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.


Meet Me at the 2011 Writer's Digest Conference

Mark your calendars! In January, I’ll be speaking at the Writer’s Digest Conference, joining a stellar line-up of publishing professionals and successful authors. The conference has many different features/facets, including: The now infamous Pitch Slam, with more than 50 agents ready to meet you and hear your pitch A keynote address from Richard Nash,...

3 Critical Steps After Rejection

Just released from Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Digest University is part market guide, part boot camp, offering keys to getting your work published. I am honored to have written the introduction to this book, which you can read in full here. In the intro, I share 3 steps you should take after receiving a rejection—since...

Fake It 'Til You Make It

Interviews with successful authors never get old. The Paris Review interviews (the celebrated interview series with writers) have remained popular since they launched in the 1950s. (Go read them all for free online.) Why do these interviews fascinate us? Partly, I hope for a glimpse of the genius that produced the work we marvel...

The Future of Publishing: You Get to Decide

The topic of my talk at the Y-City Writers Conference (this past weekend) was “The Future of Publishing.” While I talked a bit about tech and gadgetry, what I really focused on was how much power writers now have in deciding what their future is. Meaning: Now, more than at any other time in...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 10/8/10)

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 for upcoming Writer’s Digest online classes:...

7 Lessons for Delivering a Powerful Message

I attended TEDxCincy today. (I’m a huge fan of TED in general.) It was a professionally produced event, with an impressive roster of accomplished people invited to speak. But sometimes the most accomplished people are not the best speakers, meaning too many messages today were not as effective as they could’ve been. And so,...

5 Articles You Should've Read Over the Summer

I share many publishing-related articles via Facebook and Twitter (and through Best Tweets), but I know many of you aren’t involved in those networks. So, I’d like to highlight 5 articles that I think every writer should have read over the summer. Where Will Bookstores Be 5 Years From Now? by the always insightful...

I Want to Publish My Book. Now What?

This post is for all those people out there who don’t know ANYTHING about the publishing industry. This post is for people who write me and say: I’ve been thinking of publishing a book. How do I do that? I want to publish my book, but don’t know whether to go the traditional route...

Don't Ration Out Your Ideas

I love this piece of advice from Benjamin Percy, which is featured in the latest bulletin from Glimmer Train. It’s one of those things I wish all writers could learn right away: Most writers are conservative. By that I mean they lock their best ideas in a vault and take pleasure in the richness...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 10/1/10)

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 for upcoming Writer’s Digest online classes:...

Listen to Free Q&A on Getting Published

A couple weeks ago, Chuck Sambuchino & I participated on a panel at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (in Cincinnati) where we answered questions from aspiring writers on how to get published. Due to the kind efforts of Emily Schneider, I can now share with you the recording of that Q&A session. Click here to listen (you’ll...

The Power of Mentors, Community, and Relationships

Last night, Chris Guillebeau paid a visit to Cincinnati, as part of his Unconventional Book Tour. (I had the honor of helping arrange some of the logistics of his stop.) If you’re not familiar with Chris, here are 2 good places to start: His popular (free) manifesto, 279 Days to Overnight Success Chris’s recent...

Are Bloggers the New Gatekeepers in Publishing?

Today’s Q&A is with Michelle Black, who is the author of six novels set in the Victorian West. Aside from writing, she has been known to practice law, own a bookstore, publish a Cheyenne language course, and snowboard. She and her husband divide their time between a home near Boulder, Colorado, and a horse...

Basic Writing Principles Across All Media

Last week, I mentioned that I was prepping for a class on timeless writing principles for my students who are majoring in e-media. Today during class, I opened up the question to my knowledge network on Twitter, and received some excellent feedback. [I’ve bolded the ones that I had in my actual presentation before...

Back to Basics: Why Am I Getting Rejected?

Rejection is often the No. 1 area of pain, concern, and obsession for writers. More often than not, writers want to know WHY they’ve been rejected. Here’s the standard advice I most frequently offer. Why are editors rejecting my work when family and friends love it so much?Your family and friends love you and...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 9/24/10)

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 for upcoming Writer’s Digest online classes:...

Stop! Before You Post Your Work Online, Read This

Today I’m a guest over at Writer Unboxed: Giving Stuff Away Is Not a Strategy I discuss how and when you might want to give your work away for free, and how strategies differ between published and unpublished writers—as well as between fiction and nonfiction writers. Go check it out!

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Successful Queries: Agent Janet Reid and “Numb”

This series is called "Successful Queries" and I'm posting actual query letters that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting the actual query letter, we will also get to hear thoughts from the agent as to why the letter worked. The 43rd installment in this series is with agent Janet...

Timeless & Core Writing Knowledge: 3 Strengths for Success

As I prepare curriculum for my writing class (for e-media majors), I’ve been thinking about the core strengths that every writer needs no matter what medium they’re working in. I came up with the following. Storytelling prowess [plot & structure]. There’s a reason that knowledge of plot and structure, from Aristotle’s Poetics, is regurgitated...

7 Free-to-Enter National Writing Competitions That Impact Your Career

Writing contests have always been extremely popular (at least as long as I’ve been around the writing community), but entry fees can really add up if you’re frequently or widely entering competitions. But there ARE a handful of national writing competitions—totally free to enter—that can make a huge impact on your writing career. Here...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 9/17/10)

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 for upcoming Writer’s Digest online classes:...

Should You Hire Someone to Design Your Website?

In publishing, we often say how critical it is to hire a professional editor if you plan to self-publish. Or we say how valuable a professional publicist or PR person can be. As someone who isn’t trained as a designer (but who has worked with many designers over the years, and knows the benefit...