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.


Be Strategic in What You Consume to Boost Productivity

Today’s guest post is from Todd Henry, founder and CEO of Accidental Creative, a consulting firm that helps organizations like P&G, Mattel, and State Farm generate creative ideas. He has one of the top business podcasts, The Accidental Creative. This post is an excerpt from his recently released book, The Accidental Creative: How to...

The Hidden, Secret Ingredient of Platform: Relationships

      Today I’m a guest over at Marketing Tips, a blog by Tony Eldridge. I try to tackle one of the more difficult aspects of platform, relationships. Here’s a small snippet: We all have different strengths, and banding together can be an excellent way to extend your platform in ways you can’t...

Speed: Writing Fiction That Reads Fast

Today’s guest post is by writer Susan Cushman. Read her personal blog, learn about the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop, and follow her on Facebook or Twitter. Above: John Brandon signing his latest novel, Citrus County, for Susan at Off Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. — John Brandon gave a terrific craft talk called...

The Importance of Defamiliarizing Words

                The latest Glimmer Train bulletin is available, and I love this piece by Kevin Haworth on why he started to read poetry to improve his fiction: I understood what my professor meant about extending my vocabulary, not just with new, fancy words, but by going back...

5 Questions Every Writer Should Ask (Periodically)

      I’m the guest today over at Writer Unboxed, discussing what I think are more important questions to ask than “Do I have talent?” Here’s a brief snippet: I have a BFA in creative writing, and when I was in college, I desperately wanted the professors to tell me if I had...

Are Agents Just Looking for an Excuse to Reject Your Work?

Q: Doesn’t it seem like agents are just looking for excuses to reject work? —Anonymous A: Actually, the complete opposite is true. Agents don’t want to reject your work, they want to accept it and sell it to any publisher willing to take a chance—after all, that’s how they pay their rent. Agents may...

Off on Vacation Through July 8

Tomorrow I fly to Spain, where I’ll spend a few days in Sevilla before continuing onto Fes (Morocco), and wrapping up with a few nights in Barcelona. (Photo above: Me in Barcelona in 2004.) You won’t see much of me until the week of July 11, but you can see photos of the trip...

A Literary Father's Day Weekend (Part 2)

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m sharing 2 wonderful videos that feature the children of writers, speaking about their dads. Go here to see the first. Today’s video features the children of Andre Dubus and James Jones. Thanks for Open Road Media for sharing! You might also like:No Related Posts

A Literary Father's Day Weekend (Part 1)

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m sharing 2 wonderful videos that feature the children of writers, speaking about their dads. Here’s the first featuring Stanley Elkin, John Gardner, and William Styron. Thanks for Open Road Media for sharing! You might also like:No Related Posts

How to Create Free Video Tutorials

This past week, I’ve been in a tech workshop for faculty at the University of Cincinnati. (Yes, even I need to broaden and sharpen my skills!) So I’ll be sharing some of the more interesting tools and tricks I learned here at NO RULES. The first tool that I love is Jing. Jing takes...

Glimmer Train Monthly News

Glimmer Train has just chosen the winning stories for their April Family Matters competition.  This competition is held twice a year and is open to all writers for stories about family.  The next Family Matters competition will take place in October. Glimmer Train’s monthly submission calendar may be viewed here. ?? First place: Rebecca...

The Necessity of Failure Plus How "Accidents" Happen

Photo credit: Mindful OneWhile reading Kevin Kelly’s blog (which focuses on technology + the future), I came across this wonderful quote for writers. Lucky accidents seldom happen to writers who don’t work. You will find that you may rewrite and rewrite a poem and it never seems quite right. Then a much better poem...

4 Steps to Useful Critiques: The Lerman Method

Photo credit: Deirdre Saoirse Moen Today’s guest post is by Wolf Pascoe. Wolf is a playwright, poet, and physician. Visit his blog, Just Add Father. — What do we really have to offer one another as writers? Every so often, I read a blog post about how to listen to criticism. Recently there was...

5 Excellent Tips for Platform Building

This past weekend, I had the honor of keynoting the Writers' League of Texas Agents Conference in Austin. During that weekend, I also had the opportunity to hear some wonderful advice from other publishing experts. Here's some excellent online marketing advice I heard. All are direct quotes unless in brackets.

Editing a Life

Today’s guest post is by Darrelyn Saloom, a monthly regular here at NO RULES. You can read more of her guest posts here, or follow her on Twitter. — An odd thing happened to me when I finished collaborating on a memoir. I spent four years and two days (obsessively at times) writing, revising,...

Free E-Book on Building Readership by Cory Doctorow

Portrait by Jonathan Worth My most popular post (so far) this year, 5 Free E-Books Every Writer Needs, could’ve benefited from one more addition: The Problem Isn’t Piracy, The Problem Is Obscurity by Cory Doctorow This e-book gathers some of Doctorow’s best essays and rants on why authors should give their work away, stop...

The Persistent and Damaging Myth About Introverts and Marketing

Cartoon from Toothpaste for Dinner I’m getting frustrated with people who say they’re bad at marketing & promotion because they’re introverts. Maybe this argument was more valid before new technologies came along—when marketing and promotion involved more “getting out there,” networking at events and stores, or making phone calls. (God knows I hate phone...

4 Ways to Make the Most of a Critique Group

Today’s guest post is from writer Susan Cushman, a monthly regular here at NO RULES. Read her personal blog, learn about the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop, and follow her on Facebook or Twitter. Cartoon used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com. — “It is the mark of an educated mind to...

Don't Treat Conflict As Monolithic

In the most recent edition of the Glimmer Train bulletin, I loved this article by Cary Groner on conflict. Here’s a small snippet: I’ve been surprised, when reading books about fiction writing, that such short shrift is often given to the decisions writers make about conflict and its levels. We hear a lot about...

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...