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

  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Jerry B. Jenkins' List of 30 free writing contests with prizes
    Reedsy Contest List — updated weekly, check often
  • San Diego Book and Writing Awards — entries accepted from published and unpublished authors living in San Diego

Book Reviews

  • How to Get Book Reviews — how to approach getting quality honest reviews for your book, and legitimately—in ways that won’t risk getting your Amazon account suspended
  • Kirkus Reviews Online — Kirkus Book Reviews

General Resources

  • Absolute Write — forums, classes, market listings, editorial services, writers directory, agents, software, newsletter
  • - 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.
  • Best Literary Magazines of 2018 — a list of the best literary magazines of 2018 that writers can submit directly to. You can filter through the directory by format (print or online), traffic, and category.
  • Betsie's Literary Page — lots of links to book reviews, author interviews, upcoming events, author-friendly radio sources
  • – how to write better blog posts that people will actually read
  • 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
  • How to Create a Great Blog Post — how to publish engaging content that helps you get traffic and build an audience
  • The Market List - A Writers Market Resource for Genre Fiction
    A Newbie's Guide to Publishing — author JA Konrath's blog on writing
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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:

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