Here are the best genre and niche websites as identified in the 22nd Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2020 issue of Writer's Digest.
* Denotes the website's first appearance on our list.
Go Teen Writers
Since beginning a decade ago, Go Teen Writers has been about honesty, encouragement, and community. Teen writers and YA authors can find blogs on craft, editing, getting published, writing inspiration, and more. Download free checklists and plotting charts, and join the Go Teen Writers Community Facebook group to meet other teens who love to write.
Children’s book authors and illustrators can find everything they need in this one-stop shop, with links to hundreds of articles organized by topic, from writing inspiration to publishing and promoting your work. Check Kidlit 411 for weekly author spotlights, and follow their newsletter for updates about new links added throughout the week.
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
You don’t have to be a member to benefit from SCBWI resources. (Although if you’re serious about your kidlit career, it makes sense to apply for an annual membership and join your local chapter for meetings.) Even if you’re not a member, follow the SCBWI blog for publishing industry news and listen to the first season of the SCBWI podcast.
Brevity is more than one of the best literary journals around for creative nonfiction. In addition to the journal of flash nonfiction pieces of 750 words or less, Brevity also publishes craft essays on creative nonfiction and memoir writing. Follow the blog for nonfiction book reviews and discussions on issues related to creative nonfiction writing.
Hippocampus seeks to educate, entertain, and engage readers and writers of creative nonfiction. The online magazine publishes memoir excerpts, personal essays, flash nonfiction, book reviews, craft essays, a Writing Life blog, and interviews with authors and other champions of the fourth genre. Connect with the Hippocampus community through Hippocampus News updates on past contributors and the annual HippoCamp writing conference in Lancaster, Penn.
All Freelance Writing
Freelancers shouldn’t miss this site, which includes a freelance gig job board (only jobs that disclose pay rates are listed); 13 years (and counting) of blog posts on freelance writing tips; a podcast; e-books, templates, and worksheets to help you build your freelance writing business and expand your skills; and tools such as the hourly rate calculator, keyword density analyzer, and word count tracker. If your questions aren’t answered on the site, send them to the site owner Jenn Mattern.
If you have a blog or want to begin one, this is the go-to source for education on content marketing. Learn to craft strategic content that drives traffic and even earns you income with Copyblogger’s resources, which includes a blog, podcast, and a $7 Content Confidence Checklist.
With membership being free and this union fighting for and winning
protections for independent workers since 1995, there’s no reason not to join if you earn some or all of your income as a freelancer. Members can access guides to the basics of freelancing, such as client contracts, tax help, knowing your legal rights, and more.
How can I make my clients love working with me? How do I avoid burnout? How can I grow my business? Freelancer FAQs answers all your questions about the freelance business, whether they are about starting out, marketing, motivation, money, or the tools you need. In addition to a paid “Write Your Way to Your First $1K” course, Freelancer FAQs offers two free courses.
A Writer of History
There are numerous blogs that cover historical fiction writing. Author M.K. Tod hopes to add to the conversation with this blog about the craft and reading of historical fiction, along with occasional personal posts.
This resource of markets for horror writing has been helping horror authors for nearly 20 years. Search the database or browse new calls for submissions—which list both new and established publishers—to find a home that pays writers for their stories.
The Horror Tree
In addition to articles on every aspect of the writing process, The Horror Tree publishes a calendar of submission opportunities for markets that pay for speculative fiction, listed by deadline. Or, search their market listings by type and payment amount.
This publication by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard showcases and nurtures excellent narrative journalism. Read it for interviews with journalists that reveal how they researched and created the exceptional stories they’ve recently published; Nieman’s picks of the best articles being published today and analysis of why they’re so great; and craft essays from seasoned storytellers.
The Crime Fiction Writer’s Blog*
D.P. Lyle uses his expertise as a crime fiction author and medical doctor to help other writers make their work readable and plausible, with book reviews as well as podcasts and blogs about craft and forensics. Special guest bloggers/crime fiction authors also offer insight into their craft and research process.
The Kill Zone
Eleven top writers and publishing professionals blog about publishing, marketing, and writing mysteries and thrillers. Go to TKZ for a first-page critique of your manuscript by a Zoner. Authors are critiqued anonymously, and TKZ readers also weigh in with comments.
This is a community where writers and readers alike can enjoy news and stories within the mystery, suspense, thriller, and horror genres. With four radio shows, new fiction, book excerpts, Q&As with authors, and more, there’s a lot to choose from and too much to list here.
New Play Exchange*
You’ve finished writing a play. Now what? For $12 a year, you can upload your scripts to this platform, where more than 10,000 readers and 800 organizations come to look for new plays to produce. Members can also connect with other playwrights or readers and respond to open calls for work.
Jacket 2 aims to publish commentary on contemporary poetry almost daily. Visit the site for articles, book reviews, poet interviews, discussions, podcasts, and more for lovers of poetry.
This is the world’s largest online poetry community for youth, dedicated to helping teens find their voice. Young poets can browse through writing advice guides, participate in themed digital poetry slams (some of which offer cash prizes), publish their own poems, and search for poetry by other poets by theme.
Award-winning poet Trish Hopkinson shares calls for poetry submissions as well as blogs about how to write and publish poetry and other questions about the larger poetry community.
Get writing advice, book news, excerpts from books, and everything romance from the blog of this HarperCollins imprint famous for steamy novels.
In addition to paid services for romance authors such as blurb critiques and online review referral programs, Romance Rehab publishes romance book reviews. There’s also a blog featuring author interviews, craft advice, and thoughts on the business of romance writing.
Science Fiction and Fantasy
Dan Koboldt: Putting the Science in Fiction
Sci-fi and fantasy writer Dan Koboldt (and author of the WD Book of the same name) compiles the best writing craft resources around the internet, in addition to chatting with experts on topics relevant to speculative fiction for his Science in Sci-Fi, Fact in Fantasy blog series. The series aims to debunk myths, correct misconceptions, and offer advice on getting details right in areas that influence world-building, such as the hard sciences, military rankings, economics, medieval weaponry, and more.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Aside from the many benefits SFWA offers for members, the association also publishes a blog on everything speculative fiction writers need to know, with articles organized by topic under the “Resources” tab. Writers of all genres can benefit from the Writer Beware guide and blog, which warns authors about the latest scams plaguing the industry and “thumbs-down” services, publishers, and agencies.
World Anvil is the ultimate world-building toolset for speculative fiction writers. Keep track of the world you’ve created with a World Bible (included with a free account), which allows writers to build timelines; upload maps; and enter articles on everything in their plot, from characters to events. Upgrade your account for more features such as extra storage, adding co-authors, sharing exclusive content with subscribers, and
Go Into the Story
Get script and scene analysis, interviews with screenwriters, and other articles about the craft and business of screenwriting daily from Scott Myers at his ever-popular screenwriting site. If your screenwriting questions aren’t answered in the Reader Questions section, Scott will take your questions on the blog, through email, or on Twitter.
Lucy V. Hay offers screenwriters and novelists tips on genre, submissions, characterizations, social media, and common mistakes. Read the blog, share your ideas and work in the Bang2Writers Facebook group (which boasts more than 5,000 members), and download free e-books and cheat sheets.
Steve Laube Agency
Get advice on craft, querying, publishing, rejection, selling books, the writing life, and more from the agents of The Steve Laube Agency, which focuses on books intended for the Christian market.
The Write Conversation
Author, speaker, and Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference director Edie Melson runs one of the most popular Christian writing blogs. The Write Conversation is updated daily with writing inspiration and tips—and was the most-nominated website for writers this year.
Full-time freelance writer Roy Stevenson shows you how to break in to travel writing. Learn the basics of query letter strategies, successfully selling your stories, and getting started without any bylines.