There are a number of websites and blogs dedicated to writing, but some I visit again and again. This is a list of my favorites, and the reasons they keep me coming back.
The Institute of Children’s Literature http://www.institutechildrenslit.com/ is my favorite place to go. Maybe it’s because this is the place that got me started. If you’re thinking this site isn’t for you because you’re not interested or can’t afford to take classes, you’re missing out on everything else they have to offer. Right under the home button, you’ll see Rx for Writers. Not a student? Doesn’t matter. This section offers a free weekly newsletter, the ever helpful Topical Index, and my personal favorite The Writer’s Retreat. Many of the things I’ve learned have come from the helpful authors there.
Writers Helping Writers http://writershelpingwriters.net/ holds more information than you could get through in a day, so pace yourself. You don’t want to miss anything. You can get another helpful newsletter here. Resources for Writers is a beautifully organized list of helpful links. My personal favorite part of this one is the Thesaurus Collections.All you have to do is browse the contents to see they are worth their weight in gold for creative inspiration.
If you’re interested in writing for magazines or the educational market, Evelyn Christensen’s website http://www.evelynchristensen.com/index.html is the most complete up to date list I’ve seen anywhere. Just click on the little crayon on the left that says writers, and prepare to be amazed. These newsletters have up-to-date tips and links to each website. Your complete search all in one place.
It goes without saying that every writer needs a thesaurus http://www.thesaurus.com/ When you skim your page and realize you’ve used the same word four times, but for some reason, can’t think of a single word that means the same thing, go here. You might end up saying “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that,” but at least you won’t be thinking too long. You’ll be writing instead!
Literary Rambles http://www.literaryrambles.com/ is priceless if you’re searching for an agent. While this site has plenty of juicy information about new books and authors, Agent Spotlight is my favorite here. The agent list on the left of the page can save you hours of time, because the searching has already been done for you.
Kathy Temean’s blog https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/about/ is another one I like for finding agents. If you scroll down the page, and look at the Categories header in the side bar, you’ll see there is tons of interesting information for any children’s author. The reason I love her agent posts? They’re very up-to-date. These are agents looking to build their list right now. So if you have what they’re looking for, it gives you a bit of a leg up.
Kidlit 411 http://www.kidlit411.com/ is another place filled with information. Are you interested in agents? Critique groups? Picture books, middle grade, or YA? Submissions? Contests? Revisions? All of this and more can be found at here. You might need more than a day to look this one over.
Brenda Drake’s blog http://www.brenda-drake.com/ is a great place for contests. I was hesitant about this one at first, since I’m not on Twitter, but there’s plenty here for everyone. If you are a twitter fan, PitMad occurs four times a year. That is a lot of opportunity to get noticed. But check this blog often. There is almost always some kind of contest in swing, and many of them don’t involve Twitter.
So, if you’re looking for inspiration to get started ... or to keep going, there’s plenty here. If you know of a great website I’ve missed, please let me know in the comments below. I’m always on the lookout for more information.
Ever heard of Pitch Wars? (If you haven’t, Here’s a little information.
I read this exact same information August 14. Yep, three days before the deadline. The one
thing you’ll notice about Pitch Wars is it’s always called an opportunity instead of a contest.
I definitely agree. Have you ever felt like your manuscript is almost there, but you can’t
exactly put your finger on what’s missing? Well, a mentor helps you with that. Your mentor
also helps you polish your query - and maybe some other things you need to get started.
Anyway, when I saw the post, I knew I had to try it. So I jumped right into the mentor list -- and only covered half of it. On Saturday, I went back to the list with my notebook and pen
only to discover submissions had already started. Panic Voice kicked in right away. All of
the mentors will have a manuscript they love before Monday. You better pick the first five
ones that take MG and get your query in. But I wasn’t ready. I knew I needed the right
mentor, the one who would want to make Delayed the best it could be. It took me until
Monday afternoon to narrow down my list of mentors. Then I filled out the submission page,
held my breath, and clicked send. If you’re wondering, yes, it’s just as intimidating as
sending out a query to agents.
When I saw the email in my inbox with Pitch Wars in the subject line, I was expecting a rejection. What I got was a request from Kate Foster, author of Winell Road, for the whole manuscript! A few days later she sent me a few questions. As the deadline loomed for the mentor list, she sent me more questions - because she had a shortlist and I was on it! When I saw the new questions Panic Voice was back. You better just tell her what she wants to hear. If you don’t you’ll never get published. I closed my eyes, told myself that if it didn’t work out, this wasn’t the right place for me to get started, and answered the questions truthfully.
The following day, Kate tweeted that she had chosen her mentee. I hadn’t heard a peep, so I assumed she’d chosen someone else. I stayed away from the contest until September 1st. You can’t imagine the shock I felt when I saw Kate’s CONGRATULATIONS email in my box. Even worse, we live in very different time zones, so she probably had to wait a whole day for a response from me. So, Pitch Wars mentees, if you knew before the list came out, the joke’s on me. If you’re an author thinking about entering next year, plan to sweat out the whole two weeks. It’s well worth it if you get in.
A big thank you to Brenda Drake for setting up this great opportunity, and to Kate Foster for believing in Delayed. Go Team Llama!!
Growing up, I was the