A Writer’s Guide to the Web

Author:
Publish date:

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

wd0616_500

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.

Amir

The “Secret Sauce” Necessary to Succeed at a 30-Day Writing Challenge

In this article, author and writing coach Nina Amir lays out her top tips to master your mindset and complete a 30-day writing challenge.

Kane2

Crashing Into New Worlds: Writing About the Unfamiliar

Award-winning crime author Stephanie Kane explains how she builds characters unlike herself and navigates their worlds to create vivid and realistic stories.

plot_twist_story_prompts_without_a_trace_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Without a Trace

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave without a trace.

WDVintage_10_29

Vintage WD: The Truth about True Crime

In this article from July 2000, true crime novelist and former New York Times correspondent Lisa Beth Pulitzer shares with us some key insights for breaking into the true crime genre.

new_agent_alert_barb_roose_books_such_literary_services_adult_christian_fiction_and_nonfiction

New Agent Alert: Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Barb Roose of Books & Such Literary Management) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

Grinnell_10:28

Evoking Emotion in Fiction: Seven Pragmatic Ways to Make Readers Give a Damn

Evoking emotion on the page begins with the man or woman at the keyboard. Dustin Grinnell serves up seven straightforward tactics for writing tear-jerking stories that make your readers empathize with your characters.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 546

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a spooky poem.

Richard_Shadowlands

Learn Better World-Building Strategies Through World of Warcraft and the New Shadowlands Expansion

WD editor and fantasy writer Moriah Richard shares five unique ways in which writers can use World of Warcraft to better build their worlds—without playing the game.