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This website has a couple of taglines: Growing your Platform Online and Help For Authors Timid About Technology. It’s great with both. Author Media makes money by creating websites for writers. However, their blog section is a goldmine of free information. Their contributors consistently write helpful articles on platform, creating effective author websites and blogs, using social media, and even technical help for WordPress.
Writer’s Digest is a big name in the business, with its own series of how-to books, magazine, and, of course, its yearly market guide to publishers and agents. They know they’re providing valuable resources to writers, so they tend to charge for them. Surprisingly, a lot of the site is free–articles, editor blogs, writer forums, even a few of the tutorials. However, a good portion of the site requires you to subscribe or pay an assortment of fees to access the content. I’ve found a lot of valuable information in the free section, and if you want to get an agent, I’d advise subscribing to Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents blog. A word of warning, the site’s a beast, and could use a redesign. I can only look at it so long before it gives me a headache.
It’s not fancy, but it’s amazing. If WD’s market guides and their tiny print have you going blind looking for the best home for your manuscript, this website is your answer. Give their search function as many parameters as you like (fiction or nonfiction, genre, keywords, whether you want an agent actively seeking clients, etc.) and it will pop out a list of agents for you. It also has a number of great articles on publishing, e-publishing, and networking. AAR has a similar database search function on their site, but the rest of their resources are understandably geared towards agents. As a writer, I feel Agent Query is more useful.
This is another workhorse that makes up for its boring design in content. It also has an agent search function (although its database is smaller than AQ’s), as well as a publisher search. In addition, the site has a program you can use for free to help you keep tabs on all those queries you sent out. While an excel spreadsheet could accomplish the same things, why reinvent the wheel when they’ve already done it so nicely for you? Plus, by using their service, you can also access the information they’ve gathered on individual agents that writers have submitted, like average response time and how many queries the agent/publisher gets.
If you’re self-publishing, this website needs to be in your bookmarks. The articles will take you step-by-step through the process. Even if you’re going the traditional route, you can learn a lot from Joel Friedlander’s website, especially about marketing.