Nearby Café Home > Literature & Writing > WordWork

WordWork™ Links


Writers encounter censorship in every country in the world. It's happened to me; and, if it hasn't yet, it can always happen to you. In which case you'll need help. In addition to PEN's Freedom To Write Committee and the NWU's position-taking activism on this subject (see Writers' Organizations links, below), here are some resources:

back to top

Copyright and Intellectual Property:

back to top


Almost indubitably the future of writing (and certainly the future of writing in the digital environment), hypertext is the writer's equivalent of digital imaging and hypermedia: time-based arts for poetry and prose. It has creative-writing applications, of course, but promises to become a standard for all kinds of writing, including scholarly work, essay form, and journalism. Don't knock it until you've tried it.

  • If you want to experiment with hypertext at no cost, download Stephen Linhart's ButtonTalk™, a simple, elegant little freeware program that enables you to create any kind of bare-bones hypertext and save it (if you so desire) in HTML format for posting at a website, burning onto a CD-ROM, or any other use. Excellent, clear instructions in the accompanying manual both accustom you to this form and get you up and running in no time. (Mac only, OS 9.)

  • For a more sophisticated hypertext program, try a free download (for Mac or Windows) of Jay David Bolter's StorySpace™, which allows you to incorporate images, sound, and video, as well as text, into a project.

  • Michael Shumate's Hyperizons came online on March 1, 1995 -- very early in the life of the Web -- as a site for hypertext fiction, and now contains numerous examples of everything from theory to praxis, plus numerous links to other pertinent sites.

back to top

Internet Matters:

  • Whether you agree with them or disagree -- I have numerous disputes with their positions -- your should familiarize yourself with the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). These folks represent the cutting edge of the movement to keep the Web unregulated -- including untouched by censorship -- and to make everything thereon free for the taking.


Broadly defined (as it is by the National Writers Union, of whose Journalism Division this writer is a member, and by the American Society of Journalists and Authors, of which he's also a member) -- the term journalism covers all writing for periodicals, not just reportage. The links immediately below connect you to sites that take both the wider and narrower view of this concept.

  • Chock-full of vital information, A Journalist's Guide to the Internet, presented by Christopher Callahan -- associate dean of journalism at the University of Maryland's College of Journalism, discusses everything from the Freedom of Information Act to online newspapers.

back to top


back to top

Marketing Info:

  • Writer's Market Online is the bible for free lances -- the single best annual compendium of information about rates, rights, personnel, etc., at book and magazine and newspaper publishers in the U.S. (See Print Resources, below.) Now they're online, with some no-cost services and some special services for subscribers only.

  • provides all sorts of specialized information you won't get elsewhere: publishers on particular subjects; publishers in particular cities, states and zip codes; literary agents; and much more. You get the most by subscribing, but what they offer to registered free users is not too shabby.

  • R.R. Bowker's gives you free access to publishers' online catalogs, industry news, and other useful material. As with LMP, above, you get everything by susbscribing, but there's a lot here for free.

  • Another Bowker project,, concentrates on serial publications -- newspapers, magazines -- and provides articles of its own plus access to vast quantities of relevant and helpful data. Same deal for subscriber vs. free user applies here.

back to top

Marketing Opportunities:

Here are some online job boards and other sites that facilitate your search for clients. Note: both the National Writers Union (NWU) and the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), listed below under Writers' Organizations, provide job hotlines in the members-only sections of their websites.

  • bills itself as "the highest-circulation freelance writing ezine inthe world." Who am I to dispute them? With a "Markets" section, a "Forum," articles, and more.

  • MediaBistro is an excellent source of leads to possible outlets.

  • Same goes for SunOasis.

  • And for the generically named Journalism Jobs.

  • Elance Services Marketplace allows you to register as a provider of writing services, search a job listing, and have your name, contact information, and areas of expertise made available to potential clients for those services -- everything from journalism to creative writing to tech writing.

back to top

Print Resources:

Not everything's online (yet). Much of what you need to know still takes the physical form of printed books and magazines. Some of us find that reassuring. I recommend the following as reliable publications.

  • Allworth Press produces an extensive line of carefully researched, well-written books on most aspects of professional writing, from legal matters to marketing and publicity to hypertext. I haven't found a dud so far.

  • Marilyn and Tom Ross's Communication Creativity website, provides information on their excellent books about publicity, marketing, self-publishing, and other pertinent matters. They write in a punchy, energized style thatr's infectious.

  • Writer's Digest magazine has long served as a resource in itself. They also publish an extensive line of books. I've used their Writer's Market series profitably for decades. If you buy the 2005 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition, they throw in a free 1-year subscription to, a service that puts that information, and more, online, updated regularly. (See Marketing Info, above.)

  • The Writer magazine, another long-running periodical, also has a line of useful books, and offers special features for subscribers at its website.

back to top


Publicizing yourself and your work, and involving yourself deeply in promotional efforts for your books and other major publication projects, has become a necessary sphere of activity for 21st-century writers. Here are some sources for pertinent information on such matters.

  • Larry James offers 40+ Ways to Make Your Next Book Signing an EVENT!! at his website, Lots of helpful hints here.

  • John Kremer's Book Marketing Site has much useful information on this subject, with links to numerous other relevant sites.

  • We all dream of finding our books discussed in the New York Times Book Review some Sunday. Dream on -- and put a finer point on that reverie by browsing the Times Book Review Archive, which includes that section's entire contents from 1996 through the present.

back to top


  • Renascence Editions is "an effort to make available online works printed in English between the years 1477 (when Caxton began printing) and 1799."

  • Infinity Plus constitutes a vast, ever-growing anthology of first-rate sci-fi.

back to top

Reference and Research:

  • The single best search engine on the Web, hands down, is Google. One caution: Google ain't infallible; it bases its hierarchy on the quantity of web links to particular sites, on the theory that the sites most heavily linked to are the best or most significant. Not a bad premise, but there are others (volume of traffic, for example). And whatever you need may be buried in a less popular site. So combine a Google search with one using another search engine, such as Alta Vista.

  • You can take short online seminars in a variety of subjects -- from globalization to red tides -- at no charge, at Fathom. Content providers include some of the world's largest universities and other institutions. Registering with them gives you access to email newsletters on specific topics, plus much online content from university presses and other sources.

  • A fantastic resource: presents thousands of classics of literature online: Kate Chopin, Sappho, Ezra Pound . . . All of them public domain, so you can cite them freely at any length you choose.

  • Great Books Online (named after Melville's famous scrivener), similarly, provides the complete texts of hundreds of works of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and reference, from Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons to Edward Sapir's Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.

  • Resources for Writers and Writing Instructors: Jack Lynch's handy portal to style guides, grammar manuals, gender-neutral usage instructions, and lots more.

  • The World of Writing: Yet another portal with a heap o' links to relevant sites for writers.

  • The Midwest Book Review has a fine Resource portal page for writers, with links to many useful sites.

back to top


  • Want to publish your own e-book . . . at no cost? Just take your text files, in any of a variety of word-processor formats, and your art files -- including your own cover art -- to ReaderWorks Standard, drop it in, tweak it a bit, and voila! An e-book that can be read in Microsoft Reader, a free utility you can download here. Then attach it to your emails or stick it on a diskette or CD-ROM and and send it to whomever you wish. This free service brought to you by Overdrive ReaderWorks e-book software products, which include ReaderWorks Standard, a free book-designing a electronic publishing utility you'll find at their website. Eliminate the middleman. Stop killing trees.

  • Looking for a short-run publisher for a print edition of your own work? Consider InstantPublisher, which for under $100 can publish your book within 7 days -- perfect-bound, sixty pages, 25 copies. For an additional fee, they'll obtain an ISBN number for you. One limitation. This POD (print-on-demand) publisher requires you to present your files in a Microsoft Windows-based format.

back to top


Those of us who write ratiocinative prose for a living often get locked into writing patterns that grow stale. Same holds true for finctioneers, poets, and others. Some of the tools listed below offer opportunities for wordplay. Others provide useful services, such as rough literal translation into various languages. But those can be turned to word play also (convert a text of your own from English to French three times and see what happens). Loosen up, dudes.

  • Google™ Language Tools offers a text-translation function that lets you go from numerous languages to numerous languages. It also allows you to search the web in different languages, and allows you to set the Google homepage in dozens of languages -- living, dead (Latin), and imagined (Klingon, Elmer Fudd, Pig Latin). Lively up yourself.

  • Altavista's Babelfish service also translates text automatically -- up to 150 words at a clip, and into more languages than the Google function.

  • "Well, he's a writer," the late Sam Beckett reportedly said, delighting the late William Burroughs. Want to get a little William Burroughsy with your texts? Here's a WSB-inspired Cut-Up Machine online, and you can download a free version of it (28kb) for use offline. Lots more Burroughs stuff at The William S. Burroughs Files and InterZone. To hear the Old Man of the Mountain's virtual voice, go to The Ghost of William Burroughs for audio clips and more.

  • The TextWorx Toolshed from Burning Press offers a wide variety of Mac/PC-DOS programs for random-text generation, text scrambling, and other provocative activities to deprogram your relationship to language.

  • Anagram Genius will take any text and convert it to anagrams.

back to top

Writers' Organizations:

 These represent professional writers' organizations -- that is, organizations with admission requirements that include a track record of substantial publication. WordWork™ does not list writers' organizations that accept members with no professional qualifications. (No, college or university study, even if leading to an MA degree in creative writing, journalism, or literature, does not in itself represent a significant or even adequate qualification as a professional writer. Fulfilling the requirements for a higher-ed degree in any field and actually proving yourself competent to practice within it professionally are two different things entirely. "Smart from books," as Nelson Algren once wrote, "ain't smart at all.")

Some are general, for writers of all (or most) stripes and in all (or most) forms; others represent specializations. Useful to know what niche organizations exist; some may pertain to your own work.

  • PEN American Center, the U.S. Division of this international writers' organization. The acronym stands for Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists. Strong on anti-censorship activism through its "Freedom to Write Committee," with an "imprisoned writers" emphasis and an international outlook -- as a result of which it pays attention to those unsung heroes of writing, translators. Not particularly energetic in relation to nuts-and-bolts issues such as copyright, bad contracts, low fees, and broken agreements.

  • The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA).

  • The Authors Guild.

  • The National Writers Union (NWU). Youngest of these four, and already the largest. An affiliate of the United Auto Workers. This is the organization that fought and won the epochal Tasini v. Times court battle. Among the benefits of membership: access to a decent health plan for free lances, liability insurance, a highly effective Grievance Committee to take on your fights for you, contract advisors to review your publishers' boilerplate, and a great press pass. Easiest of these to join in regard to membership requirements.

  • AICA USA, the U.S. division of the International Association of Critics of Art. Membership benefits include an international press card that will get you into just about any foreign museum, and most U.S. museums, free. If you write about art, membership's definitely worth your while.

  • The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). For people who write everything from journalism about medical issues to those instruction sheets that come with your prescription drugs.

  • A Journalist's Guide to the Internet, presented by Christopher Callahan -- associate dean of journalism at the University of Maryland's College of Journalism -- provides an excellent Links page devoted to Journalism Organizations & Related Sites.

Please report any nonfunctioning links on this list to

back to top

Copyright © 2001-2004 by A. D. Coleman. All rights reserved. For reprint permissions contact Image/World Syndication Services, POB 040078, Staten Island, NY 10304-0002 USA;T/F (718) 447-3091,