How to Build an Author Website: Getting Started Guide

I strongly advocate all authors start and maintain a website as part of their long-term marketing efforts and ongoing platform development. But it’s an intimidating project because so few authors have been in a position to create, manage, or oversee websites. Where do you even begin?

The Complete Guide to Query Letters

The query letter has one purpose, and one purpose only: to seduce the agent or editor into reading or requesting your work. The query letter is so much of a sales piece that it’s quite possible to write one without having written a word of the manuscript. All it requires is a firm grasp of your story premise.

Friedman DBW

The People in Publishing I Learn From

The funny thing about being any good as a publishing commentator: it requires talking to many others, learning varied perspectives, and writing about ideas you didn’t come up with.

myth of the natural writer

The Myth of the Natural Writer

There’s a legendary joke about the writing life, often attributed to Margaret Atwood. It goes like this: A brain surgeon and a writer meet at a party.

marketing strategy tactics

Don’t Focus on Marketing Tactics at the Expense of Strategy

One of the hardest things to do—for any individual, organization, or business—is to define a vision and strategy. It involves diving deep into one’s strengths and weaknesses, and understanding the market opportunities and threats. Talking strategy usually means dealing with uncomfortable realities, as well as risking disagreement with others.

Marketing Advice Roundup: Best of the Last Year

I regularly read and report on marketing trends that affect traditionally published and self-published writers. Today I’m sharing the most useful articles I’ve found and shared thus far in 2018.

build traffic to your author website

10 Ways to Build Traffic to Your Author Website or Blog

This post was first published in 2012 and is regularly updated. First things first: an author’s website, whether it gets much traffic or not, is foundational to your career. It offers readers as well as the media the official word on who you are and the work you produce. If you blog, then it can […]

silence conversation

The Power of Silence in a Pitch Situation

Silence—or, in fact, just saying less—is an art that can be strategically practiced by authors who seek attention. It is also a critical strategy when trying to influence people who hear about new books all day, every day.

In & Of Itself

You Have a Voice and It Means Something

Despite the notion that we are voiceless, the challenge of a good creative writing instructor is to teach students that they do indeed have a voice and that their voice, that all our voices in concert, have meaning.

Writing About Acts of Violence

Violence can be too sanitized, too tamed into a generic, pre-packaged mold, and so it can’t yield the kind of interesting questions or meditations readers crave, and writers must eventually confront.

Building Your Business Model as a Writer

Over the last month, I’ve been talking (and writing) about how to build a business model for career that suits your particular strengths as well as the unique quality of your work. Here are my latest appearances.

Your Characters Don’t Have to Change to Be Compelling

When a character “change” feels beautiful, it’s because the character has confirmed what we’ve hoped or suspected all along. Maybe the character hasn’t changed at all, but rather has finally been put in a situation where her truest self can be revealed.

Business of Being a Writer

My New Book, The Business of Being a Writer, Is Now Available!

My newest book, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), takes it on principle that learning about the publishing industry can lead to a more positive and productive career. It helps writers feel empowered and confident to navigate an ever-changing field.