I was cleaning out my computer files (I hoard even those) and I found an article I wrote last year that may be of some use. I hope some of this may be helpful!
Some people are new to writing. Some people have been writing for years but never come across a need for information in specific areas. Whatever the case, there are a ton of sites with information you may want to keep bookmarked in your computer—but you didn’t know. Until now…
Maybe you’re ready to send out your first book to a publisher, but you’re not sure about the guidelines such as word count or snail-mail vs. e-mail submissions. How do you find it? If you write romance, RWA’s (Romance Writers of America) website (http://www.rwa.org/) has a section for publishers with fairly updated information. First, you do have to login to the member’s section. Then, go to: Member Resources, then Publishers and Agents, you can either click on Publishers , it will show what they’ve been doing lately and click their name for info or click on Market Update to go straight to mailing/subbing info. You can see what they’re looking for. I would, however, suggest you Google, Yahoo and/or Bing the editor you want to send it to first just to make sure they’re still there. (You don’t want to be the one subbed book that is sent to a long-gone, but for whatever reason still listed editor—straight from the slush pile to the trash can!) Agent information is also listed in that section under Agent Update.
Another place you can look at editor/agent info is at: Predators and Editors (http://pred-ed.com/). It will tell you if a place is recommended (by what they’ve gleaned from people dealing with them) or if you should run not walk and stay away. P & E also has a host of other writing related areas. Remember, though, it’s just another kink in the chain of research before you send off your manuscript.
Also, on agents, try one of these places when looking up or looking for someone:
RWA University has a great calendar of events set up with upcoming courses, check out the website to plan which you will attend!
If you want to know how much you may expect to earn by publishing house, Brenda Hyatt has a wonderful website (http://brendahiatt.com/show-me-the-money/) where she compiles a list every year.
eHarlequin’s website (http://www.eharlequin.com/) has everything from their submission guidelines to pod casts by editors and authors to online classes. It has a huge community of authors (pubbed and not-yet-pubbed) to communicate with (and you can buy books too…).
Writer’s Digest (http://www.writersdigest.com/GeneralMenu/), much like eHarlequin, has everything from courses to books to advice and so much more. Be prepared to spend some time as both places have so much information to wade through. Oh, and, if you ever get stuck and just have no clue where to start writing for the day, WD has a “prompt” section (http://www.writersdigest.com/TipsPrompts/), try it and see where it can take you.
Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine (http://www.rtbookreviews.com/) has book reviews (as the name states) but it also has an online community as well as help for aspiring authors.
Like to read articles on publishing and the world around it? Try an online magazine: Publishers Weekly (http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/home/index.html)
Have you heard NANO bandied about? Don’t know what it is? It stands for: National Novel Writing Month (http://www.nanowrimo.org/); the function is to get 50,000 words done in a month (the month of November). Just another way to keep you actively writing.
If you don’t already have your domain purchased, it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and get it. You can spend as little as $9 a year; and you can make your registration private—I pay the additional $8 a year for private registry because people can click on it and see the info associated with it. You can obtain/register your domain at places like Go Daddy, Domain and Network Solutions—Google them for the sites as well as many others . (As someone who has a “.net” web-addy and added my middle name because my name without it “. com” was/is taken… it’s worth it if you think you’ll ever use it).
Not ready to jump into the domain field, you can dip your toe in for free with blogs. WordPress (http://wordpress.com/) and Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) are two, easy to navigate, routes. You can personalize them as much or as little as you have time or knowledge for. They also have multiple pages to be utilized. And did I mention they’re free?
Did you attend last year’s RWA conference? Or the one before that? No… Did you know you can look up the conference handouts online? On RWA’s site (http://www.rwanational.org/cs/conference_recordings_and_handouts), the 2009 thru 2011 handouts are available online (you don’t even have to be logged in).
Just for fun:
I worry about naming my characters after someone who might take offense—I have never deliberately done this, but there are only so many combos of names right? But how to know for sure… I always Google my character names and see what pops up. If you like to waste more time play, try this website: (http://www.howmanyofme.com/) “How many of me”. It will tell you, as the name implies, how many people have that name. Denise McDonald for instance, there are: 268. My kiddo, whose name I spelled a little different than the norm, one or fewer.
Need a little extra push to get words on the page? Try Write or Die (http://writeordie.drwicked.com/), you can set the terms –word disappearing if not fast enough typing on your part or a simple little nudge to move it along (on the site, look to the right sidebar for the timer).
Remember search engines are your friend. Even if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Try adding words to your search such as author, writer or writing and you may open up a world of knowledge you didn’t even know you wanted to know.