guide to literary agents 2016Chuck Sambuchino and the Writers Digest team have chosen the three winners of the Worst Storyline Ever Contest 2.0.

Here are the winners, and their winning Worst Storylines. Drum roll please…


Linda Hofke

After his wife leaves him, an old, bald, former 80s rock star goes on a quest to reunite with his first love— his hair–but is he brave enough to endure a hair transplant or must he settle for a cheap wig in order to sport those big, long locks once again?

Jennifer Ruth Jackson

Karl wants nothing more than to watch the kitchen linoleum curl all summer long but, when his wife insists on doing a time-lapse project of the event, Karl’s “me time” becomes a forced “we time” he soon resents.

Lyndsay Johnson

When a family intervention forces hemophobic vampire Bartholomew into a job at a blood bank to face his fears, he is soon enlisted by coworker, Estella, to drain the vault and make a run for it—awakening Bart to a whole new world of adventure and black market blood lust, with a girl he discovers is just his type.

Congrats to the winners!



The Introvert’s Guide to Conferences

woman hiding behind book

Okay, so you notice there’s no shortage of advice out there about how to make the most of a conference. But what about those of us who are introverts? It can be even more difficult for us to navigate these social situations. Oh, how we envy our extrovert friends! Are there any special tips for […]

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The Worst Storyline Ever Contest 2.0

guide to literary agents 2016

Guest Blogger: Chuck Sambuchino, editor and writer for Writer’s Digest, and host of the Guide To Literary Agents blog.   Here’s Chuck:   September 2015 sees the release of three of my new books, the 2016 Guide to Literary Agents, the 2016 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market, and the anti-clown humor book When Clowns Attack: A […]

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5 Things To Do Before Hiring a Freelance Editor

Self Editing For Fiction Writers

More writers are hiring editors these days, whether they’re going indie or just making sure the manuscript is polished before submitting to agents and publishers. If you’re a newer writer, unpublished, here are some things I think you should do before spending your hard-earned money on a freelance editor. (1) Get objective feedback. It’s best to have […]

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And to Whom Should I Reply?

I can never understand why so many writers have websites and/or blogs, but do not have their email address or a “contact me” link easily visible. It’s a frequent source of frustration for me. Why would you bother putting yourself out there without giving people a way to contact you?There are two circumstances in which I come […]

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Create a Compelling Book Title

I’ve been coaching several of my clients through the process of coming up with a good title for their book, so I thought I’d share my tips with you. Let’s start by acknowledging a few things. The publisher is usually responsible for the final decision on title, and in the query stage, it’s not that […]

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How to Write an Author Bio They’ll Remember

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how difficult it can be to write about yourself in a bio—after all, you’re a writer! But I understand it’s not as simple as that, so here are a few tips to make it easier. Write your bio in first person for query letters, third person for most other purposes including proposals, book jackets, […]

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What the Heck is Content Marketing?

Paper and pencil

I’m always talking with authors about marketing their books and growing their platforms. It’s a challenge for most writers, who are constantly trying to figure out the formula for gathering more fans (i.e. potential book-buyers).   While writers typically don’t love the idea of marketing their books, ironically they’re more suited to it than many other […]

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Your Elevator Pitch


You are standing in an elevator and have two minutes to tell someone about your book. Today we’re going to talk about crafting that one-sentence summary, also known as a logline, a hook, or a one-sentence (elevator) pitch. This is not your book’s tagline! What: About 25 words that capture your novel, memoir, or non-fiction book. Why: To get someone interested […]

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Thick Skin: The Key to a Writer’s Survival

How many times have you heard the new-writer’s advice: Develop a thick skin. You’d think this would be even more of a requirement for an agent. It’s good advice for anyone who’s visible on the Internet, frequently giving their opinion on things. So all in all, you probably think I’d be a person with a thick […]

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OMG! What if B&N Closes?

Man freaking out

“The report of my death was an exaggeration.” So said Mark Twain in 1897, and I’m wondering if Barnes & Noble might be saying the same thing right about now.   Over the last week, an article by Michael Levin has been making the rounds, causing fear and trembling among certain groups of authors and […]

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Nobody Writes Good First Drafts

Crumpled paper

I spend a lot of time working with my clients to edit and revise their proposals and manuscripts. I give notes and suggestions for improvements. Sometimes I take them through draft after draft, until everything seems just right.   I know it’s tiring for them, and sometimes frustrating to be pushed to go over it […]

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Books Covers and My Experience with 99 Designs

How Do I Decide

Whether you’re self-publishing or working with a publisher, creating an effective book cover is extremely important. I’ve worked with publishers on hundreds of covers, and now I have the experience of working with designers on the cover of my own first e-book. From my perspective, the single most important thing to understand about book covers […]

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Trust Me, You Need a Good Editor

red pen spilling ink

I just finished reading a self-published book on a topic I’m passionate about, by an author whose blog I occasionally read. As I’ve mentioned before, I regularly read self-pubbed books, and the fact that I work in traditional publishing doesn’t mean I’m biased against them.   It does, however, mean I’m aware of the ways […]

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