I used to subscribe to WRITERS DIGEST magazine. I got it dirt cheap through one of those student subscription programs and getting it in the mail every month really made me feel like a writer. After the first year though I realized it was absolutely worthless and canceled my subscription. For a few years they actually managed to pull together a decent Top 50 Fiction Markets lists, but even that’s devolved into a weird collection of 30 markets, most of which are either too big for the average writer, or too amateurish for serious writers. Now, proving that they are still just as useful now as they were back when, the magazine has listed their top 101 Best Sites for Writers. Of these, 94 are crap. Tod Goldberg takes the list and magazine to task but I’ve decided to go one step further and actually list the 25 sites I think are must haves for any fiction writer. One point Tod brought up was that no blogs were mentioned in the WD list. I’ve added several blogs to this list that I find useful. The first seven listings are from the WD list, the rest are just listed in random order.
1. Agent Query – This site is an amazing resource for finding agents who are looking for new material and to find out what agents represent your type of writing. An added bonus is that many of the agents listed accept e-queries.
2. Agent Research – More good agent info, especially useful for finding out who represents big name authors
3. Bartlby – I use this site all the time to look up quotes for epigraphs and titles. There is also a massive reference library section.
4. Google – Come out from under your rock if you don’t get this.
5. National Novel Writing Month – I’m a big believer in writing a crappy first draft to get the story down on paper before obsessing over it. This takes that concept to a new level.
6. Preditors and Editors – SchmuckWatchTM
7. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America – This site has a bevy of article useful to writers of all genres.
8. Done Deal – This site lists all of the pitches and spec screenplays that are sold during the day in Hollywood. A great place to see what’s selling and by whom it was written and sold. Also a great collection of interviews and articles.
9. Book Angst 101 – Mad Max Perkins in an anonymous editor for a NY publishing house. He presents a real worl view of the sundry side of publishing. While on the depressing side a good chunk of the time, its must read for anyone thinking of getting into this business
10. A Writer’s Life – Lee Goldberg offers blunt and useful advice for novelists and television writers. Just don’t send him your story ideas. really.
11. Paperback Writer – More warts and all advice from a successful workhorse genre writer.
12. The Million Writers Award – This site is a great resource for several reasons. First, the notable list is a great way to see what kinds of stories are being published online in a given year and second, it’s a great resource for finding reputable online markets to subit to.
13. Poets and Writers Magazine – Everything WD is not.
14. WritersDigest.com – While the magazine is fairly useless, the online site has a few useful parts, especially the collection of writers guidelines from various magazines. To get the full benefit you have to subscribe, but creative people can get some useful info for free.
15. Publishers Marketplace – For those on the cheap, the free daily Publisher’s Lunch newsletter is a vital resource in keeping up-to-date with the publishing industry. Once a week they list many of the major book deals inked the previous week. For those with $15 to drop a month you get an oasis of info on agents and editors and deals and a bunch of other stuff.
16. M.J. Rose – This author has two blogs that are must read for writers. The first is her Buzz, Balls, and Hype blog that covers publicity and marketing in the publishing industry and the second is her Backstory blog where she lets writers tell of how their novels came to be.
17. The Magazine Stand – This site lists and reviews most online and print journals available.
18. Zoetrope Virtual Studio – Sponsored by Zoetrope Studios and All Story magazine, this site is a virtual community where prose writers and screen writers can share work and be exposed to the powers that be at Zoetrope and All Story. Several members have been plucked out of the community with film deals and publication deals. Membership is free, but in order to submit stories or screenplays for review, a member must read and review a certain number of submissions.
19. Lit Blog Co-Op – Most of the major literary blogs are under this new umbrella. They recommed books and what-not but mostly it’s a great one stop shopping ground for the literary blog community.
20. Amazon.com – Excerpts. Reviews. Covers. Snark. It’s like a real bookstore without the pierced and tatooed sales staff.
21. Red Dress Ink – This site for Harlequin’s Chick Lit imprint has plenty of good articles for writers and interviews with Red Dress writers. The site also lists the companies submissions requirements. They will accept unagented queries.
22. John August – Priceless advice from the screenwriter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Go, and Big Fish, among others.
23. PWA and Malice Domestic Contest Sites – These contests sponsored with St. Martin’s Press have been the springboard for several prominent writing careers. Both offer $10,000 advances and hardcover publication by SMP.
24. Shaw Guides – This site is one of the most comprehensive guides to writing conferences and retreats.
25. J.A. Konrath – Author of the Jack Daniels mystery series and several short stroies, Joe had a rough climb to publication and has links to loads of good information on marketing and other tidbits about publishing.