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.


My Best Posts From 2010

Here’s the very best advice I offered here at NO RULES in 2010. This can serve as a handy guide, or share this link with writers who might be new to NO RULES. (What a good Christmas gift, right?) Above: my cat Zelda. She approves of this list. Plus I don’t think I posted...

A lot happening at Poetic Asides

There’s a lot going on at the Poetic Asides blog as far as challenges at the moment (which I’ll dig into below), but I wanted to let everyone here know about my recent decision to self-publish a chapbook of poetry that will include 21 poems, many of which have been previously published in publications...

10 Best Tweets of 2010

In my estimation, here are the best and most helpful tweets (or posts) for writers that I collected in 2010. Craft & Technique Overwriters Anonymous: for fiction writers, how to avoid dreadful prose that gets you rejected[from Editorial Ass, a traditional book publishing editor] Urgency vs action in your writing [from published author Teresa...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 12/17/10)

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. Best of the Best Self-Promotion With Integrity@jafurtado 10...

8 Easy Things To Do BEFORE You Start Your Novel

1. Buy a timer and place it next to you as you write. This will help you keep track of how long you’ve been working—and how much time you have to go. 2. Place a “Do Not Disturb” note on your office door when you’re writing, if you don’t live alone.      ...

A Feast of Days (Part 2): Agents

Today’s guest post is by emerging writer Darrelyn Saloom, who recently attended the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference, and is offering up a 4-part narrative on the experience. Darrelyn is a regular guest here at No Rules. Follow her on Twitter or read her previous posts. Pictured above: Plaque on the wall of the...

Agents & Editors: Take This Quick Survey

Cartoon from Toothpaste for Dinner I’m conducting a bit of formal research for a future blog post. I have a question from a writer that goes something like this: I’d like to know what happened in 2009-2010 in the publishing world. I’ve heard some amazing things (30% of employees laid off, advances down 50%,...

How Valuable Is Second Guessing?

I’ve been holding onto the following quote for a long time, wondering at how true it is, or isn’t. when you feel insecure about something you are doing … that vulnerability means that you are doing the right thing and when you watch that … the part when you started second-guessing … that is...

Screen shot 2011-09-20 at 3.28.35 PM

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Catherine Gildiner

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 Catherine Gildiner. Catherine Gildiner has written two memoirs. Her latest,...

An Agency Offers Paid Services—With Strings Attached

I’ve written frequently on agents and innovation of their model, twice for Writer’s Digest, and twice for Digital Book World: The Evolution of the Literary Agent (Writer’s Digest, August 2010) Agents Need to Develop Alternative Models (DBW, June 2010) The Changing Agent-Author Relationship (DBW, February 2010) The Future Role of Agents (Writer’s Digest, September...

When (or Why) Social Media Fails to Sell Books

There are countless articles/posts out there, by professionals as well as established authors, that claim social media has had no (or marginal) impact on their sales or success. Such posts then get trumpeted by writers everywhere who feel like online marketing and promotion responsibilities have been shoved down their throats (and look for every...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 12/10/10)

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. Best of the Best The secret ingredient to...

There's No Rule That Says You Get Steadily Better

A guy who once thought he’d be a poet (then realized years later how bad his work was) decided to make a documentary about bad writing. He interviews more than a dozen established writers, including people like Margaret Atwood, Steve Almond, David Sedaris, and Lee Gutkind. (The title of this post is a direct...

Give Your Writing the Gift of Structure & Discipline

I loved school growing up. I didn’t know it then, but I thrived on the structure and discipline of study. I always felt more productive when in school. (Work later served the same purpose—feelings of creativity and productivity.) But I have exactly the opposite inclinations in my personal life. No structure, no restrictions, no...

The Ultimate Guide to Novel Queries

To give everyone an easy page to reference (or share) on writing novel queries, here are links to every installment of my series. 5 Elements of a Novel Query + Examples of Personalization The 3 Elements of a Novel Hook Examples of Revised Novel Hooks Red Flags in Novel Hooks and Queries One-Sentence Hooks...

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#10)

This is my definitive No Rules series on novel queries. It’s meant particularly for writers who are new to the query process. (A series on nonfiction book queries will come later.) Go back to the beginning of the series. QUERY FAQs What if the agent reading your query can tell that you, the writer,...

Understanding ISBNs and What They Mean for Your Book

Q: What is an ISBN, and what’s its purpose? Can I apply for one without being a company/publisher? —Kathryn N. A: An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that identifies a book for purposes of commerce and supply chains (before 2007 it was a 10-digit number, in case you see it...

New In-Depth Interview With Me at Writer Unboxed

Last Friday, part 1 of an interview with me went live over at Writer Unboxed. Here’s a quick snippet: Overall, social media tools—and I use that term broadly, to include all types of person-to-person interaction online—have driven transparency and opportunities to communicate with and reach a very distinctive and unique audience. Who’s to say...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 12/3/10)

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. Best of the Best Should you post your...

A Feast of Days (Part 1)

Pictured above: Streets of Oxford Today’s guest post is by emerging writer Darrelyn Saloom, who recently attended the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference, and is offering up a 4-part narrative on the experience. Darrelyn is a regular guest here at No Rules. Follow her on Twitter or read her previous posts.— On a Wednesday...

What Would You Do If You Were Freed of Circumstance?

The latest Glimmer Train bulletin is now available. I love this piece featured from Lydia Fitzpatrick, “Characters, Unfettered,” where an interview with Brad Watson leads to deep insight. Here’s a brief excerpt: The central idea for the [Brad’s] novella had evolved … in order to study “where the human imagination takes a human life...

3 Lessons From a Career in Publishing

Over the holiday, I wrote a guest post for Writer Unboxed about a few things I learned after 12 years in publishing. Go read: 3 Lessons in Publishing I’m Thankful for (That Writers Should Know About) There are many more lessons I could discuss, of course, but these are good pointers to start with!

Best Tweets for Writers (on break)

Best Tweets rests this week. Please come back next week! — Stay busy in the meantime: Want to know about the best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Follow me on Twitter (@JaneFriedman) List of Tweeps most often included in weekly Best Tweets for Writers (always under...

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#9)

This is my definitive No Rules series on novel queries. It’s meant particularly for writers who are new to the query process. (A series on nonfiction book queries will come later.) Go back to the beginning of the series. FULL QUERIES Here is where we put it all together—so you can see how the...

Ultimate Blog Series on Novel Queries (#8)

This is my definitive No Rules series on novel queries. It’s meant particularly for writers who are new to the query process. (A series on nonfiction book queries will come later.) Go back to the beginning of the series. QUERY LETTER RED FLAGSHere is an overall list of red flags to look for in...