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)
In case you’re wondering what ‘direct traffic’ (the single biggest source of funds) consisted of, I can tell you: it was clickthroughs from my email newsletter. … I’ve been blogging for 6 years now, and I’ve always made it easy to subscribe to email updates. Admittedly, my original mailing list was composed entirely of friends and family, and my early writing was utter codswallop. But as a result of working on my craft, telling compelling stories and dishing out whatever lessons I gleaned, I’ve now got a list of about 2,000 subscribers who have actively requested that I contact them directly about what I’m doing.
Your Guide to 11 Types of WordPress Pages by Joel Friedlander (@jfbookman)
It’s easy to overlook how versatile WordPress is, and how dynamic your website can be on the WordPress platform. First of all: You have much more than a blog on your hands. You can create all types of static and interactive pages to inform, sell, and offer subscriptions. Joel Friedlander details 11 common types of pages. He calls them “blog pages,” but I just call them pages. That’s because I categorize WordPress as a content management system, not a blogging platform. In other words: You can run a WordPress-based website and not blog. Remember that. Click here to read Joel’s post.
30 Terrible Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore by Ellie Mirman (@ellieeille)
Sometimes bad social media advice is worse than none at all. That’s why I heartily recommend this post that debunks some myths. For example:
You need to be on every single social network. Especially if you have limited time and resources, don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to maintain an active presence on every single social media site. Research and learn about the makeup of the audience that populates each social network so you can figure out where you should focus. If your audience isn’t there, don’t waste your time. And as new social networks pop up (as they do all the time), feel free to experiment with them, but be ready to let them go if they don’t work for you, and let your analytics be your guide.
Publishing Reversion Clauses by Dean Wesley Smith (@deanwesleysmith)
The most in-depth post you could hope for on one of the most important clauses in any publishing contract: the reversion clause. Your agent will negotiate the best deal for you on this clause, but if you find yourself reviewing a contract without an agent, put this article on your must-read list.
10 Ways to Find Reviewers for Your Self-Published Books by Empty Mirror (@emptymirror)
This post offers an excellent overview of how to approach reviewers (do’s and don’ts), as well as a list of resources for finding them. Snippet from the “don’t” section:
Don’t expect an answer to your query. I know—that almost seems unreasonable, doesn’t it, not to expect the reviewer to reply. The reason that some don’t reply is that many reviewers, especially popular and highly-ranked ones, get so many review queries that it takes too much time to reply to them all. So, they wind up only replying to those they have an interest in reviewing.
Why I Don’t Self-Publish by Charlie Stross (@cstross)
This is a well-reasoned, tempered post on why one career science-fiction author chooses not to self-publish. Highly recommend if you struggle with the self-publishing question. Click here to read the entire article.
10 Ways Proven to Draw Readers to Your Novel’s Website by Thomas Umstattd (@authormedia)
Many novelists ask me what belongs on their website, or what content would draw repeat visits. Author Media offers some wonderful (and, yes, proven) ideas, including:
Deleted Scenes & Alternate Endings. Often when authors go through the editorial process, the editor cuts scenes out of their book. These scenes may not fit in your book, but people would love to see them on your website. Especially if you mention at the end of your book, “You can find deleted chapters and scenes on my website.” This will make people curious to see what got cut from the book.
Book Promotion: What’s Working at Amazon in 2013? by Lindsay Buroker (@GoblinWriter)
A detailed post about the latest strategies for selling your e-books on Amazon. What’s not working any more? Tagging, the sales bounce after making your books available for free, using keywords in the title field, and more. What IS working? Having some work available for free and making it available everywhere, advertising, and writing more books. Get the in-depth analysis here.
Legal Issues in Publishing: What Authors Need to Know by Bernard Starr
A fabulous discussion about permissions and other issues that impact writers. This is an especially important post for self-publishing authors. Paul Rapp, an attorney specializing in intellectual property law, says:
If authors have legal questions and want peace of mind they should get a legal opinion from an attorney. Because of the expansion of self-publishing there are an increasing number of lawyers who will assess legal issues in a book and tell you how to address the problems for a fairly nominal fee. For example, I just finished reading a book on branding. It took a couple of hours. Many lawyers will charge for how long it takes to read the book and prepare an “opinion of counsel” letter. Unless there is a huge systemic legal problem with the book, the letter should generally be one or two pages long.
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has nearly 25 years of experience in the media & publishing industry. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a professor with The Great Courses (How to Publish Your Book), she is the author of The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), which received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as Digital Book World and Frankfurt Book Fair, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.