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.

Melissa Sipin

Write What Haunts You

What haunts you? What images or moments have never left you? What do you keep revisiting again and again and again?

Best Business Advice for Writers: April 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. Discover Your Author’s Brand by Philip Martin If you’re turned off by conversations of author branding, this post is for you. Martin […]

Career Changing Move

What One Small Step Made a Big Impact on Your Writing Career?

The biggest career-changing moves I ever made were a combination of: Signing up for Twitter in 2008 & starting the Best Tweets for Writers series (story here) Buying my own domain name—long before I ever started using it—in 2005, then actually launching this site in December 2009 What have your career-changing moves been? Writer’s Digest […]

Joel Friedlander

How Much Attention Should You Pay to Book Design? A Q&A With Joel Friedlander

I’m very grateful to Joel Friedlander (@JFBookman), at The Book Designer, for taking time to answer a few questions about book design, especially as it relates to self-publishing. I’m a firm believer in the power of design. I think it affects purchasing not just in obvious ways, but also on a subconscious level. So it […]

Improve Your Author Website

3 Ways to Improve Your Author Website Today

To maximize the effectiveness of your author website, it’s necessary to study the data behind how people find your website, navigate it, and use it. Here are three of the most important areas to watch carefully.

Allison Amend

Worry About the Writing, Not About Being a Writer

If you could write a letter to your younger writing self, what would you say? Author Allison Amend has imagined and written such a letter. Here’s how she starts: I see you worrying endlessly about your future, and I just wanted to write you a letter and reassure you that fifteen years from now you […]

Best Business Advice for Writers: March 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. Anatomy of a Successful Kickstarter Campaign by Tom Allen (@tomsbiketrip) It sometimes feels as if everyone is running a Kickstarter—and that […]

Writer Unboxed

5 Publishing Industry Trends for Writers to Watch

Most writers are aware that the publishing industry is undergoing a range of transformations, new beginnings, failures, and consolidations. But there’s so much change it can be difficult to weed out and understand the most relevant and important changes—especially when hundreds of opinions seem to surround the smallest change. Based on industry conversations I’ve had in the last six months, as well as reports I’ve read by people I trust, here are five trends that writers should keep a close eye on.

Ted Weinstein tweet on magazine publishing

The State of Online Journalism Today: Controversial

On Tuesday, March 5, I found (via Twitter) the following piece by freelance journalist Nate Thayer: A Day in the Life of a Freelance Journalist—2013 The post consists of an e-mail exchange between Thayer and an Atlantic editor, where Thayer is asked if he would repurpose a previously published piece for the Atlantic’s website. He […]

Matthew Salesses

The Pros and Cons of Being Agreeable and Saying Yes

As writers, we must often protect our time so that we can get our most important writing done. On the other hand, being agreeable and saying “yes” more often can lead to meaningful opportunities—even publication.

Twitter

How I Got a Six-Figure Twitter Following (and Why It Doesn’t Matter)

It’s almost a running joke. Whenever my manager introduces me at an event, he always starts by saying how many Twitter followers I have, which is inevitably far more than anyone else in the room. Today, my follower number is a little over 175,000, and it grows by a few hundred every week. How did […]

Susan Jackson Rogers

Start Small: Moving From Notebook to Story

In the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, Susan Jackson Rogers has written a brief essay on the writing life: “Closing the Gap: Moving from Notebook to Story.” She discusses how stories get their beginnings and gain traction: Each time, I have to remember: Start small. Why doesn’t “starting small” feel like real writing? Really, there isn’t any […]

CJ Lyons

Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing: Enjoy the Best of Both Worlds

CJ Lyons (@cjlyonswriter) is an award-winning, critically acclaimed New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She practiced pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine for 17 years before scoring her first big book deal, after which she quit her job and decided to become a full-time author. However, a few weeks before her first book was to be published, it was pulled for reasons […]

Kate Gale

You Need Stakeholders in Your Writing Life

Over at Glimmer Train, author and editor Kate Gale discusses the importance of stakeholders in your writing life—just as a nonprofit organization needs stakeholders. She says: You need a group of people who buy into this idea that you want to be a writer. … You only need a few stakeholders. Five is a nice number. […]

Commodity Publishing and The Future of Fiction

Commodity Publishing, Self-Publishing, and The Future of Fiction

Many years ago, when I started working for Writer’s Digest, I was put on the self-publishing beat. I started by reading Dan Poynter’s guide, by the godfather of self-publishing, then the Marilyn Ross guide. I attended EPIC, once the leading conference for e-book authors, and sat on a panel with Piers Anthony to discuss the […]

Knocking on doors of traditional publishers

How Long Should You Keep Trying to Get Published?

Don’t you wish someone could tell you how close you are to getting traditionally published? Don’t you wish someone could say, “If you just keep at it for three more years, you’re certain to make it!” Or, even if it would be heartbreaking, wouldn’t it be nice to be told that you’re wasting your time, so that you can move on, try another tack (like self-publishing), or perhaps even change course entirely to produce some other creative work?

Tumblr

Find Me on Tumblr

If you’re a Tumblr user, just a quick announcement you can now find me active there. While I’ve had a Tumblr account for a couple years now (and have used it in various capacities—at VQR and University of Cincinnati), I’m now using it as a way to talk about everything not pertaining to writing advice. […]

Geoff Wyss

How to Write Characters Who Evoke Reader Compassion

How do you write fiction with characters who are mysteriously human, who evoke empathy and compassion from the reader? Is it by making them understandable? No. Geoff Wyss explains: The better we understand someone, the more fully we should be able to respond to him. But we don’t understand people in real life, not in […]

Best Business Advice for Writers: November 2012

For a couple years, I curated a weekly round-up of links called Best Tweets for Writers. I had fun doing it, but ultimately abandoned it in 2011 when I could no longer sustain the time commitment. Nowadays, there’s no shortage of link round-ups for writers, of varying quality. While I hesitate to add another one […]

Build traffic and visitors to your website

10 Ways to Build Long-Lasting Traffic to Your Author Website or Blog

First things first: Your website, whether it gets a lot of traffic or not, is an essential part of a strong author platform. It serves as your hub—or command central—for all online activity, and should give your readers, as well as the media, a way to engage with you. It should be there if people […]

A Framework for Thinking About Author Platform

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in an online Google Hangout with the Bay Area Bloggers, hosted by Anne Hill and Suzanna Stinnet. The conversation focused primarily on author platform. We discussed its evolution, its purpose in your career, and how you can decide what efforts are worth your time—plus the value of collaborating […]

26 Questions on Writing & Publishing: My Answers on Reddit

Last Friday, I had the honor of spending a day with the Reddit writing community, where I participated in an AMA (Ask Me Anything). I answered such questions as: Is self-epublishing being overblown? Where can you find freelance editing and copyediting jobs? What are some good conferences to meet agents in person? How has agenting […]

Joshua Henkin

2 Critical Factors for Successful Stories

You can be a beautiful and gifted writer yet fail to craft a compelling narrative. Joshua Henkin, in the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, elucidates, in a memorable and striking way, how to check your work for two critical factors of a successful story: For a story to work, there needs to be both consequence and […]

Jane chatting with Kay Steinke at LitFlow

Do Publishers Need to Offer More Value to Authors?

Last month, I gave a 15-minute presentation in Berlin, Germany, called The Future of the Author-Publisher Relationship, as part of an innovative publishing think-tank event called LitFlow. To accompany my talk, I wrote a 2,500-word article. In a nutshell, I suggest that—given the changes happening in the industry—traditional publishers will need to be more author-focused […]

Bradlee Frazer

Q&A on Copyright With an Attorney

By far, I receive the most questions from writers on copyright, mainly due to this post: When Do You Need to Secure Permissions? So I feel very lucky to have found an intellectual property lawyer, Brad Frazer, who is friendly and enthusiastic about providing answers to writers on a range of copyright issues. He’s written three other […]

Plympton: serialized fiction for digital readers

Plympton: A New Effort to Produce Successful Serial Fiction

In the past year, I’ve run two posts specifically related to serial fiction—a guest post by Roz Morris and a Q&A with Sean Platt. I also wrote a more in-depth piece for Publishing Perspectives on the topic last year. Last month, Amazon announced Kindle Serials: a new, formal publishing program, exclusive to Kindle, that focuses […]

What Does It Feel Like to Have Your Book Banned?

Did you know Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg—one of the most popular books on writing of all time—was banned? In honor of Banned Books Week, the good folks at Open Road Media have put together a video featuring authors whose books have been banned—plus celebrating censored favorites. If you don’t see the video appear […]

Josh Swiller

Kitchen Sink That First Draft

Lists of writing tips are always popular (and sometimes overdone), but Josh Swiller’s 12 tips in the latest Glimmer Train bulletin are a delight to read. Two of my favorite tips, directly quoted: Kitchen sink that first draft. Throw every damn thing in there. If you aren’t sure something belongs, if you aren’t even remotely […]

author website

Building Your First Website: Resource List

When writers ask me what the most important thing they should be doing to further their career—aside from write—it’s almost always start your own website. Even if you don’t consider yourself a tech person, services have advanced to the point where an average person can establish a site without knowing code, and without hiring professional […]

Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up

Drinking, Writing, and Self-Discovery

More than a year ago, I participated in a Q&A over at the Drinking Diaries website, which is a forum for women to share, vent, express, and discuss their drinking stories without judgment. It was a fun experience and many wonderful comments came through, plus a couple people bluntly said they didn’t want to know the […]

Stefani Nellen

How to Distract Yourself From Trying to Impress

Do you find yourself writing descriptive passages meant to “wow” the reader? Later, do you find that such passages amount to nothing more than small talk? Or maybe you’re just tired of your current revision process? Writer Stefani Nellen stumbled on a method that has helped her attain needed distance to see her writing for what […]

Leaving Behind Your Day Job

I worked many jobs in my younger days: Papa John’s pizza delivery driver, Cedar Point amusement park employee, McDonald’s drive-thru worker, and KFC associate, just to name a few. Most writers have worked a number jobs before finding the way or the means to pursue writing full time. Open Road Media has put together a […]

Jane's Twitter bio

Build a Better Author Bio for Twitter

Before you decide to follow someone on Twitter, what’s the first thing you look at? Probably the bio. Let’s assume you’re on Twitter because it’s part of your author platform—whether you’re in relaxed mode or professional mode. Have you written a bio that’s likely to attract followers or turn them away? Let’s look at four […]

A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie

What Does Your Mother Think of Your Writing? Does It Matter?

Today’s post features an item excerpted from A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement (New World Library, 2012) by Barbara Abercrombie. Barbara has published 14 books and numerous essays and articles, and has taught creative writing courses for almost three decades. She lives in Santa Monica, California. Find out more at her […]