Editors Blog

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.

Screen shot 2012-04-23 at 6.57.53 PM

The Key to a Good Series is Excellent Characters

I’m a series junkie. In addition to those noted above, faves include Lew Archer, Spenser, Elvis Cole, Parker, Fletch, Jack Reacher, Harry Bosch … I could go on. And one of the things that draws me to series is that feeling of slipping into a familiar world – a place with its own logic...

Screen shot 2012-04-24 at 12.07.14 AM

Write to Express, Not to Impress

The answer to everything: "Write to express, not to impress." That's it. A six word powerhouse. It's the universal answer to just about everything a writer asks. Go ahead, give it a try. 1) How do I get past writer's block? Write to express, not to impress. I don't believe in writer's block. The...

Screen shot 2012-04-23 at 7.36.57 PM

“How I Got Published” — Wade Rouse, Best-Selling Author and Editor of I’M NOT THE BIGGEST B**** IN THIS RELATIONSHIP

Wade Rouse, humorist and memoirist, is the creator and editor of the recently published humorous dog anthology, I’m Not the Biggest B**** in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales about Man’s Best Friend from America’s Favorite Humorists (NAL, 2011), which was a Today Show “Holiday Pick” and features essays from nine New York Times bestsellers...

Screen shot 2012-04-24 at 12.40.12 AM

Writing a Novel People Want to Read

Over the years—before the release of my debut novel, A WALK ACROSS THE SUN, and in the months since—I have heard aspiring writers say, “I don’t write stories for an audience. I write for myself.” When I was an aspiring novelist penning stories that no one wanted to publish, I used to say the...

Screen shot 2012-04-08 at 4.02.14 PM

Author Interview: Alec Nevala-Lee, Author of THE ICON THIEF

This is a Q&A with author Alec Nevala-Lee, who is celebrating the release of his thriller, THE ICON THIEF, (Signet, March 2012). In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls THE ICON THIEF an "cerebral, exciting debut." It's his first book, and I always enjoy spotlight up-and-coming authors on my GLA Blog. Read on to...

9635929

Who Is Your Target Reader?

When you’re trying to sell your first novel, one of the questions that agents and editors will almost inevitably ask is “Who do you see as your target reader?” Writers frequently punt with a vague answer, something along the lines of “Anyone who enjoys a good story” or “This theme is universal.” They’re probably trying...

51dEFaPCbIL__SL500_

Author Interview: William Richter (Author of DARK EYES)

Below find a Q&A with author William Richter, who is celebrating the release of his YA crime novel, DARK EYES (Razorbill, March 2012). Richter describes the book as a "gateway thriller -- meaning it's an adult-style crime story but told from the point of view of young central characters." (Sounds very cool!) It's his...

Screen shot 2012-04-03 at 6.49.14 PM

How to Write a Book When You’re Really, Really Busy

I am, as my mother would say, “a busy little beaver.” While writing my most recent novel, I was working full-time, going to school at UCLA and training for a 50 kilometer footrace. I also slept, ate, saw friends, posted on Twitter and Facebook, blogged, belonged to a book club and watched a number...

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Why Literary Fiction Isn’t Boring

Have you ever wanted to savor a meal because you’ve never tasted anything so good? Well, if you’re new to literary fiction, or can never seem to “get into it,” this is how you should try approaching it. Think of the book as a meal with intricate scents, flavors and textures that you can’t quite...

Screen shot 2012-02-26 at 11.34.54 PM

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...

Screen shot 2012-02-12 at 2.16.34 PM

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...

Screen shot 2012-02-04 at 10.36.00 PM

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...

Screen shot 2012-02-04 at 8.10.15 PM

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...

PrairieGrassMurdersFront

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...

Picture 4

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...

Screen shot 2011-12-19 at 11.00.32 PM

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...

Picture 4

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...

Screen_shot_2010-07-05_at_11.30.04_PM

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,...

radio-shangri-la

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...

Screen shot 2011-10-10 at 11.22.43 PM

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...

Screen shot 2011-10-01 at 7.29.13 PM

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...