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 […]

Jane Eyre Detail

The 4 Different Types of Conflict in Dialogue

Today’s guest post is by author K.M. Weiland (@KMWeiland), author of the newly released Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics. Conflict in dialogue provides authors with one of their best opportunities for jazzing up their stories and powering their plots. Slow scene? No problemo. Just throw in a nice, heated little argument. What could be […]

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 […]

writing and money

Writers Are Opening Up About Money—And That’s a Good Thing

From a recent op-ed at the New York Times: Writers may always have worried about money, but now seems a particularly fertile time for writing about it. … This spate of talk about writing and money has opened up broader conversations about who can afford to enter the profession today, and who gets shut out. My magazine […]

Why I Left My Mighty Agency and New York Publishers (for now)

Note from Jane: Today I’m beyond honored to feature bestselling author Claire Cook (@ClaireCookwrite), who has just released Never Too Late, from which this post is excerpted. Claire has a fascinating story to tell about her decision to leave her agency and traditional publisher, and chase after her publishing dreams. As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, […]

Smart Set

What Is the Future of the Physical Bookstore? [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 The Problem of Reinventing the Bookstore by Nate Hoffelder […]

World Domination Summit

3 Takeaways for Writers from the 2014 World Domination Summit

This past weekend, I attended the World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland, which attracts 3,000 creative people who are concerned with answering the question: “How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” They are guided by three values: Community Service Adventure Speaking personally, I’m really into the first two, as well as […]

Smart Set

The Latest Trends in the Indie Author Market [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 2014 Smashwords Survey Reveals New Opportunities for […]

Digital Book Day

Digital Book Day: A New Marketing Effort By Bestselling Author C.J. Lyons

Over the holiday weekend, C.J. Lyons, a bestselling hybrid author, launched a new initiative called Digital Book Day, partly in response to the discontinuation of World Book Night USA. For those unfamiliar with World Book Night, it was a joint marketing effort to spread the love of reading by giving away thousands of books in a single […]

Smart Set

Has Anyone Figured Out How to Marry Digital Media and Literature? [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 5 Myths About the New Era of […]

Celeste Ng

The Argument for Ambiguity in Your Story

To create a story that feels as if it could leave the page: That’s the dream of many writers. But to pull it off means leaving space for the reader. Celeste Ng, author of the newly released Everything I Never Told You, explains: … you need to leave a few unmapped places so the characters can step beyond […]

Both Sides Now: A New York Editor and Author Goes Indie

Today’s guest post is by author Leslie Wells. I’ve been on both sides of the publishing desk—as an acquiring executive editor for several decades, and as an author. The experience has provided insights that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, and made me more sympathetic to the nerve-wracking process of trying to get your book published. […]

How to Create Your First Booktrack (and Get 2,000 New Readers)

Today’s guest post is by author Laurence MacNaughton (@LMacNaugton). When I first heard about Booktrack.com from my literary agent, Kristin Nelson, I was fairly skeptical of the idea. Ebooks with music and sound effects, really? But then I tried the Booktrack of the short story Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft. I’ll be honest—I was blown away. […]

Smart Set

Book Marketing: It’s About Data, Not 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 Scared Money Never Wins by Chris McVeigh […]

Smart Set

The Healthy Profits of Traditional Publishers [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 How Much Money the Biggest Publishers Actually […]

taxes for authors

What Every Self-Published Author Needs to Know About Taxes

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by attorney Helen Sedwick (@helensedwick), an attorney licensed to practice in California only. She just released the Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook, now available in ebook and paperback formats. This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an attorney authorized to […]

Smart Set

What Is the Value of Traditional Publishers? [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 Advice to Publishers: Don’t Fight for Your […]

Illustration by Helena Perez / Flickr

5 Mistakes You’ll Make on the Way to Publishing Success

Today’s guest post is by Carmen Amato (@CarmenConnects), author of The Hidden Light of Mexico City and the Emilia Cruz series. You have a polished manuscript in hand, and you’re ready to publish. But the road from finished manuscript to bestseller list is more like a labyrinth rather than a straight path. There are dozens of choices and decisions ahead. Here are […]

Smart Set

How, When, and Where Does Quality Rise to the Top? [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, […]

Bret Anthony Johnston

Understand Your Character’s Obsession

Fiction writers: How well do you know your protagonist? While you may have learned the basics of point of view, and can tell the story from your protagonist’s perspective, how does your protagonist see the events and details of the world around him? Bret Anthony Johnston suggests, “Point-of-view is defined by obsession.” He writes in […]

uPublishU

Social Media 201: uPublishU Panel Preview

Tomorrow, I’m moderating a panel at BEA’s uPublishU on Social Media 201, featuring: Porter Anderson L.L. Barkat of Tweetspeak Poetry Jeanne Bowerman of scriptmag.com This post offers a sneak preview of what we’ll have to say. Jane’s Funnel Very often, when people talk about strategies on Facebook or Twitter, they’re discussed as if they exist in a […]

Smart Set

What Does Innovation Look Like for Literary Publishing? [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, […]

My Latest Writings & Ideas—Elsewhere

This past week, I’ve been a guest at a range of sites. Here’s where you can find my latest musings on the future of publishing and more. Stop Looking for Innovation on the Newsstand In this piece for the Bo Sacks newsletter, I question why we’re using newsstand as a measuring stick for the health […]

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 […]

Steven de Polo / Flickr

How to Write a Competitive Title Analysis

The following post has been excerpted and adapted from The Author Training Manual by Nina Amir, recently released by Writer’s Digest Books. If you’re embarking on a nonfiction book project, your analysis of the competitive landscape is critical, whether you self-publish or traditionally publish. You need to understand and be able to explain how your […]

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 […]