Editors Blog

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.


15 Things a Writer Should Never Do

Based on interviews with authors over the years, conferences, editing dozens of issues of Writer’s Digest, and my own occasional literary forays and flails, here are some points of consensus and observations: 15 of them, things anyone who lives by the pen (or seeks to) might consider. It is, like most things in the...

Actors-Turned-Authors: How Many Copies Did They Sell?

We always hear about those gargantuan celebrity book deals … but we rarely find out how those books actually fared on the shelf. The results may surprise (or sadden, or maybe even satisfy) you. According to industry analyst Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales from most major retailers, here are some of the biggest winners...

Creating Plot

Knowing When to Stop: Expectations for a Satisfying Ending

Everyone struggles with how to write an ending, regardless of whether it’s a novel or a short story. Sometimes our perfect endings come to us in a dream-like vision, and other times we are left staring at the taunting, flashing cursor on our Word document, daring us to type. But your ending doesn’t have...

Make More Time for Your Writing

It’s a common lament: I could finish my novel, if only I had more hours in the day! In fact, the universal chorus of complaint from writers of all stripes seems to be “not enough time.” In this excerpt from The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen, you’ll learn how your relationship with time is moving...

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Agents Barbara Poelle and Holly Root Cover It All With Their “How to Write a Successful Novel: The Craft, Techniques, and Strategies” Webinar on March 28

If you don't know who Barbara Poelle and Holly Root are, I'll tell you. They are both awesome literary agents who both sell a lot of books and also are extremely good at teaching writers how to improve their work. Basically, they're super-cool and super-smart. And now, somehow, the planets have aligned and they...

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint

Creating Emotional Frustration in Your Characters

Using emotion to create strong, emotional characters and move a plot is critical for any writer in any type of genre. Knowing what kind of emotion to use and how to use it is a different matter, however. And while our fictional characters experience the same wide range of emotions that we do, frustration is...

5 Unexpected Lessons From Inside the Iowa Writers’ Workshop

Ask any writer—at any level—what writing program he or she would most like to get a glimpse inside of, and chances are the answer will be the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The first creative writing degree program in the United States, Iowa became the model that other writing programs aspire to—and its list of alumni...

Your Book, Your Rules: Advice from an Agent (Guest Blog)

Who better to ask for advice on how to keep an agent’s attention than an agent? Carlie Webber of CK Webber Associates maintains an excellent blog on all kinds of writing and publishing topics, from how to keep YA novels realistic and interesting to advice on how to make sure your query letters don’t...

Rejection Letter Bingo

From the March/April 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest, here’s Rejection Letter Bingo. Print it out and play along. But hurry—I’m getting close!     —Zachary Petit is an award-winning journalist, and the senior managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine. He’ll be at the Writer’s Digest Conference East April 5-7 in New York, doing some fun panels on magazine  writing alongside...

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Get Your First 500 Words Critiqued by Agent Roseanne Wells: March 14 Webinar on “The Essentials of Characters, Plot & Setting”

A lot of WD's webinars are focused on a particular element or genre. Sometimes they're on writing something specific like a picture book, while other times they're intensives on query letters or synopses. But this week it's time to get back to basics. It's time to talk about the crucial and essential story elements...

Submission Letters: How Much Is Too Much?

As a writer, I always thought I had the submission cover letter down pat. But managing a literary magazine truly opened my eyes to the staggering breadth of what many writers consider to be an acceptable first impression. Since 2009, I have managed Hobo Camp Review—a literary press dedicated to the traveling word—in my...

3 Surprising Lessons About Publishing Today

With the newsstand release of every new edition of Writer’s Digest magazine, I typically share a few of the best tips relating to the issue’s cover theme here. But in compiling our February 2013 issue—focused on innovative ways to Make Money Writing and featuring an unexpected WD Interview subject—I found that it held so...

The Real Oscar Winner: Great Storytelling

Even before Quentin Tarantino proclaimed in his Academy Award acceptance speech for Best Original Screenplay (Django Unchained) that this would “be the writers’ year,” it was impossible not to notice all the exemplary written work—books and screenplays alike (and stage plays, for that matter)—at the root of this year’s big Oscar-buzzed films. Strong storytelling...

Bug-Out Bags for Writers

As we all know from watching shows like Doomsday Preppers, you’ve got to be ready to get out of dodge fast if things hit the fan. So what should a writer have in their bug-out bag? Whether you’re escaping the zombie apocalypse or just fleeing to a cabin for a weekend to finish your...

Writer’s Digest Announces New Self-Publishing Conference

New One-Day Event Focuses on the Art and Business of Savvy Self-Publishing NEW YORK – February 12, 2013 – As options for self-publishing increase, barriers to becoming a published author have become greatly reduced. In a new one-day conference, Writer’s Digest will host a lineup of experts who will examine new publishing options and...