When I think of my favorite writing resources, I think of it two different ways. First are the resources that help me actually get the book written, finished and readable, and second are the resources that helped/help me learn about and understand the business of publishing.
When it comes to the first set of resources, my most valuable resources are my early readers. My first reader is always my husband, which is interesting because he’s not generally a reader at all, and I could probably count all the books he’s read (aside from mine) in the last five years on one hand. But in some ways this makes him the best resource. He’s not looking for trends or comparing me to other books. And he’s unflinchingly honest. He’ll freely point out any dialogue that doesn’t sound real or any characters that don’t ring true, and he’s looking at it with a totally different eye than I ever would. I should also mention here that my husband is a great writing resource because he gives me the time to write by watching the kids, and constantly reminding me that it is more important for me to write than clean the house/cook dinner/sleep/grade papers/or a variety of other things that I probably should be doing instead.
My second reader is my mom. She’s read more books than anyone else I’ve known. Ever. And she reads fast. She’ll read a draft of mine in a few hours, then call me to tell me which parts she likes and which ones she doesn’t, though, she generally has no idea why. Which is okay, because then I take a new look at the parts of the book she doesn’t like. I also know she’s read so much that she can compare it to other things out in the world, and she’ll tell me honestly whether or not she thinks my book is readable by other people.
But as we writers know, getting the book written is only half (or maybe something like 1/8) of the battle. And like Maureen, I turn to the Internet for all my publishing business resources. My favorite place when querying agents, as I’ve mentioned here before, was agentquery.com. I also found a lot of useful information on Miss Snark and on agent Kristin Nelson’s blog. I still read Kristin’s blog just because I think she always has something fresh and interesting to say about the publishing business.
Publisher’s Marketplace is my favorite place to find out about deals/agents/editors. It’s a great tool to see what’s selling, who’s selling what, and who’s buying what. Publisher’s Weekly is another great (and free) resource for reading reviews, publishing news, and deals. I’m just going to stop myself here for a second to add in that the sale of my adult novel made it into Publisher’s Weekly yesterday – something I was so, so excited about! You can click here to read it.
I also think book reviewer’s blogs are a great resource because you can get a sense of what people are reading and enjoying and what’s getting buzz in the publishing industry. The Story Siren’s blog and Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Cynsations are two of my favorites. Both are great, always informative, and honest.
I probably could go on and on. In fact one of my new favorite procrastinating tools since becoming a published author are reading blogs, checking publishing sites, and checking out other author’s websites. But it’s not really procrastinating if it’s writing related, right?!
PS. Another great resource for all things YA, YA Fresh, is doing a giveaway for three copies of THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS this week! Click here to enter.