October 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting October 2nd
Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards—Deadline Coming Soon!
Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards—Deadline Coming Soon!
Hurry—submit your short story by October 15!
Submit your best short stories in the Romance, Thriller, Young Adult, Crime, Horror or Science Fiction genres for a chance at the Popular Fiction Awards Grand Prize of $2,500 cash and a trip to the 2015 Writer’s Digest Conference!
Enter as many stories as you like in multiple genres, but all entries must be fewer than 4,000 words. Don’t delay—this could be your winning year!
Writing Editor Blogs
Guide to Literary Agents Blog
by Chuck Sambuchino
GLA Editor Chuck Sambuchino keeps track of all news related to literary agents and writing conferences on his blog. Common features include agent interviews, new agency listings, agency profiles, upcoming conferences of interest, contests and other publishing opportunities, valuable writing resources, submission tips and information, and a blogroll of other agent blogs. Read Chuck’s Blog
There Are No Rules
by the editors of Writer’s Digest
Get on the cutting edge of today’s publishing trends and how authors can succeed in a world of fast-paced technological change, guided by the editors of Writer’s Digest. You’ll get an inside look at the work, play, and passion of the publishing business and find practical tools for success. Read There Are No Rules
Questions & Quandaries
by Brian Klems
Don’t know the difference between “who” and “whom”? Facing an ethical dilemma about accepting gifts from subjects? Let the informative (and humorous) columnist Brian A. Klems answer some of your most pressing grammatical, ethical, business and writing-related questions. Check out his advice and don’t hesitate to ask a question—your writing career will thank you. Read Brian’s Blog
by Robert Brewer
Published poet Robert Lee Brewer blogs on issues affecting poets from the poet’s perspective. As the editor of Writer’s Market, Brewer also shares insights on the publishing industry, especially as it relates to poetry and the poetry markets. He also explains poetic forms, interviews other published poets, and provides the occasional poetry prompt. Read Robert’s Blog
Submitting your work to literary agents seems like a straightforward thing, doesn’t it? But the truth is that they are many ins and outs to researching agents, writing a query letter that works, submission etiquette & protocol, and more. How do you get past contradictory advice online regarding submissions? Where do you find hungry agents that are looking for new clients in your genre? What are the best questions to ask an agent if they offer representation? All these areas can be quite tricky to navigate…
And that’s why we have awesome literary agent Kate McKean (Howard Morhaim Literary) to teach the new webinar, “How to Submit Your Book to Agents: Take the Right First Steps on Your Road to Publication” on Thursday, May 2, 2013. The webinar starts at 1 p.m., EST and lasts 90 minutes. Not only will attendees get instruction, they will also get a critique of their query letter by Kate. (Remember that at least three agents — Barbara Poelle, Kathleen Ortiz and Louise Fury — have signed writers after critiquing their work as part of a WD webinar.) Read more
Okay, now that we’ve poemed, I’m looking forward to the next step, which is where poets pick five of their favorite poems from the April PAD Challenge and send them in to … Read more
I hope to get the next steps for the 2013 April PAD Challenge up either later today or tomorrow, but in the meantime, we’ve somehow landed on a Wednesday already–first day out … Read more
Can’t afford a publicist?—Be your own: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and literally hundreds of book blogs have made it possible to get the word out to millions of potential readers. Would your book appeal to a special interest group (Civil War buffs, oenophiles, knitters)? Use the Internet to find those groups and let them know about your book.
GIVEAWAY: Steven is excited to give away a free copy of his 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. (Update: jackiegillam won.) Read more
Today is the final day. We made it! Tomorrow, we’ll revert back to our Wednesday Poetry Prompts, though I won’t be surprised if quite a few poets take a breather. I’m also … Read more
3. Your opening is probably not your opening. My least favorite part of creative writing is drafting that opening scene. It always feels so forced, so awkward. I have to get pretty far into the story before I know how it really should begin, and to realize (for the millionth time) that ‘dumping backstory’ is not an opening that will hook readers. As I wrote what I thought was the beginning of chapter 18 for MY ONE SQUARE INCH OF ALASKA, I realized I’d just written the opening paragraphs. Fortunately, I didn’t have to toss out everything I’d written for chapters 1-17. But I did have to write that much before I discovered the real hook of my novel.
GIVEAWAY: Sharon is excited to give away a free 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. (Update: greenurlifenow won.) Read more
After today, there’s just tomorrow. How did we get through April so fast? For today’s prompt, take a line from one of your poems (preferably one of your April poems), make it … Read more
Jamie is seeking: In Adult, New Adult and Young Adult fiction, Jamie is seeking fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, historical, contemporary, horror, light sci-fi and thrillers. In MG, she loves stories that make her laugh and are imaginative with a clear voice. She loves strong characters with distinct voices and unique story lines that stay with her long after she is finished reading. Read more
Only three days left! Let’s push to the summit. For today’s prompt, write a shadorma. For those new to the shadorma, it’s a fun little 6-line poem that follows this syllable count: … Read more
This interview features Shira Hoffman of McIntosh & Otis, Inc. Shira began her career in publishing as an intern at Tor Books and has been with M&O since 2007. In 2013, she took over as Director of Subsidiary Rights. She also Tweets @ShiraSHoffman.
She is seeking: mainstream commercial fiction, mystery, literary fiction, women’s fiction, romance, urban fantasy, fantasy, science fiction, horror and dystopian. Read more
We always hear about those gargantuan celebrity book deals … but we rarely find out how those books actually fared on the shelf. The results may surprise (or sadden, or maybe even … Read more
I’m not considering this a true New Agent Alert because literary agent Kimiko Nakamura (of Dee Mura Literary) is not new. That said, this post resembles an Alert in that Kimiko did tell me recently how she is actively looking to build her client list right now — and that is something writers should be happy to know. All details below for those interested in querying her!
She is seeking: Contemporary Fiction, Thriller/Mystery, Women’s Lit, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Cookbooks, and Memoir. Read more
Writers constantly have rules thrown at them left, right, and center. Show, don’t tell! Stop using so many dialogue tags! More sensory detail! More tension! Speed up the pace! Yada yada yada … it can become overwhelming, yes? I used to feel overwhelmed by it all too. In fact, I still do sometimes. It’s hard enough to get the words on the page, let alone consider how to put them there.
GIVEAWAY: Jessica is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners can live anywhere in the world. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: RebeccaReynolds won.) Read more
I wrote “unparagraphs”, I aimed for imbalance, I stayed in the moment indefinitely, I realized my maximal self on the page. Most importantly, I wrote myself on to the page. And I learned, as all writers must, how to write in the face of rejection. I received a rejection from an editor I admired, and the next day I wrote.
Guest column by Jay Ponteri, author of the 2013 memoir WEDLOCKED. Read more
7. Write everything down. I came up with the initial idea for the Sidney & Sydney series as I was falling asleep one night. I knew myself well enough to know that I had to get up immediately and write down my thoughts. I had been burned several times before when I thought I’d remember my ideas later. I never do. Now I have scraps of paper all over my house with thoughts on the book I’m currently working on or for future projects. Now if only I could work on my handwriting so I could read all of those great ideas later.
GIVEAWAY: Michele is excited to give away a free 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. (Update: sfullmer won.) Read more
Agent Nephele Tempest Teaches You How to Write an Excellent Synopsis: April 25 Webinar With Critique
Writing a synopsis is usually one of the most difficult things about pitching a novel. It’s incredibly difficult to summarize your entire book in just one page. How do you condense all that info? What gets cut? How much detail should you give? Is it worth mention elements like subplots and character arc?
These types of questions are why we have literary agent Nephele Tempest (The Knight Agency) to teach “Conquer the Dreaded Synopsis: Construct Your Ultimate Sales Tool” — a brand new live webinar at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, April 25, 2013. It lasts 90 minutes, and all attendees will get their synopses personally critiqued by Nephele following the event. Get agent eyes on your work! Don’t forget that at least 3 agents from major agencies have signed writers after seeing their work as part of a WD webinar. Read more
Kathleen is seeking: Kathleen loves all things YA and is also actively looking for adult science fiction, fantasy in all its varieties, historical fiction, and horror novels. She enjoys quirky middle grade tales with captivating adventures and original voices, and will also accept picture books. Kathleen has a special place in her heart for sweeping love stories, magical realism, inventive world-building, repurposed folklore, dark comedy, and genre-bending novels. Read more