Links: Tools of the Trade

Sites to help you get your work noticed.

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Aerogramme Writer’s Studio
I only recently discovered this site, and have been hitting it as much as possible. I found it with a search for short-story contests; they’ve got a pretty lengthy guide to contests in 2017, which also provided a number of short-story markets where I might submit in the future. Definitely check this one out.

AgentQuery
AgentQuery.com offers one of the largest searchable database of literary agents on the web—a treasure trove of reputable, established literary agents seeking writers just like you. And it’s free (not because there’s a catch, but simply because not enough things in this world are free).

Association of Authors’ Representatives
A nonprofit professional organization of over 400 agents who work with both book authors and playwrights. Members must meet the highest standards and subscribe to a Canon of Ethics (which includes no reading fees!). I use this site all the time — not all agents are listed here. Just because an agent isn’t listed doesn’t mean they’re not trustworthy; however, membership in the AAR guarantees a certain amount of honesty. Plus AAR listings offer helpful information on member agents, such as what types of work they represent and how to contact them.

Critters Workshop
This site began life as Critters, an on-line workshop/critique group for serious Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror writers, then grew up into a set of workshops for every other kind of artistic endeavor. What that means is… A bunch of writers (or artists, or creators) get together, review each others’ work, and tell the creator how they felt about their piece. The ultimate goal of Critters is to help improve your craft, not only by having your work dissected by other members, but also by learning to dissect your own work (by, of course, dissecting others). The value of the latter is often overlooked by beginners. There’s no charge to get involved, other than a commitment of your time; check out the site for details.

Hampton Roads Writers: Where Characters Connect
This Southeast Virginia group offers a number of resources for new and experienced writers. Show and Grow gatherings, regular workshops and annual conferences combine with their online resources into a useful networking asset. I’ve been a member for several years and though I haven’t availed myself of their reguular resources as much as I should have, I always attend the conferences. With hundreds of attendees from all over the country, best-selling authors headlining the plenary sessions, and helpful breakout sessions–not to mention the contests and opportunities for critique and agent pitch sessions–it’s money well spent.

How to Deconstruct Back Cover Copy to Write Your Own Blurb
If you’ve tried to write your own 2- to 3-paragraph synopsis in a query letter, you know just how hard it can be to boil your entire novel down to a few meaningful and captivating lines. This page offers excellent advice with doodles and outlines on exactly what it says: using examples of books you already know to show how blurb-writing is done. Part of the Better Novel Project, on whose page you’ll finds lots more useful stuff.

The Muse Writers Center
The Muse Center is a hub of learning activity for local Southeast Virginia residents. Classes range from beginning poetry, fiction and non-fiction to finding and querying an agent to beginning and advanced use of Scrivener software. The Muse also offers gatherings where writers can mingle and network, collaborate, share ideas and encouragement, or just hang out. If  you’re a writer in the Hampton Roads area, there’s bound to be something here for you.

Mystery Writers of America
The premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. MWA is dedicated to promoting higher regard for crime writing and recognition and respect for those who write within the genre. The organization provides scholarships for writers, sponsors MWA Literacy programs, sponsors symposia and conferences, presents the Edgar® Awards, and conducts other activities to further a better appreciation and higher regard for crime writing.

QueryTracker
Not only does QueryTracker have a large online databse of agents; they also offer a wealth of tools for the querying writer. Keep track of who you sent what to, and when, and whether those wait times have expired. You don’t have to pay to use the service; but premium membership isn’t all that expensive, and well worth the price. I got my membership for a birthday present and use it all the time to track my queries and set alerts for when deadlines approach. The Tracker will even send you an e-mail reminder! There’s lots to see here. Check it out!

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Founded in 1965, SFWA is an organization for published authors and industry professionals in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and related genres. SFWA membership is open to authors, artists and other industry professionals, including graphic novelists. SFWA is also the organization that presents the prestigious Nebula Award. Resources, blogs, publications, and more.

Writer’s Digest
No list of links for writers would be complete without this one. Writer’s Digest is a go-to source for all kinds of resources–contests, conferences and pitch sessions, exercises to improve your skill, free downloads, a guide to literary agents, training and workshops, networking, and more. They also offer a magazine with even more goodies. You might want to bookmark this one; it’s constantly evolving and adding content.

Writer’s Guidelines Database
I’m still playing with this one. It offers several ways to search writers markets, along with links to pages of interest. Run by Writers Write, whose main page also has some intriguing links and resources. This page is ad-based.

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