Every year around the holidays I donate a few bucks to various online services and sites that I use heavily and that mostly offer their services for free. I also write this post in order to encourage others to donate also, if they can afford to. Here’s where I sent my hard-earned cash this time around:
I use Wikipedia heavily whenever I need to look something up as it relates to my writing. I wouldn’t be surprised if I accessed close to 1000 listings on there in the course of 2015. Although not specifically a writing resource, most writers I know lean heavily on it as well.
This is an invaluable resource and I spend a lot of my time at conventions and other writerly gatherings proselytizing fellow authors. Anyone who graduated a pro-level workshop like Clarion or Viable Paradise, or sold at least one short story to a SFWA-qualifying venue is eligible to join. Highly recommended!
Free and easy-to-use tool to track your submissions, learn about new and active short story markets, and get estimates on how quickly editors at each venue are responding to submissions. The Grinder continues to grow and they’re 100% committed to providing their service free to all writers. They’re also publishing fiction at the Grinder’s parent site Diabolical Plots (full disclosure: a story of mine will appear there next year), as well as The Long List anthology of Hugo-nominated and near-miss stories from last year. David Steffen does a ton of work to benefit the community. In addition to a donation for his operating expenses, I’d encourage those of you nominating to consider his site for a Hugo nomination next year under Best Fanzine or Best Fan Writer categories.
This is not really a donation since I get the magazine in return for my money, but I subscribed mostly to support their efforts. Locus has been around for a long time and a ton of work goes into covering the SF/F publishing word the way they do. As an author and editor I truly have a vested interest in their success, and buying a subscription is one small way to ensure their continued existence.