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 CALENDARincluding upcoming Author Events, see

Writers' & Editors' Organizations and Newsletters

    • American Society of Journalists and Authors — Since 1948 ASJA has been giving freelance writers the confidence and connections to prosper.
    • 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.
    • Horror Writers Association, San Diego chapter —  a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it.
    • Independent Book Publishers Association — IBPA's MISSION is to lead and serve the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success.
    • National Writers Union — trade union for freelance and contract writers
    • International PEN — worldwide association of writers
    • Mystery Writers of America, Southern California chapter  —  The premier organization for mystery and crime writers, professionals allied to the crime writing field, aspiring crime writers, and folks who just love to read crime fiction.
    • 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 Professional Editors Network (SD/PEN) — an association of trained editors offering a variety of editorial services for writers and publishers
    • Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America — Its mission is to promote, advance, and support science fiction and fantasy writing in the United States and elsewhere, by educating and informing the general public and supporting and empowering science fiction and fantasy writers.
    • 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

Dictionaries & Thesauruses

Graphic Design for Book Covers, Logos, Blog Posts

  • 20 online resources every graphic designer should know
  • 30 excellent resources for graphic design freebies
  • 85 Free Stock Photo Website — On each free photo resource, the type of Creative Commons license is listed, along with whether they require attribution, and the date the site started. Also included is a brief description of the website itself and the website's verdict after checking it out.
  • 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.
  • Burst — Free stock photos for everyone
  • Canva — “The easiest to use design program in the world” according to the Webbys. See also Canva's library of stock photos.
  • 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.


Skills & Technique/Grammar

Style Guides

Research Materials

  • 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

Classes and Workshops

  • Allpoetry Community — focuses on education and sharing your poetry; chat rooms, contests, critiquing, classes and workshops
  • 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.
    • Jerry B. Jenkins' List of 30 free writing contests with prizes
    • Reedsy Contest List — updated weekly, check often
    • San Diego Book Awards — entries accepted from published and unpublished authors living in San Diego

Book Reviews

General Resources

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