Level Up Your Writing Game: Helpful Resources Curated by our Writer in Residence

Resources for Your Literary Adventure

The writing world can be equal parts exhilarating and intimidating. There's so much to learn, from crafting a compelling story to navigating the often-murky waters of the publishing industry. But fear not, fellow wordsmiths! EPL's Writer in Residence, Premee Mohamed has compiled a treasure trove of resources to equip you on your literary adventure.

Avoiding Scams: Write with Confidence

  • This is so important it gets its own category. If you feel uneasy or uncertain about someone who's reached out to you, or if you've been targeted by a writing scam, or if there's someone you want to work with but aren't sure, do a search on Writer Beware! And be sure to read the archives.

Building your Brand with an Author Website

  • I always recommend you have a website ready to go before you start seeking out traditional or self-publishing. It's very helpful for editors, readers, agents, reviewers, and booksellers to be able to have an idea of what you write, when it will be available, and how to get ahold of you if needed.
  • Your author website should also include a press kit! Jane Friedman (a publishing guru) walks you through creating the perfect one

Know Your Genre's Word Count Sweet Spot

  • Yes, agents and editors do care about fitting into average word count ranges for your genre, and no, an author's first book is probably not going to be the exception. Novel Doctor provides a handy guide to word count ranges, so your manuscript won't be an outlier. 

Self-Publishing? Here's Your Toolkit

Going the self-publishing route? Writer's Helping Writers offers sage advice on avoiding common pitfalls.

The Art of the Query

  • Find the right agent FOR YOU with this great article about how to do that early research. 
  • Literary Agent, Eric Smith, has very considerately put up some of the fiction and nonfiction queries/nonfiction proposals his clients have sent; real-world examples can be very helpful when you're querying!
  • My number-one recommendation for anyone about to write a query letter is to spend several hours reading through the archives of QueryShark and taking notes... you can avoid the most common query letter mistakes in an agent's inbox!
  • QueryTracker: Disclaimer: I have not used these, but a lot of folks do use them, including agents I know and trust. Read the terms carefully and decide if this is something you want to use!
  • What are some good questions to ask a lit agent once you get an offer of representation? Remember, a bad agent is MUCH MUCH WORSE for your career than no agent! TCK Publishing and Literary Agents provide essential questions to ask before signing on the dotted line. 

Agent Wish lists: A Match Made in Literary Heaven?

  • Manuscript wish lists - sometimes an agent or editor will have a dream, and sometimes that dream will line up with what you're writing! Checking to see if they have a wish list can be helpful!

Sharpen Your Craft with Podcasts

Preparing for the Author Spotlight

  • Often, after your book is acquired by a publisher, you'll receive an author questionnaire to help the internal publicity and marketing departments figure out how best to target selling your book, both to booksellers and the public. Usually this will include questions about the book itself as well as any connections you may have to local journalists, organisations, institutions, etc.
  • The Writers Union of Canada - has a lot of member resources, access to the member directory, and webinars about many publishing and writing topics. 
  • The Writers Guild of Alberta - ditto! And is also local.
  • The Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (CSFFA) - can be a good way to meet other Canadian writers if you attend the AGM, but generally seems to exist for the purposes of distributing the Aurora Awards. Still, membership is very cheap and you get a newsletter with various opportunities and resources, so if you write sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or anything under that umbrella, I would sign up!
  • The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association - an older organization, has a higher cost to join, but in general the website is CRAMMED with useful resources for writers even if you don't sign up.
  • The 'Indie Pub 101 Main Page' is useful for people intending to self-publish.
  • The Information Center also has a lot of resources that are super useful for newer writers, such as market listings, sample contracts, information about networking, critiquing, querying, copyright, and so on. Avoid vanity presses, schmagents, and making basic etiquette blunders on your publishing journey!

Craft Books: Level Up Your Writing

Edmonton Writers: We're Here for You!

  • PageMaster Publishing - the self-publishing process can be daunting; these local experts can help with a wide variety of publishing projects.
  • The Edmonton Writers Group - there are many other writers in Edmonton, so join up and make some new connections!

Revision and Polishing: From Draft to Polished Gem

Here's some good reading on a variety of "what do I do with this now that it's done" questions:

Beyond the Basics: Exploring New Horizons

For the curious writer, here are some additional resources:

This is just a starting point. With dedication, perseverance, and these resources at your disposal, you can navigate the exciting and ever-evolving world of writing. If you have more questions, don't hesitate to book a 1-on-1 with me!

Happy writing!