Best Websites for Writers

Top10

The Writer’s Digest 2015 Writer’s Yearbook provided a list of 101 best websites for writers (available only to subscribers or folks who sign up for their newsletter). What follows is my own personal top list of websites based on their selections, with a few additions of my own. In no particular order:

1. thestorystarter.com – This is just plain old writing fun. Need a writing spark? Head over to story starter and click the button. Sure, what you get might be nonsense, but it might also get your gears turning. You never know what will spark your next story idea or plot development.

2. Grammar Girl – I am not a grammarian. Most people… even writers aren’t, but it’s an important part of what we do. Have a grammar question? Like, “Is my participle dangling?” Head here. Grammar girl has the answers.

3. Joe Konrath (or A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing) – I’ll admit it, reading Joe Konrath’s blog is one of the reasons I got into self-publishing. Over the years, it’s become a bit acerbic, but Joe tells it like it is when it comes to the publishing industry and his beliefs in the potential for authors to succeed in self publishing.

4. Preditors and Editors – This is a great resource, especially if you’re thinking of signing on with someone to publish your work. They’ve sniffed out the scams and the con artists. Should be part of any due diligence before giving anyone your money to do work for you.

5. Writer Unboxed – While I don’t visit this site as often as I used to, it’s really a great resource. Plenty of great content written by a wide variety of regular bloggers and contributers. A great community focused on everything writing.

6. Slushpile Hell – As a self-published author, a blog about query mistakes and submission pet peeves doesn’t hit home quite so hard. But, if you’re looking for a great source of what NOT to do when submitting to agents, this is the place to go.

7. Mediabistro.com – Looking for a writing job? This is a great place to start.

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Now, a few of my personal favorites to round out the top 10 that didn’t make WD’s list.

8. Alltop (Publishing) – Alltop is an aggregator site that you can customize to show you any news from top blogs that you want. In this case, I use their Publishing site. It’s a great way to see all of the most popular blogs in one site, with the most recent article titles on the same page. Great for finding news to share or get ideas for your own blog posts.

9. Hugh Howey – If there was a “good cop” to Joe Konrath’s “bad cop” in the self-publishing world, it would be Hugh Howey. While Joe tries to beat everyone over the head with his (usually well thought out) anti-establishment rhetoric, Hugh is more about sharing his experiences and letting the reader decide what’s best. His Author Earnings Reports can be eye opening to those considering self publishing.

10. Writer’s Cafe (at kboards.com) – If there was an accomplice to Joe Konrath in convincing me to self publish, it was the Writer’s Cafe forum over at kboards.com (formerly kindleboards.com). While the forum isn’t quite as it used to be (good things never last), it’s still an invaluable resource of self-publishing experience. Want to know if a marketing site is worth the money? Want to know how to price your novel? Want to know which 3rd-party distributor to consider? There’s someone there who has seen it/done it.

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I hope you find this list useful! Any sites you recommend? Let us know in the comments section and thanks for stopping by!

Amazon Offers Author Advertising Option

AmazonAdvertising

A new option for advertising your books in the Select program.

 

Amazon recently announced the release of a pay-per-click advertising program for authors with books enrolled in Kindle Select. On your bookshelf, you’ll see a new option next to your Select books called, Promote and Advertise. The program, which had been rumored to be in beta months ago, is similar to other pay-per-click programs I’ve seen on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. You can target your advertising by product or interest. From Amazon:

Product-targeted ads appear on Amazon.com when shoppers browse for the products you select and similar products. Targeting by product may yield fewer impressions but more interested buyers.

Interest-targeted ads appear on Amazon.com to shoppers who have demonstrated an interest in the categories you select. Because you’re casting a wider net, targeting by interest may yield more impressions.

You set your bid amount, but be forewarned that your minimum budget amount is $100. This is certainly different from other systems, where you can usually set your budget to whatever amount you want, allowing you to run short, inexpensive campaigns. Strange that Amazon would do this, as it might limit the number of folks throwing their hat into the advertising ring. Which might also be a good thing.

Also, I’ve heard talk from some of the beta testers and the results are bland at best, horrible at worst, with a very poor return on investment. As with any new marketing venture, I recommend looking around for hands-on experience (try this thread in the Writer’s cafe over at kboards.com). There is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to advertising.

I’m sure I’ll give it a shot at some point, but I’m not quite in a position to drop $100 at the moment. When I do, I’ll be sure to report the results.

Do you have experience with this new program? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Snowpocalypse 2015!

Well, at least for the US east coast. 😉 I amused myself last night by scrolling through my Facebook news feed to see just how many different weather maps there were and how drastically different each forecast was. All I could ascertain was that we were in for 12″+… and that’s all one really needs to know. Any storm where a foot is the least amount, is fairly significant for this area.

With schools already closing early today, it’s more than likely my son will have a snow day tomorrow, which might lead to me working from home. Might be a great opportunity to get in some writing between work tasks. On days when the weather is crap-tastic, as tomorrow promises to be, I like nothing better than to sit with my laptop, a hot cup of tea, a blanket, and watch as 1 of 3 house cats tries to use me as a pillow (they take turns).

So, do you get excited about writing time windfalls? Do you gameplan in order to make the most of your newfound time?

Thanks for stopping by and if you live in the northeast region of the US, be safe over the next 48 hours. 

Having Plot Problems? Try Out This Cool Site

PeriodicTable

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

 

http://www.designthroughstorytelling.net/periodic/

Tally Up Twitter Tuesday – 1/20

Twitter-Bird

 

Another batch of tweets from the last few weeks that you might find of interest.

Irregular Marketing

IrregularMarketing

So, while I have no standard ads scheduled for my books in the coming months, I have a couple of events that might fall under the category of “irregular marketing.”

The first is part of an interview series that is being conducted by my company. It’s a network-wide initiative to identify employees who have aspirations outside of their career (don’t we all?). It’ll be a short interview and photo (with me holding my book very prominantly). Now, if I worked for a small company, this might not get my hopes up, but the network is close to 11,000 people worldwide. Not too shabby.

The next two events are somewhat similar. I was invited back (apparently by popular demand) to my alma mater (The Richard Stockton College of NJ) to appear on a career exploration panel for Literature majors in February. While I never see this as an opportunity to sell books, I’ll be taking along a copy of Danny Dirks to at least show it off a bit. 😉

Then, in April, I ‘ll be part of a panel at the same venue to discuss Publishing in the 21st Century. My first paid speaking gig! At that event, the organizer said I’ll have a chance to read and sell books afterwards.

These types of events aren’t the kind you can simply sign up for, which I guess is why I call it irregular marketing. But, these are exactly the kinds of things that can surprise you with results. I probably won’t sell hundreds of books, but I may make a personal connection with someone who becomes a fan. These types of opportunities are priceless. so, when you’ve reached a point, where you just can’t handle the disappointment of a mediocre advertisement, take a good look at local resources. Does your alma mater have a newsletter that highlights alumni achievements? What about the local newspaper (if your town still has one of those archaic beasts)? Maybe the library has a discussion panel you could be a part of?

Anyway, I hope maybe these little tidbits help spur your own irregular marketing ideas. I’ll definitely follow up with results (if any!) as the events come.

Any irregular events of your own on the horizon? Please share in the comments! 😀