Words of Wisdom: Let Your Writing Sell the Work

Publish date:

Q. What's the biggest mistake a writer makes when contacting you (about a novel)?

"Trying to be a salesman never works for me; the material has to speak for itself. A writer who tells me everything he or she is going to do to promote a book doesn't work either. Tell me what you've already done, not what you want to do. Other than Jonathan Franzen, I've never known an author who said 'I do not want to be on Oprah.' "

- Harvey Klinger of Harvey Klinger Inc.

"Any author who thinks he can 'sell' me on his book is mistaken. Sales jazz in a query letter is just noise. After (so many) years in this business, I can spot a good project a mile away, and nobody needs to do anything spectacular to grab my attention. Let the book speak for itself by shaping a concise and appealing one-page query letter.

- James C. Vines of The Vines Agency, Inc., both excerpted from the 2005 edition of GLA.


Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.


Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.


Gerald Brandt: Toeing the Line Between Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Science fiction author Gerald Brandt explains how this new series explores the genre boundary and how he came to find his newest book's focus.


Plot Twist Story Prompts: Moment of Doubt

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character experience a moment of doubt.


Caitlin O'Connell: Finding Connection and Community in Animal Rituals

In this post, Dr. Caitlin O'Connell shares what prompted her to write a book about finding connection and community in animal rituals, what surprised her in the writing process, and much more!


New Agent Alert: Zeynep Sen of WordLink Literary Agency

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Zeynep Sen of WordLink Literary Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.