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 […]
Do you write write according to your own internal motivations or creative impulses—with the intention to create serious art—or do you write hoping to create a bond between writer and reader?
For beginning fiction writers, focusing on place is one of the easiest ways to improve stories that aren’t quite working.
Broadly, traditional print book sales continue to grow at about 2 to 3 percent per year, but growth is driven by nonfiction, backlist titles, and children’s/YA. Fiction sales have been flat for several years now, with frontlist fiction down 5 percent due to a lack of big titles.
I don’t trust author-income survey results and I question their usefulness in improving the fortunes of writers. Too often it feels like propaganda from writers’ organizations, with the outcome boring and predictable.
As the publishing industry has transformed in the digital age, small press activity has proliferated. Here’s how authors can evaluate their offerings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A smart and strategic author should evaluate their platform strength on three levels: (1) ability to reach new readers, (2) ability to engage existing readers, and (3) ability to mobilize super fans.
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.
In 2014, I made the leap from conventional employment to a full-time freelance career. Here’s how I did it—and what I earned, down to the dollar.
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.
For AWP 2018, I hired a team of writers to help me cover business-related sessions, as part of the launch for my newest book (official release date: March 16). Their blog posts are available over at the companion website for the book.
Writer Jane Delury discusses the importance of showing up and writing regardless of the conditions you find yourself in, no matter how you feel.
Danielle Lazarin: “At every stage of my work, questions are my most essential writing tools. I use them to move through to the other side of murky. It’s only by stepping into that unknown and uncomfortable space repeatedly during my process that I can become more deliberate in the story I’m telling.”
There’s growing unrest surrounding the proliferation of free and cheap books, particularly ebooks. The reasons for sharp discounts and giveaways are legion (and some reasons are better than others), but regardless of the reason, I see greater shaming of those who are seen to “devalue” literature in our culture.
A round-up of publishing industry trend articles, helping freelancers and authors anticipate changes coming in 2018.
I have been speaking at the Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, Indiana, continuously since 2003. Here’s why I keep returning, year after year.
There’s a very famous piece of advice from Anne Lamott that occasionally makes the rounds on social media. She says: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” This advice, especially when shared out of context, makes me cringe.
I regularly round up and comment on book marketing advice that have writers buzzing. Here’s what sparked discussion in 2017.
Issues touched on: Barnes & Noble woes, the maturity of the self-publishing market, Wattpad profits, traditional publishing’s problem launching blockbusters, and the growth of the Amazon ebook sales/borrows
While it’s not easy to launch a book without any kind of online presence, many first-time authors are in exactly that position. Here’s a 4-step game plan.
A step-by-step guide to finding literary agents, plus how to select the right agent for you and your work.
Novelist Sophie Chen Keller offers an incisive look at what’s different about writing a novel for adults when the narrator is a child.
If you plan to pursue writing as a professional, long-term career, I recommend starting and maintaining an author website even if you’re unpublished.
Over a last year, a consistent theme has emerged in my discussions with writers around the country: They feel distracted. What is to be done?
At its core, a query letter is a sales document, and so it’s meant to sell. But opinions differ on the best possible sales approach in a query.
Author Jay Swanson discusses how he’s succeeded with Patreon, which allows fans to pledge monthly financial support to his creative efforts.
I’m a contributor to a new essay collection, WHAT EDITORS DO, edited by Peter Ginna and published by University of Chicago Press.
I’m the featured guest on the new Backmatter podcast from Leanpub, which is focused specifically on the publishing industry and its latest trends.
Fiction writing, while not closely associated with affecting one’s real-life relationships, can indeed have that power and develop one’s empathy.
When I hear professional publicists offer advice to authors, one theme that comes up again and again is: start where you are.
Print sales for traditional publishers are increasing this year—up by 2.6% compared to the first half of 2016. Ebook sales are continuing their decline.
I believe a successful social media strategy is driven by one’s personality and strengths, as well as the qualities of the work produced—leading to a unique approach for each writer. A
Social media is widely considered necessary by authors and publishers for book marketing. But is it as important as an optimized author website?
All writers have to find a way to deal with the internal negative voice that tells them their work is crap and not worth pursuing.
Word doesn’t export to EPUB, but you can still produce an editable file quickly, without buying software or using a “meatgrinder” conversion.
Whether you’re an emerging author or one that is well-established, it can be challenging to figure out what belongs on your website’s homepage and what to say about yourself on the front door to your online presence.
In a great story, character and plot are inextricable from one another. The seeds of the story conflict lie in the character.
Reader analytics measures the strength of reader engagement with a book. This data helps publishers more effectively market and promote books to readers.
Plugins are one of the most wonderful and useful things about Wordpress. Here are some of my favorites for writers.
Social media is just one component of your author platform, and not necessarily the most important component. It works best as part of a holistic book marketing and promotion strategy.
Pitching agents at a writers conference can be a difficult task for the new writer. Here’s how to make it a little easier on yourself.
Tapas, a new digital publishing platform, has led to meaningful earnings and readership for independent artists and writers in less than two months.
Are you getting the most from professional feedback, or are you inadvertently sabotaging your progress? Look for these patterns in your response.
This is an introductory guide to the major self-publishing options available to authors today, and how to choose the right service for you.
I’m offering a month-long master class in author platform in August 2017, in collaboration with Writer House in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Here’s a word I have eliminated as fully as possible from my information and advice lexicon for writers: passion.