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.


Catch SXSW PubCamp Streaming Live!

Tomorrow I’ll be giving a brief talk at SXSW PubCamp in Austin, along with some outstanding speakers from the publishing industry. The free event is now wait-listed, but catch it live and online here (link updated morning of March 11!). AGENDA 4:00 p.m. (CST)Keynote by Sarah Wendell, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books 4:30 p.m.A word from...

Ask the Agent Power Panel

This weekend, Writer’s Digest is hosting its first online “power panel” that features 4 agents ready to answer all of your questions related to getting published. The price of $129 comes with: A query letter critique from Writer’s Digest publisher Phil Sexton A 3-month subscription to WritersMarket.com (which includes all listings in Guide to...

The Future of the Novelist

This week, I’ll be at SXSWi in Austin, where I’m presenting a brief session on your publishing options at PubCamp (free!), and moderating a SXSWi panel,  The Self-Publishing Novelist. I can’t envision a more exciting or opportune time to be at a national event, guiding a discussion on self-publishing. Why? Take these 3 high-profile...

Are Online Images Fair Game to Use On Your Blog?

Q: Recently someone informed me that I violated copyright [by posting] one of his cartoons on my blog. I apologized and removed the image. Now I’m worried about other images I’ve used. My blog is simply to connect with other writers and I don’t make any money from it. What are the rules for...

7 Don't-Miss Sites for Online Marketing

Today’s guest post is from author Meg Waite Clayton. You may remember her from an earlier guest post, How Book Club Readers (and Bookstores) Can Drive Success. — How friendly are you, really? Do you have enough followers to qualify as a cult? Are you still blogging, or have you bought into the headlines...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 3/4/11)

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: check out these live, online classes...

Fact Versus Truth in Writing Fiction

??Today’s post is from regular guest Susan Cushman. Visit her blog!— If you’ve been following the lawsuit filed by Ablene Cooper against Kathryn Stockett, author of The New York Times bestseller The Help, I’m sure you saw this article in the February 17 issue of the Times: “A Maid Sees Herself in a Novel,...

6 Common Plot Fixes

The following post is an excerpt from “The Ultimate Revision Checklist” by James Scott Bell, featured in the Writer’s Digest special issue, Write Your Novel in 30 Days. If you enjoy this post, check out Bell’s upcoming seminar in June on how to sell your novel. Key Questions to Ask About Your Plot Is...

A Wonderful Prompt to Help You Gather Material

Writers are often asked how they find their ideas. Author Stefanie Freele says “the world gushes prompts,” and in the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, she gives us a thought-provoking prompt to help us explore the ideas surrounding us: Pretend you have been gifted the day off from life tomorrow. Someone else is going to...

Bid on a Consultation With Me (for Charity)

As part of a Red Cross fundraiser, I’ve donated a 30-minute writer/author consultation. Click here to read more and to bid. This online fundraiser event celebrates Red Cross Month (March). It is intended to raise funds and awareness for the Red Cross and its work in communities across the country. Check out daily guest...

My Latest Thoughts on Writers & Social Media

While at AWP, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Caleb J. Ross and Nik Korpon to talk about writers, social media, and the digital era.You can listen to the 20-minute conversation here. Some topics we discuss: How is it writers are so attached to the physical book? Is aversion to electronic media...

Best Tweets on Break

Best Tweets is on break due to illness. Assuming all goes well, we’ll be back next week. (Still announcing secret project tomorrow.) You can still find out about the best stuff I read each week: Click here. And: Check out these live, online classes from Writer’s Digest: Crafting Fiction & Memoir That Sells, presented...

Is It Time to Call It Quits?

One of my friends recently told me he was finally writing again. He commented, We’ll see if I end up hating it, as I have every single thing I’ve ever written before. I do hope to get over this at some point. Go read my advice for people who hate their writing, and usually...

What Does the Borders Bankruptcy Mean for Writers?

Tomorrow (Feb. 25), Writer’s Digest is hosting a free online event on how the Borders bankruptcy affects writers. As you probably have heard by now, Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on February 16. Though the ramifications of this move have already been discussed in great detail, many questions still remain. What changes are...

Cliches for Aspiring Writers

Today’s guest post is from Rafael Yglesias. Rafael Yglesias is a master American storyteller whose career began with the publication of his first novel, Hide Fox, and All After, at seventeen. His fiction is distinguished by its clear-eyed realism and keen insight into human behavior. Follow him on Twitter, and see his books and more videos...

How to Leave Meaningful Blog Comments

As readership on your site or blog grows, you’ll have to figure out a strategy for dealing with unproductive comments. There are 3 categories of “unproductive”: Straightforward spam. This is the stuff you automatically delete, or preferably filter out using a plug-in like Akismet. Trolls. These are people who say inflammatory or off-topic things,...

Do Your E-Book Right

You’ve probably read the reports that some bestselling books now sell as many e-book editions as print editions, at least through outlets such as Amazon. With the wider adoption of e-book reading devices, authors such as JA Konrath have been making a pretty penny by releasing their own e-books and keeping all profits for...

Best Tweets on Break (secret project)

Best Tweets is on break this week; I have some special projects I’m working on for Writer’s Digest (including this week’s webinar—see below!), plus a secret project of my own. You can still find out about the best stuff I read each week: Click here. Also, check out these live, online classes from Writer’s...

New Tools for Entrepreneurial Writers

I received a great tip today from Christina Katz, making me aware of Lynda.com. It’s a lovely (paid) online education community for becoming more technologically savvy and capable in virtually every area of media and software. Lynda offers about 1,000 unique courses; the curriculum is based on video and exercise files. Here are a...

10 Tips for Effective Book Covers

As more authors opt for independent publishing routes, I’m getting more questions about secrets to good book design, production, and layout. While at F+W, I spent hundreds of hours in cover design/review meetings. Sometimes I forget about the education it’s given me. Here are the 10 biggest things I learned about book cover design...

Excellent Online Learning Opportunities (Free + Paid)

There are so many interesting opportunities coming up for online education that I wanted to take a moment to round them up! FREE: The Evolution of Self-Publishing webcast, brought to you by Digital Book World and Publishers Weekly. Feb. 22. Go register here. Building Your Author Platform, a new 8-week online course by publishing...

How to Meaningfully Grow Traffic to Your Site/Blog

It’s a problem that every new blog or website faces in its early days—or every day (!): How to get readers (also called traffic). There are a few well-worn pieces of advice in this area, such as: Comment on other people’s blogs. Virtually all comment systems ask you to leave your name and site...

Worksheets for Writing a Novel in 30 Days

If you think writing a book in a month is an irrational pursuit, you’re kind of right. Sometimes we have to do crazy things to get headed down the right path. A 30-day challenge can motivate you to do what you’ve put off for far too long: dedicating yourself to writing (no more excuses!)....

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 2/11/11)

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: check out these live, online classes...