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.


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...

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....

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

The Evolution of Reading

Today’s guest post is from writer Susan Cushman, a monthly regular here at NO RULES. You can also find Susan over at A Good Blog Is Hard to Find and Pen and Palette. (Pictured above: Herman King, Doug McLain, Sonny Brewer and Susan Cushman on the square in Oxford, Mississippi.) —...

What Digital Natives Can Teach Us About Publishing

First, I don’t really believe in the idea of “digital natives.” Digital natives are the students entering college right now who have never experienced life without the Internet. (See more about the history of the term at Wikipedia.) At UC, I’m teaching roomfuls of these so-called digital natives, and while I’m...

Book Marketing For 21st-Century Authors

Almost three years after the deal got made with Crown Publishing Group, my travel memoir about my time helping to start a radio station in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan has hit the shelves. Hooray! But there’s little time to celebrate, and there hasn’t been much downtime for months—even though the...

I'm Speaking at SXSW on Self-Publishing

For the first time, I’ll be on a panel at SXSW. The panel is called “The Self-Publishing Novelist: Report From the Trenches.” Author John Sundman proposed the panel (remember the Q&A?), and I owe him my thanks for including me. I’ll have more to say—content-wise—about this panel in the coming weeks,...

You Don't Have to Blog, Tweet, or Be on Facebook

I’m often giving many reasons for writers to start a blog, be on Twitter, or use Facebook. But the truth is, you don’t have to do any of these things to get published or to sell books. (Sidenote: You’ll often hear stories of bestselling authors who don’t use social media, but...

The Misleading "Research" By McSweeney's

Let’s be clear: I don’t think print will die. But that’s no reason to concoct “research” about publishing that says “almost all of the news is good, and most of it is very good.” That’s what McSweeney’s has done with their series on “The State of Publishing” or “Some Good News...

Listen to Full Audio of AWP Social Media Panel

As you can probably tell—due to lack of Best Tweets—I am still catching up from being away at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference. BUT—I have some wonderful things to share with you related to the event. (My own insights will come later in the week.) 1. Full audio...

Who's Listening to You? (AWP Thoughts)

While delivering a session at the Writer’s Digest Conference (read this very kind & generous recap from George Davis!), I mentioned a few ways that writers can waste their time: By not submitting your best work to commercial publishers or agents By publishing your work digitally when your audience wants print...

What I'm Looking Forward to at AWP

Today I’m headed to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference. I’ve been going to AWP since 2004, and it is one of the largest events I attend—more than 8,000 writers, professors, and professionals. When I worked full-time at Writer’s Digest, I had to stick around the Bookfair hall at...

5 Key Takeaways for Authors From Digital Book World

Last week, on the heels of the Writer’s Digest Conference, more than 1,000 publishing professionals gathered for Digital Book World to discuss the challenges of transitioning a very traditional business into the digital age. While I didn’t attend the show this year (had to teach!), I’ve read a considerable number of...

Writing Above Your Head

In the latest Glimmer Train Bulletin, Clayton Luz has a wonderful piece about “writing above your head,” advice that he first heard from Richard Ford. Here’s a snippet of what Clayton says: Sometimes we have to let things we experience age a while in our souls before they ripen into a...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 1/28/11)

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...

How Writing About Loss Helps You Heal

Just a few days before my 27th birthday, she had a severe heart attack. I returned to Ohio, never imagining I’d remain there for over a year—Mom spending that entire time in one hospital or another, battling congestive heart failure, stomach paralysis, ventilator dependency, and lung cancer (the thing that would...

How to Spot Questionable Writing Advice

Today, I’m a guest over at Writer Unboxed, where I detail how to identify what might be “bad” writing advice: How to Avoid Being Fooled By Bad Writing Advice Usually what constitutes “bad” advice is merely extreme advice. Go check out the full story! You might also like:No Related Posts

Thinking Beyond the Book: What's Your Demand Curve?

At the Writer’s Digest Conference, Richard Nash delivered an inspiring keynote. Writers loved it. Deep in his talk, a slide flashed up on the screen that, to the untrained eye, might not have seemed like much. It was a piece of innovative and critical business advice that spoke to the transformation...

Are You a Renaissance Soul? Use It to Your Advantage

Today’s guest post is from Michelle Ward, aka The When I Grow Up Coach, who has worked with over 100 creative types to help them with their career goals. — Are you a Renaissance soul? To find out, answer the following questions: Do you find a lot of different things interesting/worthwhile?...

MASTER Recap of 2011 Writer's Digest Conference

This post is a collection of: Best tweets from the 2011 Writer’s Digest Conference Links to official live blog posts of selected sessions Best recaps of the event by attendees & presenters BEST TWITTER TIPS BY CATEGORYSearch #wdc11 to view all tweets from the event. (Pictured above: Me hunched over at...

A Writer's Platform: How to Make It Natural and Happy

The following guest post is by writer Erika Robuck, who attended the Writer’s Digest Conference on Saturday and generously offered to recap the sessions she attended. “The business of writing is the business of reading.”—Richard Nash These words from Richard Nash’s keynote address have been sitting in a quiet space in my...