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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What I Learned from Attending Writers’ Conferences

Before teaming up with a new publisher to release both my poetry compilation ATL Fire and California travel memoir Golden State Misadventures over one quarter of a year in 2015, I frequented writers’ conferences and grew from those experiences. Column by Han Vance, author of memoir GOLDEN STATE MISADVENTURES (August 2015, Silver Stone Press). His...

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How to Make a Book Trailer

Making a book trailer is no easy feat, but to stay competitive in a highly saturated book market, it needs to be done. Recently, Tara Lynne Groth of Write Naked found my book trailer on Google+ and contacted me about doing a interview. And afterwards, guess what? She bought the book! Book marketing is...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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.

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...