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.


Writing Can Be Learned—But It Can't Be Taught

The following guest post by Lawrence Block originally appeared in the October 1982 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine. It ran under the headline “Crockpot Macramé.” – Good morning, class. Good morning, sir. I’d like to talk a little this morning about a teaching job I interviewed for last week. I put on a jacket...

Bestselling Author Turns Down $500K Deal to Self-Publish

The breaking news today is that NYT bestseller Barry Eisler turned down a $500K deal from his publisher, St. Martin’s, in order to self-publish his next book. In honor of the occasion, he and JA Konrath have a conversation that extends 12,000 words. You can read/download the entire thing here as a PDF. It’s...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 3/18/11)

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. Looking for more great resources? Sign up for “3 Happy Things,” where I curate more advanced tools/content and deliver it via e-mail. Also, check out these live,...

4 Key Categories of Self-Publishing

Let’s start with the obvious. The self-publishing landscape is changing rapidly. It’s becoming more difficult to explain the options available not just because there ARE more options, but because there are subtle shades of differences between the options that aren’t immediately clear or apparent—even to people inside the industry. With this post, I hope...

going

Creating Active Characters in YA Novels

Have you ever heard an editor or critic refer to a character as passive? Maybe, like me, you've found yourself frustrated by this term. What exactly does it mean, and what's so bad about creating a passive character? Isn't this a trait we often find in real people, especially certain teenagers, who can be...

8 iPhone Apps to Grow & Connect With Audience

Last summer, I did a post on Ultimate iPhone Apps: 30+ Productivity and Creativity Boosts. In a few months, I’ll update that list, but first, I’d like to share specific iPhone apps that can help you market, promote, and grow your audience. I’m dividing the apps into 2 categories: Key Tools. These are core...

How to Write a Thriller That Sells

Tomorrow, novelist Hallie Ephron is teaching a live course on writing a mystery or thriller that sells. If you’re not familiar with Hallie’s advice, here are a few places where you can get a taste: The Art of the Page Turner. This is a recap of the session Hallie did at the Writer’s Digest...

Share Your Stories Using Broadcastr

A new iPhone app just launched this month that I’ve already fallen in love with. It’s called Broadcastr. I had an opportunity to talk with one of the founders, Scott Lindenbaum, while at SXSW. Here’s a little of what he had to say about what the app can do: Anybody anywhere in the world...

Creating Memoir That’s Bigger Than Me, Me, Me

Today’s guest post is from Tracy Seeley, author of My Ruby Slippers. Visit her site, or find out more about her book. – Memoir tells stories from our own lives. It says, “This happened to me.”  Should be simple. And yet in writing memoir, we face certain challenges: How do we rise above a...

Best Tweets on Break (SXSW)

Best Tweets is on break due to SXSW, where I’ve been speaking and attending panels. We’ll be back next week. Keep an eye out for my special project releasing on April 1, The Future of Publishing: Enigma Variations. If you’d like to receive updates on this project, as well as other regular news/insights, sign...

The Best Education for Writing Memoir

Today’s post is from regular guest and favorite, Darrelyn Saloom. Follow her on Twitter, or read her previous guest posts. Pictured above: Darrelyn’s mother in 1969 as she works her way to owning her own business. – Mama owned an answering service and worked a switchboard under a beehive of red hair that matched...

Catch SXSW PubCamp Streaming Live!

Tomorrow I’ll be giving a brief talk at SXSW PubCamp in Austin, along with some outstanding speakers from the publishing industry. The free event is now wait-listed, but catch it live and online here (link updated morning of March 11!). AGENDA 4:00 p.m. (CST)Keynote by Sarah Wendell, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books 4:30 p.m.A word from...

Ask the Agent Power Panel

This weekend, Writer’s Digest is hosting its first online “power panel” that features 4 agents ready to answer all of your questions related to getting published. The price of $129 comes with: A query letter critique from Writer’s Digest publisher Phil Sexton A 3-month subscription to WritersMarket.com (which includes all listings in Guide to...

The Future of the Novelist

This week, I’ll be at SXSWi in Austin, where I’m presenting a brief session on your publishing options at PubCamp (free!), and moderating a SXSWi panel,  The Self-Publishing Novelist. I can’t envision a more exciting or opportune time to be at a national event, guiding a discussion on self-publishing. Why? Take these 3 high-profile...

Are Online Images Fair Game to Use On Your Blog?

Q: Recently someone informed me that I violated copyright [by posting] one of his cartoons on my blog. I apologized and removed the image. Now I’m worried about other images I’ve used. My blog is simply to connect with other writers and I don’t make any money from it. What are the rules for...

7 Don't-Miss Sites for Online Marketing

Today’s guest post is from author Meg Waite Clayton. You may remember her from an earlier guest post, How Book Club Readers (and Bookstores) Can Drive Success. – How friendly are you, really? Do you have enough followers to qualify as a cult? Are you still blogging, or have you bought into the headlines...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 3/4/11)

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. Want to know about the best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Quick plug: check out these live, online classes...

Fact Versus Truth in Writing Fiction

??Today’s post is from regular guest Susan Cushman. Visit her blog!– If you’ve been following the lawsuit filed by Ablene Cooper against Kathryn Stockett, author of The New York Times bestseller The Help, I’m sure you saw this article in the February 17 issue of the Times: “A Maid Sees Herself in a Novel,...

6 Common Plot Fixes

The following post is an excerpt from “The Ultimate Revision Checklist” by James Scott Bell, featured in the Writer’s Digest special issue, Write Your Novel in 30 Days. If you enjoy this post, check out Bell’s upcoming seminar in June on how to sell your novel. Key Questions to Ask About Your Plot Is...

A Wonderful Prompt to Help You Gather Material

Writers are often asked how they find their ideas. Author Stefanie Freele says “the world gushes prompts,” and in the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, she gives us a thought-provoking prompt to help us explore the ideas surrounding us: Pretend you have been gifted the day off from life tomorrow. Someone else is going to...

Bid on a Consultation With Me (for Charity)

As part of a Red Cross fundraiser, I’ve donated a 30-minute writer/author consultation. Click here to read more and to bid. This online fundraiser event celebrates Red Cross Month (March). It is intended to raise funds and awareness for the Red Cross and its work in communities across the country. Check out daily guest...

My Latest Thoughts on Writers & Social Media

While at AWP, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Caleb J. Ross and Nik Korpon to talk about writers, social media, and the digital era.You can listen to the 20-minute conversation here. Some topics we discuss: How is it writers are so attached to the physical book? Is aversion to electronic media...

Best Tweets on Break

Best Tweets is on break due to illness. Assuming all goes well, we’ll be back next week. (Still announcing secret project tomorrow.) You can still find out about the best stuff I read each week: Click here. And: Check out these live, online classes from Writer’s Digest: Crafting Fiction & Memoir That Sells, presented...

Is It Time to Call It Quits?

One of my friends recently told me he was finally writing again. He commented, We’ll see if I end up hating it, as I have every single thing I’ve ever written before. I do hope to get over this at some point. Go read my advice for people who hate their writing, and usually...