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.


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: The central idea for the [Brad’s] novella had evolved … in order to study “where the human imagination takes a human life...

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 Writers Should Know About) There are many more lessons I could discuss, of course, but these are good pointers to start with!

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 my shared items. Follow me on Twitter (@JaneFriedman) List of Tweeps most often included in weekly Best Tweets for Writers (always under...

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 back to the beginning of the series. FULL QUERIES Here is where we put it all together—so you can see how the...

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 back to the beginning of the series. QUERY LETTER RED FLAGSHere is an overall list of red flags to look for in...

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 best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Getting Published, Agents/Editors All writers who beg agents...

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 back to the beginning of the series. CLOSE YOUR LETTER PROFESSIONALLYYou don’t read much advice about how to close a query letter,...

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Agent Scott Hoffman On: Making Sense of a Rejection Letter

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...

A New Way to Take Classes With Me

Since 2009, I’ve taught dozens of online classes for Writer’s Digest, and spoken at just as many live events. But I know many of you haven’t been able to work these classes into your schedule (since classes often run during the day), or you can’t leave home to attend a conference. So it’s exciting...

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#6)

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 back to the beginning of the series. THE KEY ELEMENTS OF YOUR NOVEL QUERY BIOFor novelists, especially unpublished ones, sometimes the best...

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#5)

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 back to the beginning of the series. ONE-SENTENCE HOOKS OF BOOKS THAT SOLDThere are many reasons for writers to pay to subscribe...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 11/12/10)

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 best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Quick plug for upcoming online/interactive classes: Write a...

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#4)

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 back to the beginning of the series. RED FLAGS IN NOVEL HOOKS & QUERIESTo continue the previous discussion on crafting a hook,...

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#3)

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 back to the beginning of the series. GREAT NOVEL HOOKS MAKE IT LOOK OH-SO EASY!Whenever I teach a class where we critique...

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#2)

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 back and read Part 1. THE 3 ELEMENTS OF A NOVEL HOOKThe novel hook is where you sell your story. It should...

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#1)

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.) THE 5 ELEMENTS OF A NOVEL QUERYEvery query should include these 5 elements (but not necessarily delivered in this order): Personalization (where you...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 11/5/10)

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 best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Quick plug for online classes this month: The...

You Must Learn to Ask Interesting Questions

For my writing class this quarter at CCM, I’m using Question of the Day to help students be curious, develop not-horrible-personalities, and, most importantly, seek out stories. One of the most critical qualities of any good writer—if they want to uncover meaningful stories—is the ability to ask an interesting question. Or really think through,...

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Agent Dan Lazar On: Query Dos and Don’ts

1. Be specific, but don’t vomit information. Saying “my novel is about a mom going through some life challenges” is vague, and remember: Vague = boring. However, be careful not to stuff your letter with so many details of your plot that it’s confusing to decipher what’s going on. Reading your pitch letter out...

You Don't Get to Choose Whether You're a Writer

In this month’s Glimmer Train bulletin, there’s a lovely piece by Kathryne Young called “On Writing, Not Writing, and the Writing Life.” Here’s a brief snippet: Joan Didion writes, “The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 10/29/10)

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 best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Quick plug for my webinar this week: Get...

Hands-On Advice + Interaction With Harlequin Editors (Free!)

I don’t often report on events like this, but this one is so benefit- and content-driven for writers that every kind of romance novelist could learn something valuable or boost their career because of it. Harlequin is hosting a 5-day online event next week (November 1-5) with more than 50 professional editors and authors...

The Best Query Writing Advice

Next week, I’ll be critiquing 1-page query letters as part of a live, online class. You can sign up here. I only do this a couple times a year, so if you have a query NOW, here’s your chance for a professional review and edit. There’s a ton of conflicting advice out there about...

Make Sure You Don't Have a Horrible Personality

I’m a huge fan of the Ira Glass talks on storytelling. You can find the first one here; you could also follow me on YouTube and find them all stockpiled in my “favorite videos” list. In the video I’ve embedded above, Ira Glass talks about one of the biggest problems with submissions he receives...