The Australian Society of Authors has several development and mentoring programs.
The NSW Writers’ Centre has a mentorship program and some writing courses as well. A lot of mentors can work online if you are not nearby. Check your local writers’ centre – they may have helpful services, too.
The Australian Writers’ Centre has a lot of writing and grammar courses and some of these are online.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Online Writing Workshop is an invaluable resource for SFF writers seeking crit partners and has helped several well-known authors to make their careers.
There is a Society of Editors in nearly every state and territory in Australia. Each one maintains its own freelance register, and the societies often run workshops and talks on publishing and editing. They have now become one single national organisation called IPEd, with branches still in most states and territories. You can find out more here.
The Freelance Editors Network is a directory of professional freelance editors with experience working with trade publishers.
In the UK the Society for Editors and Proofreaders or SfEP has a directory for professional freelancers and also has a lot of useful guides and information.
The Editorial Freelancers Association is based in the USA and also has a directory of members as well as useful resources and advice.
The Absolute Write Water Cooler is a good forum to check out if you want to meet other writers, learn about the publishing industry, and particularly if you want to learn about a particular publisher or agency.
The Kindle Forums or “kboards” can be an interesting place to find information if you’re a self-publisher, although there are a lot of posts and there is a mix of good and bad advice.
Not a forum but an essential reference if you’re looking for a publisher, agent or publishing service: Preditors and Editors.
Most publishers will list their own manuscript submission guidelines on their websites. However, there’s gold to be found in them thar hills; some publishers have gone further and set up online communities, forums and newsletters for aspiring writers
- Penguin Australia (The Monthly Catch 1-7th each month, email only)
- Allen and Unwin (The Friday Pitch – open all week. Online only.)
- Penguin: Destiny Romance (any time, via online submission form only)
- Random House Australia (any time hard copy only)
- Escape Publishing, romance (any time, online form)
- Hachette Australia (any time, email only)
Many authors have their own websites and write their own blogs. A lot of them use these as platforms to talk about writing and getting published. Apart from being well-written and entertaining reading, these can provide valuable insight into the world of publishing and the life of a writer.
Books and online
There’s an endless supply of books and websites that can help you learn to self-edit, teach yourself grammar and practice writing tips. These are just few…
- Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder (Michael Wiese Productions, 2005)
Although this is about screenwriting, it’s a great resource for learning about story structure.
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne & Dave King (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 2006)
This is a great book that explains some of the trickier writing rules such as “show don’t tell” and “active voice not passive voice” – explanations are followed with clear examples and then you are encouraged to try exercises of your own. Great for working through your own manuscript at your own pace.
Editing & Grammar
- Style Manual For Authors, Editors and Printers, 6th Edition (John Wiley & Sons, 2002)
Slightly dated now and not always entirely accurate for fiction, if you want an Australian editors’ handbook, this is the one.
- Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors and Publishers, 16th Edition (University of Chicago Press, 2010)
An incredibly detailed and thorough style guide. If you are serious about grammar and you’re writing (or editing) for an American audience, this is an invaluable if weighty tome. (Although you can also subscribe to the online service, but that doesn’t look anywhere near as impressive on your bookshelf.)
- Grammar Girl – Quick and Dirty Tips http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl
This lists the website but it is also a podcast, so pick your poison. If you keep getting tangled up between “lay and lie” or you can never remember when to use a semicolon, Grammar Girl has got you covered. It’s important to note that she’s writing for an American audience so there may be regional differences (although these are usually noted), but her “quick and dirty tips” are clear and concise and never patronising.
- Macquarie dictionary, hard copy or online subscription https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/
This is the preferred dictionary for most Australian publishers and the most logical choice if you’re writing for an Australian audience.
- Oxford dictionaries online http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/
The free version of the online Oxford is particularly useful if you want to check the differences between US and UK spelling and meanings, and if you want to know the etymology of a word. (If you write historical or fantasy fiction, it can be useful to be able to double-check anachronisms.)
- Debrett’s http://www.debretts.com/
Or alternatively your favourite book of etiquette – anything that covers forms of address for royalty and the peerage. Ideally something that also covers the basics of proper formal behaviour. If you’re writing anything with a formal or historical setting, including fantasy, this is a necessity for your reference. Simple things like terms of address are easy to get confused, and while some readers may not notice or care, others would just as soon have you rot in a dungeon for such an offence.This is the standard dictionary used by most Australian publishers.