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.


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,...

lazar

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...

What Can Set You Apart: Your Ability to Focus

In an excellent interview by Dan Blank, Christina Katz talks about practices and skills of successful writers. Here’s a brief (edited) transcription of the opening message of the conversation. There’s a lot of confusion out there for writers. Writers are being overwhelmed with messages telling them you gotta do this–no wait, you gotta do...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 10/22/10)

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 Writer’s Digest online classes:...

Online Marketing Works If You Have the Long View

These days, it seems like everyone has become a big skeptic of social networking’s effectiveness—or even believes that cultivating a site or blog can harm or stall a writer’s career. In the following post, I explain why I think authors aren’t getting the results they want (or why they fail in their efforts): The...

5 Things Every Writer Should Know About Rights

Most writers I know fall into 1 of 2 camps: people who are (overly) concerned that someone will steal their work, and innocents who don’t take time to learn what rights they ought to be protecting. So I’d like to outline the 5 things every writer should know about their rights (and, by extension,...

Kindle Singles: A Big Opportunity for Smart Writers

Just last week, Amazon announced the launch of Kindle Singles, a new imprint specializing in short nonfiction works of 10,000–30,000 words—which, if you didn’t know, isn’t considered a marketable length for any traditional print publisher. I see this launch and immediately wonder: Why didn’t an innovative publisher announce an imprint like this to take...

Make Your NaNoWriMo Experience Count (4 Excellent Posts)

I’ll be upfront. I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo (and have no desire to), but I’ve observed many writers go through the process. I know it can help writers put aside perfectionism, procrastination, and inhibitions about writing. That is: It motivates a lot of people to SIT and WRITE. One might tend to think: Well,...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 10/15/10)

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 Writer’s Digest online classes:...

Meet Me at the 2011 Writer's Digest Conference

Mark your calendars! In January, I’ll be speaking at the Writer’s Digest Conference, joining a stellar line-up of publishing professionals and successful authors. The conference has many different features/facets, including: The now infamous Pitch Slam, with more than 50 agents ready to meet you and hear your pitch A keynote address from Richard Nash,...

3 Critical Steps After Rejection

Just released from Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Digest University is part market guide, part boot camp, offering keys to getting your work published. I am honored to have written the introduction to this book, which you can read in full here. In the intro, I share 3 steps you should take after receiving a rejection—since...

Fake It 'Til You Make It

Interviews with successful authors never get old. The Paris Review interviews (the celebrated interview series with writers) have remained popular since they launched in the 1950s. (Go read them all for free online.) Why do these interviews fascinate us? Partly, I hope for a glimpse of the genius that produced the work we marvel...

The Future of Publishing: You Get to Decide

The topic of my talk at the Y-City Writers Conference (this past weekend) was “The Future of Publishing.” While I talked a bit about tech and gadgetry, what I really focused on was how much power writers now have in deciding what their future is. Meaning: Now, more than at any other time in...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 10/8/10)

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 Writer’s Digest online classes:...

7 Lessons for Delivering a Powerful Message

I attended TEDxCincy today. (I’m a huge fan of TED in general.) It was a professionally produced event, with an impressive roster of accomplished people invited to speak. But sometimes the most accomplished people are not the best speakers, meaning too many messages today were not as effective as they could’ve been. And so,...

5 Articles You Should've Read Over the Summer

I share many publishing-related articles via Facebook and Twitter (and through Best Tweets), but I know many of you aren’t involved in those networks. So, I’d like to highlight 5 articles that I think every writer should have read over the summer. Where Will Bookstores Be 5 Years From Now? by the always insightful...