A writer’s digital toolbox (and an update)

Cunning plan and dragon pen J E Nice writerBit of a quickie this week. I wanted to share with you a few helpful things I’ve discovered over the past few months that have helped with my writing. Hopefully, you’ll find them useful too (if you don’t already).


Are you getting ready to submit that novel you’ve sweated and bled over for the last who knows how many years? Here are some Twitter searches that can help. A lot.

#mswl – ManuScript Wish List. This is basically agents telling you what they’d like to see. Not only helpful in learning more about your dream agent who you’re trying desperately hard not to Twitter stalk, but also useful for finding agents to query and a tad of inspiration.

#tenqueries – agents going through queries and saying what they like and what they don’t like in 140 characters. It’s short, sharp and very educational.

#askagent – what the hashtag says! Agents answering questions.

#querytip – again, pretty self explanatory.

#pubtip – good for the self-publishing.

#500queries – similar to #tenqueries but 500! So more of a series rather than quick fire tweeting.

Sometimes things are so simple you don’t even think of them. I read recently about setting up Google alerts for certain phrases and it was like someone hit me round the head. I’ve been looking at Google alerts for clients for years, and yet this never occurred to me.

Setting up Google alerts couldn’t be easier. You may need a Google account to do this, but that’s very easy to set up. If you’re on Blogger, you’re already set up!

Go to https://www.google.com/alerts

And type in the search term you’d like to be alerted to. If you have more than one search term, it’s better to use “ at either end, otherwise you could be sent some boring, irrelevant stuff.

set up google alerts J E Nice writerIt’ll come up with a preview of the sort of finds you could be sent. Click on Show Options.
set up google alerts 2 J E Nice writerNow you can change how often you receive the search results and to which email address. Then just click Create.

It’s that easy! Alerts can be amended by going back to that page and clicking on the pen/edit icon next to the alert, or deleted by clicking on the bin icon.

You’ll receive emails however often you chose with the search results. You never know, you might hit on the gold.
write for us screenshot J E Nice writerSome recommended searches that I’ve read about (but haven’t had long enough to determine if they are good or not yet) are:

“Write for us”
“Be a contributor”
“Submission guidelines”

You might also want to include searches on your genre, your books or even yourself!

Update on writing

On a side note, you may have noticed that after all that about identity and my name, my name hasn’t actually changed. This is the result of that poll you kindly voted in and a big discussion (not just with myself). The conclusion was that, while I’m proud to be a female writer and I’m not going to hide that, I’m also writing in a fairly heavy male orientated genre. I don’t want to be thought of as male, in fact I don’t want to be thought of in any way other than as a good writer. So, the second most popular name on the poll wins. I’m keeping the initials. At least until an agent/publisher tells me not to.

My other update is on the novella I’m writing to self-publish. It isn’t going to plan. I’m half way through the second rewrite and I’m just not feeling it. It feels worn and predictable. That could be because I’ve had it in my head for six years and have been slogging over it for months, or it could be because it is worn and predictable. I need time to rediscover a passion for it, because right now I seem to have moved onto what was supposed to be the second novella.
So maybe, after a lot of Sunday thinking, I should put the first novella on the backburner and turn my attention to the one my brain keeps writing every time I get in the shower (why, brain? Why?!).

I will still be posting helpful self-publishing hints and tips, starting with marketing next Monday, but the book won’t be out anytime soon.

One response to “A writer’s digital toolbox (and an update)

  1. Pingback: 12 hashtags for the bored SFF lover |·

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