There are zillions of writing blogs out there, some by published authors and many more by not-yet-published hopefuls. Some of my favorite writing blogs are written by publishing industry insiders—the editors, agents, and assistants whose life work it is to plow through the sea of manuscripts.
In honor of last Sunday’s Academy Awards, I started putting together my own personal awards list of the most useful, encouraging, and yes, addictive blogs. If you’re looking for reliable information, useful advice, and writing tips from the very people who are going to be evaluating your manuscript, check out these valuable blogs.
Best Blog for Learning the Art of the Query Letter: Query Shark
If you’re struggling with a query letter (and who isn’t?) Query Shark is the blog for you. Written by an anonymous literary agent, Query Shark is an impressive database of real query letters sent in by readers, along with comments and suggestions from the Shark herself.
Many writers find it useful (and even essential) to read through Query Shark’s entire archives before deciding their query letter is ready for submission. I wholeheartedly agree. The almost two hundred annotated examples of both good and bad query letters make Query Shark a more valuable resource for the fine art of querying than any book I’ve seen.
Best Blog for Learning Publishing Industry Basics: Pimp My Novel
Pimp My Novel is written by Eric, a young man who works in the sales department of a major publishing house. This blog is an excellent first stop for writers who are unfamiliar with publishing industry basics. From his excellent publishing industry glossary to his breakdowns of publishing news, PMN can be trusted to deliver clear, up-to-date information about the world of books.
Best Publishing Industry Watchdog: Writer Beware
Writer Beware is exactly what it sounds like: a blog warning would-be authors about shady literary agents, scam contests and vanity presses, and relevant publishing news. Acting as a sort of Better Business Bureau to the sometimes treacherous industries that have sprung up around book publishing, Writer Beware aims to protect writers from individuals and corporations that would prey on them.
Anyone considering signing on with an agent, publisher, or POD service should check out Writer Beware’s “Thumbs Down” lists of agents, publishers, and companies for whom Writer Beware has received complaints.
While not written by publishing industry insiders (that would be a conflict of interest, right?), Writer Beware is an official project of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Committee on Writing Scams and has been in operation since 1998.
Best Agony Aunt for Writers: Editorial Anonymous
Have a question about pitching your book? Trying to decode that not-quite-rejection letter? Wondering if your book is better classified as an “urban fantasy” or a “contemporary thriller”? Editorial Anonymous is the person to ask.
A children’s book editor, Editorial Anonymous has been answering e-mails from perplexed writers since 2007, making her blog one of the better-established and wide-ranging of the bunch. Her writing style makes it an enjoyable read even if not all of the issues addressed in the questions apply to you (as I certainly hope they don’t!).
Best Writing Advice from a Literary Agent: Rachelle Gardner
Rachelle Gardner is a literary agent with the WordServe agency. Like Editorial Anonymous, she tends to answer a lot of writers’ questions in her posts, but she also dishes up some valuable writing advice (recent advice posts include “Action is Character” and “It Doesn’t Have to Be Great Art for People to Like It.”
Nowadays, most literary agents have some kind of bloggery or Twitterly presence, and the “Best Agent Blog” award could easily go to several of them. Another wonderful blog in this category is Betsy Lerner’s (http://betsylerner.wordpress.com/) an editor-turned-literary agent who is also the author of The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers.