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.

george

How Deadlines Can Help Your Writing

As a mom with a full-time job, I’ve always had to squeeze time out of my busy schedule for writing. I’ve been writing steadily for more than 15 years, but for the first few years it was hit and miss, a little writing here, a little writing there. No pressure or time constraints and...

kelly

A Book’s Timeline: How My Nonfiction Project Came to Life

You need a clear understanding of the scope of your inquiry, how you’ll access the material you need—archives, letters, libraries, interviews, firsthand reporting—and how much time, money and travel this will require. Once you’ve defined your trajectory, and can describe your book in a sentence, all you have to do is write it! Here’s...

jess-cooke

How $1 Could Make You a Bestselling Author

One thing has remained consistent about my approach to writing, from a seven-year-old in love with stories and Care Bears to a 32-year old full-time writer with publishing contracts in 18 languages—I always, always carry a notebook. Spiral-bound flipbooks in my back pocket. A jotter in the glove box of my car. One of...

demas

How to Get the Most Out of a Writing Group

I currently belong to two writing groups and have belonged to several in my career, and although the Leopardi Circle, the group in The Writing Circle, isn’t about any of them, I’ve certainly drawn on my experiences to shape the scenes where the characters meet and discuss their work. Guest column by Corinne Demas, award-winning...

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A Look at Literary Assistants (Part 2): Kristy King of Writers House

Guest column by Jude Tulli. He has written for several recent editions of the Writer's Market and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market. The title "assistant" never does anyone justice. It conjures images of the inexperienced, the temporary hire, the noob. Yet just as the magician's sequined accomplice is responsible for meticulously timed moments...

latimer

Picture Books Aren’t Just For Kids…

Children don’t buy children’s books. And children don’t read children’s books. Parents do both of those things. If you ignore the people with the money and who are spending their time reading the book aloud, you’re ignoring 50% of your target market. And that’s not smart. Guest column by Alex Latimer, writer & illustrator. ...

tulli

A Look at Literary Assistants (Part 1): Suzie Townsend’s Story of From Assistant to Full Agent

The title "assistant" never does anyone justice. It conjures images of the inexperienced, the temporary hire, the noob.Yet just as the magician's sequined accomplice is responsible for meticulously timed moments of audience misdirection, so too will a writer never truly know what percentage of that surprise acceptance was bestowed by the magic wand of...

mabry

Things To Do AFTER You Get an Agent

DON'T BE A ONE-TRICK PONY Agents and publishers don’t envision you as the author of just one book. They’re interested in your career as a writer. It takes time to get a contract offer, and by the time my first one came along, I had already written a draft of my second book. By...

swallow

5 Tips for A Successful Reading

1. Respect your audience. The most valuable thing anyone can give you is time and attention. Arrive early and start on time. I’ve seen authors waltz in 45 minutes late to their own reading—because they were next door enjoying a leisurely dinner. (Planning, people!) During Q&A, remember there is no such thing as a...

lender

3 Laws of Writing on Wildlife

1. All animals all the time. I’ve had a dedicated and passionate interest in wild animals and wild places since I was 8 years old. Reason? Walt Disney. It was Disney’s early short films on wildlife that sucked me in. He showed animals in their natural habitat and lots of them. One of those...

fox2

Pitch Perfect: How to Craft Your Book’s Hook

So what makes up a good hook? Simplicity. You don’t need to recite a paragraph-long pitch to an editor. You don’t need to wow them with every nuance of the conflict between your hero and heroine. That comes later. What you want to do first is get them interested in you and your book’s...

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How to Make a Positive Impression at a Writers Conference

“Agents are human too.” If you’ve been around agents for any amount of time, you’ve undoubtedly heard this phrase. Writers say it about agents, agents say it about themselves … but rather than considering it a brush-off joke or cliché, “Agents are human too” actually provides a healthy perspective when networking with them at...

gershow

Why Writers Need Book Bloggers

Having gone through paperback and hardcover publication, having watched the marketing and publicity wheels spin—or screech to a halt—I’ve come to see book bloggers as indispensable to authors, especially first-time authors. Guest column by Miriam Gershow, who lives in Eugene OR, where she is at work on her second novel, Knock Knock. Her...

testa

What Writers Need to Do Besides Write

As writers, we tend to focus entirely on the manuscript. We sweat over it, we curse it, and we pace the floor worrying over one sentence, or even one casual phrase. Because of this obsession, we often believe that our Dream Agent, the one who is patiently sifting through the slush pile, will instantly...

going

Creating Active Characters in YA Novels

Have you ever heard an editor or critic refer to a character as passive? Maybe, like me, you've found yourself frustrated by this term. What exactly does it mean, and what's so bad about creating a passive character? Isn't this a trait we often find in real people, especially certain teenagers, who can be...

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Using Conferences to Your Querying Advantage

Conferences can be great places to learn, but let’s face it, when you’re unagented and have a completed manuscript, your main agenda may not be the workshops. I’ve attended several conferences, both as a pre-published writer and a published one. The truth is, my main goal has remained the same: Networking.

Massey

E-Publishing and the Entrepreneurial Author

These days, breaking in to publishing is a decidedly different landscape than it was even just a few years ago. While mainstream print publishing is still going, many authors have cast their eyes toward the New World of digital (or digital-first) publishing. It’s wild, yet exciting, territory with unique challenges that easily rival those...