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.


6 Tips for Switching Genres

Ask any author, agent, or editor—heck, ask the publishing house intern who fetches the coffee—and they’d all agree: the most important factor in writing (successfully) is finding one’s voice. After writing eighteen mysteries in three different series, I decided to pen a standalone mainstream novel—THE PARIS KEY—and though I knew my non-mystery voice had...


How to Write About Your Pets

You want to write about your pets. You know you do. And your pets are all for it. The cat’s been walking across the keyboard for days now. Even the dog, curled up in bed next to you while you work, looks longingly at you. You know he’s thinking: “Make me a star!” People...


4 Pieces of Advice for Struggling Writers

My debut novel, Tracked, recently hit shelves, and I’m often asked for advice about the publication process. How long did it take you to sell your book? Should I shelve this project? Should I keep going? Did you ever feel like giving up? And so often, buried in these questions, there’s a palpable tremor...


Why Write a Collaborative Novel? Why Not?

When we tell people we’ve co-authored a literary novel, the first thing almost everyone says is: “And you’re still friends? How on earth did you manage that?” It’s as if they imagine collaborative fiction as a kind of three-legged race: goofy and fun at an office picnic, but ill suited to a serious runner....


On Pencils and Process

**GIVEAWAY! Benjamin is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks.** I love pencils. I wrote every draft of The Last Pilot using Staedtler’s traditional HB; a fantastic pencil.


7 Things I Learned Mid-Book

I should have been barreling along in my nonfiction book, Challenges in Writing Your Dissertation, in strict obedience to my schedule for the deadline in the contract’s pdf stone. But I could only slouch at my desk and stare beyond the screen, with little groans escaping from my throat. I pecked a phrase, deleted...


Traveling Back to Look Ahead at the Future of War

The two of us didn’t meet until we were in our 30s, but both grew up on a similar diet of science fiction, techno-thrillers and sprawling war stories. We’d prepare for summer vacation trips by getting a stack of books from the library... GIVEAWAY: August and Peter are excited to give away a free copy...


5 Negative Voices and How to Shush Them

1. “Did you just write that? That’s pretty terrible. Kind of the worst, actually. Wait, do you even have an MFA?” Variations of this sentence will snake through your brain and disturb your thoughts many times during the writing process. I’d like to say there is some algebraic equation to eviscerate this kind of...


3 Common Author Platform Mistakes — Plus How to Fix Them

When you hear the word “platform,” do you feel dread or excitement? Do you see social media and blogs as forced self-promotion or as an opportunity for conversation with readers? It’s an important question these days. More and more, the theory of an author platform—the idea that an author should communicate directly with readers...

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Writing for the Soul: 5 (Less Conventional) Tips

I’ve just published my second book in the Storm Siren trilogy (thank you, HarperCollins) – and I’ll be honest with you. There are days I absolutely love what I do (like SERIOUSLY adore it)…but there are also days (or even weeks) I don’t ever want to see my computer screen again. Like walk away....


4 Questions Agents Ask Writers at Pitch Sessions

Over the years, as I’ve written both KidLit and adult fiction, I have participated in several agent pitches and critique sessions. I’ve read every article I could get my hands on discussing how to deliver your pitch, or how to gracefully listen to constructive criticism. But what continues to surprise me are the questions...

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10 Ways to Never Get Published

Getting your book published means that actual people will read it, and who wants that? Here are 10 bona fide ways to make sure your manuscript never sees the light of day. 1. Perfect your work. Revision is for amateurs; perfection is the goal. Your book can always be better than it is today!...

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Thoughts on the Unreliable Narrator

Dana is the main character in my book, The Pocket Wife. She is bipolar and off her medication; she’s also going through lots of “stuff,” and this toxic mixture is beginning to bring on a manic episode. In Chapter One, Dana is poised for flight. Still, she is quite lucid. In fact, except for...

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4 Signs You Might Be a Book Diva

It’s been less than a year since my very first book was published. It has been a wonderful, eye-opening year where I’ve reached unbelievable highs, dipped to depressing lows, and learned a boatload of lessons about the writing world. The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past nine months is: Don’t be a diva....


What Happens When You Lose Your Literary Agent?

GIVEAWAY: Kristine is excited to give away a free digital copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Please note that comments may take a little while to...