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.


‘Why I Write’ (One of the Best Things We’ve Read All Week)

Earlier today, I happened upon these striking words from Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk’s 2006 Nobel Prize acceptance speech: “The question we writers are asked most often, the favorite question, is, ‘Why do you write?’ I write because I have an innate need to write! I write because I can’t do normal work like other...

Sherman Alexie’s Top 10 Pieces of Advice for Writers

National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie’s birthday is Sunday, and his new title Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories was released this week. To celebrate the short-story writer (War Dances), poet (The Business of Fancydancing) and novelist (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian), here’s some advice Alexie shared with us in the magazine (which also...

Write Fiction that Grabs Readers from Page One

In your novel, the inciting incident is the first sign of trouble for your protagonist: it’s the catalyst, the chemical reaction, that sets the plot into motion. But the inciting incident isn’t only important for your main character. Understanding how to harness it is also crucial to hooking your reader from the very first...

How to Get the Most Out of a Writing Conference

In only a few weeks, our staff will be venturing west for the Writer’s Digest Conference in Los Angeles, set for Oct. 19-21. On tap this year, writers can expect keynotes by Aimee Bender and Steven James, sessions taught by authors Elizabeth Sims, James Scott Bell, Rob Eagar, Nina Amir and many others, workshops...

Happy Birthday, Stephen King!

Today is Stephen King’s 65th birthday. To honor the man who is perhaps the most well-known living writer, here’s a linkfest of all things King. Don’t forget to have an It cupcake or two today. Stephen King’s Best Quotes: 13 of the author’s classic quips on the craft of writing. An Interview With King: Did you...

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The Value of Free: Writing For Non-Paying Markets

I've come to realize I'm in a unique position to provide perspective on one of the hottest hot-button writing issues of the internet age: namely, the edict that (cue echo effect) The Writer Must Be Paid. It’s such an obvious rule-of-thumb, only a fool would argue against it. Turns out, I am just that fool....

Think Like a Producer to Get More Media Interviews

If you want to get more media interviews, put yourself in the position of a producer. The producer is the decision-maker behind most radio and TV programs whose responsible for planning the topics and booking guests. If you're a producer, would you rather be approached by authors who are just trying to get airtime...

Can Your Day Job Lead to Better Writing?

For some writers, a day job is a means to an end—and something they dream of one day quitting to pursue a dream of writing full time. (So much so that here at WD, we get the “When do you think I should quit?” question from our readers all the time. If this is...

5 Marketing Lessons from Fly-Fishing

By Rob Eagar In the last year, I took up fly-fishing as a hobby. There’s something surreal and invigorating about standing in the middle of a river. However, catching rainbow trout is no easy task. They’re smart, skeptical, and elusive. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between the challenge of fly-fishing and the...

3 Steps to Successful Book Marketing – Part 3

By Rob Eagar Earlier, I covered parts one and two of this 3-part series called “3 Successful Steps to Marketing.” To summarize, I’ve explained how effective marketing can be boiled down to three fundamental questions. Whether you’re an author, business owner, or non-profit director, you can achieve success by asking yourself the following: Step 1 – What is...

How to Edit Your Book in 4 Steps

By Guest Columnist Mike Nappa Mike Nappa is founder of Nappaland Literary Agency, and author of 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected, available wherever books are sold. * The woman asked a sensible question; she deserved a practical answer. I was sitting on an “Agents & Editors” panel at a writer’s conference when...

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New Literary Agent Alert: Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of D4EO Literary

Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities for new writers because they're likely building their client list; however, always make sure your work is as perfect as it can be before submitting, and only query agencies that are a great fit for your work. Otherwise, you're just wasting time and postage. She is seeking: young adult...

Get an Agent: 25 Literary Agents Looking for New Clients

Even if you’ve done your homework and prepared your query letter and other submission materials by the book, the task of finding out everything you really want to know about how to get an agent to represent you can be surprisingly intimidating. That’s why when it came time to put together our annual issue...

3 Steps to Successful Book Marketing – Part 2

By Rob Eagar Previously, I covered part one of a 3-part series called “Successful Steps to Marketing.” The gist is that effective marketing can be boiled down to three fundamental questions. Whether you’re an author, business owner, or non-profit director, you can achieve success by asking yourself these three questions: Step 1 – What is...

Writing 21st Century Fiction: A Sneak Peek

Donald Maass, bestselling author of Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction, now takes an in-depth, comprehensive look at the craft and method of writing 21st century fiction. You might be asking, “What exactly is 21st century fiction?” Read this exclusive sneak peek from Writing 21st Century Fiction to find out: Change...

Top 10 Essentials to a Writer’s Life

This week, I finished Erik Larson’s latest narrative nonfiction, In the Garden of Beasts, which is still dominating The New York Times bestseller list. Excellent read. A few years back, I got in touch with Larson (who also wrote the spectacular Devil in the White City) to see if he would like to contribute...

3 Steps to Successful Book Marketing

By Rob Eagar Marketing is a simple process when you boil it down to the fundamentals. Whether you’re a fiction or non-fiction author, you can achieve marketing success following these three simple steps. Ask yourself: What is your value? Who needs your value the most? Where do those who need your value congregate in...