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.


Expert Advice on How to Write a Query Letter: Literary Agent Kate McKean Explains How in Her Aug. 1, 2013 Webinar, and Critiques Attendees’ Queries

It's no secret that a writer's query letter is extremely important in their quest to get a literary agent and get published. Agents evaluate dozens of queries a day, and make requests for more material from the few letters that impress them. They're crucial, and that's why people never get enough articles or advice...

The Cocktail Genre: Writing With a Twist

Blending two differing genres into a new storytelling twist, or what I like to call a “cocktail genre,” has been a popular style for a while now. You have Max Brooks’ documentary/horror epic World War Z (as usual, the book is better than the film); multiple works by Seth Grahame-Smith such as Pride and...

Pitch Agents and Producers at our Writer’s Digest West Conference: Sept. 27-29, 2013 in Los Angeles

The second annual Writer's Digest West Conference is approaching quickly! We at WD are planning a grand event in Los Angeles from Sept. 27-29, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. The conference is actually 3 events in one. We have a traditional awesome writers conference, a screenwriting conference, and a self-publishing conference going...

Should I Self-Publish? – Part Three

If you’ve followed this series, you’ll notice that: a) I think most writers have a project that would make for a fun and possibly profitable self-published book, and b) Creating a successful self-published book will require a fair amount of design and technical skills, either your own or someone else’s. I encourage you to...

4 Things Star Trek Can Teach Us About Writing

The following is a guest post by Thomas Smith. Happy Friday. Over the years I’ve looked at what my dogs have taught me about writing, what Batman can teach us about writing, and today I’m going to extend the tradition. Today we’re going to look to the stars for our guidance. No, not astronomy....

Should I Self-Publish? – Part Two

In the previous post in this series, I discussed how we each have a great project buried in our computers, notebooks, or desk drawers that would make for a fun self-publishing project as opposed to a traditionally published book. Some things just weren’t meant for Random House. And while the small press world is...

What Are You Reading This Summer?

Ah, summer. Whether you’re planning to spend the sticky days of June poolside or within the refuge of your air-conditioned living room, the lazy days of summer are perfect for indulging in a new book or revisiting an old favorite. From laugh-out-loud memoirs to guilty-pleasure genre fiction, the editors at Writer’s Digest share their...

Should I Self-Publish? – Part One

The big dream since childhood—shared by so many fellow writers of all ages—was to walk into a bookstore (perhaps a bookstore that I owned—bonus dream!) and find a novel with my name on the cover gracing a column of shelves with eager hands reaching upward to pluck a copy and buy it before racing...

30 June Writing Assignments

Recently, I’ve been sharing writing assignments on the Writer’s Digest twitter account (@WritersDigest) using the hashtag #writerassignments. Since it’s been fairly popular so far, I thought it might be good form to collect this month’s 30 writer assignments at the beginning of the month. Now you can do one assignment each day, burn through...

What’s Your Excuse for Not Writing?

One of the things I love most about working with writers is that so many of them are unflinchingly generous with their time, words and wisdom. So when I was recently approached by freelancer Monica Bhide and asked if I’d be interested in something purely motivational for our community of writers and readers, I...

Agent Katharine Sands Teaches “From Pitch to Page One: How to Get an Agent from the Get-Go” – New May 23 Webinar With Query Critique

Getting a literary agent is no easy feat. It requires crafting a query and pitch to get their attention -- without making any "querial killer" mistakes that will get your submission rejected. Cutting through the slush is hard work. That's why we're lucky to have agent Katharine Sands (Sarah Jane Freymann Literary) to teach...

If You’re Feeling Down and Out About a Rejection Letter …

Consider James Lee Burke. Sure, his novels are everywhere these days. Bookstores. Airports. Bestseller lists. But here’s how they got there. As Lindsey O’Connor detailed in our profile of the author, Burke published his first story when he was 19. It did not earn him instant fame. He worked the oil fields. He drove trucks....

4 Truths That Will Revolutionize Your Revision Process

Perhaps because I’m in the process of revising a novel manuscript myself, the advice in the May/June 2013 Writer’s Digest Guide to Pain-Free Revision really resonated with me as I pieced it all together behind the scenes. In fact, I’d go so far to say that some of the insights from the talented contributors...

15 Things a Writer Should Never Do

Based on interviews with authors over the years, conferences, editing dozens of issues of Writer’s Digest, and my own occasional literary forays and flails, here are some points of consensus and observations: 15 of them, things anyone who lives by the pen (or seeks to) might consider. It is, like most things in the...