It's an exciting time to be a writer! The internet has opened up possibilities that were undreamed of fifteen years ago.
Writers need readers and here they are online and hungry for books that fit their unique interests. The traditional gatekeepers (literary agents and publishers) who once decided for the population what would be published and what would never make the light of day, have been circumvented. At last readers can access the stories they seek - be it paranormal romance, cyberpunk, or magical realism - directly from the writers themselves, or from Amazon for as little as 99c.
That's not to say the gatekeepers do not still have a valid part to play in the literary world. They do. They are experienced in what they do and their job is to hand pick the quality saleable writing from what they perceive as the mountain of mediocrity. But sometimes, good work misses out. The work of J.K. Rowling was rejected. Stephen King shoved all his rejection slips on a ten inch nail which he hammered into his wall. What I'm saying is that, once upon a time, the ONLY way for writers to be read was via the gatekeepers. That is no longer the case.
If you're a writer or a reader, there's an online community perfect for you. Google "book blogs" and you'll see what I mean.
Readers, you can get your books for free in return for writing an honest review.
Writers, you'll find keen readers to review your book. What's more, if your stories are popular, the online community will generate buzz and before you know it you could be the next Amanda Hocking or J.A. Konrath. Both are making their fortunes through self publishing on-line. If you would like to try following in their footsteps, read Amanda's Epic Tale of How it all Began or J. A. Konrath's blogspot A Newbies Guide to Publishing.
TO JOIN A GROUP visit Bookblogs. With 261 groups (at time of writing) they are bound to have a niche group of readers and writers just for you.
FOR EXPERT BOOK REVIEWS go to 101 Bookblogs you need to read. This is a list compiled by Online Universities. It directs you to blogs of honest reviews given by experts on just about any book.
OTHER INFORMATIVE SITES include:
Writer's Digest - this site provides relevent information for writers such as literary news, courses, tips, and blog recommendations. You can also subscribe to receive their email.
Guardian Books - search what you're after by title, genre, or author, get the latest literary news, podcasts or join the book club.
The Book Slut - famous for its news, reviews, and a blog about everything bookish.
100 best blogs for book reviews - this college site lists some blogs with niche reviews such as books translated from Japanese, children's fantasy fiction, books based in or about the UK.
That's enough for starters. I'll return soon to write more.