Online References and Resources for Writers
These are links to websites and online resources we have found useful. Suggestions are welcomed, as is feedback on the value (or lack thereof) of these websites. Use the Reply area at the bottom of the page to provide feedback.
READERS & WRITERS CALENDAR, including upcoming Author Events, see www.SDWriteWay.org.
Writers' & Editors' Organizations and Newsletters
- The Authors Guild, Est. 1912 — a leading advocate for writers' interests in effective copyright protection, fair contracts, and free expression. Membership dues are based on annual income from writing, beginning at $125 annually for those with annual income from writing of $25,000 or less.
- The Freelance Writing Organization International — searchable databases for markets, articles, contests, jobs and newsletters. Free to join.
- National Writers Union — trade union for freelance and contract writers
- International PEN — worldwide association of writers
- Partners in Crime — The San Diego chapter of Sisters in Crime
- Publishers & Writers of San Diego — Publishers and Writers of San Diego (aka PWSD) is a nonprofit trade organization focusing on the business of publishing. Their mission is to help independent publishers and authors understand the many facets of the industry and publish as successfully as possible. They emphasize upholding professional standards, regardless of how a work is brought to market, and learning together about this constantly changing business.
- San Diego Writers, Ink nurtures writers and those wishing to explore the craft of writing, fosters a literary community, promotes literature and celebrates artistic diversity. We hang our literary hats at The Ink Spot, NTC, at Liberty Station, 2730 Historic Decatur Rd., Barracks 16, Suite 202, San Diego, CA. Here writers and artists and those who love literature gather for literary events and art exhibitions. But The Ink Spot isn’t the only place we gather. We’re an enthusiastic collaborator with many artistic, cultural, and community organizations and join with others throughout the city and county in promoting literature and creating community.
- San Diego Writer's Network — Their mission: to acknowledge, inform, create and grow our San Diego Writer's Community. See their eWriters Coach blog.
- San Diego Professional Editors Network (SD/PEN) — an association of trained editors offering a variety of editorial services for writers and publishers
- Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators— San Diego Chapter — The chapter covers the San Diego/Imperial County region and is one of the most active chapters in the country. Members come from a variety of backgrounds and range in experience from those new to children’s writing or illustrating to authors and illustrators with numerous published titles.
- Reference Materials
Business of Writing Resources
- A Tax Cheat Sheet for Kindle eBook Self-Publishing — A post from Intuit's TurboTax blog of what you need to know about your tax liabilities when your book sells. Look out for advice on what records to keep during your writing process before you reach the publication point.
- Freelance Writing Career Resources - 59 helpful freelance writing career resources. A comprehensive guide to the career of all the online resources you’re going to need to thrive as a freelance writer.
- Tax Tools and Calculators
- The Ultimate Freelance Writing Career Guide — Freelance work in any field can be exciting and can offer you freedom you might not have with a typical 9-5 job. On the other hand, it takes a lot of discipline — and maybe even a bit of luck — to earn a good and steady income. Freelance writers are more in demand than ever in the information age, and more people are entering the exciting world of working as an independent writer. Whether you are just starting out, or you are already well-established and have regular clients, you’ll find some valuable resources in this guide. Use these links to look for work, build your experience, network with other writers, and find helpful tools.
- The Ultimate Freelancer's Guide — The Simple Dollar staff's attempt to create a one-stop guide for freelancers, covering everything from business structures, to getting good gigs, to taxes, to long-term savings, and much more.
Dictionaries & Thesauruses
- Bartleby: Great Books Online — a reference site for literature, providing dictionaries, thesaurus, author index and quotations
- Cambridge Dictionary Online — British English
- GrammarCheck.net — a web-based check for grammar and spelling mistakes that gives instant feedback
- Merriam-Webster Online — dictionary and thesaurus of American English
- Online Etymology Dictionary
Graphic Design for Book Covers, Logos, Blog Posts
- 20 online resources every graphic designer should know
- 30 excellent resources for graphic design freebies
- 99Designs — need a cover for your book? a logo to brand your writing?
- Adobe Spark — a free resource for templates to create graphic images for posts, web pages, and videos. Use in conjunction with a source for images, such as Unsplash, to punch up the impact of online work.
- Canva — “The easiest to use design program in the world” according to the Webbys.
- Just Creative — 99 sites every graphic designer
- Unsplash — high-quality photographs offered at no charge, licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.
- A-Z List of Idioms - UsingEnglish.com — alpha list of idioms
- Google Search — returns sites on cliches
Skills & Technique/Grammar
- Common Errors in English — common errors in English and alphabetical list of misused words; easy grammar checking
- Lisa Lines Blog — Grammar and usage from Dr. Lisa Lines, a historian, author, and academic editor.
- OWL - Purdue University Online Writing Lab — Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling
- Associated Press Stylebook — "the journalist's 'Bible'" widely used by newspapers
- Chicago Manual of Style — the most widely used style manual for book and magazine publishing (but not newspapers); see also: One Space or Two? — answers the timeless question of whether to put one or two spaces following a period
- The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World — essential elements of Web style for writers, editors, bloggers, and students. With topics that range from the basics of grammar and punctuation to Web-specific ways to improve your writing
- Bartleby: Great Books Online — a reference site for literature, providing dictionaries, thesauri, author index and quotations
- Google Book Search — search the full text of books to find ones that interest you and learn where to buy or borrow them
- Internet Movie Database — to locate a quote from just about any movie ever made; also good for other movie trivia
- Ask Author Law — free articles and podcasts by an intellectual property law firm regarding legal issues for writers
Critique Groups, Chat Rooms and Forums
- Betsie's Literary Page— How to Critique
- Chat and Forum Listings — Preditors and Editors guide to publishers and publishing services for serious writers. Note that as of November 15, 2016, this site has posted a plea for someone to take over maintenance of the site and the stale information can be removed. The current managers recommend the following three sites in the meantime:
- Critique Circle — give and receive feedback through online critiques. Requires an account, but it's free. Premium memberships are $3.29 per month.
- Writer Circle — an active site for critiques. Writer Circle is an online community focusing on critique, support, and feedback for serious writers and other creatives of varying levels of experience - but mostly serious writers. All are accepted and encouraged.
Classes and Workshops
- Allpoetry Community — focuses on education and sharing your poetry; chat rooms, contests, critiquing, classes and workshops
- The Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park is offering two, new creative writing classes:
October 3 “Reading the Desert: Stories and Literature of Joshua Tree” with Ruth Nolan, Author and Professor of Creative Literature, College of the Desert November 6 – 8 “Creative Issues and Practices in Nature Writing” with Elizabeth Wyatt, Professor of English, Copper Mountain College
(both classes earn college credit through U.C. Riverside, Extension)
- Fiction Factor — classes and workshops to help you publish and warnings about publishing schemes; site contains forums, newsletters, and markets
- La Jolla Writers Conference — An annual event, held at the end of October or early November at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine. Conference registration is limited to 200.
- Start Blogging Online — A simple, step-by-step guide for starting a blog in less than 20 minutes.
- A source of free contests that have been reviewed and evaluated, with an indication of the level of recommendation (none, neutral, recommended, highly recommended), can be found on Jendi Reiter's blog, Winning Writers. You will have to subscribe to her blog to access her database, but there is no cost and no new username or password is required. Selected entries, those she recommends or highly recommends, are included below for the September through December of 2016. Check out the Winning Writers website for more details about the contests listed below and others with a neutral recommendation.
- Reedsy Contest List — updated weekly, check often
- San Diego Book and Writing Awards — entries accepted from published and unpublished authors living in San Diego
- Kirkus Reviews Online — Kirkus Book Reviews
- FirstSiteGuide — Lots of reviews of hosting services, blog platforms, web builders, as well as guides such asHow to Make a Website, Web Hosting Explained, How to Choose a Domain Name, and How to Register a Domain Name, and more
- Go Start a Blog — Free resource on starting your own blog that includes over 20,000 words of content, instructional videos, and downloadable worksheets to help new bloggers get started.
- How to Start A Blog: Step-By-Step— Free guide to setting up a blog using HostGator as the hosting service.
- How to Start a Blog — Free guide regarding the steps to set up a blog using SiteGround as the hosting service
- Steps to Start a Blog — Steps To Start A Blog provides free tutorials, tips, and resources for starting a blog and making it successful using Bluehost as the hosting service
- Website Setup — post on how to customize WordPress for beginners
- MakeAWebsiteHub.com includes a number resources for setting up a website, such as a guide to help people set up their first website, cheat sheets for people just beginning to code, and advanced tutorials such as this one WordPress security.
- Absolute Write — forums, classes, market listings, editorial services, writers directory, agents, software, newsletter
- Authors.me - A startup in Austin, Texas, with a new platform to connect writers, agents, and publishers to get manuscripts discovered. Still in Beta, the company is offering free subscription for the first year to authors who sign up before mid-summer. For a sample of what the platform will look like, check out this mockup.
- Betsie's Literary Page — lots of links to book reviews, author interviews, upcoming events, author-friendly radio sources
Book Marketing Update — resources for self-publishing and promoting your books
- California Writers — book news, author, and reader resources
- Folio Literary Management (formerly Creative Media Agency Inc.) — helpful articles for writers, including "How to Get Published"; a must site for anyone hoping to sell a book to a publisher. See also: How To Write A Kick-Ass Query Letter — voice of experience from agent Paige Wheeler, president of Folio Literary Management
- The Market List - A Writers Market Resource for Genre Fiction
- A Newbie's Guide to Publishing — author JA Konrath's blog on writing
- Preditors & Editors — a guide to publishers and writing services for serious writers. Note that as of November 15, this site has posted a plea for someone to take over maintenance of the site and the stale information can be removed. The current managers recommend the following three sites in the meantime:
- Publishers Marketplace — fee-based site with book-publishing news and free daily newsletter, PubLunch
- Publishers Newswire — bills itself as "The News and Marketing Resource for Book Publishers and Authors"
- Publishers Weekly — monitors the pulse of the book publishing industry
- Quotes About Writing — get inspiration (or not) from the famous and infamous
- Tips Products International — Booklets and Info Products as Business Propositions
- Writer's Digest Magazine — writing books, competitions and other resources for writers
- Writers' Toolbox — A writer needs a toolbox as much as any other occupation. When building a house, for example, the right tool speeds up the progress and can shave time off your goal. Listed below are top picks for a writer’s toolbox.