There Are No Rules Blog 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.


When Is Lying in Memoir Acceptable? 3 Key Issues

Today’s guest post is from Tracy Seeley, author of My Ruby Slippers. Visit her site, or find out more about her book. — They crop up like weeds in the literary garden, those memoirs that lie. James Frey invented some details of his life and wildly exaggerated others. Greg Mortenson and his co-writer turned...

Best Tweets + Upcoming Events

Best Tweets is going on an early summer break due to upcoming conference travel and holiday travel—plus I’m wrapping up the academic year at University of Cincinnati. Look for its return in mid-July. Here are some excellent upcoming events where I’m teaching: 6 Key Components of an Online Author Platform (online class this Thursday,...

Do You Have a Marketing Support Network?

This month at Writer Unboxed, I discuss one of the invisible aspects of your platform that directly impacts your success: Your relationships. Click here to read “A Critical Marketing Secret: Don’t Go It Alone.” I can confirm, after launching my e-book last month (The Future of Publishing), that I couldn’t have spread the word...

5 Free E-Books Every Writer Needs

The following resources have been mentioned on this blog, in various forms, since 2008. Now I’m rounding them up in 1 place. [Some links corrected/added on 5/31/11.] 1. 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer. A fabulous resource from an experienced novelist. It comes in two parts because the file is so...

6 Key Components of an Online Author Platform

Next week, on June 2, I’ll be teaching a live, online class on building your author platform. To help make “platform” more understandable and approachable as a topic, I’ve boiled it down into 6 key components. Here they are, briefly. VISIBLE Your website (your hub, or Grand Central Station) Your social media activity or...

2 Tricks to Keep Your Online Reading Manageable

As you can imagine, I do a LOT of online reading, across hundreds of sites and blogs. To manage it all, I do 2 things: I use Google Reader, which is an RSS reader. See here to learn how and why to use it, for free. I use the PostRank extension for Google Reader....

3 Publishing Trends Writers Must Stay On Top Of

This week marks the publishing industry’s largest trade show, BookExpo America. This is the first year since 2004 that I’m not attending, but in honor of that show, I’m offering up 3 key industry trends you should stay on top of. (Above: My cat Zelda implores you to stay informed.) 1. Agents Becoming PublishersThis...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 5/20/11)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the comments. Best of Best How to earn your info dump@elizabethscraig 7 Pre-Launch Tips for A Successful Kickstarter Campaign @nathanielhansen Best post on Facebook marketing I’ve read in a...

There Are Some People Who Don't Wait

I shared the following on my Facebook page, but it’s too good not to post here as well. Robert Krulwich (who hosts Radiolab—a phenomenal radio show & podcast if you’re not familiar) delivered an inspiring commencement address to graduates of the Berkeley School of Journalism. The full text his talk is now available online....

Get Your First 1,000 Words Critiqued By Agent

Among the most popular events at writing conferences today are “Why I Stopped Reading” panels, in which brave attendees offer up the opening pages of their manuscripts to participating literary agents, who then read them aloud and explain when and why they would likely lose interest (or, with any luck, not!). The agents follow...

5 Things The Great Books Taught Me About Writing

Today’s guest post is by Robert Bruce, a full-time writer and a book blogger at 101 Books, where he is currently blogging through Time Magazine’s 100 All-Time Novels. Follow him on Twitter.  — Last summer, I started a personal quest to read through Time Magazine’s “All-Time” Top 100 books (plus Ulysses), blogging about the...

Videos to Help You Find the Muse

In my last newsletter, I mentioned several videos that I find inspiring that aren’t really about writing. And I asked readers to share with me videos they find memorable. Here are two of the best. One is Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk; the other is JK Rowling at Harvard commencement. Thanks to Jan Markley and...

8 Things Readers Want From Self-Published Authors

My post last week, The “Self-Pub Is Crap” Debate, has probably generated more comments than any other post in 2011. Reviewing the comments provides an excellent to-do list of how self-published authors can be taken seriously by readers. Hire professionals for editing, proofreading, and design. Put most of your cost toward editing. That means,...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 5/13/11)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the comments. Best of Best Seth Godin explores people’s goals in publishing a book @DanBlank 6 tools to help you format your eBook; includes tools for ePub, Mobi &...

The Comeback Fight

Pictured above: Boxer Deirdre GogartyDarrelyn Saloom, a monthly contributor here at No Rules, has written an article for Boxing.com about a comeback fight for boxer Deirdre Gogarty. As many of you know, Darrelyn has been working with Deirdre on her boxing memoir for a number of years. Go check out the article!

Happy News About My Teaching Future

As many of you are aware, for the past academic year, I’ve been serving as a full-time visiting assistant professor of electronic media, at the University of Cincinnati. When I signed up for the gig, I knew it was only for a year—but of course I hoped that if it was a good fit,...

The "Self-Pub Is Crap" Debate

I’m reaching an exhaustion level with the following two viewpoints: Most self-published work is crap. Anyone can “publish” their e-book and call themselves an author. None of these “books” are edited. It’s a huge pile of crap that’s just getting harder and harder to sift through. (God save us from the crap!) And the...

Should You Self-Publish After a Near-Miss?

Writers often ask if it’s wise or helpful to self-publish their work if they have “near-misses” with agents or publishers. There’s no one answer that works for everyone. But I’ll try to help you come to the right conclusion. YES: Go ahead and try self-publishing a book You know how to reach your readers...

5 Key Research Sites You May Have Missed (Plus Cool Tricks)

I’m as guilty as the next person: I use Google for everything and don’t wander much outside it. (In fact, I use iGoogle as my browser homepage.) But as any astute researcher knows, Google’s search engine can rank poor-quality content very highly just because the site has good SEO (search engine optimization). Recently, Google...

Is Email the New Blogging?

The meme these days seems to be that e-mail newsletters (or content marketing through e-mail) is the new blogging. Actually, I lie. It’s a fairly old meme—I can at least trace it back to this blog post by Jason Calacanis, a longtime respected blogger, who decided to start a paid e-mail newsletter instead of...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 5/6/11)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the comments. Also: Check out these upcoming online classes from Writer’s Digest: I’ll be presenting How to Start a Successful E-mail Newsletter on May 12. Best of Best What...

Organizing a Writers Workshop: Marketing (Part 2)

Today’s guest post is by NO RULES regular Susan Cushman, director of the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop. Last month, I wrote about how to plan the budget, faculty, venue, housing, meals, and social events for a writing workshop—specifically for the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop. Today’s post is about what comes next: scheduling,...

Midlist Nonfiction Books: Too Much Effort for Too Little Return?

Pictured above: A slide from Margaret Atwood’s marvelous presentation at TOC on the future for authors When it comes to non-narrative nonfiction books, I don’t think of the authors of these books as authors. I think of them as experts, entrepreneurs or business professionals who are interested in authoring a book because of the...

How to Start a Successful Newsletter

Next week, I’m teaching an online class on how to start a successful e-mail newsletter. This is a topic I’ve covered here at No Rules before, but this class will allow me to show you in-depth how to get started, discuss strategies, and go behind the scenes with free services so you see how...

Is It OK If Writing Is Also Your Day Job?

It’s something I’ve often said to young writers: Study or work at anything but writing. Go lead a separate life, and learn or do something that will enrich whatever you end up writing later. In the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, Iowa grad Anna North offers a different and compelling perspective. Here’s a snippet: I...