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.


Make Sure You Don't Have a Horrible Personality

I’m a huge fan of the Ira Glass talks on storytelling. You can find the first one here; you could also follow me on YouTube and find them all stockpiled in my “favorite videos” list. In the video I’ve embedded above, Ira Glass talks about one of the biggest problems with submissions he receives...

What Can Set You Apart: Your Ability to Focus

In an excellent interview by Dan Blank, Christina Katz talks about practices and skills of successful writers. Here’s a brief (edited) transcription of the opening message of the conversation. There’s a lot of confusion out there for writers. Writers are being overwhelmed with messages telling them you gotta do this–no wait, you gotta do...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 10/22/10)

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:...

Online Marketing Works If You Have the Long View

These days, it seems like everyone has become a big skeptic of social networking’s effectiveness—or even believes that cultivating a site or blog can harm or stall a writer’s career. In the following post, I explain why I think authors aren’t getting the results they want (or why they fail in their efforts): The...

5 Things Every Writer Should Know About Rights

Most writers I know fall into 1 of 2 camps: people who are (overly) concerned that someone will steal their work, and innocents who don’t take time to learn what rights they ought to be protecting. So I’d like to outline the 5 things every writer should know about their rights (and, by extension,...

Kindle Singles: A Big Opportunity for Smart Writers

Just last week, Amazon announced the launch of Kindle Singles, a new imprint specializing in short nonfiction works of 10,000–30,000 words—which, if you didn’t know, isn’t considered a marketable length for any traditional print publisher. I see this launch and immediately wonder: Why didn’t an innovative publisher announce an imprint like this to take...

Make Your NaNoWriMo Experience Count (4 Excellent Posts)

I’ll be upfront. I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo (and have no desire to), but I’ve observed many writers go through the process. I know it can help writers put aside perfectionism, procrastination, and inhibitions about writing. That is: It motivates a lot of people to SIT and WRITE. One might tend to think: Well,...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 10/15/10)

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:...

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...