A Writer’s Guide to the Web

Publish date:

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


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
Subscribe today. Your writing will thank you.

Follow me on Twitter.
Connect with me on Facebook.

Learn more about my debut novel, ALMOST MISSED YOU, forthcoming from St. Martin's Press in March 2017.


Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido: Entertainment and Outrage

Authors Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido explain how they came to co-write their novel and why it's important to them that the readers experience outrage while reading.


Incite vs. Insight (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use incite vs. insight with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!


20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.


Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.


Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.