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.


Videos to Help You Find the Muse

In my last newsletter, I mentioned several videos that I find inspiring that aren’t really about writing. And I asked readers to share with me videos they find memorable. Here are two of the best. One is Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk; the other is JK Rowling at Harvard commencement. Thanks to Jan Markley and...

8 Things Readers Want From Self-Published Authors

My post last week, The “Self-Pub Is Crap” Debate, has probably generated more comments than any other post in 2011. Reviewing the comments provides an excellent to-do list of how self-published authors can be taken seriously by readers. Hire professionals for editing, proofreading, and design. Put most of your cost toward editing. That means,...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 5/13/11)

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. Best of Best Seth Godin explores people’s goals in publishing a book @DanBlank 6 tools to help you format your eBook; includes tools for ePub, Mobi &...

The Comeback Fight

Pictured above: Boxer Deirdre GogartyDarrelyn Saloom, a monthly contributor here at No Rules, has written an article for Boxing.com about a comeback fight for boxer Deirdre Gogarty. As many of you know, Darrelyn has been working with Deirdre on her boxing memoir for a number of years. Go check out the article!

Happy News About My Teaching Future

As many of you are aware, for the past academic year, I’ve been serving as a full-time visiting assistant professor of electronic media, at the University of Cincinnati. When I signed up for the gig, I knew it was only for a year—but of course I hoped that if it was a good fit,...

The "Self-Pub Is Crap" Debate

I’m reaching an exhaustion level with the following two viewpoints: Most self-published work is crap. Anyone can “publish” their e-book and call themselves an author. None of these “books” are edited. It’s a huge pile of crap that’s just getting harder and harder to sift through. (God save us from the crap!) And the...

Should You Self-Publish After a Near-Miss?

Writers often ask if it’s wise or helpful to self-publish their work if they have “near-misses” with agents or publishers. There’s no one answer that works for everyone. But I’ll try to help you come to the right conclusion. YES: Go ahead and try self-publishing a book You know how to reach your readers...

5 Key Research Sites You May Have Missed (Plus Cool Tricks)

I’m as guilty as the next person: I use Google for everything and don’t wander much outside it. (In fact, I use iGoogle as my browser homepage.) But as any astute researcher knows, Google’s search engine can rank poor-quality content very highly just because the site has good SEO (search engine optimization). Recently, Google...

Is Email the New Blogging?

The meme these days seems to be that e-mail newsletters (or content marketing through e-mail) is the new blogging. Actually, I lie. It’s a fairly old meme—I can at least trace it back to this blog post by Jason Calacanis, a longtime respected blogger, who decided to start a paid e-mail newsletter instead of...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 5/6/11)

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. Also: Check out these upcoming online classes from Writer’s Digest: I’ll be presenting How to Start a Successful E-mail Newsletter on May 12. Best of Best What...

Organizing a Writers Workshop: Marketing (Part 2)

Today’s guest post is by NO RULES regular Susan Cushman, director of the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop. Last month, I wrote about how to plan the budget, faculty, venue, housing, meals, and social events for a writing workshop—specifically for the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop. Today’s post is about what comes next: scheduling,...

Midlist Nonfiction Books: Too Much Effort for Too Little Return?

Pictured above: A slide from Margaret Atwood’s marvelous presentation at TOC on the future for authors When it comes to non-narrative nonfiction books, I don’t think of the authors of these books as authors. I think of them as experts, entrepreneurs or business professionals who are interested in authoring a book because of the...

How to Start a Successful Newsletter

Next week, I’m teaching an online class on how to start a successful e-mail newsletter. This is a topic I’ve covered here at No Rules before, but this class will allow me to show you in-depth how to get started, discuss strategies, and go behind the scenes with free services so you see how...

Is It OK If Writing Is Also Your Day Job?

It’s something I’ve often said to young writers: Study or work at anything but writing. Go lead a separate life, and learn or do something that will enrich whatever you end up writing later. In the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, Iowa grad Anna North offers a different and compelling perspective. Here’s a snippet: I...

How to Build Your Website Without Knowing Code

Today I sent out the latest issue of my e-mail newsletter, which I call “3 Happy Things.” Each issue has a different theme, and this one focused on how to build a website for free, without knowing code, in less than an hour. Click here to view the newsletter on codeless websites. Also, there’s...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 4/29/11)

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. Also: Check out these upcoming online classes from Writer’s Digest: I’ll be presenting How to Start a Successful E-mail Newsletter on May 12. How to Find Grants...

Why Do We Think Talent Ought to Be Rewarded?

I’ve been having conversations on Twitter about whether determination is more important than talent. (It was sparked by this recent blog post.) These seem to be the key concepts at stake: Talent. I’d define this as what you’re born with, what doesn’t change. When you have talent, it may lead nowhere if you don’t...

Friday Mish-Mash of Cool Things

A lot of things have crossed my desk lately, so let me share them all at once. Above: Edgar Award winners Ruth Rendell, Lawrence Block, Peter Blauner, and others discuss their writing and what they consider the ultimate reward for penning a great mystery novel. StoryADay May Writing Challenge. This is an annual event...

Determination: More Important to Success Than Talent

Now that I’m a full-time teacher, one of the greatest pleasures I have is supporting the talent of my students. When I was in college, I often wondered if my writing professors could tell which students would “make it.” I thought it was connected to raw talent—and that professors could see the shape and...

Everyone Wants to "Help" Writers. But Whose Help Do You Really Need?

You’ve probably heard the “Wild West” cliche more than once this year in reference to all the changes happening in the publishing industry. For starters, there’s the Borders bankruptcy, the Amanda Hocking self-pub success story, the Eisler defection, and Amazon striking deals with New York houses for print distribution of their Encore titles. (If...

Ask the Agent: Kelly Mortimer

In the March/April 2011 issue of Writer’s Digest, you’ll find Kelly Mortimer featured in my Ask the Agent column. Kelly went above and beyond the call of duty in answering my questions, and I felt bad that I had to cut most of what she had to say. So I promised her that after...

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7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Rachel Friedman

This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers at any stage of their career can talk about seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning. This installment is from writer Rachel Friedman. Rachel Friedman is the author of The Good...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 4/22/11)

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. Best of Best My letter to beginning science-fiction writers; 2,000 words of advice@RobertJSawyer Read this and work out whether you should rewrite that scene by @internspills @dirtywhitecandy...

The Big Lesson I Learned This Year As a Professor

It’s all about structure! In my guest post this month for Writer Unboxed, I offer 3 specific ways to add more structure into your writing life. I also point to free worksheets and exercises, as well as the most helpful online articles I’ve seen on goal-setting. Click here to read the post: 3 Ways...

My Thoughts on Drinking + Life + Writing

This week, I’m the featured interview over at Drinking Diaries, a site devoted to women’s experiences with alcohol. I had 2 thoughts when I was invited to participate: Oh, fun!!! Oh no. The stereotype of the alcoholic writer always makes me a little self-conscious when I talk about drinking, or liking to drink. I’m...