I also got hit with a new idea, which means that FETCH might get put on the back burner. Again.
Anyway, one of the things I wanted to do was make a list of all of the resources I've made use of in 2017. I thought about doing this in the last weeks of last year, but other things came up.
By which I mean I got distracted watching a truly staggering amount of Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super (Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to have Funimation subscriptions and '90s anime nostalgia).
I'm focused again now, so I figure it's time to share that list.
This year, I dug around on twitter and on the internet trying to find ways to improve my writing and tips on how to connect with others in the industry. I've cut up the list into categories: hashtags, websites, and podcasts.
- #MSWL--the official Manuscript Wishlist hashtag. This is a great place to get an idea of what agents are looking for, and to see if there's someone out there who's looking for a project like yours
- #pubtip--a hashtag where folks in the publishing industry share tips, advice, and insight into how the publishing industry works.
- #querytip-- similar to #pubtip, this hashtag tracks advice specific to the querying stage of the process
- #writetip--writers, agents, editors, and the like share advice on various aspects of writing--from structure, revision, and writer tool boxes to advice on dealing with imposter syndrome and the trials and tribulations of being published
- Various Twitter pitch parties-- there are several opportunities each year to pitch your project on twitter in the hopes of connecting with someone looking for the type of work you do. These hashtags are used on the day of the contest to direct agents and editors to pitches, but on non-contest days, you can sometimes find writing and pitching advice, critique partners, and a supportive community. A few of these hashtags are #PitMad, #DVPit (for diverse, Own Voices authors), #PitchSlam, #SFFPit and #PBPit. You can always do a quick Google search to find more or follow agents on twitter.
- The Manuscript Academy--This has been one of my most-used resources this year. Created by an author and an agent, The Manuscript Academy offers classes, critique sessions, and a database of agents and editors for writers to dig through. Whatever issue you're having with your work and whatever experience level you're at, there's something of use here. I've personally gotten query critiques, a first-page critique, a first ten pages critique, and a first fifty pages critique. The "faculty" are agents and editors with bios you can review before booking sessions. The feedback I've received through these sessions has be incredibly valuable. As much as I've complained about the reworks required for Project 2016, it's a much better MS than it was before.
- Writer's Digest--Maybe an obvious inclusion on this list, but Writer's Digest consistently shows up with useful tidbits, announcements, and contests. Here, you can find articles on the writing and publishing process, tips on how to deal with issues in your writing, announcements for new agents, information about writing conferences, and various short fiction contests.
- The Plot Line Hotline--Where most of the resources listed here are curated by others, the Plot Line Hotline gives writers the opportunity to ask specific questions. Six writers run the website, fielding questions on aspects of the writing process--though they don't take questions on publishing.
- Wendy Heard's Critique Partner MatchUp--Finding feedback is one of the most important parts of revision. Speaking for myself, I frequently can't see the forest for the trees when it comes to judging my own work. I'm not great at finding the things that someone fresh to the story can see. But it is so hard to find someone willing to do a thorough read of 80,000 plus words. This site lets you put your name in to be matched with another author of similar experience and genre. You and your partner can serve as fresh eyes for each other's work. The next round of matches are being made this month, so this is a great time to get in on this.
- Writers Helping Writers (Bookshelf Muse)-- This blog is where the Emotion Thesaurus originated. Here, you can find articles on the craft of writing from plotting to revision and special entries on how to use unexpected aspects of the story to make your work more immersive and specific.
- Query Tracker--A great resource for querying writers. This site has an easy-to-search database to help you find agents that represent your genre and to keep up with who is open to queries. Basic access is free (and all that I've used, personally), but premium access allows you to keep track of your responses, to view agent data, and track response time. Basic users can view comments and contact information on listed agents.
- Writing Excuses--A long-running weekly podcast hosted by a number of published writers. The episodes are short (fifteen minutes, per their tagline), which is great if you're busy. Though the hosts sometimes delve into the publishing industry and process, the main focus of this podcast is craft. Each season has a different theme. This year, the theme is character. Their (lengthy) backlog of episodes is available on their website.
- PubCrawl Podcast--Publishing Crawl is a blog chock-full of writers resources. The PubCrawl Podcast is a specific offshoot of this blog, hosted by an author and an agent. Episode topics range from the mechanics of the publishing industry (they have a whole series on contracts) to aspects of craft and frequently include recommendations for other resources. And books.
- The Manuscript Academy--Connected to the website mentioned before, the Manuscript Academy podcast is hosted by the website's creators. The episodes range from query critiques, first page reactions, agent Q & As, and information about the publishing industry.