A Writer’s Guide to the Web

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The May/June 2016 Writer’s Digestis your guide to making the most of the Web—and avoiding the worst of it.

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Most writers I know have a love/hate relationship with the Internet—and all that comes with it.

Some days, we marvel at the capability to connect with writers and readers the world over, to publish without a middleman, to tap resources beyond the wildest dreams of the great generations of writers before us. We tweet our enthusiasm for Stephen King’s new book, and blink at our phones in giddy disbelief when he sends a personal reply. We self-publish e-books we know we never could have funded with a print run, and make a few fans of our own—we share our first 5-star customer reviews far and wide. We stumble upon just the tip we needed, meet critique partners, discover new writers, connect, grow.

Other days, we get sucked into the digital time warp. We can’t find what we’re looking for—there’s just so much to sift through. We start out with an innocent enough blog post and end up in an accidental flame war with a troll. We feel pressure to build a social media presence when we’d rather be writing. We stare miserably at our double-digit “likes” on Facebook and worry how we’ll get more. We wish we could hide the 1-star Amazon review from the reader whose only gripe is that the shipment was slow.

When it comes to resources for navigating this ever-expanding Web, our annual 101 Best Websites for Writers is second to none in the time it can save you, the wealth of knowledge it can bring to your fingertips, and the communities it can introduce you to—and this year’s expanded edition, with special “Insider’s Guides” to some of the most info-rich sites, is our most valuable yet.

Whether you’re building your online presence or author platform from scratch, or looking to grow what you have in place, our other articles have you covered:

  • Learn the whys and hows of building an email list—your secret weapon for growing and reaching your audience
  • Blog your way to success (hint: you might be surprised to learn that a narrow focus often yields better results)
  • Use SEO to your advantage (cut through all the tech speak with our handy cheat sheet), and
  • Implement best practices for building your platform on Facebook and Twitter.

As we were in the process of compiling this issue, I happened to be taking a couple of these steps myself, launching a home page with a mailing list (jessicastrawser.com/join), and Facebook author page (facebook.com/jessicastrawserauthor) concurrently. I was the guinea pig we were looking for in shaping this content, and I can attest that the articles and resources shared in this issue were an invaluable help to me along the way. With any luck, they will be to you, too.

Preview the May/June 2016 Writer’s Digest now for a closer look at what’s inside—including our full-spectrum interview with Rainbow Rowell, author of the smash YA/adult crossover hits Eleanor & Park and Fangirl.

Yours in writing,
Jessica Strawser
Editorial Director, Writer’s Digest magazine
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Learn more about my debut novel, ALMOST MISSED YOU, forthcoming from St. Martin's Press in March 2017.

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