When it comes to making it as a writer, there are no hard and fast rules, it seems. For writers who have spent the better part of their lives receiving rejection letters, there’s always the J.K. Rowling story. For the die-hard traditionalists who say you need a publisher, you can always throw E.L. James at them. All in all, what the writing world has taught us in terms of popularity is that anything goes.
So to build up on the kind of characteristics that make writers stand out from the pack, check out these great resources for pursuing the writer dream. From indie publishing tips to great seminars on storytelling, there’s a plethora of information to bring your next novel straight to the New York Times Bestseller list—or on the shortlist for a Pulitzer, whatever floats your boat.
1. The Paris Review
Every aspiring writer needs a great literary magazine to peruse, and The Paris Review has been the go-to for interviews, biographies, poetry, writing and excellent artistry since its inception in 1953. Don’t be dissuaded by its French title; The Paris Review is edited in New York City for writers, editors, and culture junkies alike. With famous submissions from greats like Joan Dideon, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner and more, this monthly magazine has long been in the hands of those who truly love the written word.
If you’re feeling bold, submit your own writing for publication—something I suggest for all writers regardless of experience. Check out their submission guidelines here.
I think the best writers are also great readers, and to be a double threat, you’re going to need a great source to discover the latest in new genres. With author question and answer events and review pages, Goodreads is an open community of readers who sign in to keep track of books they’ve read, create booklists for future reading, and collaborate with friends to get the weekly book club feel without having to pencil it into the calendar.
Plus, for the indie writers who are just getting started in publishing, there are numerous authors on Goodreads in the same boat, making this website an excellent opportunity to connect with everyone from newbies to veteran writers.
3. TED Talks
TED Talks, in this writer’s humble opinion, are the greatest resources for any creative person in any field—it’s just that good. But for writers in particular, there are an infinite number of great posts to get you in the know with the latest and brightest ideas on the table. From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s talk on “The Danger of a Single Story” to Elif Shafak’s “The Politics of Fiction,” the website is a veritable smorgasbord for writers looking to get ahead. I also suggest checking out Andrew Stanton’s “The Clues to a Great Story.” It’s the filmmaker’s journey through stories and into the halls of Pixar, and it’s an inspiring one.
With the slogan “People who publish,” you can get a good idea of what Publetariat is all about. From help putting key elements into your pieces to learning the ins and outs of how to promote with Twitter, it’s a full-on encyclopedia from a community of writers looking out for the little guy. Make sure you check out this post on how to write mind-blowing plot twists—it’s an outline of how to create the buildup in a story that leaves readers totally flabbergasted. Like all the articles on the site, it is well researched and has great examples and easy-to-follow tips.
5. The Indie Author Guide
While this resource is more of an online read, it’s the perfect guide for small-time writers who are looking to break into the publishing realm. Located here to download to your e-reader or just for computer browsing, you can catch the snippets of April L. Hamilton’s guide to getting your work published. For those outside of the States, you’re going to need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to get around geolocation blocking before viewing, so check out Secure Thought’s guide to the best one before going headfirst into these publishing tips.
Whether you’re putting the finishing touches on your first novel or looking for guidance to find your niche, these great resources can help your writing career blossom.
Who is Isa Cox?
Isa Cox is a writer and digital nomad who hopes one day to publish her own novel but is currently perfectly happy to soak in all the great stories and wisdom of the greats. She hopes her resource guide fanaticism means you’ve found ways to improve your writing and get discovered. You can find her blogging on Culture Coverage.