Zachary Petit (better known offline as Zac Petit) is a journalist / magazine editor / photo dabbler / lover of all things writerly, design-ish and nerd-like. He hopes to one day have the time to consistently update his website.

Winter 2019

Essays galore! Last year I joined forces with my former PRINT magazine compatriot Debbie Millman to work on Design Matters Media LLC. Stay tuned for some big plans that are in the works. In the meantime, every week I write a piece to accompany the latest episode of the Design Matters With Debbie Millman podcast. From Simon Doonan and Shirley Manson to Steven Heller, Sarah Kay, David Cay Johnston, Pete Souza, Amy Sherald, Patricia Cronin and many, many brilliant others, read all about ’em here.

I’ve also been elated to launch a monthly series for AIGA Eye on Design that sits right at the intersection of the aforementioned obsession with the writerly, design-ish and nerd-like. Herein, find the stories behind some of the best contemporary book covers being produced (or not produced) today, from the likes of John Gall, Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein, Helen Yentus, and many more. Swoon.

Get ’em while they're hot! (Did I mention they're perpetually hot?) Treat Ideas Like Cats: And Other Creative Quotes to Inspire Creative People and The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work & Thrive On Your Own Terms can be found at a bookstore or Amazon near you. [older stuff]

Spring 2018

I'm beyond thrilled to be working with my old PRINT magazine compatriot Debbie Millman in a new capacity—as editor-in-chief of Design Matters Media LLC. We have some amazing things in the works. Until then, check out each new episode of the Design Matters With Debbie Millman podcast for a weekly essay about our featured interview subject, from Steven Pinker to Kaki King to David Cay Johnston. To support what we're building, click here

Passion project alert! There's no place like The Mercantile Library in Cincinnati—a literary center that has hosted the likes of Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Salman Rushdie, and virtually every other legendary writer over the years. Discover its amazing past, present and future in this CityBeat cover story


"Natural Causes," my profile of taxidermist Jeremy Johnson for Cincinnati Magazine, won first place in the magazine writing category of the Society of Professional Journalists' awards. Thanks, SPJ, for reaffirming my pursuit of the weird!

The Spring 2017 issue of PRINT magazine, "Hollywood: San Francisco," won first place in the Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards' Media/Entertainment/Design category. We're honored and stoked. 

FALL 2016

Announcing a new book: Treat Ideas Like Cats: And Other Creative Quotes to Inspire Creative People. The book is more about ideas and less about cats (though there are cats in it, promise). Due out in November from Adams Books, preorder a copy now for an illustrated dose of inspiration from the likes of Milton Glaser, Stephen King, Tibor Kalman, Chuck Palahniuk, Debbie Millman, Neil Gaiman, and many, many others. Meow.

The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work & Thrive On Your Own Terms (as seen/heard on the The great Grammar Girl's podcast) is still out! Snag a copy and embark on a literary path that is uniquely yours. (And if you want something really special, pick up a signed edition here.) 

Check out the latest issue of Cincinnati Magazine and National Geographic Kids for features on the brilliant taxidermist Jeremy Johnson, and an array of cursed objects, respectively. No animals or Hope Diamonds were harmed in the creation of these pieces.


Update: For attendees of The Writer's Digest conference, here is the query slide. Thanks for listening to us ramble!

Heyo! New book: Treat Ideas Like Cats. Check it out here! Meow.

The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work & Thrive On Your Own Terms (as seen/heard on the The great Grammar Girl's podcast) is out! Snag a copy and embark on a literary path that is uniquely yours. (And if you want something really special, pick up a signed edition here.) [older news]

Spring 2016

The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work & Thrive On Your Own Terms (Writer's Digest Books) is out! Snag a copy and embark on a literary path that is uniquely yours. (And if you want something really special, pick up a signed edition here.)

The great Grammar Girl has featured The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing!

The Writer's Digest Conference takes place Aug. 12–14 in New York City. Jennifer Keishen Armstrong and I will be doing a (likely blunt! likely funny!) session on What Magazine Editors Won't Tell You, But We Will, and I'll also be hosting a panel on The Seven (or So) Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Stars featuring Oliver Jeffers, Jessica Sinsheimer, Dana Schwartz and Jordan Rosenfeld. (Let's have a cocktail there, too.)


The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work & Thrive On Your Own Terms (Writer's Digest Books) is out! Snag a copy and embark on a literary path that is uniquely yours. (And if you want something really special, pick up a signed edition here.)

The great Grammar Girl has featured The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing!

Print's Regional Design Annual—a collection of 350 of the best works of American graphic design in 2015—is out! 

A secret and exciting new book … is not out! But it has been delivered to the publisher. Stay tuned.


Fall 2015

Print magazine's latest issue—a celebration and exploration of all things text, from text messaging and what it's doing to our brains to the brilliant design of braille and the archaeology of numbers—hits newsstands in mid October. Print has also been shortlisted in the Best Consumer Magazine: Single Issue category by the Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards. Let the battle of the editorial teams begin!

The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work & Thrive On Your Own Terms is nearly out! Nov. 16!

Throughout October, I'll be an instructor at The Freelance Writer's Pitch Clinic, alongside freelance mavens Linda Formichelli and Carol Tice, and Peter Carbonara (deputy editor, Forbes), Sarah Smith (executive editor, Redbook) and Mark “Monkey” Watson (creative director, WONGDOODY). Learn how to keep your query out of the editorial fireplace!

Drop by NYU 4–5:30 p.m. Oct. 24 for "The Secrets of Being a Successful Writer" panel moderated by Susan Shapiro, featuring A. Zell Williams (Law & Order: SVU staff writer), Joseph Alexious (Gowanus), Elizabeth Shaw (editor-in-chief of Fun, Family), Paul Whitlatch (Simon & Schuster editor), Kenan Trebincevic (The Bosnia List), Renee Zuckerbrot (literary agent) and Zachary Petit (some dude). 



Print's New Visual Artists—the top 15 best new minds in design under 30—are here. And, of course, don't miss James Victore (aptly described as "Part Darth Vader, Part Yoda") riffing on design education in his stirring manifesto.

Also, drop by the Writer's Digest Conference in NYC, July 31–Aug. 2. I'll be talking about all things freelancing, and will likely be doing so at the bar after, as well. Come say hi! 


Spring 2015

Print magazine is 75! We celebrate the grand septuagenarian in our 75th anniversary issue here. And for a cavalcade of visual goodies: here.

Don't miss HOW Design Live in Chicago, May 4–8. And while you're there, drop by the Print75 exhibition to see a curated collection of the 75 posters designed for Print's anniversary from the likes of Milton Glaser, Louise Fili, Debbie Millman, Matteo Bologna and, well, 71 other brilliant minds—plus signings! And a high five.

Coming Fall 2015: The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing: How to Write, Work and Thrive On Your Own Terms. Be on guard for self-promotion barrages.

For the Cincinnatians: Goats pulling kegs of beer through the streets of Over-the-Rhine! People shooting seven-foot flames from their mouths inside enclosed historic buildings! Large-scale trespassing within said buildings! Outgoing Bockfest czar Mike Morgan reveals the full story of the gonzo beer festival in the March issue of Cincinnati Magazine.



Many things can, and should, disappear from the world. A pencil is not one of them.


Winter 2015

The 2014 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards have named Print magazine Best Consumer Magazine for our April 2014 issue. Long live Print.

Meet the amazing Spinosaurus in the February 2015 National Geographic Kids.


Summer 2014

The canary still sings: We've been hard at work in the magazine mines, pumping out several gorgeous issues of HOW and Print (HOW March, May and July; Print February, April and June), covering everything from international design to creativity to sex to innovation to the top 20 artists under 30, and featuring some amazing design and writing. Who said print was dead?

News! (Well, sort of): In between editing magazines and playing harrowing Words With Friends games with my curmudgeonly father, a rather thrilling national cover story is in the works, in addition to a new nonfiction book under contract for fall 2015. Stay tuned.


Winter 2014

T is for Thank You: Thanks to everyone involved in Brenda Novak's Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research—including the winner of our featured item, and Sue Grafton, who was amazing enough to send us the fantastic prize.

T is, again, for Thank You: After six years at Writer's Digest, I've joined the staff of HOW magazine and the National Magazine Award–winning Print magazine. A sincere thank you to everyone, both in-house and out, both interviewee and freelancer, who have made WD such a fantastic publication for writers. And, finally, a thank you to the great writers who made my last pieces for WD such a pleasure: Anne Rice and Christopher Rice, and Douglas Preston, Blake Crouch, Kathleen Gear and J.T. Ellison. Onward.


Summer 2013

Bid Early, Bid Often: I'm pumped to once again be representing Writer's Digest in author Brenda Novak's Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research. This year, we've decided to offer something new, exciting and wonderfully nerdy for Novak's publishing world extravaganza—instead of a critique, we're auctioning off a chance to win a pen from your favorite author.Check it out here.

New Magazine: The annual Writing Basics magazine has just returned to newsstands. Come for the craft advice. Stay for the lively, practical and often quite funny spins on the building blocks of the trade.

New Article: 30 Cool Things About the World, National Geographic Kids (May 2013). A hurricane in 2012 made the Mississippi River flow backward. The Sahara used to be covered with millions of trees. Fascination.

New Profile: Joe Hill (NOS4A2, Horns, Heart-Shaped Box, Locke & Key). Words cannot describe the fantastic Joe Hill. … Or, can they? In the July/August 2013 Writer's Digest, we try. 

Poo-tee-weet: I finally caved and joined Twitter. (I know, I know.) Join me in procrastination and distraction: @ZacharyPetit.


Fall/Winter 2012

Coming Up: Write Now! 2013, in Raleigh, North Carolina (April 20, 2013). I'll be providing the keynote at this conference exclusively for freelance writers, plus a workshop and a panel discussion. Come out for some excellent magazine advice from everyone at the event, plus a keynote involving its fair share of lively, oft-strange and (hopefully) funny tales from the freelance reporting trail.

Coming Up: The Writer's Digest Conference (April 5–7). There are also some exciting writerly things in store for the 2013 WDC, including keynotes by James Scott Bell and Adriana Trigiani, and two exciting freelance-based panels I'm helping to put together: How to Write for Major Magazines (featuring the brilliant Susan Shapiro, bestseller AJ Jacobs and others), and How to Be a Regular Contributor for a Magazine (featuring some great writers, plus the editor of WD and me). I'll provide more details as they become available.

Flowchart: Hot off the presses in the November/December 2012 issue of Writer's Digest.

Big Upcoming Magazine Features: Have been written. Stay tuned.


Spring/Summer 2012

Images: For a slew of delightful political dog photography, check out Red Dog/Blue Dog (Running Press) by Chuck Sambuchino. I photographed some fine pooches for this book. In a very journalistically sound, objective, non-partisan way, of course.

Publishing World Extravaganza: Check out Brenda Novak's Annual Auction for the Cure of Diabetes, which features items such as lunch with Janet Evanovich, a stay at Nora Roberts' Inn and a critique package from Writer's Digest and me (includes a webinar and a subscription to WD magazine). Bonus: You get to bid from the comfort of your home, sans wild, fast-talking, gavel-pounding auctioneers, all for an excellent cause.

Coming up: ThrillerFest 2012, July 11-14. The event features Jack Higgins, RL Stine, Lee Child, Ann Rule, Karin Slaughter, and many others. Not to mention some of the most fun cocktail parties in publishing. (Thriller writers know how to unwind. And, last year I randomly spotted Margaret Atwood and swooned.)


Winter 2011/2012

New article: We Are Actually Wax: Madame Tussauds, National Geographic Kids (February 2012). Eyeballs are hand-painted. Red silk thread is made to look like tiny veins. Hair is added one strand at a time. Meet the amazing world of Madame Tussaud.

New article: Artists Charley & Edie Harper: Love Bugs, A-Line Magazine (February 2012). A Valentines-Day look at the life and love of the brilliant Cincinnati modernist artists. Aww.

New article: Legoland, National Geographic Kids (December/January). I have never gotten over my love for Legos.

New article: Diana Gabaldon, Writer's Digest (January 2012). Supercharged genre-bending guru.

New project: If you like writing prompts, stay tuned for the release of a new e-book that Brian A. Klems and I wrote for Writer's Digest—A Year of Writing Prompts: 366 Story Ideas for Honing Your Craft and Eliminating Writer’s Block.

Call to writing arms: Don't forget about the Writer's Digest Conference. We have more than 60 agents signed on this year, alongside keynotes such as AJ Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically) and Chris Baty (NaNoWriMo).

Blog: The new Writer's Digest blog is here. The first post will be up 1/16. I'll be posting every Friday. First up for me: some delightfully odd and timeless finds from the Writer's Digest archives.


Fall 2011

New article: Haunted Vacations, National Geographic Kids (October). Do you have a kid? Are you a kid? Do you like ghosts? History? The bizarre antics of rifle heiress Sarah Winchester? Check out the excellent NGK.

New article: RL Stine, Writer's Digest (November/December). The coolest man on earth.

Coming up: The Writer's Digest Conferencein New York City. This year, Jan. 20-22, expect:Three educational tracks: The Business of Getting Published, Mastering the Craft of Writing, and How to Thrive in the Digital Future of Publishing; a pitch slam with more than 60 literary agents; 24 sessions; 30 speakers. Also, drop by the panel I'm moderating on fiction writing and say Hi. Also: Cocktail?


Summer 2011

Announcement: It looks like we've fallen victim to the classic scourge of all personal websites—long time, no update. Here are a couple of the latest goings-on—in a new-and-improved first-person landing-page voice. (I've dropped the illusion that I've got a mysterious Web wizard at work in the background. Or, perhaps given the lack of updates, a mysterious freeloader Web wizard using my neighbor's wireless, eating my snacks and napping on my couch.)

Coming up: ThrillerFest 2011. If you're going to be in New York July 6-9 for the event and want to talk about writing, Writer's Digest magazine, freelancing, book proposals, weird writing miscellanea or anything else in that vein, give me a shout, or drop by the panel Friday on the importance of media.

Coming up: Get Published! Writer's Workshop. If you live near Cincinnati and are interested in learning how to market and sell your fiction and nonfiction, the Erlanger branch of the Kenton County Public Library is having its writing conference Oct. 8. I'll be teaching a session on freelancing, and savvy former Writer's Digest publisher Jane Friedman will be teaching a session on creating an online platform. For more information, click here.

Confession: We're no longer updating the Promptly blog—thus rendering my nifty RSS feed at right a tad behind the times—because we have a new blog baby in the works. Click the Blog tab above for more info.


Winter 2010

Coming up: Join us in New York Jan. 21-23 for the Writer's Digest Conference. On tap this year: WD's signature agent pitch slam, featuring at least 57 agents representing a variety of genres and styles; sessions on the future of publishing, craft, platform, social media, freelancing and more; panels and Q&As with agents and other pros; our off-site poetry slam in SoHo. Click here to learn more.

Coming up: I'll be teaching a seminar entitled "The Good, The Bad and the Nightmare Freelance Query" at the Naples Writers' Conference April 9-10. Come check out some of the best and worst queries discovered in a storied slush pile and pick up tips and ideas from those queries to break free of the submissions inbox and sell pieces of your own. The conference features the Authors & Books Festival, an array of panels and sessions for fiction and nonfiction scribes, and more.


Summer 2010

Coming up: Curious about writing? Have a publishing question about whether you should submit or shred a vampire novel? Have a knowledge of obscurely specific things like "ms," "stet" and "on spec"? Indulge your writing nerd senses and check out a panel with the Writer's Digest editors at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati Sept. 20. Also, WD is putting on an Editors' Intensive Sept. 11-12 in Cincinnati. Expect manuscript critiques, panels and workshops. And, of course, being a publishing event, a happy hour.


Spring 2010

Listen: Alongside Guide to Literary Agents Editor Chuck Sambuchino, I'll be teaching a live webinar on selling freelance articles (to newspapers, magazines and websites) at 1 p.m. May 20. Check it out here.

Purchase me: I'm participating in writer Brenda Novak's Online Auction to Benefit Diabetes Research—a massive auction featuring oodles of publishing-related items and opportunities, from author promotion packages to getting your name in a John Lescroart novel to my 25-page WD manuscript critique. Check out the full auction here.

Coming up: In the great Midwest? I'll be teaching a seminar on freelancing for magazines April 17 at the Mad Anthony Writers Conference. Stop by and say hello.

Up and running (… right?): New website is online. More content is on its way.