As a writer, I am fortunate that have my work published in some of the best places a writer can hope to see their byline. I also know that in between those gigs, there are times when I have something specific that I want to write and share with th public for the sake of sharing and being creative in a way that is very different than my creativity is used for my professional endeavors. These aren’t necessarily expressions for pay, but for the sake of having a story to tell or share that I own, I do not have to have the vision of another impede my word or thought processes and expresses me in the way that I not only visualize, but need. I can also remember the feeling, early in my career as a writer needing to have some bylines to add to my resume and portfolio in order to get paid writing gigs.
There are hundreds of thousands of websites that will offer to showcase your work and as much as you are pulled to want to just have the byline, you should be careful and make sure that where your writing is being featured early in your career benefits you and advances your career so that you can start to see more opportunities where paid writing gigs are concerned. I am often approached by member of the writing community who have platforms where they need writers or experts to comment on their work. The question I am asked most often is, “What are the best sites for writers looking to have their work seen and build an audience?” With so many sites out there, it seems any of them will do — and that may be true to some degree, but there are some niche sites, where if you have a specific skill, or topic you want to focus your work on that are better suited to help yield the results you are hoping for.
With so many sites how does one get started? You can always Goggle for hours and plow through the many listicles for writers OR you can check out my list of 5 great sites for writers who write in 2019. Here is my list in no particular order.
See Jane Write bills itself as a website and community for women who write. Founded by Javacia Harris Bowser, a writer with her own fascinating story of becoming one. Originally based in Birmingham, AL, See Jane Write is a member site that helps “women build their blogs into businesses and turn their passion for writing into a profitable career.” Membership is reasonably priced at $19.95 a month and offers access to exclusive events and services.
Community members will gain a caring community of sisterhood that includes “goal-oriented counseling” and networking opportunities, both are extremely helpful for new and upcoming writers. Members must apply and currently membership is closed, but will reopen soon. Still, the website is a helpful resource without membership and the founder, Ms. Bowser writes a very spirited and encouraging blog as well. For more information about See Jane Write, Follow Javacia on Twitter and Instagram @seejavaciawrite. You can contact Javacia Harris Bowser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children’s books are a cash cow for writers who have a contract with a major publisher and for publishers, themselves. It is a multi-trillion dollar business in the U.S. ad abroad and not a bad gig, if you can get it. However, for those of us who feel a higher calling to write, children’s book writers write for little ones to fulfill a passion, not solely for profit.
Literacy is critical to our success and development as adults and the earlier we begin learning how to read and practice it as children, the more opportunities are available to us. This is why Inkgirl makes my list. Upon first glance, Inkygirl looks like it could be a personal website for a published author, but founder Debbie Ridpath Ohi isn’t just a writer, she’s also an illustrator for books by Judy Blume, Aaron Reynolds and Michael Ian Black. This means that she has plenty of advice and tips for those of you who write for children. There are many gems on this site for writers of children’s books, like interviews with authors, illustrators, editors and publicists, a FAQ section about the industry and a few other special features like “Comics for Writers.” Inkygirl is a free site.
Journalist’s resource curates peer-reviewed research and information as it pertains to “media practitioners, bloggers, educators, students and general readers.” Based at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Journalist’s Resource was named the American Library Association of the best free reference sites of 2013. The site operates a searchable database to help writers whose focus is the news and current events. It is a very useful tool when searching for background information, previous studies and other bits of information that can enhance the story you are telling. It is also a good resource to have when it comes to fact checking information.
I have used it and it is very user friendly for journalists on the go, particularly if you are not schooled in data and statistics, Journalist’s Resource can “translate complex statistics into clear data points and reformulate the terminology of academic specialists into more accessible language, without sacrificing rigor or nuance.” Some studies are available in full text, while others are not, but synthesized in such a way that key points can easily b fleshed out. Journalist’s Resource is run by faculty, staff and graduate students at Harvard’s Kennedy School and housed at Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. The site is free and open to the public online.
I had a chance to be affiliated with this group of ladies in 2017-2018 as an editor for a literary site, I edited a lot of their reviews of each other’s books and read a lot of their books. They are fantastic ladies and a fantastic bunch of writer-friends you should really get to know. The Tall Poppies are another community for writers and readers to meet and share their love of the written word.
Founded by author Ann Garvin, the group name is based on the legend of the tall poppy that, “dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. Roman King Tarquin was visited one day by a messenger sent by his son, Sextus. Sextus wanted advice from his father on how to rule. Tarquin went into his garden, took a stick, and swept it across the flowers, cutting off the heads of the tallest poppies. When the messenger reported what he had seen, Sextus realized that his father’s advice was to kill all of the brightest and most successful people in the realm.” The Tall Poppy writers share their resources with one another and with their readers and emerging writers. Through their interactive Bloom, a group for Tall Poppy readers who share in the belief that “when we share our resources, and invite other authors to our party, our successes only multiply.”
LittleZotz Writing made The Write Life 2019 list of the 100 best websites for writers. The site log line is, “Writing for Businesses. Advice for Writers,” and it does not disappoint. It is a great site where you not only get the advice and pointers you need to make a good work great. The site offers mentoring, paid copyediting services and mentoring from the site founder, Lauren Tharp. Not only does Tharp offer her expertise, but she asks you to pitch articles and blog posts toher for publication. It is a perfect place to get started if your goal for 2019 was to begin your career as a freelancer.
As if that wasn’t special enough to make my very elite list, Lauren has another site that helps your teen writer begin their freelancing career! LittleZotz Teens offers the same, except targets a teen writers and teen readers. Because she began her career as a writer in her teens (as did I), Lauren has a special skill set to help young writers get their foot in the door and a byline in publication. I enjoy the fact that this is an adventure that writing parents and their writing children can embark on together. Rather that being isolated in your writing space for hours, this allows for some bonding time, a way to sharpen your skills and learn to write for profit.
Check these groups out and let us know what you think in the comments. Submit your work to one or a few for great feedback. You never know, your big break as a writer may just be one (mouse) click away!
What are your thoughts on these 5 great sites for writers? Don’t hesitate to discuss! Comment below, or shoot us an email. If interested, please send your thoughts to Outreach@ConsiderTheConsumer.com, find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website! We look forward to hearing from all of you.
About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, and co-host and producer of “All Our Own” radio show and podcast and co-host of “Staggers State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been featured on MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!
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