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.


Building an Enthusiastic Fan Base as a Self-Published Author

Today’s Q&A is with novelist and 20-year Silicon Valley wage slave John Sundman. I first met John when his novel, Acts of the Apostles, won 1st place in the genre fiction category of the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. We’ve stayed in touch ever since, and he recently interviewed me over at WetMachine. Below...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 9/3/10)

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

The Evolving Role of Literary Agents

Today I’m a guest interviewee over at Jungle Red Writers, on the evolving role of agents. The incredible Hallie Ephron interviews me. Here’s a snippet: Hallie: Is the agent’s traditional role as link between author and publisher going the way of the dodo? Jane: I’d rather say that the agent’s limited role as link...

The Digital Age Has Only Helped Storytellers

Today’s Q&A is with author Eric Rickstad, a novelist and screenwriter living in Vermont. His unnerving novels, stories, and scripts strip back the bucolic veneer of rural America and root around in its tragic and blackly comic underbelly. Big thanks to Darrelyn Saloom for bringing my attention to Eric and his work.— Your first...

Self-Published Authors Should Band Together

Today’s Q&A is with longtime author and publisher Eric Hammel, who started his own publishing company in the 1980s alongside his traditional author career. Given his 30+ years of experience as an author, marketer, and self-publisher, I find his in-depth perspective on the industry invaluable for anyone considering DIY options, or contemplating the future...

Your Self-Help Book Should Not Be a Thinly Disguised Memoir

If you’re writing a memoir, and it’s your very first attempt at writing (or writing seriously for publication), odds are good that you won’t yet be skillful enough to pass muster with an agent or editor. (See this YouTube lesson from master storyteller Ira Glass on why.) Many people are sparked to write a...

Make the Most of Your Memory: 10 Tips for Writing About Your Life

Today’s guest post is by Stacey Dubois, a graduate student at Tufts University, as well as an aspiring children’s/YA novelist. For more on the psychology of the creative process, visit her blog.— In the courtroom, witnesses pledge to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” An admirable goal, but a...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 8/27/10)

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:...

Don't Annoy People on Facebook

I have a wide range of friends of Facebook—including many writers who are using the site to market their work. While this isn’t wrong in and of itself, some approach the site as their personal direct marketing tool, and do more damage than good. That’s why I wrote this lengthy post at Writer Unboxed:...

Writers & Publishers Need to Act More Like the Art World

Today’s Q&A is with Dan Holloway, who I first met on Twitter as agnieszkasshoes. Dan is a founder-member of Year Zero Writers, and curator of eight cuts gallery and eight cuts gallery press. I was very intrigued by the new publishing operation he’s launched, eight cuts gallery press, and asked him some questions about...

Q&A: My Thoughts on Book Publishing Today

Many writers ask me about changes in the publishing industry, how to make sense of the transformation, and what it really means for them. I try to tackle that, in part, in this Q&A with WetMachine, where the insightful John Sundman poses a variety of questions about trends, e-books and e-publishing, self-publishing, author promotion,...

You Can Learn As Much From Writing Friends as Writing Experts

Today’s guest post is by writer David B. Schlosser, who attended the 5th annual Killer Nashville literary conference. My thanks to him for summarizing for us the best information he heard. Follow David on Twitter.— We’re all in this together. By “we,” I mean people dedicated to stories and the words authors use to...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 8/20/10)

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:...

The Power of an E-mail Network (10 Years in the Making)

My Q&A with Hyla Molander—on her success finding readers with Scribd—sparked many people to contact me about their success too in using the site. However, even before Hyla, I had met Ransom Stephens, who is further along in his journey. His novel, The God Patent, was recently released in print from Vox Novus, after...

4 Ways to Improve Narrative Drive in Your Story

Today’s guest post comes to you from historical novelist Sara Sheridan, who appeared twice this week at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and is about to join the Society of Authors Committee for Scotland. Here she posts from Edinburgh, summarizing her masterclass on Narrative Drive, part of the innovative Nuts and Bolts series for...

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Monotetra

For this Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge, I’m asking poets to write a monotetra or three. Please don’t stress out about the meter so much, because I won’t. But the rhymes and refrains, yes, please follow the rules. If you’re not sure, click here to learn more about the monotetra. Many have already said...

How to Ensure 75% of Agents Will Request Your Material

While attending the Midwest Writers Workshop, I posted a summary of a talk given by Marcus Sakey and John Gilstrap. Sakey advised that query letters, if any good, would result in a 75% “send me something” response. I had no idea what a bomb I was throwing by tweeting and blogging that principle. Thus,...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 8/13/10)

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:...

From Self-Published Author to 3-Book Deal: The Story of Kiera Cass

Today’s Q&A is with YA novelist Kiera Cass. I received an excellent tip from 4KidLit that Kiera had scored a 3-book deal with HarperTeen after self-publishing her first YA novel, The Siren, with iUniverse. Read on to find out more. — I love that your bio on your homepage says, “History is the storyteller’s major....

5 Ways to Use Book Trailers to Drive Sales

Book trailers are one form of marketing that I’ve heard very few success stories about. So I asked Darcy Pattison, author of The Book Trailer Manual, to share tips on how book trailers can be used as part of an effective book marketing and promotion campaign. If the idea of book trailers is new...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 8/6/10)

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:...