Whether you’re looking for quotes, advice, markets, critiques—or just a place to meet other writers online—we’ve got you covered. Our annual roundup of websites is here, so grab your computer and start surfing.
Type the word “writer” into the Google search engine and it’ll bring up an astonishing 243 million websites—and no, we’re not exaggerating. The idea of sifting through all of them can make your head spin like the child in The Exorcist—especially when all you need is a little copyright advice. Where to begin, where to begin, where to begin …
Luckily, your favorite editors at Writer’s Digest have done the grunt work for you.
Here’s our 10th-annual listing of the 101 best websites for writers. We sifted through more than 2,100 nominations and chose the 101 most valuable. This year, we’ve added a “jobs” category and have expanded the “genres/niches” category to better fit your needs. Don’t see your favorite site? Send comments and nominations for next year’s list to firstname.lastname@example.org with “101 Websites” in the subject line (deadline is Jan. 1st).
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2008 issue of Writer’s Digest.
Fun for Writers | Genres/Niches | Writing Communities | Jobs and Markets | Agent Blogs
General Resources | Creativity/Challenges | Publishing Resources | Protect Yourself
Fun for Writers
Take off your glasses, kick up your feet, relax and listen to interviews with some debut and bestselling authors. Armchair Interviews also offers an excellent list of resources.
This site has always had some of the coolest novelty items, such as writerly T-shirts, drink koozies and squeezable stress relievers. Now it also offers more content by way of interviews and articles.
This site offers a great collection of interviews with authors, editors and freelancers. It’s updated daily.
Also known as 18Q, this site is designed to share the views and experiences of published authors for novice writers in a series of 18 questions. More than 100 authors have taken the quiz.
Looking for a Christmas present for yourself? Here you can find free, printable posters and bookmarks showcasing quotes from some of your favorite authors. All you need is a printer.
Created by writers for writers, this online radio station broadcasts author interviews, writing prompts, music to inspire and mini-mysteries. Most of the material is available for podcast download
Freelancers on the prowl for jobs and cash need to look no further. This site offers up the big four—grants, contests, fellowships and markets—that pay. Plus, C. Hope Clark’s free e-newsletter is a must read for all who freelance.
While the bright colors and cluttered design are hard on the eyes, the information is great for Christian writers who are looking for support and networking with other writers. There’s a small fee if you want a personal webpage on the site, though.
Love is in the air—for romance writing. Share your thoughts, book blurbs and more on this forum. Also, get your book reviewed and read interviews with a number of romance authors.
This group is listed for those who are interested in writing or are currently writing crime fiction (including police procedurals, noir, hard-boiled, etc.). And with more than 650 members, it’s a must-visit for crime writers.
To be the best you must read the best. Find your favorite movie and TV scripts for free in this database.
This site features tips on writing better fiction, improving your writing, getting published, and promoting and marketing your fiction.
With more than 11,000 registered members (membership is free), Freelance Writing Organization-Int’l offers thousands of online resources and job offerings. It also gives members a free blog listing (as long as the blog deals with writing).
Do you model your writing after Stephen King? If so, the Horror Writers Association is the perfect place for you to get tips, advice and the latest news on this niche.
J.A. Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog provides great information for new (and veteran) fiction writers. He also has links to plenty of good resources.
Get the latest news, info and tips on writing for kids here. Plus, this site offers a wealth of paying children’s markets.
Stay on top of the latest Latino/Hispanic literary events, contests and writing opportunities by reading this former Simon & Schuster editor’s site.
This online literary magazine for writer moms features articles on the ups, downs and challenges of motherhood.
Kick off your shoes, curl up under your favorite blanket, grab a virtual latte and cozy up with this site for poets. You’re welcome to post some of your own poetry for feedback—all they ask is that you rate two poems for each poem you post.
Who wouldn’t love to get a script noticed by winning a contest? Well, there’s no better place to find one than in the Movie Bytes contest directory. Of course, if you eventually win an Oscar, you’ll have to thank Writer’s Digest in your acceptance speech.
This site provides links to plenty of writing opportunities for youngsters, including ones that pay.
This group focuses on reading, writing and discussing books primarily by African-American authors. The Writer’s Block section is filled with tips. Plus, according to the site, all books sent to them are reviewed. That’s right, all books.
Hey Muslim writers, you’ll want to bookmark this site. From writing competitions to jobs for writers, editors and journalists, this site houses opportunities and news for those looking for publishing success.
This children’s book author delivers dozens of free articles on constructing, writing, editing and publishing your children’s book. There are also two books available for free download.
What’s not to like about a site whose motto is “unleash your inner diva”? Join the Romance Divas for advice on the craft and business of writing romances, and share stories about your life and career with this fun writing community.
If you like the extra randy stuff, check out this site, dedicated to erotica writers and writing. It’s a great place for tips and stories, but definitely not a playground for the youngsters.
This site is for e-mail and correspondence classes, but if you dig a little you’ll find some of the best resources for Jewish writing and publishing. Tamar Wisemon’s article on Jewish magazine and newspaper markets is a must read.
The Poetry in Color forum solicits poets of all backgrounds and encourages quality peer-to-peer feedback on members’ writings. This site isn’t censored, so leave the kids at home.
Get your poetry markets, contests, reviews and news from this free monthly e-zine.
The Urban Muse is populated with excellent tips on writing, marketing and staying creative. Don’t miss the “5 Ways to Promote Your Blog” post; great advice.
A poet’s heaven, this extremely active forum welcomes all poetry buffs 13 years old and up. Just be sure to keep your work clean for the children.
If you’re a young writer (think under 18) and looking for support, look no further. The Young Writers Society offers kids and teens a space to share work, chat, blog and more. This site also discourages “netspeak,” which is good news for grammar buffs.
Today’s Woman has nearly 1,000 members who participate in its forum, online critiques and weekly contests. Women aren’t the only ones taking part (43 percent of the members are men), but they’re highly active in this site.
Gain access to 150 poetry contests by subscribing to its free e-newsletter (and more than 750 if you upgrade to its premium membership). Plus, enter its famous Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest, which searches for the “best humor poem that has been sent to a ‘vanity poetry contest’ as a joke.”
Sign up for this site’s e-newsletter and receive access to a list of more than 500 magazine market listings. There’s also a European market listing available through a subscription.
This e-zine caters specifically to women in the writing community, dishing out interviews (and tips) from popular female writers.
In its fourth consecutive year on the list (sixth overall), this site lives up to its tagline: “Bringing you free writer-related articles, paying call for submission and freelance job postings, contests, resources, tips, and more to help induce, improve, and promote your writing career—every week.
No matter which branch of writing interests you, you’ll be able to find helpful tips at Absolute Write. Just signing up for its e-newsletter will net you a free list of agents.
Members of this site can form private groups to workshop their writing. There’s also a section dedicated to publishing news, agents and signings.
Take a batch of young magazine editors who want to learn more about the industry, share that info and meet other young editors and you get Ed(2010). Some of the site is still under construction, but what’s finished is can’t-miss material.
Head over to Edit Red for peer critiques, publishing tips and opportunities to promote your writing and connect with publishers. The site offers a free personal webpage, and promotion and marketing tools.
Founded in 2000, this site presents free contests and peer-to-peer reviews. One fairly unique feature offered by the site is the ability to create your own contest and challenge other writers.
The goal of this e-zine is to take the intimidation out of the querying process by replying personally to every author and by offering suggestions on how to improve your work. This site publishes stories in many different genres, including flash fiction, humor, poetry and even book chapters.
Can’t find a local writing group? At Mike’s Writing Workshop, you’ll find a community of nearly 9,000 writers willing to share information and critique your work.
This forum boasts nearly 6,000 members and an active critique section. There’s also a job board, a resource center and a section of writing games.
Starting your writing career can be nerve-racking, but feel at ease on this site, which has fellow newbies. Subscribe to its free e-newsletter and receive an 85-page e-book resource guide.
If you’ve yet to be published or are a newly published author, this site has a lot of goodies for you. From original book reviews and book giveaway contests to writing prompts, this is a good destination for beginners.
Rob Parnell’s Easy Way to Write is filled with lots of freebies for writers in several markets, including poetry, flash fiction and e-zine fiction (that actually pays). The forum is relatively small, but the blog is an entertaining read.
This site showcases some of the best tips for romance writers. And while this group doesn’t critique, it offers plenty of links to groups that do.
If you’re not into message boards, The Internet Writing Workshop offers discussions and critiques delivered right to your e-mail inbox. There’s no fee for this service, but there’s a minimum participation time of 30 minutes a week.
Hard to beat a free online writing conference, and that’s exactly what The MuseItUp Club offers. The group acknowledges that writers often have insufficient funds to travel across the country, so they bring a weekend of professional advice to your office (or wherever your computer is set up).
Critique groups are limited to five people so your work can get more personal attention. They’ve added a workshop forum for members to discuss monthly workshop topics.
If too many people overwhelm you, here’s a small forum that may suit your needs. It’s focused heavily on fiction, but there’s some poetry and nonfiction as well.
This private writing workshop is always seeking new members, but you have to be serious about the craft. If you make it through the approval process, you’ll have access to critique forums and creative writing prompts.
With 4,500 registered users, this site offers a forum to discuss all forms of writing. The extra good news is it’s kid-friendly—there are ratings to let you know if something has explicit content.
Through interviews and discussion of craft, Writer Unboxed dissects genre-fiction writing. Its daily updates are a nice way to start your day (if you’re a genre-fiction writer).
This site welcomes writers of all levels. Sign up and get a free online portfolio, numerous user tools, e-mail services and a chance to network with other writers.
Jobs and Markets
Deborah Ng’s Freelance Writing Jobs is filled with available freelance gigs. There’s also a special section dedicated to blogging jobs.
Everything you need to know is in the Web address (though we’ll add that they have an excellent listing of industry events).
Looking for a job? This site has searchable classifieds so you can find a writing-related job in your area.
Stay informed on publishing industry news and network with other writers around the globe. This is one of the best spots for journalism and freelance jobs around.
Check out this site’s job board, which is filled with gigs from editing to marketing to production. It can be an excellent way to get your foot in the door. Also, there’s a place to announce your book deal.
San Francisco agent Nathan Bransford dishes the dirt on being an agent. Also, his series called “The Essentials (Please Read Before You Query)” is, well, an essential read.
Buried in the Slush Pile covers juvenile writing. You’ll notice a helpful glossary of publishing terms—now even we know what “F&G” means. (ps- This isn’t actually an agent blog—it’s an author blog—but the information provided is great.)
Janet Reid, a literary agent with FinePrint Literary Management in New York City, specializes in crime fiction and shares query pitfalls to help you avoid rookie mistakes.
With the motto, “Saving the world, one book sale at a time,” literary agent Jennifer Jackson shares news, notes and opinions on the industry, including a sneak peek at her query round-up.
Let literary agent Lori Perkins guide you around the NYC agent scene. Plus, she has great insight into horror, social science fiction, dark fantasy, dark literary novels and erotica—her specialties.
Rachelle Gardner’s Rants & Ramblings covers her life as a Christian writing literary agent and includes news, trends and advice on the publishing industry.
This assistant at an NYC literary agency rejects 95 percent of the queries that cross her desk—and blogs about them. She also answers questions about the process and offers up advice on getting your query past her desk.
Need a famous quote for your article? Stop by Brainy Quote and search by topic, author or type to find the words of wisdom (or humor) you desire.
Do you have an English phrase that you need translated to Spanish? This site will help bring your characters to life—even if they speak a different language than you do.
When it comes to word-lover reference material, it’s hard to beat Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary and thesaurus. Besides the basic functions, it provides word games, a spelling quiz, a Word of the Day and the “Word for the Wise” podcast.
If you’re looking for “Of the Day” trivia to get your brain functioning each morning, stop on by this site. It offers tons of tidbits that you probably didn’t know—and may lead you to a story idea.
Need character names that suit your 1920s setting? The Social Security website has the most accurate list of popular names from 1879 to the present.
For the public, updated by the public, Wikipedia makes for an excellent starting point when you’re researching a subject. But use it only as a diving board to better sources. (See Questions & Quandaries, p. 65 for a better explanation.)
This site’s motto is “butt in chair, hands on keyboard, typing away madly”—and you’ll need to adhere to it if you want to live up to the challenge. You have one week to put all excuses in your sock drawer and write as much as you possibly can. It’s definitely fun—and rewarding.
One of the most well-known writing challenges in the writing community, National Novel Writing Month (November) pushes you to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
Can you write your memoir in only six words? This is a thrilling challenge that encourages you to write sharply and concisely.
If a daily prompt isn’t enough to stuff your writing appetite, check out this site. Get a random story-starter sentence from more than 340 million (yes, you read that correctly) choices. Just one click of a button and you’re on your way.
Looking for inspiration? These daily writing prompts aren’t only fun, but relate to the date (September 5 is National Cheese Pizza Day—who knew?).
Here’s another fun site that creates writing prompts on the spot. The site currently has several options—prompts for right-brained people, for left-brained people, for kids—and is working to add prompts on classic literature, music and more.
Agent Query is a free, searchable database of agents. With just a few clicks you’ll be able to find one who represents your genre.
Check out the 20-plus articles provided by Author MBA to improve your writing, marketing and career. Joanne Rock’s “A writer’s guide to managing work & the holidays” is an especially good read.
After a little makeover, Backspace continues to offer feature articles, columns and industry news. The “Your Write Mind” columns are great reads. However, if you want to be a part of its forum, it’ll cost you a small fee.
Enjoy a free submissions tracker with this database of more than 2,000 markets for short fiction, poetry and novels/collections. Search functions include medium, payscale, accepts reprints and more.
Search through 750 literary agencies and 900 book publishers to find one that suits your work.
The real value in this site, a great source for market and event listings, is its list of writer organizations and groups spanning the world.
If you’re looking for a crash course on getting published, look no further. This site provides an abbreviated version of the process.
Looking for cheap ways to promote your book? Carolyn Howard-Johnson shares tips to get your book out to the world at a low cost. Sign up for her free e-newsletter to have most of the information delivered right to your inbox.
Use this database to find a writing conference near you.
Consultant Joan Stewart shares tips on self-promotion and how to get free publicity—a key for any writer living on a tight budget.
Carol Kluz’s site has hundreds of resources for writers. Note that not all of the links work, but most of the ones that do are valuable.
Trent Steele’s Write Street is a good place to find recommended writing books, articles on the writing craft and inspirational quotes.
Brazil, Hong Kong, Jamaica—find an agent nearly anywhere in the world.
Do you need to verify the record of an agent? Check with this site first. It searches public records for all reports on the business practices of agencies, so you can find out whether it’s worth pursuing a particular agent or not.
Get the latest in copyright news from this intellectual property lawyer. “What Every Writer Should Know About Copyright” is a great introductory article that all writers should read.
Telling the difference between a professional contest and a scam can be hard, but thanks to Preditors & Editors you don’t have to sweat it. Dive into this site to find out which writing-related services, contests, organizations, etc., are worth your time and which aren’t.
For those in need of an agent, this site allows writers to upload their query letters and agent experiences, building a database of information. The experiences are then combined to show trends and actions of individual agents so you know what to expect when querying them.
From fair use of trademarks to electronic rights, attorney Lloyd L. Rich provides dozens of helpful articles on topics important to the writing community.
Everything you need to know about copyright law is right here, along with the option to register your work for extra protection (for a fee). We recommend bookmarking the FAQ section.
One of the most notable watchdogs for the writing community, Writer Beware shares information on writing scams, problematic agents and publishers, and more. New to the site is a blog where writers can share info in the comments section.