveJournal and Myspace are useful. Check out other author blog sites for examples:

- Alexandra Sokoloff (newly published) -
- JT Ellison (soon to be published)
- Joe Konrath (prime example of informational blogging and the power of giving away free stuff - plus a goldmine of info on marketing and publishing. Good for fiction and non-fiction
- Heather Brewer (YA, to be published this year) ; (Heather also does a blog from her character’s POV)
- Tess Gerritsen (bestselling)
- Allison Brennan (new romantic suspense)
- Crimespot (links to all major and not-so-major mystery blogs)

- Joining or creating a group blog (grog) takes the pressure of constantly creating blog posts off you, and also gives you more exposure.

Check out these very popular examples of grogs (which are also great resources for publishing and marketing information)

- Murderati (mystery, horror, includes TV and film info as well as publishing) - ;
- Naked Authors (nystery)
- Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room (mystery, and includes a publicist and bookseller in the lineup)
- The Lipstick Chronicles (chick lit)
- Squawk Radio (romance)
- The Debutante Ball (mainstream women’s fiction)

- Another great way to start establishing an Internet presence is simply to comment on other popular blogs in your genre.

Commenting intelligently on other blogs will get your own blog linked to higher-traffic blogs, and might get you invited to join one of the more popular group blogs. Posting on message boards like Backspace (all genres and non-fiction) and Shocklines. com (horror and dark fantasy) also helps build your Internet presence.


One of the best roads in to screen and TV writing is to win a fellowship or one of the major contests. I’ve listed titles and descriptions here – please Google for more info.

- The Nicholl Fellowship - the most prestigious and best breakthough screenwriting contest out there, and many pros say it's about the only contest that can lead to a professional career.

- The Disney Fellowship and Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship – winners get an actual job and hands-on training. The Nick Fellowship grooms writers to work on one of their shows.

- The Warner Bros Drama Writers Workshop and Comedy Writers Workshop – a fast-track way into TV staffing. You write your hour spec and submit. The get about 600 scripts a year; they pick 25 to interview, and choose 13 for the program. You write a second spec under their supervision, and they get you interviews with current CW netword and studio projects. About half of any given class gets hired on staff out of the program. Being in the program can get you a good agent if you don’t have one.

- For University of California students and alumni, The Goldwyn Award is also major. There is huge industry competition for the first-place winner, and the Goldwyns heavily promote the winners. Just about every winner becomes a WGA member and is working in the industry within a year of winning.

- and WriteSafe contests: many winners of these contests have gone on to industry jobs.

If you were at the Write2Publish panel last week, please feel free to post specific questions!


Gail said...

Thanks for the mention and link, Alexandra! Gail from The Debs (2008)

Diane said...

This is a good list!

FYI, Backspace is $30/year, not $70/year. Just in case anyone got scared off.

Alexandra Sokoloff said...

Eek - thanks for pointing that out, Diane. I changed it.

Gail, happy to plug you all - I love your site.

Holly Newton said...

Hi, Alex!
I feel like a very lucky girl to have met you at the 21st San Diego Writers Conference. Spending some of every Thursday night for the last 6 months with Larry Brody, via web cam, has changed my life! You are right; He is the best! I don't know what my path is quite yet, but I know I'm on it- This information is such a big help. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Holly Newton said...

I almost forgot- Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!