Indie Authors and the Question of Kindle Unlimited

Today’s guest post is by Hellen Barbara (@hbarbara27), president of Pubslush. Recently, Amazon joined the e-book subscription playing field alongside Oyster and Scribd to offer subscribers unlimited access to more than 700,000 e-books and 2,000 audiobooks for the monthly price of $9.99. This service is called Kindle Unlimited. When a player as big as Amazon enters […]

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 […]

Should Children’s Book Authors Self-Publish?

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by Sangeeta Mehta (@sangeeta_editor), a former acquiring editor of children’s books at Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster, who runs her own editorial services company. With all the changes taking place in the publishing industry, it seems harder than ever for even the best writers to secure a […]

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 […]

Wattpad

Finding More Readers Through Wattpad

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by Anne Pfeffer (@AnnePfeffer1), an author of several YA and new adult novels. As the author of three indie novels, I was looking for ways to expand my base of readers. This blog’s very own Jane Friedman suggested that I try Wattpad, an online writing community where authors post […]

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 […]

Stephen King by Oscar Oliva OA / DeviantArt

Stephen King Still Fears Failure. How About You?

Today’s guest post is by freelancer and author Marcy McKay. The November 2014 issue of Rolling Stone interviews the master of contemporary fiction, Stephen King. The Q&A covers a myriad of interesting topics for writers: the author’s typical working day, his literary legacy, as well as how alcohol and drugs affected his writing back in the […]

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 […]

critic

You’ve Got Hate Mail: How to Deal with (Annoying) Critics

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by publisher and author L.L. Barkat (@llbarkat). She has one of the most gracious and welcoming personalities in the online space—so I’m delighted she’s written about how she maintains a calm and open demeanor even when faced with difficult or antagonistic personalities. In a career decision that might look, to some, […]

7 Reasons Twitter Isn’t Building Your Author Platform (And How to Fix It)

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy). Almost as soon as authors were told they should be on social media to build their platform, a counter-contingent of people started talking about how social media was a waste of time. They’d tell stories of using Twitter or Facebook or whatever the flavor of […]

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 […]

How to Customize a Template-Based Author Website

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by Simone Collins (@SimoneHCollins) at ArtCorgi. See her earlier post on The Advantages of Author Portraits. Through my website ArtforAuthors.com and my company ArtCorgi, I help authors style websites and social media pages in a manner that best presents their personalities and writing style. All too often, I visit […]

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 […]

How to Tell If Your Story Idea Is Mediocre—And How to Improve It

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is adapted from The Writer’s Advantage: A Toolkit for Mastering Your Genre by Laurie Scheer (@mediagoddess213). So you think your idea for a new vampire novel is a good one? Think again. Nine times out of ten, your idea is really quite mediocre and has been done before, actually a […]

Mike Cogh / via Flickr

The Long-Term View: 3 Exciting Mind Shifts for Author Entrepreneurs

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is from Joanna Penn (@thecreativepenn), and is based on her new book, Business for Authors: How to Be an Author Entrepreneur, out now in ebook, print and audio. During the last five years, I have seen a major shift in the publishing arena because of emergent technology and a changing […]

German book market

The German Market: A Guide for Indie Authors

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by Beate Boeker (@BeateBoeker), whom I met at the International Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy. It was the first writers conference I attended that offered any kind of in-depth information (geared toward authors) about the international and translation market. Find out more about Beate and her novels at […]

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 […]

A polished author portrait

The Advantages of Author Portraits

Today’s guest post is by Simone Collins (@SimoneHCollins) at ArtCorgi. My job is to help people commission original art from up-and-coming artists via ArtCorgi, a company I started earlier this year. Though the art I help people create consists of everything from romantic gifts to mobile game assets and painted scenes for wall art, I have […]

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 […]

NoiseTrade Books

How to Use NoiseTrade Books as a Strategic Marketing Tool

Note from Jane: I am very grateful to Ed Cyzewski (@edcyzewski) for today’s guest post, where he shares valuable insights about book marketing via NoiseTrade (not to mention email newsletters and ebook giveaways). If you’d like to share insights from your book marketing experiments in a guest post, please contact me. First, a Bit of Background In […]

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 […]

photo by Professor Bop / Flickr

What Is a Developmental Editor and What Can You Expect?

Today’s guest post is excerpted from Perfect Bound: How to Navigate the Book Publishing Process Like a Pro by Katherine Pickett (@KPickett_Editor). What Is a Developmental Editor? Developmental editors (DEs) are concerned with the structure and con­tent of your book. If your manuscript lacks focus, your DE will help you find the right direction—the “right” […]

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 […]

Episode

4 Things I Learned From Writing on an Emerging Mobile Story Platform

Today’s guest post is by Los Angeles–based writer Kathryn Stanley (@kathrynstanley_). About six months ago, Pocket Gems, a mobile game developer, launched a new platform called Episode. It allows writers to script a story and then turn it into an animated interactive mobile story. It combines parts of TV shows, comics, and novels, and provides the […]

Self-Publish or Perish: Why I Made the Leap from Traditional Publishing to Indie

Today’s guest post is by New York Times bestseller Eileen Goudge (@eileengoudge), whose newest novel, Bones and Roses, releases today.  I read Claire Cook’s recent blog post with great interest and a jolt of recognition. OMG. She was telling my story! I wasn’t alone. There were other authors like me who were traditionally published in […]

Why Design Matters for Your Author Website

Today’s guest post is by literary agent Maria Ribas (@maria_ribas); check out her website, cooks & books. When I was starting out as an editor, I was surprised to see just how very subjective the acquisitions process was. I think I was a little bit (well, a lot) disappointed that there wasn’t a secret equation behind […]

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 […]