What’s Your Publishi...

Last year I had the privilege of providing the keynote address for Publish Now!, a self-publishing conference put on by The Writer’s Center, just outside of Washington D.C. The annual event is designed to give attendees the latest information they need to effectively self-publish and promote...

They’re our readers…...

by Phil Sexton Publisher, Writer’s Digest We often talk about where to find readers and how to build an audience for our work. It’s all part of developing a platform, right? Write consistent blog posts. Send out an email newsletter. Develop a Twitter following. Write the best book you...

5 Tips for Networkin...

by Phil Sexton Publisher, Writer’s Digest Twice a year, every year, Writer’s Digest hosts two large writing conferences, one in New York City, the other in Los Angeles.  The Los Angeles conference will take place Friday through Sunday, 9/27 – 9/29. This year we’re launching the...

The Making of a Best...

In Brian Hill and Dee Power’s book, The Making of a Bestseller, they interview dozens of authors, publishers, editors, and publicists to try and determine what actions help turn a book into a bestseller. It’s an older book written in 2005, prior to the modern age of self-publishing. Most...

Writing Real

One of the cardinal rules of writing is to “write what you know.” A simple enough suggestion, but seemingly so limited it’s all but useless. How can you only write about what you know? Can you write crime fiction without being a criminal or a cop? Can you write a legal thriller without being a lawyer? Stephen King, in his classic work On Writing, clarifies a bit: “When you step away from the ‘write what you know’ rule, research becomes inevitable, and it can add a lot to your story. Just don’t end up with the tail wagging the dog; remember that you are writing a novel, not a research paper. The story always comes...

Our Most Effective Writing Habits

The editors on the Writer’s Digest staff are often asked what their favorite habits are for overcoming writer’s block and finding inspiration. Following are the ones they’ve found to be the most effective: “When I have trouble focusing, I listen to white noise — like the whir of a fan. It helps me calm myself and step away from “busy work,” be that cleaning the house or talking on Twitter. White noise settles me, and I can get more good writing done when I’m settled.” Chuck Sambuchino, Editor   Tweet This   “When I’m stuck, I always read over what I wrote the day before. It jogs my memory...

Get into the Zone an...

Sometimes the hardest thing about writing is the act of sitting down and getting the work done. Many writers have rituals that they use to get in the right frame of mind to produce material. Mine – which I admit is odd – is to eat a giant bowl of cereal, then put the bowl down next to my...

It Feels Like the Ground Is Shaking — But Maybe Th...

Two weekends ago, I was fortunate enough to get to host the annual Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City. It’s a somewhat progressive conference as these things go, with a great deal of time spent learning about the business of publishing and the great changes impacting writers, agents and publishers alike. What’s fascinating about all of this is that there wasn’t a sense of fear or anxiety, but rather one of excitement, opportunity and engagement. In general, the level of positive energy was off the charts. I was happy to see this given that this same weekend, Scott Turow, President of The Authors Guild, Inc., published...

The Value of Writing Conferences

On April 5-7, Writer’s Digest will be hosting a large writing conference in New York City. What’s new this year is that even though much of the conference covers topics of interest to self-published authors, such as creating a career out of e-books or learning how to build a brand for your work, we’re launching the event with a full day of programming devoted exclusively to self-published authors. It’s an exciting time when self-published authors can have a conference all to themselves. So why attend a conference? (And by that I mean any conference, not just ours.) Conferences provide you with the kind of classroom session...

The 12 Fundamental Principles of Platform, Part 2 Mar27

The 12 Fundamental Principles of Platform, Part 2

Back on March 6th, I wrote a post about Create Your Writer Platform, a new book by Chuck Sambuchino. In it, we looked at the first six of 12 principles detailing how to create an effective platform, which is becoming increasingly important to the self-published author. In today’s post, we’re going to look at those last six principles: 7. Start small, start early — and hope for tipping points. With this suggestion, Sambuchino is making it clear that you shouldn’t wait to have a published book in order to start working on your platform. Certainly it’s a bit easier if you already have one, but if you wait until then, you’ve delayed...

12 Fundamental Principles of Platform, Part 1 Mar06

12 Fundamental Princ...

Whether you’ve chosen to self-publish or publish traditionally, you’ll still be challenged to sell your book. Getting it listed on Amazon or BN.com only puts your work where readers can find it. It’s your job to make them want to look for it in the first place, then buy it. How do you...

Celebrate Your Love ...

It’s February 14th, and what better way to honor the day than to share what we love about writing? Following are a few quotes from the Writer’s Digest staff. If there’s something in particular that you love about writing, let us know in the comments section below!   I love how writing...

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

  Late last year, Writer’s Digest published a book by author and instructor Fred White entitled Where Do You Get Your Ideas?  The book’s premise is that finding ideas isn’t so hard, but finding good ideas and turning them into stories that are worthy of spending six months, a year, or even longer on takes some careful thought. White shows readers where to look for ideas, how to separate the good from the bad, and how to develop the former into something great. For me, I’ve always found that with my best ideas, I feel as if there’s a purpose to the writing — that I’m always moving towards a predetermined...

The Future of Books Is Digital, On-Demand and Indi...

Earlier this month, I had the good fortune to attend Digital Book World 2013. DBW is the premiere educational event for publishers, editors, agents, production managers and high-level publishing execs. Attendees spend three days learning how to make the industry stronger by embracing new technologies and publishing strategies, learning about new publishing options (and what authors think about them), and thinking ahead to anticipate changing reader habits. It would be well worth your time to visit the DBW website and sign up for their daily newsletter.  Though the conference itself is geared more toward the publishing industry, the daily...

Writing Your Future

There are two schools of thought when it comes to destiny. The first states that all is preordained and that all things happen according to a plan that cannot be changed or avoided. The other believes that fate does not exist and that our lives progress, for the most part, as directed by our...

Holiday Writing Fun

We’re less than a week away from Christmas so I thought it might be nice if you gave yourself a little break over the holidays. Instead of sticking to your tried-and-true writing routine, try your hand at one (or more) of the fun exercises below. Maybe they’ll inspire a short story —...

Top 5 Quotes on the ...

As the publisher of Writer’s Digest, I’ve had the honor of speaking with hundreds of exceptional authors about writing and publishing. And I’ve been lucky enough to publish some of them. This is particularly gratifying because I love books on the craft and business of writing. In fact,...

Have you found your voice?

In his book, Write Like the Masters, William Cane analyzes the writing talents of more than twenty well-known and highly respected authors — everyone from J.D. Salinger and Ray Bradbury to Tom Wolfe and Stephen King. The point in doing so is not to teach readers how to ape the style of any one particular author, but rather, to learn what each one does particularly well, and achieve that same level of excellence in their own work. The temptation upon reading the book, however, is to focus on mimicking a particular author’s voice, rather than the skills he or she exhibits. Each of the authors in the collection has a particularly unique...

What Is Your Value? Oct05

What Is Your Value?

Over the past year or so, I’ve had the good fortune of working closely with Rob Eagar, a professional book marketer and the author of Sell Your Book Like Wildfire. I recommend the book to every writer I meet. It’s densely packed with all sorts of great advice for authors to help them...

Write That Novel You...

Let me guess. You’ve got a lot of ideas, any of which would make a fantastic novel – if only you had the time to write them down. I know what it’s like. I’ve been there. Let’s face it, writing can be hard. It can be intimidating. It takes a lot of time. And then after all of that...