Resources for Writers

Originally provided to attendees of the Staycation, this list of resources compiled by Zahara over the years will guide you through writing your book (or other project), revising it, networking with other writers, finding an agent, and cultivating your artistic life.

Zahara’s Top Two Resources for New Writers

As a new writer, the most important things you can do for yourself are to improve your craft as a writer, learn the business of writing, and build a community with other writers. Here are my top two resources for taking those steps:

1. Subscribe to Poets and Writers Magazine

2. Take a class at your local adult education writing center, or online at the Writers Center or Gotham.

The rest of the resources on this page are meant to be helpful to writers at any stage in of the process, from beginners to published authors.

Conferences and Writing Retreats

National Events

AWP (The Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Conference
Academically-oriented conference also has opportunities to meet agents.

Bread Loaf
August every year in Vermont, literary focus, with some events open to the public.

Wesleyan Writers Conference
In Connecticut every June

Yale Writers Conference

Split This Rock-BiAnual Poetry Conference, DC
A fabulous poetry and social change event; save the date March 27-30, 2014

Thrillerfest, June in NYC

Flathead Writer’s Conference September in Montana

Saint Augustine Writer’s Conference October in Florida

Salt Cay Writer’s Retreat October in the Bahamas

New York Writer’s Pitch Perfect Conference November in New York

Algonquian Writers’ Conferences Throughout the year, including pitch events

Local and Regional Events

Bay to Ocean Writer’s Conference, MD

Baltimore Writers’ Conference

Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
Residential Fellowships

Maryland Writers Conference

Conversations and Connections
Includes speed dating with editors, mostly for DC area writers.

Library of Congress Book Festival                       

More on Writer’s Retreats:

See more at and Poets and Writers Magazine

Agents, Publishers, and the Business of Writing

Poets and Writers Agents Listings*

Association of Authors Representatives
Website for legitimate agents

Publishers Lunch
Email List about publishers (free email and optional paid upgrade to access database)

Free, searchable database of literary agents.

Free, searchable database of agents and publishers.

Including this page: well-known authors and their agents

Learning the Business of Writing: Tips from Zahara from Ask an Agent Class Originally created as a handout for the Ask an Agent class, this document provides a quick reference for building a platform, moving from self-publishing to mainstream publishing, tracking queries, and joining conferences and writer’s associations.

Show Me the $$$! – A list of paying literary magazines:

Searchable database of fiction and poetry markets. Currently on a subscription model of $5/month, which includes access to personal submissions tracking software.

The Submissions Grinder- A subscription-free, but smaller, database like Duotrope.

Absolute Write Water Cooler
Authors’ forum including sections for networking, critique (password-protected), genre, and research and background checks on publishers and agents.

Preditors and Editors – Watchdog organization ensuring writers get fair deals and escape literary scam artists.


Mystery Writers of America
MWA has a local chapter with events-see Midatlantic chapter
Meetings usually first Tuesday of month

Romance Writers of America
Conference in CA

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Annual Awards and other events

Historical Novel Society, London

Horror Writers Association                                                                          

Western Writers of America                                             

National Writers Union:

Authors Guild:

 Writers Guild of America:

Applications and Software

Storyist-For Mac only

Scrivener-For Mac or Windows

Dragon Dictate, Dragon NaturallySpeaking-Speech-to-text generators for when you feel like writing, but not typing.

Publications & Books about Writing

Poets & Writers Magazine

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Write the Perfect Book Proposal: 10 That Sold and Why by Jeff Herman and Deborah Levine Herman (nonfiction)

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

Mentoring & Manuscript Review

Therese Arkenberg, Manuscript Development Doctor

Kathryn M. Johnson, Write By You

Self Publishing

Opus (Politics & Prose’s Book Machine)

Self-Publishing with Amazon —CreateSpace & Kindle Direct Publishing

A local option: Signature Printing, Gaithersburg MD


Danuta Hinc–“Meditations and Dialogues about Family, Books, Ideas, and the Writing Life”

Patrick Ross–“Creativity, Writing, and an Art-Committed Life”

An agent with Nelson Literary, LLC ‘rants’ about queries, working with writers, and news in the publishing industry

Upstart Crow blog 
The blog of the staff at Upstart Crow Literary Agency

Rachelle Gardner 
A literary agent gives the how-tos of writing, submitting, publishing, and marketing your book

Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents Blog 
The author of Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents 2010 blogs about preparing a submissions package and book platform, finding an agent, and marketing.

Nathan Bransford 
Literary agent with a strong community following

Janet Reid 
Janet Reid, literary agent, writes this blog as well as the more toothy (and for some, intimidating!) query letter critique blog QueryShark

A YA (young adult) literary agent blogs on publishing

Janice HardyPublished author offers step-by-step guidance through writing and publishing process

StoryFixNovel Writing Tips and Coaching

Write a Novel in a Month

National Novel Writing Month A community of writers who commit to write 1,667 words per day for the month of November–leading to 50,000 words in all, the minimum for a completed novel.

Write a Novel in Three Days

The 3-Day Novel Marathon: write a novel in a marathon spurt over Labor Day weekend. Outlines encouraged, but the action text of the novel must be completed over Labor Day weekend! The site has lots of resources for writers in a rush, as well as copies for sale of previous years’ winners:


TED TALK: Billy Collins
Billy Collins and Mary Oliver-Music Center at Strathmore
Sunday October 28, 2012 3:00pm

Doodle scheduling software

DropBox–access your word documents anywhere

Project Dialect–does your Midwestern character call it “Coke” or “pop”? And more!


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