Guest post by Kelly Lee
Every writer needs support, and the best way to get 24-hour service is to have your own in-house library.
While there’s no way to pack every great resource into one post, a dozen must-have resources can provide a very basic toolkit.
- The mother of all freelancing sources is the 2012 Writer’s Marke. This is a soup-to-nuts approach to all the places you want to get published with tips on how to get there. It saves a lot of time and effort by providing all the basic information about the periodical or publisher, as well as submission advice and how much money you can expect to be paid.
- While I adore free sources, I have paid for the right to use the site for The Writer. It is a comprehensive writing hub that includes a massive database of publications that gets updated regularly, real rubber-meets-the-road advice from seasoned pros, and tips for polishing your work.
- If you’ve spent any time trying to ramp up your writing career, you’ve no doubt come across Peter Bowerman’s The Well-fed Writer). With the attitude “If I can do it, you can do it”, Bowerman’s book is the motivational speaker we all need in our heads, even if you’re not a copywriter. With a nod to personal responsibility and leveraging your talents, he lays out his own personal story and guides you with pithy prose.
- Whether you are brand-new at freelancing or have been around the block a few times, Robert W. Bly’s Getting Started as a Freelance Writer (Sentient Publications, 2008) can still pack a wallop (he inspired Bowerman). From his approach to writing queries to growing your business, there’s a little something for everyone.
- Rejection is a fact of life for writers, but there’s no reason to be in the dark about what editors really want. In Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us . Jessica Page Morrell utilizes insight, wit, and years of experience as a developmental editor to help you tighten up your work for publication.
- A stop at the American Society of Journalists and Authors can work wonders for you. While there is a members-only section, there are excellent free resources, such as their Contracts Watch page, which follows issues in pay negotiations. If you want to know your rights as a writer, this is the place to go.
- Another resource to add to your toolbox is Freelance Writing Gigs . A popular feature of the site is the daily job board, populated with possible gigs culled from employment sites and Craig’s List (only paying positions are allowed). Other features include the mini-library of articles on every aspect of freelancing, from start-up and setting fees to banging out timely blogs and taking a hand at grant writing. (NOTE: We have writing jobs listed here too – AW)
- Not everyone can publish in Vogue or write for the New York Times, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity everywhere. C. Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers has newsletters devoted to small markets and alternative funding solutions for writers.
- To get a quick handle on what’s out there and get some ideas, Bookmarks can’t be beat. This periodical is chock-full of short summaries and critiques on every genre. While the site isn’t free, there are free offerings (and most libraries carry copies).
- The framework of your career rests on the nuts and bolts of words, phrases, and sentences. Heed the wise old OWL – the Purdue Online Writing Lab is your best free stop for important bits on APA formatting, hints on avoiding plagiarism, content issues, and grammar.
- Of course, your shelves should contain at least one thesaurus although Collins Pocket Thesaurus is online at. But there are other works that can assist you in enhancing your writing, like How Not To Say What You Mean: A Dictionary of Euphemisms . This tome will have your characters dancing around delicate subjects and mincing words just like they did in merry old England.
- There are also times when you need to get right to the point, so Writing with Precision: How to Write So That You Cannot Possibly Be Misunderstood can fill this niche. With the goal of not wasting the reader’s time, this book delves into the nitty gritty with visuals on “The Ladder of Abstraction” and sections on “Why the Old-fashioned Outline Often Doesn’t Work”.
Whole warehouses could be filled with the valuable resources out there; we do, after all, live in the age of information. But these resources can provide some structure for your own go-to information center in the comfort of your home.
What’s your favorite in your home office library?
Kelly Lee a freelance writer and editor with a background in education. She is the co-author of the Writing Starter series (Compass Media), and has developed numerous books for children. She specializes in developing educational, training, and promotional materials.