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.


It Takes a Village (to Write a Novel)

It takes a village. It really does. The sitting down and getting the words from the fingers to the computer screen is a fairly solitary operation. But the getting the ideas to the fingers and then the computer screen to a book … a village. A big and wonderful village. Guest column by Priya Parmar,...


Publicity Tips When Publishing Your Book

BEFORE YOUR BOOK IS PUBLISHED Make a Web site, preferably from your name (not your book’s title—it’s a long career you’re trying to build). Author pages on publishers’ sites rarely do a good job. A decent site costs $500-1,500, depending on the designer and the complexity, or you can make one on the simple-to-use


Be True to Yourself and Your Voice Will Come

When I sent off my very first manuscript almost two decades ago, I made just about every mistake you could make. I included my own illustrations with my picture book, and since I'm not much of an artist, I sent some bright paper cut-out artwork, reminiscent of Matisse minus the talent and technique. I...


Examining Trends vs. Style in Children’s Books

Unless you’re into a time travel trend and have been MIA for the last years, you probably pretty much know the landscape: immortal, sexy creatures like vampires, werewolves and fey with an odd desire to return to high school and fall in love. Ghosts and fallen angels are fast becoming smoking’ hot. Zombies are...


What I Learned About Writing a Second Novel

It seems crazy to claim "beginners luck" when you’ve been writing since your twenties and get your first novel published at 39. At the time it felt more like a grand plan unfolding; a plan that included—of course it would!—the prompt arrival of novel number two. I had a great idea, right? I’d done...


Book Marketing For 21st-Century Authors

Almost three years after the deal got made with Crown Publishing Group, my travel memoir about my time helping to start a radio station in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan has hit the shelves. Hooray! But there’s little time to celebrate, and there hasn’t been much downtime for months—even though the actual book was...


How Writing About Loss Helps You Heal

Just a few days before my 27th birthday, she had a severe heart attack. I returned to Ohio, never imagining I’d remain there for over a year—Mom spending that entire time in one hospital or another, battling congestive heart failure, stomach paralysis, ventilator dependency, and lung cancer (the thing that would ultimately claim her...


What’s In A Title? Everything.

The right name brings a person to life and allows you to see who they truly are and all the potential stretching out in front of them. The right title does the same for a novel. For most of the many years it took me to write my novel, its working title was “Looking for...


From Self-Published Success to Agented Author

For a new writer, finding an agent sometimes feels like you’ve been sent on a snipe hunt. Other writers insist they are out there, tout the glories of bagging one, and share their wild adventure stories about when they got theirs. But are agents really out there? If so, how do you get one?...

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Utilizing Your Strengths To Realize Your Writing Dreams

So in this time of reflection on the past year and looking forward to the new one, look closely at your strengths—what drives and energizes you—and don’t beat yourself up about perceived weaknesses when it comes to social media, accounting, promoting yourself, editing, book design, and so on. If your strength is writing, write....


Write From Your Own Life Experiences

It wasn’t always this way … I stared out trying to escape my life when all of sudden it hit me. Why not sit and write about it? Which was indeed the hardest thing I ever decided to do? You see, I never chose to be a writer; the writing came to me at...


A Day in the Life of an Animal Author

What in the world is an animal author anyway? We’re all animals, last I checked, and if you’re reading this, you are likely an author or someone who works closely with authors. But when you scan current book catalogs or walk into your local bookstore (that rare tactile moment of encounter with real bindings...


The 7 Deadly Sins of Paranormal Romance

SLOTH: Info Dumps. Nothing turns me off faster than a book that starts off with a long narrative explaining all the world building. Info dumps are lazy. They’re bad form. The details of your world should come to light slowly, layer upon layer, immersing the reader in the experience. For hints on how to...


Find Writing Ideas All Around You

People often ask me: "Where do you get your ideas?" Most of the time, I don't know exactly how I came up with an entire book plot, but for someone who's only been writing since May of 2009 (and yes, this is really true) lots of ideas have gone from my head to the...


Put Resilence In Your Writers Toolbox

You’ve heard that writers must be resilient in order to bounce back from the internal and external obstacles of the writing life. But what if the optimistic attitude that underlies resilience doesn’t come naturally to you? What if you struggle with occasional or frequent periods of losing energy, focus, creativity and even hope? Your...


5 Things Writers Should Do BEFORE Release Day

1. Do the Website. Like, Now. Okay, you know you need a website. But release day is 18 months away. Do you really need one now? Short answer: yes. Websites take a surprisingly long time to build, especially if you’re working from scratch with a designer. You can throw a holding place up on blogspot...