Guest Columns

How to get published — read hundreds of helpful Writer’s Digest guest columns from published writers teaching the craft and business of writing.

frosted-cowboy-book-cover

The Biggest Mistake New Writers Make

I wrote the first draft of my novel by hand, which I realize is slightly insane. Every morning I would wake up at five o’clock (or as I like to call it, o’dark o’clock), write three pages, and then go on with my day. Well, that’s a very simplified version, but for the sake...

A-Wicked-Way-to-Win-an-Earl-book-cover

Writing Contest Conundrum: To Enter or Not to Enter?

This is how it goes in your head: You enter a writing contest, win it, and ride that wave of success to glorious bestsellerdom. Or maybe it’s more like this: You don’t win the contest, but you get a priceless, insightful critique from a seasoned judge. You revise your novel, enter another writing contest,...

MORE-IGAMI. Text copyright © 2016 by Dori Kleber. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by G. Brian Karas. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Should You Follow the Siren Song of a New Idea?

Writing, rewriting, revising, re-rewriting. It’s painstaking, and after months—or possibly years—of working on a novel, you can feel bogged down, exhausted, even defeated. And then it happens: You get a new book idea. And not just any idea. A great idea. In fact, you’re sure this idea is a hundred times better than your current...

Sarah_Manning_United_Talent_Agency

New Literary Agent Alert: Sarah Manning of United Talent Agency

Currently Seeking: She is looking to actively build her list and represents both fiction and non-fiction. Sarah’s taste is varied and she enjoys crime, thrillers, historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction, accessible literary fiction, fantasy and YA. She likes big ideas that look at events or characters from new perspectives.

The-Far-Empty-book-cover

3 Things I Stopped Doing That Got Me Writing Again

Every writer has a “go to” set of techniques, strategies, and schemes they use to motivate themselves to get their stories written; all the things they do every day to write their way to “THE END.” However, after 20 years of barely completing a sentence, much less a story, here are three things I...

Within-the-veil-book-cover

Writing Through Fear

We’re all scared. Let’s just start there. No matter what stage of writing you find yourself in, fear is the constant adversary that will track your every move and hunt you down. Just when you think you’re bulletproof, you’ll plunge headlong into a sea of depression and be overwhelmed with waves of doubt. As...

Gates-of-evangeline-book-cover

Becoming a Novelist: Five Principles to Success

The story of how I broke into publishing is not one most aspiring writers immediately find helpful. One bitter individual informed me that my experience only proves the insularity of the industry, that you are nobody without an “in.” On the surface, he’s right; my “in” opened that final elusive door to publication. Less...

golden-state-misadventures-book-cover

What I Learned from Attending Writers’ Conferences

Before teaming up with a new publisher to release both my poetry compilation ATL Fire and California travel memoir Golden State Misadventures over one quarter of a year in 2015, I frequented writers’ conferences and grew from those experiences. Column by Han Vance, author of memoir GOLDEN STATE MISADVENTURES (August 2015, Silver Stone Press). His...

Becoming-darkness-book-cover

How Writing Taught Me the Need for Patience

Patience. Some regard it a virtue, and if there’s any one thing I’ve learned since embarking upon my journey into the publishing world, it’s that you need it in spades. Many are of the impression the most difficult part of being a writer is the actual writing. And yes, crafting a good novel can...

Beijing-Red-book-cover

Fact vs Fiction: Keeping a Military Thriller Thrilling

As Navy veterans turned thriller writers, one thing we are often asked is how much of our military experience finds its way into our work. The answer is plenty, but how and what to include can be the difference between a high-octane thriller that’s packed with realism and a tedious study of military life....

the-alliance-book-cover

How Missing My Deadline Brought life to My Novel

I had a conference call with my publisher about a week before my husband’s emergency brain surgery. I remember pacing outside, in the December cold, with the phone pressed against my ear and trying to carry on a normal conversation while also sneaking glances through the living room windows to make sure my husband...

With-Malice-book-cover

6 Things Teaching Taught Me About My Own Writing

If you do something long enough people around you assume you must know what you’re doing. Next thing you know you end up as the instructor. I’m fairly sure this is how I started teaching. I’ve found that teaching writing to others has taught me a lot about my own writing.  Regardless if you...

Tell-Me-No-Lies-Book-Cover

4 Tips For Creating Bad Boys & Villains Readers Will Love to Hate

As a romantic suspense author, I enjoy creating characters (both heroes and villains) that readers love to hate. Creating characters that verge on being anti-heroes is especially satisfying. Why? It makes for interesting reading and the experience become emotional for the reader when they can’t decide whether to root for a character or wish...

Trouble-in-rooster-paradise-book-cover

One Day a Week, One Scene at a Time

I’ve read that ideally a writer should write each day during a designated period lasting a few hours, if at all possible. And that sounds about right as ideals go, and I don’t doubt that such a regular daily routine hones one’s writing skills and keeps the creative juices flowing. However, the constraints of...

married-sex-book-cover

Short Novels Sell

After spending years revising my book, MARRIED SEX,  I was convinced that its 37,000 words had split the stylistic difference between James Patterson and James Salter—that this was as novel tight as a screenplay. No adverbs. Few adjectives. Only active verbs.  What Orwell called “prose like a windowpane.” Column by Jesse Kornbluth, debut author of MARRIED...

Mae-and-the-moon-book-cover

 Creating Picture Books As an Author/Illustrator

I have always loved the relationship between story and pictures. As a child, I would spend hours poring over picture books. In my teens I discovered the amazing world of graphic novels. At university I studied and learned the techniques of film and animation. This love of story led me to an established career...

when-the-moon-was-ours-book-cover

Where Our Magic Lives: An Introduction to Magical Realism

So what is magical realism? Right after “What made you tell a story about mermaids and winged tightrope walkers?” this is probably the book question I get asked most. And understandably so. Category classifications are hard enough, and magical realism defies labeling. It’s both a genre and not one. It’s as much a worldview as...

Plantation-shudders-book-cover

The Art of Taking Critique

Technically, I’ve been criticized—I mean “critiqued”—my entire career. Whether it’s getting feedback from an audience at a play reading, notes from a book editor, or a room rewrite of a television script, my job is to translate opinions into positive changes for whatever project I’m working on. It’s a tricky business because our natural...

south-of-sunshine-book-cover

6 Hard Truths Every Writer Should Accept

From a person who never dreamed of writing a book to published author, I’ve learned some things along the way. There are a few hard truths I feel every writer should accept. The sooner you accept them, the sooner you’ll stop obsessing about them and the sooner you can do the work to get...