Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Search Engine for Writers

Writer's Knowledge Base graphicGoogle doesn’t always deliver.

If you want to search for information on POV, try plugging the term into Google.

The top sites returned for POV are a video that PBS made (which isn’t on writing POV), a couple of definitions by Wikipedia (several of which have to do with automobiles), a racy YouTube video, and some freeware.

That’s right—nothing to do with the craft of writing.

When I started subscribing to writing blogs, I did it to access in-depth information on the writing craft—written by working writers and industry professionals.

After amassing a huge (1587 and growing) 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.

Realizing that not everyone was on Twitter, I started sharing the links, weekly, on my blog.

Still, the fact that the links weren’t easily searched bothered me. 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 put a couple of pages up on my blog to try to archive the links and make them, to some degree, searchable. Still, the searching wasn’t particularly efficient.

I mentioned on my blog one day, “I’m sure there’s got to be a better way to do this, but I can’t think of it.”

Enter Mike Fleming, software engineer.

Mike knew exactly how to make the links searchable—create a specific search engine for writing links. He emailed me to bat the idea back and forth with me (actually, it was more of a one-sided tennis game, since he’s way over my head in terms of technology.)

But I loved the idea of a free resource for writers. A way for writers to access information that would help them write better books or articles.

After a lot of work on Mike’s part, the Writer’s Knowledge Base was created.

As Mike stated on his blog:

The search is done instantly over thousands of writing-related articles ranging from character development to author promotion on social media. Unlike Google, all of the results are relevant to you as a writer. They may not all interest you, of course, but at least searching for "plot" will bring back articles on how to plot your story and not news articles on terrorist plots.

Mike has also included a fun feature where a writer can browse the links and find random writing-related articles.

Who are the authors of these blog posts? Writers, agents, editors, book marketing experts. Some of your blog posts may be included, too. Writers won’t only be accessing the information they need, but they’ll also be finding new and helpful blogs to follow. And Mike will continue adding the links that I uncover each week.

When you have a minute, we’d love for you to give it a try. What do you think? Please tell us what you like, what you’d like to see added, and any ideas or thoughts you have. You can comment on either of our blogs, email me at elizabethspanncraig (at) gmail.com or Mike at mike.fleming (at) hiveword.com.

And feel free to spread the news. I’d love for this to be a real resource for writers.