Quick Roundup of Helpful Writer’s Tools
By Elizabeth Cutright
© 2012 The Daily Creative Writer
I’ve talked about GalleyCat before. If you haven’t checked the site out, I highly recommend putting it in your rotation. If you’re not a professional writer, a lot of the information may not seem relevant, but the site’s helped me discover some great resources and provided much needed inspiration in the form of self-publishing success stories. It also helps if you like me, are saddened by the sight of bankrupt bookstores and the ever-present clarion cry that “publishing is dead,” GalleyCat will restore your faith in books, magazines and writing as a viable career option.
First up, a couple of opportunities for aspiring writers. If you’re an YA (Young Adult) author without an agent, then here’s some news sure to brighten your day: Carolrhoda Books (Lerner Publishing Group) is currently accepting un-agented YA manuscripts. You’ve got until October 31st to submit your work, and some basic guidelines include avoiding “university-aged protagonists” and manuscripts over 100,000 words long. Publisher Andrew Karre also offers three tips for authors that are applicable to all manuscript submissions and queries: always follow submission guidelines, include a brief cover letter, and don’t spend too much time agonizing over that cover letter’s contents (Karre suggests spending less than 20 minutes on it).You can learn more here.
If you’re in a competitive frame-of-mind, then perhaps you’re up to participating in the “America’ Next Author” writing contest from eBookMall.com. A bit like American Idol, a panel of publishing experts as well as the general public will critique submissions. They’re looking for short stories – 2,500 to 5,000 words – and they only want material that has not been previously published. Thankfully, the contest is free to enter and the grand prize is $5000 – sounds like a nice little next egg for that trip around the world or next startup project.
This week, GalleyCat also lead me to two interesting websites I think are worth sharing. The first is DocuToss, a website that provides editing services. I don’t know much about these folks, other than they seem like a scrappy startup with a viable idea, and I’m a sucker for scrappy startups. I like the simple, ad-free interface and am intrigued by the editing services they offer. Perhaps their endeavor marks a new era of freelance, online editing for hire. I think both websites are definitely worth keep an eye on.
I’ve also been taking Contently out for a test drive. The sign up process couldn’t have been easier – I logged in through my Facebook – and adding clips is just a couple clicks away. You can type in the name of the publication you’ve worked for, and they’ll do all the rest. You can fine tune what’s on your “clips feed” (although clicking each individual entry that I want to delete was a bit tedious), and I’m assuming they’ll eventually let you share individual clips and comments.
Access to Contently’s Marketplace is invitation only. Apparently the only way to gain entry is to “build a strong portfolio with clips from major publications.” As such, I don’t know how valuable this site will be to the beginning writer, or someone who – like me – may have plenty of work appearing in national publications that fall under a 50,000 subscription ceiling. I’ll keep you posted with updates after I’ve lived with the site for a while.
Do you have any websites you’ve found particularly useful? I’m also on the lookout for sites that inspire me to get to the page, provide me with resources to build an online portfolio, or connect me to other writer/editors. Would love to hear any of your suggestions in the comments.
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