A Search Engine for Writers
By Elizabeth S. Craig
When you’re just starting out as a writer, it can be hard to figure out how to improve at your craft. There are an overwhelming number of writing reference books out there. There are courses to take. I tried both of those things, but never really felt as if I was getting the information I needed. That’s when I started combing through writing blogs for craft tips.
Before subscribing to writing blogs, I’d discovered that Google wasn’t helpful for delivering writing-related links. For example, a search on POV would return results for a show on American public broadcasting.
In frustration, I decided to build my own set of reliable resources to help me improve my craft. In a way, I started collecting writing blogs. I’d find a good one and then frequently found that those blogs linked to other blogs in their sidebars…so I’d hop over to see if those blogs were helpful. Finding these blogs and subscribing to them became a fun rabbit-hole of information.
I read a lot of blog posts and found tons of useful information on the writing craft, on promotion, and on the industry itself. That’s when I decided it might be helpful if I shared the posts as I found them. I figured that not only would it create some good karma for me, but it might also help to build my social media presence on Twitter at the same time.
Since 2009, I’ve been finding writing and publishing-related articles that serve as resources for writers. I use an RSS feed reader and subscribe to over 1,000 writing blogs. Every day, I scroll through the reader, looking for the best posts to share on Twitter.
The only problem was that everything on Twitter seemed really ephemeral. The tweets were useful, and they were being shared. But the tweets weren’t the static resource that I wanted to create. I decided to share each week’s links as a roundup on Sundays on my blog. That helped (especially since not everyone is on Twitter). But there wasn’t really an effective way of searching for specific content.
In 2010, software engineer Mike Fleming was reading my blog and read on one of my posts: “I’m sure there’s got to be a better way to do this, but I can’t think of it.” He emailed me his idea: a search engine for the writing links. It could be searchable by topic and writers could find a list of resources for any writing-related questions they might have.
In January 2011, a special search engine for writers debuted, developed by Mike. Called the Writer’s Knowledge Base, or WKB, it’s a free resource for writers in conjunction with novel organizer Hiveword. You can search by topic or by category (e.g., business, creativity, promo). You can also sign up to have these posts delivered to you via email (customizable by frequency and category). More information about email delivery in Mike Fleming’s post here.
I love that I have a hand in sharing all of the amazing information for writers out there. There are now nearly 45,000 articles in the WKB. If you ever find you need help with the writing craft, figuring out how to start your own writer website, or even researching a blog post, I hope you’ll check into this free resource.
Elizabeth is the bestselling cozy mystery author of the Southern Quilting mysteries, Memphis Barbeque mysteries, and Myrtle Clover Cozy Mysteries for Penguin Random House, Midnight Ink, and independently.
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Series by Elizabeth S. Craig