Friday, 24 January 2014

My Top 10 Websites for Writers

By Iola Goulton

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years surfing the internet, learning about publishing and book marketing. This post will introduce you to what I believe are the Top 10 blogs for Christian authors to follow (although it excludes Australasian Christian Writers and my own website, both of which you already follow, right?).

Actually, these are the Top 10 blogs for any author to follow While some of them have a Christian focus, most don’t.  Some are focused on traditional publishing, while others have more of a self-publishing bent. It’s important to read both, to enable you to make an educated decision about the type of publisher you want to work with.

So, in alphabetical order:

Rachelle Gardner

Rachelle is a literary agent with Books & Such, specialising in Christian publishing. I have noticed that the quality of her posts has declined over the last year (her best posts are now just links to Books & Such), and her commenters tend to be overwhelmingly agreeable (I suspect most of them hope to land Rachelle as their agent one day). Despite these drawbacks, there is a wealth of information on her blog about writing craft and literary agents, and you would be advised to spend some time going through her archives.

David Gaughran

David is the author of Let’s Get Digital and Let’s Get Visible. Like several other bloggers on my list, Gaughran has a nasty habit of unveiling the truth about spurious publishing headlines. (Marketing hint: when responding to a controversial post, calling the other person “full of ****” means you have lost the moral high ground—and the argument).

Joe Konrath at A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing

Joe offers excellent advice on self-publishing and marketing. His vocabulary is often a little, let’s say, earthy (he’s not a Christian, and his language can reflect that) and his tone is self-congratulatory. However, he’s earned around $1m from Amazon over the last year in ebook sales and lending fees, so I think that gives him the right to say he knows a bit about writing and book marketing. Joe has little patience for traditional publishing, which makes his blog an excellent contrast to the agent blogs.

Steve Laube

Steve is owner of the Steve Laube Literary agency, and the new owner of Marcher Lord Press, publisher of Christian speculative fiction. His blog doesn’t get as many comments as some of the others on my list, but the posts are intelligent and insightful, and include weekly posts from each of the four agents.

Amanda Luedeke

Amanda is an agent with MacGregor Literary, owned by Chip MacGregor, and writes “Thursdays with Amanda”, a weekly marketing post (that I read on Friday, because of the international date line). The blog also has regular posts from Chip, from his other agents, and some guest blogger posts. These are good, but Amanda is better. Again, I’d advise you to go through the archives (or read Amanda’sbook).

The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn covers self-publishing and marketing, with a combination of blog posts and podcasts. A wealth of information, much of which is covered in her book, How to Market a Book.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Kris doesn’t post regularly, but when she does, it’s worth reading. She is especially good on explaining the business of writing and publishing, and issues with contracts (such as interpreting royalty statements, assignment of rights, and reversion clauses). Essential reading. 

Seekerville

Seekerville is a group blog featuring a range of Christian authors, and includes posts on writing craft from the Seekers, and from a range of guest bloggers, both published and unpublished. They also offer affordable online classes—I'm enrolled in the February class and am looking forward to it.

The Passive Voice

The Passive Voice isn’t a like most blogs, where the blogger (or a group of bloggers) post their own views and experiences. Passive Guy compiles interesting and relevant posts on publishing and marketing from around the internet and adds a dry comment or two. (He also posts relevant literary quotes, and the occasional promotion for Mrs PG’s new book).

Writer Beware

What’s going wrong in the world of publishing, including agents, awards and publishers to avoid (and why). Writer Beware is one of the best places to look if you think something looks fishy (see their invaluable “Thumbs Down” lists). Again, an extensive and informative archive.

If you only have time to follow one blog, which one would I recommend? Easy.

The Passive Voice


Why? Two reasons:
  • The Passive Voice is run by Passive Guy, a lawyer specialising in contract law, so he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to publishing contracts and legal issues. Mrs PG is a self-published historical fiction author, so he has an interest in self-publishing. You can find his professional website here
  • The comments are outstanding—comments on many blogs are mostly congratulatory, but PG attracts a range of readers and encourages friendly debate. For an example, see the recent post on author earnings which attracted over 300 comments.


What writing blogs do you read? Which ones do you recommend, and why?

By Iola Goulton. I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction, and you can find out more about my services at my website (www.christianediting.co.nz), or follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/christianediting), Twitter (@IolaGoulton) or Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/iolasreads). 

18 comments:

  1. Great post, Iola. Thanks for sharing these sites with us all. You've mentioned a few of my favourites like Joanna's and Rachelle's but also there are a number that I haven't heard of before.

    Joanna is a great example of someone who has gone from a Corporate gig to a full time writing/blogging career. There are many things we writers can learn from her work.

    Thanks again, Iola.

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    1. Glad to help. Are there any other blogs you follow and would recommend?

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    2. Iola, I follow Katie Weiland's like you and also really like Larry Brooks' Storyfix ...

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  2. Its so funny you posted this - I was going to ask you for a list of blogs you follow Iola!
    Of course, I already follow Christian Editing services and ACW ;)

    I follow some of the ones you have listed, but overall my problem is needing to be more regular in checking blogs - I often find I follow links that are posted on ACW Facebook more than actively going to my selections each week.
    I have really enjoyed Passive Guy - you're right, the open discussion is interesting.

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    1. Cat, I find it easier to follow the blogs on Twitter. You can create a private list with the Twitter handles of the blogs you want to follow. I skim the tweets and find it more efficient than searching for each blog.

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    2. And I was about to say follow blogs on Twitter. I have a lot of blogs I follow through Blogger, but I'm going to start moving to using a Twitter list, as Narelle suggests.

      I retweet blog posts I find interesting, and these also appear on my Facebook page. I do that partly to share the information, and partly because then I know where to look for that interesting post I read last week ...

      I'm also a member of several different writing groups on Facebook, and those are invaluable for picking up news outside my 'normal' reading field. It also means I'm always finding new and interesting blogs and people to follow.

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    3. Thanks Narelle and Iola, I get the feeling that I shall soon be eating my words that twitter is for twits. ;)

      Seriously though, what was once a teenage and celebrity phenomenon is now a very useful writers tool. I'll have to add twitter to my list of technological services to master this year.

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  3. These are some great blogs Iola, thanks for sharing. Over the last year or so I've also found K M Wieland's blog practical in terms of writing craft.

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    1. It's hard to pick just ten. I've recently read through the Writer's Digest Top 100 list - which includes some of the blogs I enjoy, but not all of them.

      I do follow KM Wieland's blog, and was impressed by her latest craft book, Structuring Your Novel and I highly recommend it. I'll be covering it in a post in my next series, plot and structure.

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    2. I'm glad to hear that K M Wieland's book on structure is good as I just brought it. I'll have to compare my notes to your post Iola.

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  4. Iola, thanks for compiling a great list of helpful sites. I follow my agent, Steve Laube's blog. Steve's posts are always good :) I usually read all the agency blogs you mentioned plus Seekerville and The Passive Voice. Time limitations prevent me from reading more blogs on a regular basis.

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    1. I don't read every post from every blogger on this list - which reinforces the importance of having a good headline. Like you say, time limitations.

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  5. Hi Iola,
    I'll be bookmarking this list to refer to. I too, am familiar with some on this list but not others.
    And if we're adding our own favourites, I also find Jeff Gerke's, Suzanne Hartman's and Andrea Graham's are well worth visiting. And I'd have to add your own Christian Editing Services blog to my list.

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    1. I haven't heard of Suzanne Hartman or Andrea Graham - I'll check those out. Thanks.

      I read Jeff Gerke sometimes, but his wasn't one that came to mind as a top 10. I also read Jeff Bullas (social marketing) and Seth Godin (marketing), but they are more general - not just for authors.

      Maybe I'll have to do a follow up post later in the year.

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  6. Excellent! What a great list. I'll be adding some of these to my RSS list. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Hi Iola
    I also recommend "Books and Such Literary Management" blog - Rachelle Gardner is part of this, but it's interesting to get several agents' perspectives.

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    1. Annie, that was actually in my original Top 10, but I took it out in favour of Seekerville. Funny!

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