Getting published can end up metamorphosing into a nightmare even more stressful and frustrating than the act of writing itself. With so many questionable publishers and agents ready to exploit aspiring professional writers and prey upon their eagerness to see their names and visions in print. Even finding a legitimate home for a story, no matter its structure or content, requires Herculean feats of time-consuming research. Fortunately, a number of websites and magazines have dedicated their time, money, and server space to help writers work through the publication process, network with colleagues and publishers alike, and find a reliable, honest agent. Every one of them makes for an indispensable resource when searching for a place for the written word to call home.

1. NewPages: One of the most comprehensive, intelligent, and engaging websites on publishing anywhere, NewPages’s main draw is its massive listing of literary magazines and alternative presses. Each entry comes accompanied by a sample cover, contact information, a discussion of target audiences and preferred content, submission requirements, contests, and information on recent issues. Poets, artists, short story writers, and essayists benefit especially from this well-researched, fervently updated site. Beyond the fantastic literary magazine directory, NewPages also posts contests and calls for submissions from the aforementioned periodicals as well as alternative and independent publishing houses. As if this did not make for enough valuable content, the site includes a podcast, fantastic resources for writers, links to independent book stores, a blog, book and magazine reviews, and even a page dedicated to independent record labels in addition to everything else.

2. Optimum Wound: In a blog dated March 17, 2009, editor Jason Thibault from the tiny independent comic book publishing house Optimum Wound posted submission guidelines for every single comic book, graphic novel, and manga publisher he could find. While the content is subject to change over time, his exhaustive labor of love makes for the most valuable resource for any aspiring or established comic book, manga, or graphic novel writer with a story to tell. He starts off his post with advice and tips on getting the most out of his research, then follows through with an excruciatingly useful bombardment of every publisher he could find, organized into major printers, independents, presses focusing exclusively on one or two genres, anthologies, manga, distributors, adult entertainment, books, and magazines. Alongside each entry comes a paragraph (or two, or three detailing the business’s content preferences and submission requirements along with a link useful when checking for any updates he may have missed.

3. The Freelance Writing Jobs Network: A collective of seven blogs and a thriving community, the Freelance Writing Jobs Network covers every possible angle of the titular business. It offers practical and intelligent advice to amateurs and professionals alike and allows for readers to ask questions and gain valuable insight on both writing and publishing. Every day, the site posts up leads for writing jobs as well as blogs, magazines, and other periodicals in need of articles or essays. Ghost writing gigs pop up on occasion, too. Pay very close attention to some of the listings, however. Though many positions allow for a telecommute option, some publishers have geographical limitations and requirements for applicants.

Source: Wikipedia

4. Writer’s Digest: The quintessential analog resource for writers now publishes many of its celebrated magazine’s content for free (with additional features available through a paid membership online. Writer’s Digest offers pretty much everything any writer needs to launch a rewarding and successful career – it is such an indispensable and unquestioned necessity for anyone hoping to sell their writing that statement only narrowly avoids steering off into hyperbole. Along with the articles, blogs, directories, contests, and shops common to many expert sites, the magazine also hosts several conferences, workshops, and events throughout the year. They also grant annual awards to the best literature and publishing websites on the internet. No writers’ mailbox or bookmark list is complete without this priceless font of information and opportunity.

5. Books and Tales: An admittedly incomplete database, Books and Tales nevertheless features a valuable and detailed service. Many print on demand, or POD, publishers – occasionally referred to by the epithet “vanity presses” – operate as fronts for a variety of scams. This site offers side-by-side comparisons of PODs for those interested in exploring the self-publishing route. They delve into the prices, author benefits, contracts, royalties, and highly specific positives and negatives of each publisher. In spite of not covering every POD business available, the information they do provide still stands as a revealing and extremely helpful resource to help prevent would-be writers from falling victim to an exploitative ruse. Books and Tales also hosts several articles in addition to a community devoted entirely to self-publishing and POD businesses.

6. Preditors & Editors: Like Books and Tales, Preditors and Editors dedicates its time, money, and server space to protecting the rights of writers everywhere. They host a massive collection of links to publishers with sterling or, at minimum, neutral reputations, with those deemed suspicious both explicitly labeled in the directory as well as sequestered in a separate portion of the site. This service concerns itself especially with the copyright and ownership issues common to the publishing industry. However, it also offers more specialized lists targeting screenwriters, game scripters, journalists, editors, and musicians as well. Links to contests, conventions, festivals, chat rooms, and forums are available for writers seeking networking opportunities.

Source: Wikipedia

7. Agent Query: When the personal search for a reliable publisher starts yielding fruitless results, a literary agent may be able to help. The publishing process is a grueling, exhausting test of mental and emotional strength, but having an agent opens up many opportunities that self-representation cannot provide. Enthusiastically approved by Writer’s Digest, Agent Query screens thousands of agents and allows the legitimate ones to create profiles in a searchable database. With an incredibly easy and specific interface, writers can connect with agents specializing in their chosen genres or living in their own city for easier access. It provides one more breezy and painless method of easing the stresses associated with publishing.

8. Query Tracker: Agents and publishers alike register here to meet with potential clients, and Writer’s Digest has labeled Query Tracker an absolute necessity for all hopeful writers. In addition to their search services, this site allows users to organize and keep track of which agents and publishers they have contacted and corresponded with and which pitches and queries still need to be sent out. Listings for agents and presses both provide statistics on concerns such as response times, submissions, and preferred genres, and users can post comments regarding their experiences in dealing with them. Like Agent Query, all of the information on Query Tracker remains entirely free of charge as a much-needed relief for writers.

9. WritersNet: In many ways, writing is really no different than many traditionally structured jobs with 8-hour days whittled away inside a soulless cubicle. Networking remains an integral aspect of the business, and without forging meaningful connections with contemporaries, publishers, editors, and agents a writer cannot expect to succeed or function. It pays to send the ego off with a one-one ticket to Splitsville and a suitcase full of spite, and once that is accomplished WritersNet grants users a bevy of opportunities to learn about what agents and publishers alike are looking for. Some of the connections forged on this site may mean the difference between a manuscript rotting sadly in a dusty, forgotten box and a national bestseller.

10. The Write Jobs: In addition to the Freelance Writing Jobs Network, The Write Jobs is a necessary stop when making the rounds to discover what blogs, magazines, websites, and other publications currently offer gigs for writers. However, the latter tends to feature more permanent and full-time positions than the former. Each job listing is filed under one of six different categories – freelance, journalism, medical, publishing industry, technical, and telecommute – and features an interface similar to Craigslist. While the focus lay predominantly with job postings, The Write Jobs does offer some degree of advice for those seeking employment, exposure, or portfolio padding.

Source: Wikipedia

The decision to publish, either through a POD or a more traditional press, can be wrought with a frustrating number of setbacks and seemingly dead-end research. Luckily, the internet plays host to a multitude of websites catering to any question or concern that aspiring writers may have. From providing information on agents and publishers to screening potentially fraudulent offers to simply dispensing sound advice on what to expect when venturing forth into the industry, every one of these sites makes for a resource of value to both amateur to experienced writers alike. Taking advantage of what they generously have to offer significantly eases the anxieties inherent in the quest to find a home for an essay, article, novel, short story, or graphic novel. Without networking, without researching, without learning every nuance and subtlety and corner of the publishing industry, the chances of missing out on a potentially fortuitous opportunity swells considerably.