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.


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 trumpeted by writers everywhere who feel like online marketing and promotion responsibilities have been shoved down their throats (and look for every...

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 best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Best of the Best The secret ingredient to...

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 established writers, including people like Margaret Atwood, Steve Almond, David Sedaris, and Lee Gutkind. (The title of this post is a direct...

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 same purpose—feelings of creativity and productivity.) But I have exactly the opposite inclinations in my personal life. No structure, no restrictions, no...

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 Personalization The 3 Elements of a Novel Hook Examples of Revised Novel Hooks Red Flags in Novel Hooks and Queries One-Sentence Hooks...

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 back to the beginning of the series. QUERY FAQs What if the agent reading your query can tell that you, the writer,...

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 identifies a book for purposes of commerce and supply chains (before 2007 it was a 10-digit number, in case you see it...

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 of person-to-person interaction online—have driven transparency and opportunities to communicate with and reach a very distinctive and unique audience. Who’s to say...

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 best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Best of the Best Should you post your...

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 experience. Darrelyn is a regular guest here at No Rules. Follow her on Twitter or read her previous posts.— On a Wednesday...

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...