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.

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The Opportunities of Self-Publishing E-Books — Tips From the San Francisco Writers Conference

With each passing year, the prevalence of self publishing topics at writing conferences continues to grow. The 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference held true to that trend. By my count, one-sixth of the seminars centered around the topic of self-publishing. The anticipated industry evolution is no longer coming; it’s here. Data provided by leading...

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6 Tips On Writing Plays For Kids

1) Be realistic.Your script probably won't be performed on Broadway or turned into a blockbuster movie. Avoid special effects, amazing stunts, or anything else that can't be accomplished by ordinary kids. Keep costumes, sets, and props to a minimum. Writing in the readers theatre format is one of the best ways to create a...

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6 Tips To Resuscitate a Dying Author Blog

Maintaining an author blog is no cakewalk. So if your author blog is slumping, pat yourself on the back. At least you have a spine to slump! If you started your blog because you wanted to impress literary agents and editors with your ability to mobilize audiences, then you want your posts to show...

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Point of View Shifts in Writing: Proceed with Caution

“Which character tells the story?” That’s a crucial character-question writers must ask themselves in the planning stages of any novel. It’s usually followed by: “Should the story come from one character’s point of view, or more than one?” A tricky question, because incorporating multiple points-of-view can be a bit like juggling plates. Each character...

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10 Tips on Guest Blogging and Blog Tours

Hosting guests and author tours on your own blog is a way to attract more readers to your site as well as introduce your guests to a new audience. As a blogger and author, you also have an opportunity to make special appearances from time to time, or to schedule a virtual tour for...

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7 Best Practices for Building an Online Presence

1. BE CONSISTENT ONLINE - Blog every day or once a week or not at all. Establish the schedule for you and then stick to it. - Decide what you want it to be about - Writing, querying, kids, family? Guest column by Daisy Whitney, author of THE MOCKINGBIRDS, an NPR Best Book of 2010 that also...

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Giving Back: How to Expand Your Platform Through Generosity

Building and expanding a platform is part of being an author in today’s market. Even if you’re not published, platform construction and maintenance help you cultivate a relationship with readers who will eventually buy your book. Social media provides an impressive toolkit for making this happen, but even in the era of cyberspace, two...

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Your Job Is To Write, Not Worry

Two summers ago, I landed a literary agent for my novel, The Great Lenore. A short time later, she submitted the manuscript to editors at HarperCollins and St. Martin’s Press – each of whom she had a close working relationship with. She was excited when she sent the manuscript their way. She was excited...

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What’s Working in the Young Adult Market?

1. Write What You Love: You should always write your first draft for yourself, telling the story you want to read and only you can write. I sat down for lunch at a conference with one of my authors, Jackie Morse Kessler, and she told me about a book she wanted to write someday,...

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What to Expect From Your First Book Tour

I’ve been so busy running around the country I've hardly realized it's been several months have elapsed since Crown published my book, Radio Shangri-La. Here’s a bit of what this first-time author has learned. First of all, let me say that I sent myself on the road. Most publishers these days are more likely...

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The Advice I Needed Most as a New Writer (But Never Got)

Maybe I'm just dumb. But through years of creative writing classes and workshops, it took me forever to understand what lay at the heart of a good plot: conflict, conflict, conflict. Sure, we bandied the word about as we critiqued one another's writing. But no one ever defined it in terms of how a...

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Agent Jon Sternfeld On: Breaking Through the Slush

Quite honestly, on days where I have the time (and the energy and the optimism) to go through the slush, I just want something that stands out among the hundreds of email queries. (And I mean ‘stands out’ for the right reasons – fresh, professional, original – the annoying overly-casual queries get deleted pretty...

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5 Tricks Animal Writers Should Know

We only have to walk around the neighborhood, watch TV commercials, or open our e-mail inbox to see that animals continue to fascinate people. Writing about animals can be as fun as playing with them. Here are some things to keep in mind when telling animal stories. 1. Respect what animals mean to your audience....

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Some Thoughts on Historical Research

When historical fiction is done right, it's like taking a magical vacation to a different time, another land. Whether it's Victorian London, the Australian Outback, or the American West, quality historical fiction has the ability to bring a story to life in ways nonfiction never will. But no doubt about it, if you want...

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Writing the Male Point of View

I’ve got a release coming out in September called Wasteland. It’s written in first person, male point of view. You might be thinking, But you’re a chick, how can you write male point of view? I guess we’ll find out if you think I can write the male point of view effectively after my...

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Does Our Author Appearance Matter?

Ever noticed how certain children’s authors use the same photo on the back of their jacket for years? I always think, “Hey, who are you fooling? That hat is straight out of the 80s. Update it! Proudly display your aged face!” But then I think—“Huh. That could be me. Would I want to do...

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Why I’m Keeping My Day Job

Spend any time around writers, and you’ll hear us joking—well, half-joking—about wanting to make enough money on our next book to quit our day job. But the truth is, I wouldn’t give up my day job even if my next book brought in six figures. I say this having tried both sides of the writing...

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9 Things I Learned from Other Writers

Everything I know about writing I learned from other writers. Mostly from reading their stories and novels, but also from what they have had to say about writing. Below are seven choice tidbits. 1. Use your best idea first. Otherwise that good idea is going to act like a plug or a cork in your...

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How My Love For a Subject Led to a Book

love the sensuous feel of fresh water running over my arms after a long, hot day in the sun. A turn of the faucet and the crusted salty spray on my face vanishes in moments, leaving a wonderful feeling of well-being. Wading in glacial meltwater in New Zealand, a glass of cold water after...