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.


Hurricane Season

Today’s guest post is by the kind and generous Darrelyn Saloom, who is working on a memoir with boxer champion Deirdre Gogarty. Follow Darrelyn on Twitter, or read her previous guest posts. Pictured above: Street Signs in Lafayette, Louisiana, after Hurricane Rita in 2005. All photos by Darrelyn’s oldest son, Christopher L. Frugé. For...

How to Score a Traditional Deal After Self-Publishing

Today’s Q&A is with authors Anne Milford and Jennifer Gauvain, who originally self-published their book, How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy, in May 2009. They marketed and promoted like madwomen and then sold the book—at auction!—to Random House in October 2009. The new revised edition came out in May 2010 from Broadway. Read...

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How to Write a Travel Memoir

A travel memoir is a travel writing genre all its own. It is not a guidebook, trip diary or marketing piece for the Sunday paper. Rather, it is a delicate mixture of recollection and reflection that reveals how a journey, or a series of journeys, transformed the writer. Guest column by Susan Pohlman, author of...

Newest Opportunities to Hear Me Speak

Lots of cool things happening to update you about (pictured above: a candid shot of me speaking at Midwest Writers in July 2010!). Last week I was a guest speaker on a live teleseminar on memoir, with the NAMW. If you missed it, you can still sign up to get an e-mail announcement when...

Building an Enthusiastic Fan Base as a Self-Published Author

Today’s Q&A is with novelist and 20-year Silicon Valley wage slave John Sundman. I first met John when his novel, Acts of the Apostles, won 1st place in the genre fiction category of the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. We’ve stayed in touch ever since, and he recently interviewed me over at WetMachine. Below...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 9/3/10)

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. Quick plug for upcoming Writer’s Digest online classes:...

The Evolving Role of Literary Agents

Today I’m a guest interviewee over at Jungle Red Writers, on the evolving role of agents. The incredible Hallie Ephron interviews me. Here’s a snippet: Hallie: Is the agent’s traditional role as link between author and publisher going the way of the dodo? Jane: I’d rather say that the agent’s limited role as link...

The Digital Age Has Only Helped Storytellers

Today’s Q&A is with author Eric Rickstad, a novelist and screenwriter living in Vermont. His unnerving novels, stories, and scripts strip back the bucolic veneer of rural America and root around in its tragic and blackly comic underbelly. Big thanks to Darrelyn Saloom for bringing my attention to Eric and his work.— Your first...

Self-Published Authors Should Band Together

Today’s Q&A is with longtime author and publisher Eric Hammel, who started his own publishing company in the 1980s alongside his traditional author career. Given his 30+ years of experience as an author, marketer, and self-publisher, I find his in-depth perspective on the industry invaluable for anyone considering DIY options, or contemplating the future...

Your Self-Help Book Should Not Be a Thinly Disguised Memoir

If you’re writing a memoir, and it’s your very first attempt at writing (or writing seriously for publication), odds are good that you won’t yet be skillful enough to pass muster with an agent or editor. (See this YouTube lesson from master storyteller Ira Glass on why.) Many people are sparked to write a...

Make the Most of Your Memory: 10 Tips for Writing About Your Life

Today’s guest post is by Stacey Dubois, a graduate student at Tufts University, as well as an aspiring children’s/YA novelist. For more on the psychology of the creative process, visit her blog.— In the courtroom, witnesses pledge to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” An admirable goal, but a...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 8/27/10)

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:...

Don't Annoy People on Facebook

I have a wide range of friends of Facebook—including many writers who are using the site to market their work. While this isn’t wrong in and of itself, some approach the site as their personal direct marketing tool, and do more damage than good. That’s why I wrote this lengthy post at Writer Unboxed:...

Writers & Publishers Need to Act More Like the Art World

Today’s Q&A is with Dan Holloway, who I first met on Twitter as agnieszkasshoes. Dan is a founder-member of Year Zero Writers, and curator of eight cuts gallery and eight cuts gallery press. I was very intrigued by the new publishing operation he’s launched, eight cuts gallery press, and asked him some questions about...

Q&A: My Thoughts on Book Publishing Today

Many writers ask me about changes in the publishing industry, how to make sense of the transformation, and what it really means for them. I try to tackle that, in part, in this Q&A with WetMachine, where the insightful John Sundman poses a variety of questions about trends, e-books and e-publishing, self-publishing, author promotion,...

You Can Learn As Much From Writing Friends as Writing Experts

Today’s guest post is by writer David B. Schlosser, who attended the 5th annual Killer Nashville literary conference. My thanks to him for summarizing for us the best information he heard. Follow David on Twitter.— We’re all in this together. By “we,” I mean people dedicated to stories and the words authors use to...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 8/20/10)

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:...

The Power of an E-mail Network (10 Years in the Making)

My Q&A with Hyla Molander—on her success finding readers with Scribd—sparked many people to contact me about their success too in using the site. However, even before Hyla, I had met Ransom Stephens, who is further along in his journey. His novel, The God Patent, was recently released in print from Vox Novus, after...

4 Ways to Improve Narrative Drive in Your Story

Today’s guest post comes to you from historical novelist Sara Sheridan, who appeared twice this week at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and is about to join the Society of Authors Committee for Scotland. Here she posts from Edinburgh, summarizing her masterclass on Narrative Drive, part of the innovative Nuts and Bolts series for...

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Monotetra

For this Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge, I’m asking poets to write a monotetra or three. Please don’t stress out about the meter so much, because I won’t. But the rhymes and refrains, yes, please follow the rules. If you’re not sure, click here to learn more about the monotetra. Many have already said...

How to Ensure 75% of Agents Will Request Your Material

While attending the Midwest Writers Workshop, I posted a summary of a talk given by Marcus Sakey and John Gilstrap. Sakey advised that query letters, if any good, would result in a 75% “send me something” response. I had no idea what a bomb I was throwing by tweeting and blogging that principle. Thus,...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 8/13/10)

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:...