New normal linear modeling strategies are presented for analyzing read counts from RNA-seq experiments. The voom method estimates the mean-variance relationship of the log-counts, generates a precision weight for each observation and enters these into the limma empirical Bayes analysis pipeline. This opens access for RNA-seq analysts to a large body of methodology developed for microarrays. Simulation studies show that voom performs as well or better than count-based RNA-seq methods even when the data are generated according to the assumptions of the earlier methods. Two case studies illustrate the use of linear modeling and gene set testing methods.