My Top 15 Research Resources for Writers

Day 18:  #AtoZchallenge

Researching a novel doesn’t have to be difficult but it is necessary. Research can be as easy as typing a question in Goggle for information, looking through old photos, sitting down with an expert, or actually visiting a facility or locale.

If you’re writing about a time other than the present, the research can be more difficult. In my current work in progress, I originally set the time frame in the mid 1980’s and quickly discovered the need to do more indepth research. For example, cell phones weren’t available until the late 80’s. Different airlines operated than the ones flying today and only a handful made flights to the area of the country in which my novel was situated.

My research took me inside the airline industry, including the lay out of the inside of a plane, the cell phone industry, and to historical registries. Other works have led me to reserach arson and forensics.

So, to make research easier for you, I’ve compiled a list of my 15 favorite research resources.

  1. Infoplease – covers anything from current events to historical timelines.
  2. The Library of Congress – the world’s largest library with millions of items in it’s collection.
  3. Refdesk referred to as the “Fact checker for the Internet” this online reference site provides links to headlines news, current events, and any imaginable question you might like to pose.
  4. Google Scholar – a specialized search engine providing information on academic research.
  5. – offers 100 trusted sources.
  6. GoPubMdyour source for all sceince and medical research.
  7. Godcheckeryour God and Goddess resource.
  8. Writing World – for a primer of historical research.
  9. Find articles – offering more than 500 print periodicals covering present to 1998.
  10. – a daily press directory with access to the world’s largest news sites and displays a readable image from today’s frontpage cover of each newspaper.
  11. InterFireonline – the complete resource for fire services, fire insurers, law enforcement and others whose duties involve arson investigation, fire investigation safety and fire scene training.
  12. The Writer’s Forensic Blog – forensic information for writers from D.P. Lyle, MD.
  13. Mystery File – the crime Fiction research journal.
  14. MooseRoots – research tool covering census records, imigration, military, death, marriage & birth records.
  15. Writers Helping Writers – all about characters including the character profile questionnaire and the emotional thesauraus.

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So tell me, how do you start your research? Do you have a favorite site? I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, and Contently.


Forget About Getting Rich

via The Average Earnings of Authors | A Writer’s Path and Guest post contributed by Sara Wolf at the Blooming Twig. The Blooming Twig is an independent publishing house that also produces writing blog posts. For more information, check out the Blooming Twig and A Writer’s Path

A big thanks to Ryan Lanz and Sara Wolf for bursting my bubble. I’m no Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, but hey, I have aspirations for my still unfinished novel. I imagined my book on the New York Times bestselling list and after selling the movie rights, visions of rolling in money. But, according to a report by the University of London, it ain’t gonna happen.

Photo Courtesy of and Google

Here are the highlights of the University’s study  (based on 2,500 working writers):

  • 54% of traditionally published authors and 80% of self-published authors earn less than $1,000 a year.
  • In 2013, 17% of authors made no money writing.
  • Less than 1% of self-published and more than 5% hybrid writers earn more than $100,000 per year. (Hybrid writer -an author who utilizes both the traditional and self-publishing systems in order to retain control of  her own work).
  • According to award-winning author, Phillip Pullman, over the past ten years, publisher’s earnings have remained steady; writers incomes have decreased an average of 29%.
  • Fiction authors make more money than non-fiction or academic writers.
  • Women writers make 80% of what male writers make. (What! Who’s surprised?)
  • The report summed it nicely, “It appears that writing is a profession where only a handful of successful authors make a very good living while most do not.”

There you have it; not many of us will become rich from writing. Most of us write because we love to; it’s part of who we are.

I published my first article in 1989 and the excitement I felt is hard to describe. It’s an accomplishment of which I am still very proud. That first article happened a long time ago, but each time a story or article of mine is published, I get those same feelings. There’s something special about knowing other people are reading and enjoying the words I have written.

What about you? Do you write for fame and riches? Have you earned income from your writing? Share your success. Want to read the full article? You can find it here.

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story. And as always, you can follow me on Facebook at SheilaMGood, PinterestBloglovin, Twitter @cofcmom, and Contently.