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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.


Agent One-on-One Boot Camp: Your First Ten Pages — Starts May 16, and Includes an Agent Critique of Your First 10 Pages

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As many writers know, agents and editors won’t give your work more than ten pages or so to make an impact. If you haven’t got them hooked by then, it’s a safe bet you won’t be asked for more material. Make sure you’ve got the kind of opening they’re looking for! In this invaluable weekend event, you’ll get to work with an agent online to review and refine the first ten pages of your novel. You’ll learn what keeps an agent reading, what are the most common mistakes that make them stop, and the steps you need to take to correct them. The best part is that you’ll be working directly with an agent, who will provide feedback specific to your work. It’s all part of the Agent One-on-One: “Your First Ten Pages” Boot Camp that begins on May 16, 2014. Seating is limited. Read more

How to Write & Sell New Adult: Agent One-on-One Boot Camp (w/Critique) Starts May 8

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In this new boot camp starting May 8, the agents at Foreword Literary will help you understand New Adult fully from all aspects of the business. Whether you need to know the rules of the category, how to pitch it to agents, or how authors are hitting the bestselling lists with modern marketing techniques, Foreword has the answers for you.

Once you register for this May 8 One-on-One Agent Boot Camp, you’ll be assigned your own personal agent for the event. He or she will review the first 1,200 words and 1-page synopsis of your work-in-progress. You’ll get personalized feedback on the quality of your writing, as well as insights into how to generate the most revenue in today’s market. At the end of the boot camp, you’ll have a greater understanding of which publishing options to pursue and how to make the most of them. Read more

Enter Your Self-Published Book and Launch Your Career

Writer’s Digest wants to recognize the hard work that you have been putting into your book. That’s why, every year, we look for the  best from authors in their self-publishing ventures. Whether … Read more

Where Writers Write: The Homes of Jack Kerouac

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The living quarters of authors have always held a weird fascination for me. There’s something strangely intimate about knowing where another writer works and lives, how they arrange the furniture, what artwork … Read more

Live Webinar: Slush Pile Showdown

Nothing in the world of writing can cause anxiety-induced panic attacks quite like waiting on a response from a literary agent. And crafting that perfect query letter is as important as anything … Read more

“Publishing Agnosticism”—What It Is, Why It’s Important, and What It Means for Authors

BY EVE BRIDBURG, Executive Director of GrubStreet The first time I heard the term “publishing agnostic” was in November of 2011 at the Park Plaza hotel in Boston. Barry Eisler used it … Read more

“The High Concept Novel: How to Create a Premise that Sells — Agent One-on-One Boot Camp With Critique Starts April 11

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The idea’s the thing. If you build your story around a unique and compelling idea, your odds of selling it increase dramatically. Often, a perfectly good project will go unsold because the premise on which it is based is too predictable, commonplace, or over-published. Whether you’re writing a novel or a short story, a screenplay or a memoir, you need to find a way to set your story apart from the competition — and the competition is tougher than ever in today’s marketplace.

But in this one-of-a-kind boot camp — “The High Concept Novel: How to Create a Premise that Sells Boot Camp” (starting April 11) — you will learn the ins and outs of high-concept, as literary agent, author, and content strategist Paula Munier reveals how you can transform your story idea from “same old same old” to “high-concept hit.” Read more

10 Lessons Learned: Confessions of a Covert Freelance Writer

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BY ??? — You don’t know my name. You don’t know my face. But it’s now several decades since I earned my first farthings by putting words in some sort of publishable … Read more

7 Things How I Met Your Mother Can Teach Us About Writing

If you’re like us on the WD staff (okay, maybe just Brian and I—internet high five!), then you were enthralled, captivated, and head over heels in love with the television show How I … Read more

I Started a Small Press (and Then Things Got Weird)

BY J DAVID OSBORNE I tried retail for a while, and that was fun, in the way that puking on yourself at a family gathering is fun: you have a story. After … Read more

The Why and How of Self-Publishing

The following is a guest post from the grand prize winner of our 1st Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards (featured in InkWell in the May/June 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest). Judith … Read more

Avoid Rip-Offs and Publishing Sharks: For Writers, Songwriters, Poets, Etc.

Once or twice a month I receive a letter or an email from a songwriter informing me that they have become the victim of a scam, and more often than not the … Read more

Values and Message: Integrating Themes Into Your Nonfiction

The following is a guest post from the grand prize winner of our 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. For more information about the upcoming 22nd Self-Pub Awards, click here. Former … Read more

Why I Published 4 Novels in 6 Months

Hi, WD community! Today we’re sharing a guest post from J.E. Fishman, a former editor and literary agent turned author. He has penned Dynamite: A Concise History of the NYPD Bomb Squad and … Read more

“How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent” — Agent One-on-One Boot Camp With Awesome Critique Starts March 24, 2014

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How do you hook an agent right away, keep them hooked, and make the most of your new publishing relationship? In this all-new March 2014 Boot Camp, “How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent,” you’ll learn how to get a literary agent’s attention through a great submission, and also how to navigate the process of working successfully with an agent. After hearing instruction from the agents at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, you’ll also work with an agent online to review and refine your all-important query letter and the first five pages of your novel with the agents. Read more

Ask Us Anything! Join Our Reddit AMA (Mar 21, 2pm EDT)

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On Friday, March 21 at 2 p.m. EDT, editors from our Ohio office will answer reader and community questions on Reddit. We’re conducting the “Ask Me Anything” session in /r/writing, Reddit’s writing-discussion-only … Read more

They Turned My Book into a Movie

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BY BRENT HARTINGER There’s definitely something about having your book turned into a movie. My friends have all known for years that I make my living as a writer of fiction. But … Read more

14th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest: Contemporary Middle Grade Fiction

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Welcome to the 14th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing contemporary middle grade fiction, this 14th contest is for you! (The contest is live through EOD, March 18, 2014.) Read more

The Five W’s (and One H) of Soliciting Feedback

Allen Ginsberg may have written by the mantra of “First thought, best thought,” but when it comes to many of us, intense bouts of revision allows the “best thought” to rise to … Read more

Why Agents Say No: The 20 Manuscript Mistakes That Keep You from Getting Published — Feb. 13 Webinar by Agent Kate McKean

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You are probably making a lot of mistakes in your novel — right now. But that’s OK, because many other writers are doing that, too, especially in their first drafts. But how do you know what mistakes you’re making, and how do you fix them before you show it to an editor or agent? How do you prevent your manuscript from being rejected because of common writer’s pitfalls that can be easily fixed? This live webinar will show you the 20 most common mistakes novelists of any and every genre make, whether it’s your first or 21 novel.

Is your main character sympathetic? Are you sure? Do you know if you’re using too much detail? Too little? Do you know which darlings to kill? In this webinar, you’ll learn how to assess your manuscript like an agent or editor and recognize the most common mistakes that get between a writer and publication. If you think you’re not guilty of even a few of these things, think again. Are you sure? To answer these questions, literary agent Kate McKean is teaching “Why Agents Say No: The 20 Manuscript Mistakes That Keep You from Getting Published.” It’s a new webinar that goes down at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, and lasts 90 minutes. All attendees get a personalized critique. Read more

“Plot Your Book Scene by Scene” — Feb. 6 Webinar (With Critique) by Jordan Rosenfeld

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Over-plotter, under-plotter? Struggles with plot are common among writers at all levels. This live webinar, “Plot Your Book: Scene by Scene,” will take the guess-work out of plotting by teaching you the key scenes that build your plot backbone, providing a refresher on the elements of a scene, and breaking down the specific kinds of scenes you’ll need at each of the three key Acts of a novel. Plots, after all, are simply stories comprised of well-placed and stylized scenes.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld brings over a decade of experience in teaching students how to use scenes to transform writing. She believes that scenes are fiction’s “magic ingredient” – activating writing so that your readers are drawn palpably into the experience of your character’s story, versus the flat habits of summarizing and expository writing. A former freelance journalist, she can help you to learn the difference between passive “telling” of a story and powerful, active demonstrating of a fantastic plot. All attendees get an individualized critique. Read more

When Authors Become Publishers: Creating a DIY Literary Anthology

There are many reasons to publish a literary anthology. Maybe you’re in touch with a lot of talented writers who deserve more attention. Maybe there’s a very specific and overlooked sub-genre that … Read more

The Setback: How to Successfully Start Writing Again

If you’re anything like me, part of your New Year’s Resolution (that’s still a thing, right?) was to write more. It might’ve been to hit a certain word or page count in … Read more

How to Get Published: Land a Book Deal in 2014 — Jan. 30 Webinar With Jane Friedman

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If you want to get your book traditionally published in 2014—be it fiction, nonfiction, a children’s book, or memoir—increase your chances by knowing how to evaluate the commercial potential of your work and learning the best way to approach editors, agents, and publishers. Book publishing is undergoing a dramatic transformation as e-book sales increase and physical bookstores decrease in number. These changes affect the traditional book deals that get made—meaning that authors have to adjust their strategies to adapt to a risk-averse and uncertain industry.

This intensive and information-filled 90-minute webinar — titled “How to Get Published: Land a Book Deal in 2014″ – helps you think like an industry insider who makes decisions every day on what work merits print publication. You’ll get practical advice and tools to help you develop strong pitch letters and proposal materials for both fiction and nonfiction—plus back-door methods for networking with agents and editors. Avoid frustration—don’t embark on the submission process in 2014 without being fully educated about how the industry works, from an impartial point of view. You will better focus your time and energy, increase your chances of success, and learn to decipher the language of industry professionals. It all happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, and lasts 90 minutes. Read more

Create Your Writer Platform — Jan. 21 Webinar All About How to Sell More Books

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Do you have questions about how to sell more books and make more money as a writer? That’s all part of building your writer platform and increasing your book’s discoverability. You can get your questions about selling books answered at a special Writer’s Digest live webinar called “Create Your Writer Platform,” taught by Chuck Sambuchino, editor of Guide to Literary Agents and author of Create Your Writer Platform.

With so many books competing for attention in the marketplace, having an effective writer platform has never been more important than it is right now. This session will explore the process of gaining visibility in the marketplace so you can market your books effectively and efficiently. No matter if you’re traditionally published or self-published, writing fiction or nonfiction, if you have a book out now or will in the future — you need to understand the necessity of building your author platform so you can sell more copies and launch a successful career as an author. You’ll learn about selling books through blogging, public speaking, and more. It all happens at 1 p.m., EST, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, and lasts 90 minutes. Read more

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