The Internet is imposing in its vastness, and we’ll each find our own way. I’m offering the highlights of my journey. It’s not exhaustive, but hey, it’s a start. As the range sergeants used to say, “This is not the only way, and you may find a better way, but this is a way.”
Best Informative Sites and Blogs
These folks post regularly, write coherently and are pretty damn helpful getting you up to speed on a number of topics, from writing basics to publication whether it be indie or traditional.
The art of writing: the art of writing, and doing it well, submitting work (agents, competitions, etc.):
WriteIntoPrint – For those just jumping into the pool, this eight-step guide lays out the basics of preparing a manuscript that other people will want to read. Examples are given, and the tone is encouraging. Remember, you will still need beta readers and an editor.
www.erindorpress.com – Wondering what a beta reader is and how to find one, how to build your plot, construct a world, etc.? You can’t go wrong here.
www.michelle4laughs.blogspot.com – Michelle Hauck is one of the twitterverse’s finest contributors. Author (Kindar’s Cure), blogger, and host of query contests, she also mentors competitors and tirelessly shares her insight to the process in streams such as #askmentor and #PitchWars. Writers seeking representation and to compete should read her blog. All of it.
www.annemini.com – The master class. If you have any pretensions of submitting work to anyone who does reading professionally, Anne will read you the riot act on what to do, and not to do, from sentence structure, to word repetition to the minutia of formatting manuscripts, letters, and queries. She is a $!@# reading ninja. I will never send anything to this woman, ever. Too afraid. But I will finish reading her blog (it is huge).
thrillwriting.blogspot.com – If you are, as I am, knowledgeable about weapons (hey I was in the Army, OK?) then it drives you nuts when a character puts a clip into a revolver. Agh. Anyway it’s a magazine, not a clip, unless it’s a Springfield M1, right? OK, So @ will keep your technical details on the straight and narrow.
Andromeda Spaceways – Yes it is a publication, but this link will take you to the Submissions section’s ‘what is wrong with every submission’ section. You must read this. It is hilariously funny, but when you are done laughing you’ll realize you are completely naked, as they will have pointed out every foible you’ve had the misfortune to promulgate on the unsuspecting. Like using $100 words. Sigh. Great stuff.
Community: You need this. Don’t be alone. There are vast lakes of intelligence out there to slake your thirst for enlightenment.
Online Writer’s Workshop – If you do not have the luxury of a writers group in your area, fear not. Sign up at OLWW, do some reviews and upload some ms. If you review well (and you should!) rewards will be commensurate. I’ve met some positive, helpful writers there.
terribleminds – Chuck Wendig has some rather trenchant works on being a writer. You can find his stuff on Amazon — many short, incisive works on writing as well as his novels (which are on my short-list). Fair warning, he’s relentlessly (but sometimes inventively) profane. But he does cool stuff on his blog – a pastiche of industry politics, rants, and guidelines for how not to be a rotter. And he runs weekly ‘coopetitions’ on his blog, flash fiction challenges, that sort of thing, Raging on twitter as @ChuckWendig
Traditional Publishing: To get published by a Real Publishing House, you are gonna need an agent. And apply yourself to their particular ways. Else, REEEEJECTION!
Stacy Claflin – She’s a paranormal author, not my usual cuppa but she’s done a really nice pair of blog posts on what to do now you’ve written a novel. If Chuck Wendig isn’t your style then Stacy might be a better fit. See also part two.
www.annemini.com – Yes she is so amazingly comprehensive, Anne gets two mentions. Before you submit, read. Save Millicent from another Tums.
Indie Publishing: Sure, you can do it yourself and make some $$$. But, crikey, there is a lot to learn.
jakonrath.blogspot.com/ – J.A. Konrath’s site is a super place to get up to speed with just WTH is going on in the publishing world, with a focus on indie, A read through his blog is like an insider’s tour in the world of publishing, how cool is that? You might not start here, but you’ll end up here.
barryeisler.com – Barry’s website has tons of info but this takes you right to the writer’s section. He’s got subsections on actually writing (vs. other stuff), marketing, getting published, even services and resources. And on Indie…he has opinions about that. Yes that was an understatement. As you can see here.
tarasparlingwrites – Tara’s blog features gentle smackdowns (and some light research) which covers indies and how they give themselves away — lack of editing, bad covers, wretched typography. Yeah, I tried to read this one guy’s book which was all in italics. Crazy.
Damien G. Walter – Where does this guy get the energy, I don’t know. Another great resource for staying on top of publishing news. He also writes on journalism, SciFi, world peace, etc. A tiger on Twitter. @damiengwalter
Marketing: As a software engineer, I was often at odds with the marketing folks. Now I find myself facing many meals of crow, for when I get published, that is only the beginning. Trad or indie, an author is going to have to market. Where does one start?
David Gaughran – This author is an excellent example of the best the web has to offer in info-sharing. He’s up-front and specific about tactics, challenges, the practical ins & outs of promoting and selling as an Indie. He does not post frequently but when he does it is worth it.
www.niniehammon.com – Ninie’s blog has a recent series called A NEWBIE’S GUIDE: NOVEL MARKETING FOR DUMMIES which is exactly what it sounds like, a gentle intro into the maze of activities and options for marketing your book.
kelsye.com – Kelsye Nelson’s site is a good second step after you’ve read Ninie’s Dummy’s guide. The advice is straightforward, sensible, and leans towards being engaging and fun, not towards hard marketing. Lots of stuff about using social media, info on useful tools and services like editing. She features articles and webcasts with a friendly, accessible style.
Jackson Dean Chase – JDC has a well-organized tumblr feed that walks you right into the do’s & don’ts of using social media in a positive way to promote yourself. Don’t be a nattering twitterfly, be a butterfly. Read JDC.
www.thecreativepenn.com – Joanna Penn’s site can be info overload for someone just starting out, as it is comprehensive: she has sections on writing, publishing (indie), marketing and entrepreneurship. The articles tend to be short with a lot of pointers to other blogs, sites, or services. It’s a bit like dropping into the King’s Cross station of independent authorship. The excellent hierarchical organization of the site makes it useful as a go-to resource when you know what you want to learn more about.