Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Using what's out there

by Lauren

Have you ever discovered that the exact information you were looking for was readily available online, but not found it until months after you first decided it would be of use? It just happened to me this morning, and it’s a reminder that no matter how hard you search, there’s still a lot out there that you might be missing. While Googling can get you far in life (and I firmly believe everyone should cultivate reasonably good search skills for their personal and professional benefit), sometimes the greatest sites are ones you’d never know to look for. It can be really helpful to know what sites others with similar interests and needs find handy.

Certainly, all authors should be sure to check out the website of the Authors Guild. Some of their resources are only for members (authors with publishing contracts should think about joining), but others, like the information on the Google settlement, are freely available. For anyone interested in the possibilities that the world of social media has to offer (and frankly, you should all be, because it’s not only personally fun and useful, it’s critical to a successful career in publishing these days!), Mashable is one of the best sites out there, including how-to guides both basic and advanced to get you started and then help you take it to the next level. If, like me, you’re a grammar nerd (or simply need the help), check out the Chicago Manual of Style’s free monthly Q&A. There’s also the option to subscribe to the manual itself online, though I’m personally partial to the hard copy on my desk with post-its flagging the issues for which I’m most likely to need reminders.

Which sites do all of you find useful? We find the blogs in our blogroll (take a look to the right!) to be pretty informative, but I think the best resources for authors, both published and aspiring, are probably those their fellow authors are already using. So share below your favorite resources for authors and publishing professionals! I’ll definitely be looking to add to my list.


  1. Wow - I just checked out the Mashable site and it's amazing! Thanks for the info. I also like the Market My Words blog -- it has a ton of info on publicity and marketing.

  2. I love The Word Detective, for recreational purposes. Internet-Resources.com is another great site.

  3. There's a site called Gender Genie--you can put in a block of dialogue and, based on studies of typical word choice differences between men and women, the site tells you whether the dialogue is more likely that of a man or a woman.

    I found it useful when I was trying to write from the pov of a man and kept getting comments that it sounded too feminine.

  4. Anyone who isn't subscribed to Mashable's email list or following them on twitter (or through facebook) should be. They're completely on top of new trends and technology and have been for some time.

  5. Thank you, I appreciate your links they will come in so handy.

  6. Hi, Lauren,

    I'd like to call your attention to my podcast and Web site, The Writing Show, http://www.writingshow.com, where we offer information on the craft and business of writing as well as contests, reality shows, workshops, and more. We've produced about 300 podcasts now. We're in the process of expanding our text-based features as well, including a new forum, which will go live this week.

    You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Zune, or straight RSS feed available at our site.

    Thank you!

    Best regards,
    Paula Berinstein
    Producer and host
    The Writing Show