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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.


Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 12/17/10)

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. Want to know about the … Read more

8 Easy Things To Do BEFORE You Start Your Novel

1. Buy a timer and place it next to you as you write. This will help you keep track of how long you’ve been working—and how much time you have to go. … Read more

A Feast of Days (Part 2): Agents

Today’s guest post is by emerging writer Darrelyn Saloom, who recently attended the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference, and is offering up a 4-part narrative on the experience. Darrelyn is a regular … Read more

Agents & Editors: Take This Quick Survey

Cartoon from Toothpaste for Dinner I’m conducting a bit of formal research for a future blog post. I have a question from a writer that goes something like this: I’d like to … Read more

How Valuable Is Second Guessing?

I’ve been holding onto the following quote for a long time, wondering at how true it is, or isn’t. when you feel insecure about something you are doing … that vulnerability means … Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Catherine Gildiner

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This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from writer Catherine Gildiner.

Catherine Gildiner has written two memoirs. Her latest, After the Falls (Nov. 2010, Knopf) is about growing up in the 1960s. Her acclaimed first memoir, Too Close to the Falls, followed her, ages 4-13 in small-town America. Read more

An Agency Offers Paid Services—With Strings Attached

I’ve written frequently on agents and innovation of their model, twice for Writer’s Digest, and twice for Digital Book World: The Evolution of the Literary Agent (Writer’s Digest, August 2010) Agents Need … Read more

When (or Why) Social Media Fails to Sell Books

There are countless articles/posts out there, by professionals as well as established authors, that claim social media has had no (or marginal) impact on their sales or success. Such posts then get … Read more

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 12/10/10)

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. Want to know about the … Read more

There's No Rule That Says You Get Steadily Better

A guy who once thought he’d be a poet (then realized years later how bad his work was) decided to make a documentary about bad writing. He interviews more than a dozen … Read more

Give Your Writing the Gift of Structure & Discipline

I loved school growing up. I didn’t know it then, but I thrived on the structure and discipline of study. I always felt more productive when in school. (Work later served the … Read more

The Ultimate Guide to Novel Queries

To give everyone an easy page to reference (or share) on writing novel queries, here are links to every installment of my series. 5 Elements of a Novel Query + Examples of … Read more

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#10)

This is my definitive No Rules series on novel queries. It’s meant particularly for writers who are new to the query process. (A series on nonfiction book queries will come later.) Go … Read more

Understanding ISBNs and What They Mean for Your Book

Q: What is an ISBN, and what’s its purpose? Can I apply for one without being a company/publisher? —Kathryn N. A: An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that … Read more

New In-Depth Interview With Me at Writer Unboxed

Last Friday, part 1 of an interview with me went live over at Writer Unboxed. Here’s a quick snippet: Overall, social media tools—and I use that term broadly, to include all types … Read more

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 12/3/10)

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. Want to know about the … Read more

A Feast of Days (Part 1)

Pictured above: Streets of Oxford Today’s guest post is by emerging writer Darrelyn Saloom, who recently attended the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference, and is offering up a 4-part narrative on the … Read more

What Would You Do If You Were Freed of Circumstance?

The latest Glimmer Train bulletin is now available. I love this piece featured from Lydia Fitzpatrick, “Characters, Unfettered,” where an interview with Brad Watson leads to deep insight. Here’s a brief excerpt: … Read more

3 Lessons From a Career in Publishing

Over the holiday, I wrote a guest post for Writer Unboxed about a few things I learned after 12 years in publishing. Go read: 3 Lessons in Publishing I’m Thankful for (That … Read more

Best Tweets for Writers (on break)

Best Tweets rests this week. Please come back next week! – Stay busy in the meantime: Want to know about the best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to … Read more

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#9)

This is my definitive No Rules series on novel queries. It’s meant particularly for writers who are new to the query process. (A series on nonfiction book queries will come later.) Go … Read more

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#8)

This is my definitive No Rules series on novel queries. It’s meant particularly for writers who are new to the query process. (A series on nonfiction book queries will come later.) Go … Read more

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 11/19/10)

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. Want to know about the … Read more

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#7)

This is my definitive No Rules series on novel queries. It’s meant particularly for writers who are new to the query process. (A series on nonfiction book queries will come later.) Go … Read more

Agent Scott Hoffman On: Making Sense of a Rejection Letter

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1. THE FORM REJECTION The most common (and least valuable) type, a form rejection tells you only that someone—not necessarily even the agent herself—glanced over your manuscript and didn’t think it could be sold at a high enough price to justify signing you as a client. By itself, one form rejection tells you nothing. Twenty in a row, however, may serve as a pretty convincing sign that your book, or at least the beginning of it, isn’t ready to hit the shelves quite yet.

2. THE PERSONALIZED REJECTION This can be either a form letter with a personal note added or a letter obviously written directly to you. If you receive one of these, it means your manuscript is head and shoulders above the majority of submissions an agent has read. Read more

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