Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Students of the Craft Series
Net's Notations Tuesdays

Hey everyone, Annette here. Raise your hand if you’re watching your budget pretty closely these days. Yeah, me too. In our quest to be diligent students of the writing craft, we could use lack of funds as an excuse, couldn’t we? “Well, I’d love to own such-and-such a book on craft, but I can’t afford it.” Budgeting is no excuse not to take advantage of the freebies all around us. Here are some suggestions for finding freebies these days to help offset costs:

~ Free Kindle downloads. Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the free Kindle application to your computer and begin download (free) books, and reading them on the screen. Sometimes great writing books come up as freebies. I’ve ordered three specific writing books free this way.

~ Libraries. These are a great resource for studying more books in your genre, finding craft books, even finding books for research (setting, character careers, etc.).

~ Websites and blogs. This blog—Seriously Write—is a free resource for writers. For almost two years, Manuscript Mondays have been dedicated to writing craft. Go into the archives and find topics covered by some of your favorite authors. Oftentimes, too, we’ve offered series on certain topics. (Like the Ten Beats of a Romance series by Susan May Warren this month for romance writers.) There are a number of other websites and blogs specifically targeting writers and offering helpful nuggets, advice, even contest information. Google to learn more, or talk to your writing buds.

~ National writers’ groups. The American Christian Fiction Writers is a fantastic group. Now, granted, it’s not free to join; there’s a small annual fee. But, once you’ve joined there are plenty of “freebies,” like month-long courses in a wide range of topics. E-mail loops specific by genre where your question are welcomed and answered by seasoned pros. Free access to course and email archives. Mentors as you connect with authors ahead of you on the road.

~ Critique groups. This is a valuable, free resource where members exchange his/her opinion for yours. Don’t miss out on this growth opportunity as well. Our local group used to meet in a library, so we didn’t have to buy a meal. Now we meet at a fast food restaurant and have the option of grabbing a meal if we’ve been rushed or just choose to. But the critique itself is free. *smile*

~ Borrow books from friends. At our crit group, oftentimes we’ll mention lending books to each other. This is a great resource.

~ Volunteer to review books. If you’ve got a blog and are willing, publishing houses would love to have you read their books for review. Sign up at their websites. For example, Thomas Nelson’s blog review group is called BookSneeze. Everyone’s welcome to sign up, abide by their policies and viola!, start receiving free books. This gives you an opportunity to achieve two purposes in one read. You’re a student, but you’re also supporting and promoting Christian novels (which we Christian writers should definitely be doing). You’ll also become more familiar with the writers. If you happen to be friends with the author on FB, you make their day when you mention you’re enjoying reading their book.

I hope this gives you some ideas and helps you find ways to take advantage of free opportunities. Thanks for joining me this month with our topic of being students of the craft. Write on!

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