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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

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
  • 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.


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.


  • George Polk Awards in Journalism — the criteria for awards are discernment of a significant news story, resourcefulness and courage in gathering information, and skill in relating the story
  • Glimmer Train Press — categories include Very Short Fiction, Short Fiction and Fiction Open (up to 20,000 words)
  • Pulitzer Prize — entries accepted for Journalism (daily newspapers), Letters (books), Drama and Music
  • Reedsy Contest List — updated weekly, check often
  • San Diego Book and Writing Awards — entries accepted from published and unpublished authors living in San Diego
  • Virginia Kirkus Literary Award — enter your completed yet unpublished, full-length (45,000+ words) novel or short-story collection for a chance to win a publishing contract
  • — Writing competitions and contests from Writer’s Digest magazines

Book Reviews

Online Literary Journals

Website Resources

  • 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 — 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

General Resources

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