A photograph of several bookstore shelves loaded with books.

Why Editors Focus on Page One

Editors can tell within a couple pages if a manuscript will be acceptable to them. How? What makes this decision so clear to an editor and so muddy to an author?

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?

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, blog, blogging, journalism, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Digital Book 2013, IDPF, BEA 2013, Writer Unboxed

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Casting Stones at BEA

Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends by Victoria Noe It’s been likened to a plague, but AIDS was never just a health crisis. The second of a series on grieving the death of a friend, Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends, revisits a time when people with […]

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, blog, blogging, journalism, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Digital Book 2013, IDPF, BEA 2013

WRITING ON THE ETHER: The Indies are Coming! to BEA

Porter Anderson looks at how six of the most prominently successful self-publishing authors are taking their own booth (#966) at BookExpo America (#BEA13), staking their claim to a new, unified presence at the industry’s big trade show.

Photo by Caro Wallis / Flickr

Submission: 6 Rules of Thumb From an Editor-Turned-Writer

Today’s guest post is by writer and editor Jennifer Niesslein (@jniesslein), who is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. I’m experiencing karma. For more than a decade, I co-edited a literary magazine—I was the person who wouldn’t respond regarding your writing for three months, sometimes longer. And now, for the past nine months, I’ve been writing. It […]

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, blog, blogging, journalism, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Digital Book 2013, IDPF, BEA 2013

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Writers in the Inferno

How many authors do you know who seem more renowned among their peers than readers—not because these “thriving ink-slingers” (Michael Deacon) are writing books only other authors could love, but because their output seems to focus on these redundant how-to’s designed to crib a few more bucks from fellow would-be renowned authors?

Red Hot Internet Publicity by Penny Sansevieri

3 Ways to Improve Your Website Design

Today’s guest post is adapted from Red Hot Internet Publicity by Penny Sansevieri. Between Los Angeles and Las Vegas there’s a stretch of I-15 that’s just barren desert with you, sand, a cactus or two, a few vultures hoping to get lucky, and endless billboards. Most people speed down this stretch of highway as fast […]

You've Got a Book in You by Elizabeth Sims

To Be Great, Strive to Be Ordinary

The following guest post from Elizabeth Sims is adapted from her newest book, You’ve Got a Book in You, from Writer’s Digest. As you plunge into writing your book, here’s the main thing to do: Strive for the ordinary. Because that’s what the greats do. If I were a person who used vulgarities, I would […]

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, blog, blogging, journalism, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Digital Book 2013, IDPF, BEA 2013

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Are Your Books’ Covers Sexist?

Writing on the Ether provides selected news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Ether for Authors—another gas—runs on Mondays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives. London on the Ether, a new UK-related edition of the column, has recently had its debut at TheBookseller.com

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 […]

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, blog, blogging, journalism, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Springtime for Librarians

Writing on the Ether provides selected news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Ether for Authors—another gas—runs on Mondays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives. London on the Ether, a new UK-related edition of the column, has recently had its debut at TheBookseller.com

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 […]

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, blog, blogging, journalism, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Agents and Authors at the Coalface

Writing on the Ether provides selected news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Ether for Authors—another gas—runs on Mondays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives. London on the Ether, a new UK-related edition of the column, has recently had its debut at TheBookseller.com

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 […]

blogging for writers

2 Strategic and Compelling Reasons to Keep Blogging—Plus When to Kill a Blog

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is from Dan Blank (@DanBlank) and covers a topic that was recently addressed on this site by L.L. Barkat: the value of blogging. If you remember, Barkat advised writers to stop blogging. For the other side of the story, I’ve asked Dan to offer reasons to keep blogging. In […]

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.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

WRITING ON THE ETHER: ‘They’re Letting the Authors In!’

Writing on the Ether provides selected news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Join us on Mondays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives for the new Ether for Authors column.

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 […]

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Publishing’s Masks Need To Come Off

Writing on the Ether provides selected news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Join us on Mondays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives for the new Ether for Authors column.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

WRITING ON THE ETHER: You Stinking Gatekeeper

Writing on the Ether provides selected news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Join us on Mondays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives for the new Ether for Authors column.

Fine-Tuning Fiction by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Your Story Opening: Shock vs. Seduction

A reader is drawn into a story in one of two ways: shocked or seduced. This is called the hook, and it must be in the first three paragraphs of the text, preferably in the first sentence. The hook also sets up the initial pace of the story, which is maintained through the beginning of the tale.

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.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Authors Need Random House on Board

Writers in the Spotlight: How To Turn Your Readings Into Book Sales with Porter Anderson Join me in this spe­cial three-hour inten­sive Boot Camp ses­sion at Writer’s Digest Conference East (#WDCE) at 12:30pET on Fri­day, April 5. We’ll look at pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tion for the entre­pre­neur­ial author in an interactive, up-on-your-feet workshop format: come with two […]

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

WRITING ON THE ETHER: The “W” in AWP

Writing on the Ether is a collection of news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Join us on Tuesdays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives for the new Ether for Authors column.

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.

Flickr / Eole

If You Struggle With Plot, Here’s How to Think About It Differently

The notion of “plot” is a misconception that leads too many writers to get confused and focus on all the wrong things. Instead, writers should focus on using the plot-free concept of series. A series is the repetition and variation of a narrative element within a story, the process of improvement or deterioration which creates the narrative arc.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, DBW, #DBW13, Publishers Launch, Authors Launch, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, The Bookseller, TheFutureBook, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, #LBF13, London Book Fair, Digital Minds

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Dissing Discoverability

Writing on the Ether is a collection of news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Join us on Tuesdays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives for the new Ether for Authors column.

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 […]

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Flying Futurists

Writing on the Ether is a collection of news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Join us on Tuesdays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives for the new Ether for Authors column.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, DBW, #DBW13, Publishers Launch, Authors Launch, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, The Bookseller, TheFutureBook

EXTRA ETHER: A Good Day for the (R)evolution

Writing on the Ether is a collection of news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Join us on Tuesdays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives for the new Ether for Authors column.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, DBW, #DBW13, Publishers Launch, Authors Launch, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, The Bookseller, TheFutureBook, Foyles

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Authors Have Their Day

Writing on the Ether is a collection of news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Join us on Tuesdays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives for the new Ether for Authors column.

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 […]

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, DBW, #DBW13, Publishers Launch, Authors Launch, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, The Bookseller, TheFutureBook, Foyles

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Comparative Literature

Writing on the Ether is a collection of news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Join us on Tuesdays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives for the new Ether for Authors column.

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 […]