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Writer's Resources

As a writer, I spend a lot of time working to get my books published, and I’ve found several different websites with information to help me reach that mark. As a former college professor, I'm used to sharing everything I learn with my students, so I’ve decided to add a page to this website, filled with the links that I find useful.
 

The Library of Illumination includes a lot of references to books and characters, and it helps to know which of those are in the public domain, so that I can use them without worrying about copyright issues. I usually research public domain books on Authorama or with the help of Project Gutenberg.

Sometimes finding copyright information is not that easy, especially when it involves work from other countries. I've used this Wikipedia site to help me determine if foreign rights are expired.

Since I like to independently publish a lot of my work, I've got an account at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Which means I buy ISBNs and barcodes from Bowker.

I publish ebooks on Kindle and Smashwords.

And when I'm ready for print, I've set up an account at Lightning Source.

A lot of information at the following links is free, however, some sites require a paid subscription. But all of it can be helpful to novelists like myself, as well as non-fiction writers and memoirists.

I’m starting with the most obvious: a dictionary. True, WORD and programs like it have their own spell check dictionaries. But sometimes, you need a second opinion and I’ve found this Merriam Webster Dictionary to be invaluable.

A while we’re on the subject of dictionaries, I also like to use Rhyme Zone when I’m writing parodies or rhymes. I use it a lot. If the word you’re looking for is in another language or you need a translation: Google Language Tools is very helpful. If you just want to get in touch with other writers, try forums like the one at AbsoluteWrite.com. And, one of the best is at Backspace. It’s like a bible for writers.

Maybe, you’re not quite sure what to include in your synopsis. This page at The Fiction Writer’s Connection may help you out. It also has a page on how to write a query letter as well as a lot of other interesting stuff.

And if you’re ready to find an agent, there are plenty of sites to help you research potential ones before sending out query letters. All literary agents are not equal. You’ll want to find ones who are experienced in selling the genre of book that you’ve written. One way to do that easily is at Agent Query. Just select your fiction or nonfiction genre on the left side of the page and click the Quick Search button. Names of agents who handle that genre will appear on the write. You can click on the Full Profile icon to make sure they’re accepting queries and to see who prefers email or snail mail. Full Profiles may also contain recent deals and other detailed information.

If you want to find out who represents your favorite author, try Query Tracker and click on the section for who represents whom.

There are other ways to check out agents. Members of The Association of Authors’ Representatives is a good way to start, but there are good agents who are not members, so keep an open mind and do some research. Another great agent research tool is Preditors and Editors, to see if an agent is on the up-and-up. P & E will tell you whom to avoid and who’s recommended, based on feedback they’ve received.

I also chose to pay for a subscription to Publishers Marketplace. In return I get a weekly email telling me what the latest deals are, like:

David Fuller's SWEETSMOKE, a historical novel about a slave on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, whose quest for retribution for the murder of a free black woman leads him to Antietam, on the eve of the greatest, bloodiest battle of the Civil War, based on eight years of research, to Leslie Wells at Hyperion, in a major deal, in a pre-empt, by Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider (NA)

The same site has a key to help interpret how good a deal it really is:<

"nice deal" $1 - $49,000 
 "very nice deal" $50,000 - $99,000 
 "good deal" $100,000 - $250,000
 "significant deal" $251,000 - $499,000
 "major deal" $500,000 and up

So I now know Deborah Schneider sewed up a “major deal” for David Fuller.

Of course, if you want to know something about everything, read the archives at Miss Snark. They’re informative as well as entertaining.

These are great sites and I’ll be adding more to the Writers’ Resources page as I stumble upon them. And if you have some sites you often rely on, just click on the email button on my navigation bar and I’ll share them with the writing community.