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.


The Rules of Storytelling, Pixar Style

Anyone whose ever seen a screening of a Pixar movie (Finding Nemo, Up, and the Toy Story trio come to mind for me) knows that the writers of these charming, funny and often heartbreaking movies know a thing or two about the art of storytelling. Recently, Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats was asked to...

Turning Marketing Lemons into Lemonade

Recently, I attended the Book Expo America convention (BEA) in New York City to launch my new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire. Unfortunately, when I got to the show, raring to promote my new title, the books had not yet arrived. As you can imagine, I was disappointed. But in that moment, I...

Showing vs. Telling in Your Writing

Show, don’t tell. Most writers have heard this maxim at some point, whether from a teacher, an editor or an agent. But what does this writing advice mean, in practical terms? While a certain amount of exposition is unavoidable (and even useful) in your writing, it’s easy to “over-share” the minutiae of your story’s...

How to Break the Rules of Writing

Here at Writer’s Digest (and despite the There Are No Rules moniker of this blog), we talk a lot about doing things by the book—from understanding grammatical and structural writing rules, to following submission guidelines, to otherwise conducting yourself like a pro. And that’s why we had so much fun putting together the latest...

Advice for Writers: 7 Reasons to Self-Publish Your Book

Self-publishing used to be a last resort for aspiring authors unable to break through the traditional publishing fortress. With the help of vanity presses, those writers took matters into their own hands and brought their books to market, for a fee. These days, self-publishing has a newfound respect. The “guilt by association” connection to...

Start Your Summer Right: 5 Creative Writing Tips

The first long weekend of cookouts, swimming and 90-degree days is behind us here in the Midwest, which can mean only one thing: The unofficial start of summer. New seasons have a way of bringing about change just when things are getting stale—an apt metaphor for both writing and life. In my house, the...

UPDATED! Success Stories – Gotta love ’em

UPDATED No sooner had I written the post below than I received a number of great reports, some of which I’ve noted elsewhere. The one I received today comes from Sheri Graz who reports that her story, “Last Call,” just won the mysterious photograph contest in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. It’s on newsstands now if you...

How to Find Great Writing Ideas

In the search for story-worthy ideas, most writers are sidelined by occasional bouts of creative myopia. When it sets in—when your field of inspiration narrows—it’s easy to convince yourself that your luck has run out and all the good ideas are taken. But finding exceptional writing ideas isn’t a matter of luck. Waiting passively...

Don’t D-Y-I “Do-Yourself-In” with a D-I-Y Mentality

by Rob Eagar I am one of the few original self-publishing success stories. And, I did it way before the advent of e-books, Amazon, and social media. Over 10 years ago, I left corporate America as a sales executive to pursue what seemed like a ridiculous dream to write a book. I had no...

All Marketing is a Felt Need

By Rob Eagar In my work as a marketing consultant, I’ve met numerous authors who work in academic circles, such as counselors, professors, pastors, and specialty book publishers. A common problem among these scholastic groups is the tendency to believe that their marketing should be exempt from the need to answer the consumers’ primary...

Ask a Literary Agent Anything: Here’s Your Chance!

Is there a question you’ve always secretly wished you could ask a literary agent? Maybe you want privileged information … or maybe you want real, tell-it-to-me-straight advice. Maybe something’s been bugging you for a while, but you’re too afraid of sounding like an amateur if you speak up … or you’re too professional to...

Promote Your Book with Power-Bites

By Rob Eagar The more you rely on technology to spread your message, the more you must be brief. We live in a world of smaller screens, smaller attention spans, and smaller conversations where media platforms continuously shrink discussions. For instance, radio and TV interviews these days are typically no longer 3 – 6...

The 10 Commandments of How to Write a Thriller

Every week, I spelunk into the Writer’s Digest archives to find the wisest, funniest, or downright strangest moments from our 92 years of publication. About 10 years ago, lawyer-turned-novelist John Grisham spilled the beans in Newsweek that a 1973 Writer’s Digest article paved the way for him to write his bestseller The Firm. Naturally, we’ve been geeking out about this...

Top 10 Blogging Tips: How to Turn Your Blog Into a Book

If you’d like to quickly amass content for a book—without the pressure of actually having to work on one—consider blogging a book. Blogging is a fast and simple way to generate a body of targeted content and build your platform, which are key components of landing a book deal in today’s competitive marketplace. When...

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What’s the single best piece of writing advice? Harper Lee, John Steinbeck and Carl Sandburg weigh in

Every week, I spelunk into the Writer’s Digest archives to find the wisest, funniest, or downright strangest moments from our 92 years of publication. Harper Lee’s birthday is tomorrow, so today I went on a hunt to find some Harper Lee quotes somewhere in our archives. I didn’t exactly troll up an entire interview (no surprise there, given...

How to Outline (the Easy Way) Like Janet Evanovich

Every week, I spelunk into the Writer’s Digest archives to find the wisest, funniest, or downright strangest moments from our 92 years of publication. Today: Here’s to Janet Evanovich (and that we all might one day hit it as big as Janet Evanovich). The author of the bestselling Stephanie Plum series celebrates her birthday this Sunday, so I...

Interview With Expert Freelancer Kelly James-Enger

Today I’m talking with author and freelancing expert Kelly James-Enger, whose work has appeared in dozens of national magazines, including Redbook, Fitness and Self. James-Enger says that her success as a full-time freelancer isn’t the result of persistence or luck, but of learning the “secrets” of freelancing. You can find all 101 of these...

The Best New Advice for Getting Published

You can always tell when it’s officially springtime here at the WD offices. Everyone is smiling because of the sunshine. Everyone is sneezing because of the pollen. And everyone is buzzing about the release of our most popular annual list: The 101 Best Websites for Writers. (There are also some unruly Canadian geese who...

How to Build Online Community

By Rob Eagar If you want to build a following, especially online, the key is to position yourself as someone who is worth following. The best way to attract a large group is by becoming an object of interest, which means the ability to draw people to you by dent of your expertise or...