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Websites for Writers


We've done your homework for you: here are some of the best, most useful websites out there for writers. When it comes to helping writers find a literary agent, chatting with other like-minded authors, or researching industry leads and alternative publishing paths, these are some of the first-class writing and publishing websites.

Also be sure to check out our official AQ "KNOW THY GENRE" Writers Website Cheat Sheet in which we list the top websites for fiction genres like literary fiction, children's/midde grade/young adult, science fiction & fantasy, romance, thrillers & suspense, mystery and crime, and historical fiction.

AGENT HUNTING

The Association of Authors’ Representatives
The AAR was formed in 1991 through the merger of the Society of Authors' Representatives (founded in 1928) and the Independent Literary Agents Association (founded in 1977). To qualify for membership in the AAR, an agent must meet professional standards specified in AAR's bylaws and agree to subscribe to its Canon of Ethics. However, AAR cannot regulate the commissions, fees, services, or other competitive business practices of its members.

Their website and searchable agent member database has recently been updated. Based on our current intelligence, it seems like AAR has stepped up to the plate and made an effort to keep their database regularly maintained and accurate. And although we consider every agent in our AQ database legitimate, not every agent in our AQ database is a member of AAR. In our opinion, AAR membership is not a black & white litmus test for good versus bad. It simply offers one source for verifying potential credibility. For more info. on what exactly it means for a literary agent to be an AAR member, check out our official AQ Guide to AAR Membership.

Preditors and Editors
P & E’s website keeps an ongoing list of literary agents, reputable and non-reputable, for all writers to browse and compare notes. And although this website doesn’t maintain current addresses of agents or always list the most accurate information regarding which agent is affiliated with which agency (literary agents are peripatetic; they change agencies, start their own agencies, then close shop and move to bigger agencies more times in a year than J-Lo gets married), it does serve as a great source for ferreting out the scammers.

Bottom line: if you’re interested in an agent who you don’t find in our AQ database, we recommend that you cross-reference the agent’s name with Preditors and Editors’ list. If you find the agent’s name on P & E with a “Not Recommended” rating, then you’ll immediately know why she’s not in our AQ database. Read our Beware of Scammers page, and stay away from Ms. Questionable Agent—far, far away.

Publishers Marketplace
Publishers Marketplace is one of the most trusted industry-insider resources and offers a wealth of information for a month-to-month subscription fee of $20. This subscription includes search privileges to view their "recent sales" agent database. PM also offers Publishers Lunch, a free daily e-zine that recaps the book sales made to the major & indie publishers. For example, Publishers Lunch tells you that Mr. Agents sold the book Lovely Secrets by Sho-shana Friedricks, about a twenty-something girl with leukemia who refuses to tell her fiancé she’s dying, to Ms. Editor at Simon & Schuster. Keep in mind, however, that Publishers Lunch only reports the news that agents and editors feed them, and not every agent on the planet feels compelled to report their sales to Publishers Lunch. And by the way, our AQ database only lists a "snapshot" of an agent's sales history, both new deals and clients' books already published. We let Publishers Marketplace take care of databasing every single deal made by each specific agent. If you'd like to learn more about PublishersMarketplace.com, be sure to check out our official "How PM works" guide.

Writer Beware
Similar to Predators & Editors, Writer Beware’s goal is to provide writers with current information about known scammers in the literary agent world. They often put out an A.P.B regarding specific names and organizations to avoid at all cost. They also maintain a blog to educate writers about the detrimental scamming practices of fee-charging “rogue” agents who prey on the vulnerable, desperate sensibilities of wannabe authors. You can also email Writer Beware to ask specifically about an agent or publisher, and they'll check the agent or publisher against their extensive database. If Writer Beware shouts, "Stay away!" we recommend that you sprint in the other direction of that questionable agent or publisher.

GENERAL WRITING & PUBLISHING RESOURCES

Poets & Writers Magazine
Poets & Writers offers informative articles, publishing news, special features, and important deadlines for literary contests, conferences, residencies, awards, and grants. It’s the best online and in-print guidance magazine for aspiring writers—and they’re not paying us to say that. A subscription to this magazine will keep you informed and in-the-loop, and we also recommend checking out their Tools for Writers. It’s a treasure trove of links and mini-databases related to writing contests, indie presses, grants, residencies, writing organizations, literary agents, and more.

Writer's Digest
Writer's Digest offers both a website and monthly print magazine that provides topical "digestible" information of interest to mainstream writers. Their articles are generally geared towards the beginning to intermediate level writer, and often focus on the mechanics of good writing and selling one's self as a writer. If you're new to all of this, reading Writer's Digest is a great way to slowly immerse yourself into the world of publishing and its complex facets. If you're looking for an agent, we purusing their blog, Guide to Literary Agents. Writer's Digest also sponsors their annual 101 Best Web Sites for Writers Magazine Edition. And you know it, baby, AQ made the 2013 short list. Nineth year in a row!

Writing World
This site offers solid nuts-and-bots advice to all writers of all genres. Fresh articles and columns are posted weekly, and there's simply a mind-boggling amount of how-to advice for the beginning writer, including A Step-by-Step Guide to Launching Your Writing Career and How to Write a Successful Query Letter as well as How to Find Markets for your writing, and Aspects of the Writing Life (like rejection and writer's block). And that's just for the newbies. And perhaps most helpful to emerging writers is their Rights & Contracts page, packed with information regarding publishing rights, copyrights, contracts & payment issues, piracy, plagiarism and scams.


WRITING & PUBLISHING ONLINE COMMUNITIES

AgentQuery Connect
AQ Connect is our online social networking community. It's a great place to poke around for the most current information regarding how to get an agent, agent submissions, as well as the state of the current pubishing industry. We offer a dedicated group just for Query Critiques and Synopsis Critiques as well as a Guppie Pond for all you newbies who have a question, but feel timid about publicly posting it. Whether you want to just lurk and learn, or become an active participating member, AQ Connect is fresh, informative, and free resource to educate yourself on all the aspects of professional publishing.

Absolute Write
AbsoluteWrite has a huge, loyal fan base that is dominated by newbie writers and established authors who critique, gossip, and educate each other about the realities and pitfalls of the publishing industry. Their Beware and Background Check forum is moderated by several watchdogs who tirelessly work to educate newbie writers who fall prey to the most common of the agency and publishing scams. If you can get past the newbie scam paranoia that is prevalent on this board, you'll glean some valuable tips and writing opportunities from the more regular posters.

Figment Fiction
Figment is a community where you can share your writing, connect with other readers, and discover new stories and authors. Whatever you're into, from sonnets to mysteries, from sci-fi stories to cell phone novels, you can find it all here. Figment Fiction is quickly becoming one of the top new literary social networking sites, and over a dozen publishers, including Random House, Macmillan, Penguin, Hachette and Perseus are already paying to market their books and authors on the site. Future plans for the site include a marketplace where authors—both professional and amateur—and book publishers can sell their works.





AQ's Official "KNOW THY GENRE" Writer's Website Resources


There's a trade secret to getting published. And it's not writing a stellar query letter or snagging the best agent on the planet. It's even easier than that. And yet, we're finding more and more AQ users are zooming right over this essential trick, and consequently, heading straight into query hell. Since we assume you'd like to avoid query hell as much as you'd like to get published, here's our trade secret revealed:

KNOW THY GENRE.

Genre is everything. Whether you're hunting for an agent or just trying to wrap your brain around the Crazytown called "the publishing industry," one of your best strategies to getting published is to first identify your book's specific genre. KNOW THY GENRE doesn't mean guessing on the best way to describe your book in a query letter. It means networking within that genre and staying atop of the news and opportunities specific to that market. And schmoozing with other aspiring writers, published authors, agents, editors, and industry-insiders who specialize in your book's genre is one of the smartest strategies for getting published.

For this reason, we've put together our essential AQ's "KNOW THY GENRE" Writer's Website Resource List (see below). There's more to getting published than just "getting an agent," and that secret strategy starts with KNOW THY GENRE.

LITERARY FICTION

Poets & Writers Magazine
This is one of the best print and online resources for literary fiction writers. If you're too cheap to pay the $20 bucks for the magazine subscription (shame on you, it's easily worth $100), then at least visit their website or check out their awesome Tools for Writers page.

Duotrope's Digest
An award-winning, free writers' resource listing over 3375 current Fiction and Poetry print publications like small presses and magazines with a kickass searchable database.

TheReviewReview
This fantastic website is dedicated to exploring the elite and esoteric world of literary journals. They offer an extensive review database, in which they provide in-depth reviews of almost all well-known 150 journals as well as interviews with their editors. If you're seeking publication in lit mags, this resource is indispensable.

NewPages.com
News, information and guides to independent bookstores, independent publishers, literary magazines, alternative periodicals, independent record labels, alternative newsweeklies and more.

Residencies & Colonies
Whether you use our list or the ResArtist list -- just pick one, apply, and find a way to get there. We've personally attended three residencies on our AQ list, and they were all beyond amazing. Nothing compares to a solid month of literary immersion and solitary solidarity.

CHILDREN'S BOOKS, MIDDLE GRADE (MG), and YOUNG ADULT (YA)

Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators
The SCBWI Annual National Conference is a networking goldmine, but membership also gains you access to their online community as well as their local chapter events & seminars. And you'll likely be surprised to find experienced published children's book authors willing to meet for coffee and sophisticated industry events taking place within driving distance.

Jacketflap.com
JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators and other creators of books for children and young adults as well as provides an extensive database of publihsers, agents, editors, and other industry contacts.

Children's Writer Newsletter
This monthly newsletter is distributed by The Institute of Children's Literature. They cost is $19 bucks, but they offer two free newsletters for your perusal. It's a wealth of info on the market, the biz and the art.

Young Adult Books Central
We highly recommend this little website, especially if you're a YA author with a book being released soon or want to follow new YA releases. The site provides reviews on a number of YA and children's books. It looks like it might be turning into quite a little gem for getting the word out about your book as well as reading about the rest of the YA marketplace.

Verla Kay's Online Community for Children's Writers & Illustrators
Verla Kay, a published children's book author, provides a helpful, supportive website for aspiring children's book writers and illustrators. Her site offers useful links galore and her forum is populated by curious writers who are research addicts when it comes to sniffing out the newest publishing leads.

SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
SFWA is a professional organization for authors of science fiction, fantasy and related genres that informs, supports, promotes, defends and advocates for its members. Novice authors benefit from their Information Center and the well-known Writer Beware site.

LOCUS Online and Magazine
Like the magazine, Locus Online focuses on news of the Science Fiction publishing field and coverage of new science fiction books and magazines.

Tor.com
While Tor Books remains one of the most respected publishers of science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, and horror, its website, Tor.com has become an informative resource for writers of speculative fiction. Be sure to frequent their online community and forums for the most current publishing news and tips affecting this market.

BookCountry
Major New York City Publisher, Random Penguin's online writing and critqiue community dedicated to genre writers, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror and ALL its subgenres. And we mean ALL subgenres -- their genre map proves it.

ROMANCE

Romance Writers of America
RWA is premier writing association for romance authors. More than 10,000 romance writers and related industry professionals are members of Romance Writers of America, and one of the best ways to get involved is to attend their annual national conference or to participate in one of its 145 local, online, and special-interest chapters.

eHarlequin
It's hard not to admire Harlequin's trail-blazing transition into the e-publishing and digital distribution marketplace. And many of their digital imprints continually accept and review submissions from unagented writers; thus, it's one of the best opportunities for new romance writers to break into professional publishing.

Romantic Times Book Reviews
RT BOOK REVIEWS Magazine reviews every romance published. They also profile published authors, alerts readers and booksellers to forthcoming titles, and provides news and gossip columns designed to guide aspiring authors in the honing of their craft.

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Divas of the romance book review blogosphere.

Kensington Publishing Corp.
One of the best kept secrets within the romance industry is that you can actually get a book deal without an agent. And Kensington continues to be one of the independent mid-tier publishing houses that accepts queries from unagented writers.

THRILLER & SUSPENSE, MYSTERY, and CRIME

Mystery Writers of America
Mystery Writers of America, Inc. is the premier organization for mystery writers and other professionals in the mystery field. Be sure to check out their regional chapters -- and its one of the best ways to network locally within the genre.

International Thrillers Writers
Thriller authors created ITW to celebrate the thriller, to enhance the prestige and raise the profile of thrillers, and to create opportunities for collegiality within the thriller community. ITW offers a three-in-one resources, including their annual ThrillFest conference and their online magazine The Big Thrill in addition to their official ITW website and members-only section.

Sisters in Crime
Sisters in Crime is an international organization of readers and writers dedicated to raising awareness of women's contributions to the mystery genre. Sisters in Crime also offers the helpful online forum SinC Guppies, a cyber fishtank for aspiring writers working in the genres of mystery/crime/thrillers/suspense.

The Criminal Element
Major publisher Macmillan has created a new online community for crime fiction and nonfiction readers, and it looks like a great resource for online networking and tracking industry news as well as submitting your crime fiction short stories for publication.

CrimeSpree Magazine and Blog
After 7+ years, this print-only magazine is still a formidable indie rag dedicated to the ins-and-outs of the mystery and crime publishing market. It may have a garage band feel, but their coverage is topically current, and their industry connections provide them with the insider scoop. Look for it in your local bookstore. You'll probably be surprised when you actually find it on the magazine shelves.

HISTORICAL FICTION

Historical Novel Society
Yearly membership fees (currently $50) include two magazines, one of which -- The Historical Novels Review -- reviews EVERY work of historical fiction traditionally published in the USA and UK (every). Members also get discounts to the annual HNS Conference.

Historical Novels website and blog
A book release/review blog and comprehensive website dedicated to the art and craft of writing the historical fiction novel, including a detailed profile of every era of history and examples of how masterful novels have captured its timelessness.

Historical Fiction Online
An online community forum for writers, authors, readers, and fans of the historical fiction genre

Historical Naval Fiction website
This website is truly the Master and Commander of naval fiction resources.

INTERNATIONAL RESOURCES

Australian Writer's Marketplace
The Australian Writer’s Marketplace is the premier resource for Australian and New Zealand writers. Published authors call it their “industry bible”. Furthermore, Australian or New zealand writers searching for a literary agent might want to try closer to home via the Australian Literary Agents' Association.

Author Network
This is a great website for writers interested in exploring agents, competitions, festivals, and other literary opportunities in England and Europe. They have a healthy list of links to UK small presses and university presses, UK literary agents, and UK professional organizations and associations. They also offer monthly writing columns, interviews with established authors, and even individualized websites for writers seeking to promote their current article or book.

Critique Circle
If nothing else, it's nifty that this site is an import from Iceland. Register as a free CC member and you've suddenly got a whole network of new literary friends, waiting to critique your query or manuscript in their forums and story queues. For a premium membership of $24 a year, you can create your own private message forums and critique queues. You also gain full access to their ToolChest, offering snazzy web tools like "Submission Tracker," helping you track all your submissions to magazines, agents, and publishers, and "Name Generator," creating random English names from the U.S. Census Bureau data. Cool, huh? They even have a "Paragraph-a-Day" tool—for all you master procrastinators.