Guest post : A Free Tool for Writers—the Writer’s Knowledge Base

I came across this amazing resource for writers a couple of weeks ago, and I contacted Elizabeth S Craig to see if she would be kind enough to pay a visit and tell us all about the Writer’s Knowledge Base. If you don’t know about this, you need to visit the site and bookmark it, because it is crammed with really useful information. We agreed to swap posts this week. I have written one on her site for Indie Authors : Getting those All-Important Reviews and you might want to check that out too.

Here’s what Elizabeth has to tell us.

A Free Tool for Writers—the Writer’s Knowledge Base—by Elizabeth S. Craig

The Writer’s Knowledge Base, or WKB, is a free search engine that’s specifically for writers. For years, I got frustrated with Google when I was trying to find articles on the writing craft. There were tons of writing blogs out there, but these individual blogs, frequently with fantastic tips for writers, were getting buried by other, non-relevant sites.

If I were trying to find an article on POV, internal conflict, scene structure, or dialogue? The highest ranking posts in Google for any given writing search were frequently either an assignment that a college professor has posted (an assignment on the topic, not a resource), or a vague article by a content mill site that didn’t address the topic in any kind of depth.

To avoid random search results, I started subscribing to writing blogs to access in-depth information on the writing craft—written by working writers and industry professionals. I subscribed to every solid writing blog I could find, reading them with an RSS reader and making a note of the best posts and blogs that were out there.

After amassing a huge number of writing blog subscriptions, it occurred to me that other writers might be interested in the same type of information….and that maybe they didn’t know where to look.

That’s when I started tweeting the info I found. But the links’ lifespan still was really short—they’d get buried by other links and other tweets. What if there was a writer who didn’t need that great link on book marketing now? Maybe they needed an agent post on penning the perfect query. Would they just miss out on the marketing link since they wouldn’t need it for a while? Would they bookmark it for later and end up with a ton of bookmarks?

I also realized that not everyone was on Twitter.  So I started sharing the links, weekly, on my blog.  I even added a couple of pages to my blog to try to archive the links and make them, to some degree, searchable. Still, the searching wasn’t particularly efficient. And the blog crashed under the weight of the links.

I mentioned in a post in December 2010, “I’m sure there’s got to be a better way to do this, but I can’t think of it.”

That’s when Mike Fleming, a writer and a software developer, contacted me about putting my links in a searchable database so that writers could access the links when they needed them.  He basically designed a search engine that was specifically for writers. All the writing-related links that I locate and share on Twitter are fed into the WKB and Mike indexes the post content to make for fast and accurate searching.

Who are the authors of these blog posts in the WKB? Writers, agents, editors, book marketing experts. Some of your blog posts may be included, too. Because the experts on writing are writers—who are in the trenches, writing.

The search engine currently has over 14,000 free articles on writing. I have about 2400 blog subscriptions that I scan daily for content.

So, if you realize you have trouble with transitions, if your book has a saggy middle, if you have trouble with point of view (POV), if you’re looking for tips to improve your blog, then you can search the WKB for resources.

What are some of your favorite tools and resources for writers?

Elizabeth’s latest book, Hickory Smoked Homicide, released November 1.  Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder.
Writer’s Knowledge Base–the Search Engine for Writers
Twitter: @elizabethscraig