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 Necessity of Failure Plus How "Accidents" Happen

Photo credit: Mindful OneWhile reading Kevin Kelly’s blog (which focuses on technology + the future), I came across this wonderful quote for writers. Lucky accidents seldom happen to writers who don’t work. You will find that you may rewrite and rewrite a poem and it never seems quite right. Then a much better poem...

4 Steps to Useful Critiques: The Lerman Method

Photo credit: Deirdre Saoirse Moen Today’s guest post is by Wolf Pascoe. Wolf is a playwright, poet, and physician. Visit his blog, Just Add Father. — What do we really have to offer one another as writers? Every so often, I read a blog post about how to listen to criticism. Recently there was...

5 Excellent Tips for Platform Building

This past weekend, I had the honor of keynoting the Writers' League of Texas Agents Conference in Austin. During that weekend, I also had the opportunity to hear some wonderful advice from other publishing experts. Here's some excellent online marketing advice I heard. All are direct quotes unless in brackets.

Editing a Life

Today’s guest post is by Darrelyn Saloom, a monthly regular here at NO RULES. You can read more of her guest posts here, or follow her on Twitter. — An odd thing happened to me when I finished collaborating on a memoir. I spent four years and two days (obsessively at times) writing, revising,...

Free E-Book on Building Readership by Cory Doctorow

Portrait by Jonathan Worth My most popular post (so far) this year, 5 Free E-Books Every Writer Needs, could’ve benefited from one more addition: The Problem Isn’t Piracy, The Problem Is Obscurity by Cory Doctorow This e-book gathers some of Doctorow’s best essays and rants on why authors should give their work away, stop...

The Persistent and Damaging Myth About Introverts and Marketing

Cartoon from Toothpaste for Dinner I’m getting frustrated with people who say they’re bad at marketing & promotion because they’re introverts. Maybe this argument was more valid before new technologies came along—when marketing and promotion involved more “getting out there,” networking at events and stores, or making phone calls. (God knows I hate phone...

4 Ways to Make the Most of a Critique Group

Today’s guest post is from writer Susan Cushman, a monthly regular here at NO RULES. Read her personal blog, learn about the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop, and follow her on Facebook or Twitter. Cartoon used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com. — “It is the mark of an educated mind to...

Don't Treat Conflict As Monolithic

In the most recent edition of the Glimmer Train bulletin, I loved this article by Cary Groner on conflict. Here’s a small snippet: I’ve been surprised, when reading books about fiction writing, that such short shrift is often given to the decisions writers make about conflict and its levels. We hear a lot about...

When Is Lying in Memoir Acceptable? 3 Key Issues

Today’s guest post is from Tracy Seeley, author of My Ruby Slippers. Visit her site, or find out more about her book. — They crop up like weeds in the literary garden, those memoirs that lie. James Frey invented some details of his life and wildly exaggerated others. Greg Mortenson and his co-writer turned...

Best Tweets + Upcoming Events

Best Tweets is going on an early summer break due to upcoming conference travel and holiday travel—plus I’m wrapping up the academic year at University of Cincinnati. Look for its return in mid-July. Here are some excellent upcoming events where I’m teaching: 6 Key Components of an Online Author Platform (online class this Thursday,...

Do You Have a Marketing Support Network?

This month at Writer Unboxed, I discuss one of the invisible aspects of your platform that directly impacts your success: Your relationships. Click here to read “A Critical Marketing Secret: Don’t Go It Alone.” I can confirm, after launching my e-book last month (The Future of Publishing), that I couldn’t have spread the word...

5 Free E-Books Every Writer Needs

The following resources have been mentioned on this blog, in various forms, since 2008. Now I’m rounding them up in 1 place. [Some links corrected/added on 5/31/11.] 1. 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer. A fabulous resource from an experienced novelist. It comes in two parts because the file is so...

6 Key Components of an Online Author Platform

Next week, on June 2, I’ll be teaching a live, online class on building your author platform. To help make “platform” more understandable and approachable as a topic, I’ve boiled it down into 6 key components. Here they are, briefly. VISIBLE Your website (your hub, or Grand Central Station) Your social media activity or...

2 Tricks to Keep Your Online Reading Manageable

As you can imagine, I do a LOT of online reading, across hundreds of sites and blogs. To manage it all, I do 2 things: I use Google Reader, which is an RSS reader. See here to learn how and why to use it, for free. I use the PostRank extension for Google Reader....

3 Publishing Trends Writers Must Stay On Top Of

This week marks the publishing industry’s largest trade show, BookExpo America. This is the first year since 2004 that I’m not attending, but in honor of that show, I’m offering up 3 key industry trends you should stay on top of. (Above: My cat Zelda implores you to stay informed.) 1. Agents Becoming PublishersThis...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 5/20/11)

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 How to earn your info dump@elizabethscraig 7 Pre-Launch Tips for A Successful Kickstarter Campaign @nathanielhansen Best post on Facebook marketing I’ve read in a...

There Are Some People Who Don't Wait

I shared the following on my Facebook page, but it’s too good not to post here as well. Robert Krulwich (who hosts Radiolab—a phenomenal radio show & podcast if you’re not familiar) delivered an inspiring commencement address to graduates of the Berkeley School of Journalism. The full text his talk is now available online....

Get Your First 1,000 Words Critiqued By Agent

Among the most popular events at writing conferences today are “Why I Stopped Reading” panels, in which brave attendees offer up the opening pages of their manuscripts to participating literary agents, who then read them aloud and explain when and why they would likely lose interest (or, with any luck, not!). The agents follow...

5 Things The Great Books Taught Me About Writing

Today’s guest post is by Robert Bruce, a full-time writer and a book blogger at 101 Books, where he is currently blogging through Time Magazine’s 100 All-Time Novels. Follow him on Twitter.  — Last summer, I started a personal quest to read through Time Magazine’s “All-Time” Top 100 books (plus Ulysses), blogging about the...

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 &...