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Cultivating Your Craft in the Digital Age

Published on Thursday, October 7, 2010 by

The web is a great resource for writers, however, there is more than one can ever imagine, and it’s a matter of determining what is good and useful to you as a writer rather than finding information on improving your writing.  Below is a list of websites, a journal, if you will, of what I looked at today.

Book in a Week:   Has consistently been named one of the best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.  Currently they note on their website a writing challenge for November …to write a 50,000 word book during that month.  Based on my estimation that is more than 1600 per day. Sounds like fun!  Are you up for challenge?

In addition to that they have tips, ideas and information for writers.  They also have book recommendations and a detailed FAQ for writers.

NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month is in November and there is a website strictly devoted to this initiative.    According to their website:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

Where: You write wherever you’d like. On your computer, on your iPad, on a typewriter—anywhere is fine, just as long as you’re writing! For a more in-depth NaNoWriMo overview, visit the devilishly handsome “What is NaNoWriMo?“and “How NaNoWriMo Works” pages.

Media Bistro: this seems to be a site that recognizes that opportunities for writers come in all sorts of varieties.

ewritersplace: A compendium of articles, ideas and tips for writers.  This site includes author interviews, resources for edting, publishing, and courses for improving your craft.

National Grammar Day: What a great site!  Bills itself as “Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.” Features Grammar Girl who presents podcasts with verbal tips to improve your writing…a great site!   (How many grammar rules did I just break: now I am nervous!)

Helium: I love this site.  From their website they state that they are: Helium is also a knowledge co-operative where our writers are also our editors who read and rate every article on the site.

At Helium, we believe that everyone can contribute what they know to share with millions of readers around the globe.

At Helium, we believe readers want a choice of viewpoints – not just one opinion on any subject.

At Helium, we believe publishers need an easier, more efficient way to get the content they need.

Poetry Soup: Provides a wealth of resources for poets, including contests, a glossary of poetry terms, an encyclopedia of poetry forms, membership, and chat rooms, the list of resources here goes on and on!  Check it out.

Protagonize: Wow what a great website for writers.  This is for the writer who wishes to participate in a collaborative writing experience.  They refer to this as addventure. They refer to the wikipedia definiton of addventure as: known as a collaborative gamebook, is a type of online interactive fiction that combines aspects of round-robin stories and Choose Your Own Adventure-style tales. Like a round-robin story, an addventure is a form of collaborative fiction in which many authors contribute to a story, each writing discrete segments. However, like a gamebook, the resulting narrative is non-linear, allowing authors to branch out in different directions after each segment of the story.


Writer’s Digest and their 101 best websites list!  With a wealth of full feature articles, blogs, websites and writing tips this is a must read for any writer.   I noticed that the 2011 Writer’s Digest is still the top selling writer’s book.

CreativeWritingPrompts! I have not done this for a while but in the past when seeking writing inspiration for short stories or poety I would randomly pick a line, a word a phrase and writing something around that random selection.  This great site does the same thing for a writer..so pick a number any number!

Google Library Project: You should also be aware of the Google Books Library Project, as well as keep track of the developments here.   In coordination with this keep your eye on the Best Practices for Authors and Publishers sites.

I have recently been involved in a magazine launch project which, in my estimation went very well.  We did our research in looking at and evaluating other, similar, projects.  I have been scouring the web for other resources that would also help us in this initiative and I am including them here.

Magazine Launch: a portal site connecting the leading vendors & consultants with the thousands of publishing professionals and entrepreneurs who will start consumer, trade, special interest, and organizational magazines every year.

Issu: We  ended up using Issuu.com as the platform for our magazine.  They state their mission as follows; It’s our mission to empower individuals, companies, and institutions to publish their documents across all digital platforms. Issuu is the fastest growing digital publishing platform in the world, but also a very popular destination site where people are engaging with the web’s best publications and where publishers build their audience. Many professionals opt for Issuu Pro with additional publishing power.


Suite101: A great post on how to start up a magazine.  By the way Suite 101 is another great site for writers so while you wander in there take a look around.


ReadWRiteWeb: Another great resources with an article on how to start up a magazine.

The above referred to MagCloud:  if you want a print based magazine this might be worth looking into.   This appears to be a print on demand service details on the website and below:

  1. Create
  2. The publisher creates a magazine in a design program. Any program that can put out a letter-sized (8.5″ x 11.0″), multi-page PDF will work.
  3. Upload
  4. The publisher uploads the PDF or a Flickr photo set to MagCloud, fills out the description, and orders a proof. At this point, no one can see it besides the publisher.
  5. Proof
  6. MagCloud prints, binds, and mails the proof to the publisher. Proofs can take up to 2 weeks to arrive, though most arrive faster.
  7. Publish
  8. The publisher reviews the proof. If changes are needed, the publisher can upload a new PDF and order another proof. The publisher marks the issue as “published” and sets the price. MagCloud charges 20 cents per page, and the publisher specifies any markup above that.
  9. Buy & Sell
  10. When the issue is published, people can buy it on the MagCloud website or download it with theMagCloud iPad app. Buyers will need to have a credit card or PayPal account to buy. We ship worldwide!
  11. Print & Mail
  12. When someone buys an issue, MagCloud prints, binds, and mails it to the buyer. Or send an order to an entire group of people using our unique Ship to Group capability. Orders can take up to 2 weeks to arrive, though most arrive faster.
  13. Publishers Get Paid
  14. Publishers can check their sales online at any time. Once a month, MagCloud pays publishers any collected royalties via PayPal.

How to Start up a Literary Magazine:  article that seems to have some helpful tips and ideas…they suggest an up front investment of money in website, etc., this article maybe a bit dated we use WordPress and it seems to work fine.   Another great article from the same site is here: http://www.everywritersresource.com/pitfallsofliterarysites.html

7 Responses
    • Cathy, Thanks again for a wonderful list of resources. I am an internet junkie and when I see some websites that I have missed discovering I am overwhelmed with excitement. Can’t wait to check out some of your “new” suggestions.

    • excellent internet project! good luck and prosperity! thanks.

    • Thank you!

    • Great website. Have bookmarked. Thanks.

    • I am following your blog regularly and got great information. I really like the tips you have given. Thanks a lot for sharing. Will be referring a lot of friends to this.

    • Thank you for your advice !

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