Now, I don't know about you, but when I first started writing I had no clue about the business of publishing. I had these romantic images of women in silk robes and maribou slippers or men in rumpled clothes with a hefty drink in one hand and a pen in the other. They would send off their manuscripts to their hard-nosed agents and ... ta-da, a few months later their books would be on the shelves.
Only that's not exactly how it happens.
Thankfully, before I took my first big step into this career, I knew that I need to know more. That I would stand a better chance of actually getting published if I knew more about the industry.
Here's where Before You Write a Word advice part two comes in.
Step Two: Research
If you're reading my blog (and, I guess, that we can reasonably make that assumption) then you have access to the greatest research resource ever made: the internet. When I was trying to educate myself about the intricacies of the publishing industry, I lived approximately in the middle of nowhere. But (thankfully) the internet had already become a tremendous reservoir of information about writing, publishing, agents, organizations, and anything else you could possibly need to know to begin your career.
Now, that reservoir is even bigger. Agents and editors and even copyeditors are blogging. Organizations, big and small, are active on Twitter. Bestselling authors are on every possible social network. Meaning that all this information is instantly available to you.
The sheer volume of these resources can be overwhelming. Never fear. I have compiled a list of the very best (in my opinion) online resources for aspiring writers.
Loads of Tips and Articles
- Gabrielle Luthy -- Billions of great links, organized by categories like "Beginning writers" and "Dialogue" and "Rejection" (which, trust me, you'll need).
- Charlotte Dillon -- More focused on romance writing in particular, this site was one of my favorite resources when I was first writing.
- Teen Author Challenge -- My friend and fellow author Kay Cassidy's year-long series of blogs for aspiring writers, featuring weekly tips, quotes, advice, and exercises.
- Writer Unboxed -- A multi-author blog about all topics on the craft and business of writing. They have terrific interviews with industry folk.
- Jenny Bent (aka my uber-fabulous agent)
- Miss Snark
- Janet Reid
- Kristin Nelson
- The Knight Agency
- Nathan Bransford
- Evil Editor
- Editorial Anonymous
- Editorial Ass
- Meg Cabot
- Ally Carter
- Kristin Cashore
- Laurie Halse Anderson
- Maureen Johnson
- Justine Larbalestier
- Melissa Marr
- Diana Peterfreund
- Romance Writers of America -- A terrific organization for any writer, even if you're not writing romance. RWA is focused on educating authors in all aspects of the publishing world, from craft to contracts to promotion and everything in between. The monthly Romance Writers Report journal and numerous online, members only resources make it a great group to join.
- Young Adult RWA -- The newly-formed young adult (teen fiction) special interest chapter, focused exclusively on young adult literature within RWA.
- West Houston RWA -- My home chapter, with a great membership pool, a lively online loop, and some of the best workshop programs around.
- Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrations -- More oriented at picture books and middle grades authors, SCBWI produces a wonderful monthly magazine and a great only resource library.
- Teen Lit Authors -- An extraordinarily active loop for all writers (aspiring and otherwise) of teen fiction. This loop has several hundred members, tons of whom are published, and any question is sure to get plenty of answers.