The Little Magazine in Contemporary America

The Future of the Gatekeepers

I’m a proud contributor to an anthology releasing this week from University of Chicago Press, The Little Magazine in Contemporary America, edited by Ian Morris and Joanne Diaz.

Do You Love Your Publisher

Do You Love Your Publisher? An Author Survey

[This survey is now closed.] Are you a traditionally published author? Then please keep reading. In partnership with Harry Bingham of Agent Hunter in the UK, we’re launching a survey of traditionally published authors, regardless of whether or not they have also self-published. Our goal is to see how traditionally published authors are feeling about the […]

Digital Book World

What Should Authors & Publishers Expect in 2015?

In January, I’m moderating a panel at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo, which focuses on information and ideas about the digital publishing landscape. In advance, I’ve answered five questions about digital publishing to help attendees make the most out of the three-day event, and lay the groundwork for conversations that will take place at the conference and […]

Writer Unboxed

Does Building an Online Presence Stress You Out?

You’re not alone. Being told to build an online presence creates internal conflict for a lot of writers. This is the topic I tackle (somewhat obliquely) this month in my column at Writer Unboxed. Here’s how it begins: I’ve been reading with interest (and sympathy) the comments on Porter Anderson’s Unboxed post last week, where we see […]

5 Free WordPress Themes for Writers

If you have a WordPress-based site, then you know that one of the first choices you have to make (and then live with) is your choice of theme. A theme drives the aesthetics of your site—how it looks and feels—and thus its personality. But a theme also affects the functionality of your site. Some themes have more page or […]

Jane Friedman AWP

Advice for Undergrad Students Pursuing a Creative Writing Degree

Even though I’ve been actively teaching in the university setting for more than 10 years, I’ve nearly always been in front of non-writing majors. (Right now, at the University of Virginia, I teach media studies majors.) However, my undergraduate degree is a BFA in creative writing, and recently the AWP approached me to write an essay […]

John Thornton Williams

How to Reveal Character Emotion Without Venturing Into Cliché

One of the most important goals of any fiction writer is getting the reader to connect on an emotional level with the story’s characters. But how do you accomplish this without being clumsy—without saying, directly, “Joe felt so upset he wanted to die,” which takes you right into the heart of cliché? John Thorton Williams […]

What Should Authors Blog About?

The chain of events goes something like this: An author’s book nears its publication date (or perhaps the author is attempting to secure a traditional book deal). She knows she needs to market and promote the book and/or build a platform. She finds (or hears) advice that blogging is a good way to accomplish #1. She wonders: What […]

Scratch Q4 2014: Self-Help

On Self-Promotion, Selling Out, and Burn Out

The Fall 2014 issue of Scratch is now available. Inside, you’ll find a feature interview with New York Times bestselling author Austin Kleon, offering insights on how to balance your artistic lifestyle with marketing and self-promotion. Here’s what he says about being an author as his full-time job: It’s weird because I’ve written about how you shouldn’t be […]

Elizabeth Kadetsky

The Benefits of Procrastination & Distraction

Every month, Glimmer Train releases a bulletin that includes a few brief essays by writers on the writing life. For October, I was happy to find the themes of procrastination and distraction—and how they can be a positive influence in our work lives. Elizabeth Katdetsky discusses how she gives in to the procrastinator in herself, and how […]

5 Lessons in Publishing Success From Bella Andre

This week I’m speaking at the International Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy, which is slanted this year toward digital publishing and the future of authorship, particularly indie models. On Friday morning, Bella Andre gave a talk on her path to success, from a traditionally published author with 7 titles in 2010, to self-published phenom with […]

social media

How to Avoid the “Extra” Work of Social Media

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of speaking at a one-day publishing event hosted by Blurb in Brooklyn, NY. My topic was the art & business of building a platform, which included about 5-10 minutes of commentary on social media (out of a full hour). As often happens, most audience questions were about social media, […]

Smart Set

For Publishers to Thrive Requires a Kuhnian Paradigm Shift

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Amazon, Publishers, and Readers by Clay Shirky […]

Writer's Digest (October 2014)

The Evolving Role of the Literary Agent

In the most recent issue of Writer’s Digest magazine, you’ll find my feature article, “The Evolving Agent.” I discuss how literary agents’ business models and services are changing to fit the needs of their clients, who are increasingly self-publishing or choosing hybrid paths. The article covers: the value of agent-assisted self-publishing what happens when agents use […]

chronic back pain

How I Recovered From 3 Years of Chronic Back Pain

As some of you may recall, I’ve been seeking solutions to my chronic back pain, which I assume is partly related to my writing-and-sitting-at-the-computer lifestyle since the mid-1990s. You can read the first installment here. I’m very grateful to say that I’ve been pain-free for six months and have returned to long-distance running. (I can […]

Smart Set

How University Presses Need to Improve Their Marketing [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Direct-to-Consumer Marketing for University Press Books by […]

self-hosting your author website

Self-Hosting Your Author Website: Why and How to Do It

When it comes to establishing your author website, one of the more confusing topics is self-hosting: what it means, why it’s advantageous, and when you should do it. What Is Self-Hosting? Sometimes it’s easiest to describe what self-hosting is not. If your website has “wordpress.com” or “blogspot.com” (or the name of another service you use) in […]

Smart Set

Is It the Golden Age for Journalism? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Journalism Is Doing Just Fine, Thanks by Matthew […]

Amina Gautier

How Revising Rewards Mistakes

One writing and publishing adage I’ve always believed in: “Writing is rewriting.” Fiction writer Amina Gautier’s approach is similar. For her, revising is the best part. Over at the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, she offers tips on unlocking the joy of revision. She says: Revising encourages and liberates the writer to “make mistakes.” It rewards mistakes; each […]

Smart Set

How Can We Generate Rewards for Reading? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Publishing’s Future: When Editors Eat Robots by Porter […]

Social Media Just for Writers

My Latest Thoughts on Marketing for Writers

My latest interview, with advice for writers on websites, blogging, social media, and marketing, is now live over at Social Media Just for Writers. Frances Caballo asked me wide-ranging questions such as: What are the elements of a successful website and blog? How important is blogging for a writer’s success? Should writers participate in online […]

Writer Unboxed

How to Measure Whether Your Social Media Activity Is Worthwhile

Today I’m a contributor over at Writer Unboxed, discussing how social media can be used more effectively. My suggestions rely, in part, on categorizing your activity within distinct stages (though they certainly overlap with one another). Here’s a bit of what I have to say: Regardless of your stage of activity—but especially during marketing campaigns—you should measure traffic […]

Smart Set

Who Can Effectively Challenge Amazon in the Book Business? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams [How to Give] Amazon a Headache by Mike […]

Smart Set

What Does It Mean to Protect Authors’ Interests? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams More Fights About Terms by Brian O’Leary Publishing […]

Smart Set

What Should a Strong Authors’ Advocacy Group Be Doing? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams For the Authors Guild [a wish list] by […]

Josh Weil

Sow Your Characters’ Emotions in Early

In a thought-provoking post over at Glimmer Train, Josh Weil talks about Chekhov’s rule: If you bring a gun into the story, then it must fire by the end. Weil reverses it to produce a new insight: “If you’re going to fire a gun at the end, you’d better bring it in near the beginning.” He goes on to discuss […]

Smart Set

How Can Authors and Publishers Partner Better on Book Marketing? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Publishers Need to Rethink Their Marketing Deployments […]

Scratch Q3 2014

7 Industry Experts Discuss Book Marketing and Promotion

The Summer 2014 issue of Scratch (my magazine for writers) is now available. Inside, you’ll find a roundtable I hosted on book marketing and promotion, with an all-star lineup of industry folks with a wide range of experiences and viewpoints. Here’s a little snippet, featuring Rachel Fershleiser of Tumblr, talking about the author’s role in the marketing […]

Smart Set

Ebook Subscription Services: Good for Authors? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Kindle Unlimited: The Key Questions by David Gaughran […]