We know you can easily do a search for whatever writing advice, rule, or resource you seek, but sometimes it’s nice to go directly to a site that’s well regarded and recommended. The sites here have been found by us or recommended and we, in turn, share them with you.
- Online references for writers
- Professional writers’ organizations
- Working journalist
- Government websites
- Online newspapers and archives
- Number crunching
- New ways to work
- Computers and the internet
Online Reference Sources For Writers
- ABSOLUTE WRITE “WATER COOLER”
This resource, going back to the late 1990s or early 2000s, is an ARCHIVED discussion forum for all kinds of tips for writers —both for all genres of fiction and for nonfiction/journalism, and for both commercial and self-published authors — as well as a way for writers to ask (and give) advice online with other writers from all over the US, Canada, and the UK. You can also look up the names of agents and editors/publicists to see if anyone else has stories (good or bad) from having worked with them or tips on how best to approach them. [Thankyou to Telly L Davidson for writing up this resource.]
- SFWA’s (Science Fiction Writers of America) “WRITER BEWARE”
Going back to the dawn of the Internet as we know it in the late ’90s, this database exposes and “Outs” bad literary agents and editing/self-pub services that are either out-and-out frauds, scam artists, or just straight-up incompetent and unprofessional, with no real sales track record, or abusive relationships with clients. While posting false or libelous information is of course a major no-no (and you WILL legally regret it if you do), if you have had a shocking or outrageous experience with an agent or editor (not just a rude rejection letter or something, but where they legitimately took advantage or took money from you), you can also expose that person so others aren’t victimized. While it is of course not comprehensive — not all bad agents/editors will be found here, unfortunately — it is a great place to start if you have questions that need answering or if an agent or publishing service seems a little “too good to be true”. Founded by the noted science fiction author Victoria Strauss, it’s an easy resource. [Thankyou to Telly L Davidson for writing up this resource.]
- Lexie Kahn: Word Detective — a blog about etymology. Lexie Kahn is the nom de blog of Judith B. Herman, a freelance writer, artist and word-freak based in Palos Verdes, California. It all started when Judy pondered the word feckless.
- Grammar Girl™ at Quick and Dirty Tips, hosted by Mignon Fogarty
- The Punctuation Guide
- YourDictionary.com — Links to more than 400 dictionaries of over 130 different languages, online grammars, and dozens of specialized dictionaries on all sorts of topics, such as music, art, technology, the list goes on!
- Merriam-Webster Online — Dictionary includes etymology information.
- Encyclopedia Britannica Online
- 10 Speaking and Writing Errors That Erode Your Credibility, an article at Inc.com — These are all likely known to those within our writer’s group, but the article may be helpful for showing others.
- Wise Old Sayings and Quotes — hundreds of unique lists of quotes and sayings on a variety of topics.
- American Society of Journalists and Authors – ASJA is a watchdog for the contractual rights of writers. Their “Contracts Watch” updates help you sort out the good guys in publishing from the bad guys — when it comes to playing fair with writers.
- The Authors Registry – IWOSC is a member of this organization, which collects fees and royalties from publishers and distributes them to authors whose works are being used. The Registry maintains an extensive directory of authors, with contact addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses so that foreign publishers, movie producers, and electronic media developers can more easily reach authors and their agents.
- International Association of Business Communicators – Scope includes public relations, employee communication, marketing communication, and public affairs.
- National Writers Union – The politics of writing in the electronic age — not to mention bread-and-butter issues. Sign up here for the Publication Rights Clearinghouse Project (IWOSC is a participating member).
- Society of Professional Journalists – Daily updates on freedom of information, news about the news industry, and ethics of journalism.
- Society for Technical Communication Worldwide membership includes writers, editors, illustrators, printers, publishers, educators, students, engineers, and scientists.
- Writers Guild of America – Great list of research sites for script writers and the rest of us. Wide variety of subject areas.
- California Journalism Association of Community Colleges
- Hippo — A new scholar source, launched October 2016. HippoReads.com says: “We’ve always been devoted to connecting research with the general public. Now, we’re taking the next step in unlocking academia. We’re inviting journalists to connect with the experts in our network. In the tradition of HARO and ProfNet, we will work to match journalists with an academic source who can give them the perfect quote or information they need.”
Academics, register here to become part of our network. Journalists email email@example.com with their name, publication, research/source needs, deadline and a description of the kind of expert needed. Hippo matches you with a fit from Hippo’s extensive network of academics. See this announcement at HippoReads.
- The Nieman Journalism Lab – a project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University that’s a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age. There’s also a smartphone app.
- CEO Express – The 80/20 rule applied to the Internet. Designed for busy executives and business journalists who want quick links to the Fortune 500 list, Inc. 500 list, major newspapers and business publications, online investment services, annual reports, etc.
- About.com Guide to Freelance Writers – Potpourri of information for independent writers, including a chat room and discussion groups.
- ProfNet – AKA The Professors Network. Links journalists to public information officers of universities, medical centers, national laboratories, non-profit organizations, corporations, and government agencies. Great for finding experts to interview.
- PR NewsWire – Press releases and news with a spin on all manner of topics. Constantly updated.
The Printed Word
- Google News Archive — Searchable! A searchable database of many newspapers from all over. We’ve found some going back to the 1800s.
- Books for Writers, Editors, and Publishers – Ordering is done via Amazon.com. It’s a useful list of books on the how-tos and ought-tos of writing.
- The Los Angeles Times – The online version, unlike the daily newsstand copy, has archives of previous stories that you can download for a fee, plus a link to the AP newswire for up-to-the-minute news junkies.
- Library of Congress – Here’s the mission statement: To make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations.
- New York Times – Many of the daily news and feature items, plus a free archive of book reviews for the past several years, metropolitan news that doesn’t appear in the national edition, and a CyberTimes section that doesn’t appear in the print version of the paper. Also, an archive of recent movie reviews.
- Washington Post – A must-read for all you political junkies out there.
- San Jose Mercury News -Who’s doing what to who in Silicon Valley.
- Dismal Scientist – In pre-Internet days (remember them?) people paid big bucks for this kind of stuff. Statistics plus up-to-date, easy-to-read reports on the economy by experts on employment, manufacturing, etc. Great site!
- Finding Data on the Internet – Where to find the statistical data you’re looking for. A kinder, gentler way to find reliable resources.
- Primer on Statistics – Here, described in plain English, are some basic concepts in statistics that every writer should know…Mean, Median, and how to avoid getting snowed by statistics and statisticians.
- Hourly Rate Calculator — A tool to figure out what you need to charge, on beewits.com.
New Ways To Work
- Authorlink – Provides editors and agents with fast access to prescreened professional fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. This includes quick synopses, excerpts, and author resumes. The site also has job listings, market data and trends, and news about the publishing field.
- Alexandria Digital Literature – Alexandria’s digital librarian, Hypatia, is a “collaborative filter” that makes personalized reading recommendations based on ratings of over one million works of fiction. Readers download out-of-print, hard-to-find sci-fi and fantasy and can pay for their selections via credit card.
- Serialized Book on the Net – Novelist Barry Beckham is marketing his latest book, a history about Chase Manhattan Bank, by serializing it on the Net. Read the first chapter, buy the book, and receive future installments via email.
Computers and the Internet
- CNET: The Computer Network – News and information about the Internet world. Product recommendations and reviews. Software downloads–some of them free.
- ZDNet – Ziff-Davis, Inc. online, with news about computers, product reviews, downloads, and their stable of well-known computer pubs, including Computer Life, Computer Shopper, Family PC, Inter@ctive Week, InternetUser, MacUser, MacWEEK, PC Computing, and PC Magazine.
- The Space Between Sentences Issue:
- At Slate: Space Invaders Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period.
- At GOOD Design Daily: Do You Double Space After Periods?