Smart Set

How Does a Print-Centric Publishing Culture Become Digital-First? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads 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 The Leaked New York Times Report Is […]

Smart Set

Which Publishers and Authors Are Truly Engaged in Their Communities? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads 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   “To seek: to embrace the questions, […]

author websites

Do You Need to Rethink Your Website’s Key Elements?

For 10 years, I’ve been analyzing website traffic—for my own site, for Writer’s Digest (when I worked for them from 2001–2010), and now for the Virginia Quarterly Review. Every site has different traffic patterns, but what I’ve learned is that the homepage is rarely the first page that visitors see. They often end up on a story page from […]

by Niklas Wikström

Being an Author vs. Running a Business as an Author

Is there a difference between being an author versus running a business as an author? In this interview with Joanna Penn, we discuss some of the important shifts that happen when you begin treating your writing (and/or your art) also as your business. We also cover: The trade-offs that can make full-time writing possible The business […]

Smart Set

Why Are Harlequin Profits Declining? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads 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   “To seek: to embrace the questions, […]

Scratch Q2 2014 Faith

The Role of Faith (the Non-Religious Kind) in the Writing Life

The latest issue of my magazine Scratch is now available! The theme is Faith. If you’re not a subscriber, here’s what you can read for free. The Scratch Interview by Cheryl Strayed by Manjula Martin In this revealing interview, New York Times bestseller Cheryl Strayed talks about success, artistic faith, and how to bounce a rent check […]

Monica Byrne

Let’s Resist the Culture of Idolatry in American Literature

In a bold and insightful piece by writer Monica Byrne, she discusses how, as an emerging writer, she created a list of her favorite authors titled “My Idols.” But she scratched that out, then wrote “My Models.” Then, finally, “My Peers.” Why? … I realized the difference between admiration and idolatry. How I placed the famous writer’s innate […]

Smart Set

The Role of the Expert Has Radically Changed [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads 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   “To seek: to embrace the questions, […]

Smart Set

Will Self-Pub Dwindle When There’s Less Backlist for Authors to Exploit?

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads 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 When an Author Should Self-Publish and How That […]

Are There Limits to Literary Citizenship?

The backlash against Literary Citizenship is underway, and perhaps it was inevitable. For those unaware of term, it’s widely used in the literary, bookish community to refer to activities that support and further reading, writing, and publishing, and the growth of your professional network. In some ways, it’s a more palatable (or friendly) way to […]

Why Are Romance Authors Better at Marketing & Promotion? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads 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 Today’s edition is abbreviated since I’m at […]

The Muse and the Marketplace 2014

Writing & Money: A Brief Syllabus

For my upcoming keynote talk at The Muse & The Marketplace, I’ve been immersing myself in histories of publishing and the evolution of authorship. While I’m quite well-read on what the future holds (see a separate reading list here), and often speak on the current digital-era disruption, I’ve always wanted a more cohesive understanding of […]

Smart Set

Is Publishing in Trouble or Not—Decide! [Smart Set]

Welcome to The Smart Set, a weekly series where I curate a selection of articles from the past week related to the publishing/media industry that merit your attention. I also point to what I see as the most interesting underlying questions, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be […]

David James Poissant

Make Submitting Work Your Superpower

Over at the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, writer David James Poissant discusses a topic very near and dear to my heart: Grit. Or maybe you call it persistence. He calls it relentlessness and tenacity. It goes by a lot of names, but basically it means a few rejections aren’t going to stop you. Or just […]

Smart Set

The Future of Hybrid Authors + Who Influences Our Purchases [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads 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 Must a Writer Go Hybrid for Higher […]

Smart Set

The Ebook Market + Big Five Survival [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads 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   “To seek: to embrace the questions, […]

The Economics of Writing & Publishing in the Digital Age

This past week, I was interviewed along with my Scratch business partner, Manjula Martin, about the economic realities of writing and publishing during a very transformational time for the industry. The interview was for an episode of an hour-long podcast by BoingBoing, The New Disruptors, hosted by Glenn Fleishman. I’ve pasted a few show notes […]

Beth Ann Fennelly

A Collaborative Novel Is Twice the Work, Not Half the Work

In an essay about writing a novel with her husband, Beth Ann Fennelly discusses that the process did not lead to fighting, but that it was fun, and not as lonely. However, it didn’t mean half the work. It meant twice the work. She writes: That’s when the novel really started cooking—and finally became fun to […]

Writer Unboxed

Serial Fiction: How It’s Changing Publishing

My latest column at Writer Unboxed tackles serial fiction—and how it’s changing writing, reading, and publishing. Here’s a little snippet: Both serials and fan fiction have been around a long time (since Dickens, remember?). If these forms are being reinvented and rediscovered because mobile- and tablet-based reading is growing, this may mean the strategic author […]

Publishing Trendsetter

My Advice to Young Publishing Professionals

I’m delighted to be a recent interviewee at Publishing Trendsetter, where I discuss what I’ve learned about building a personal brand and publishing career. Here’s a snippet of what I say: Remember that you’re the one who tells the story about your life and career—particularly at your own website—so tell it in a way that […]

Scratch Magazine: Q1 2014

What’s Different About Running a Magazine Today (Versus 5 Years Ago)?

Earlier this week, I was interviewed by Jason Allen Ashlock about my new digital magazine Scratch, and how things have changed in the magazine publishing world since my days at Writer’s Digest. Here’s a bit of what I had to say: It’s more difficult to turn a profit on a magazine, whether print or digital. People expect […]

Celeste Ng

The Challenges and Opportunities of an Omniscient POV

The most prevalent point-of-view used by writers today is the third-person limited POV (sometimes spread across multiple characters), as well as the first-person POV. It’s pretty rare to find a contemporary novel written with an omniscient narrator—which is why Celeste Ng found it a terrifying realization, while writing her first novel, that her story required […]

author platform, reader engagement

The Art and Business of Reader Engagement and Author Platform

Strong reader relationships build unbelievable opportunities. Marketing and promotion ideas usually start by considering what reader relationships you have in place—or can build on. Here is a framework and strategy for building and engaging a readership.

Carrie Brown

Writers: Look for the Majestic Silence

Inevitably there will come a moment when the writer’s gaze stays somewhere—there’s that “majestic silence”—and at that moment, the writer knows to stand still and listen and look.

book marketing and publicity

Book Marketing 101

It is possible, if not desirable, for an author to launch an effective book-marketing campaign without a publisher’s support or assistance. Mainly, it requires time and energy. Here’s a comprehensive rundown of the main strategies in use today.

Writer Unboxed

Does Social Media Really Sell Books?

There’s no end to the conflicting advice about social media and book marketing. In this post, I present a framework for what’s effective and what’s not.

Jane Runs

Chronic Back Pain and The Writing Life: A Few Remedies

Update (9/15/14): I’ve written a new post explaining what eventually resolved all of my back pain problems. Like most writers, I spend a great deal of time sitting in front of a computer. Every job I’ve held post-college has been a desk job, and my non-work looks exactly like my “real” work—seated, with a laptop. […]

photo by Ian Burnes

Editors Are Usually Really Nice People

If you have Zen or Buddhist inclinations—and you’re also in the profession of writing and publishing—you will love this story and meditation by Gillian Burnes. It begins: In the middle of a Vipassana meditation retreat last summer … I went up to the teacher at the end of the dharma talk and said, as sweetly […]

Best Business Advice for Writers: June 2013

Best Business Advice for Writers is a monthly link round-up where I share the best online articles focused on the business of writing and publishing. Share any best reads you’ve found lately in the comments.

E.A. Durden

The Problem With Overly Nice Characters

What’s wrong with overly nice characters? To begin with, they’re boring. This is because they can’t abide conflict, and smooth it over every chance they get.