Benjamin Percy

Avoid Opening With Dialogue

It’s a typical pet peeve of editors and agents: Stories that begin with dialogue. In the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, author Benjamin Percy explains why a dialogue opening is so often ineffective: When a reader first picks up a story, they are like a coma patient—fluttering open their eyes in an unfamiliar world, wondering, where am […]

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks, Joanna Penn, J.F. Penn, Prophecy, ARKANE Thriller, The Creative Penn, TheCreativePenn, Steven Pressfield, Steve Pressfield, The War of Art, Turning Pro

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Olive Branch

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.

Leaving Feedburner for MailChimp

Why I Stopped Using Feedburner to Serve My Blog Subscribers

  Update: March 21, 2013 For two months, I used Feedblitz to deliver my posts via e-mail to blog subscribers, but then moved to MailChimp in mid-October 2012. Feedblitz performed exactly as advertised and is a good service. However, I already use MailChimp for other e-mail newsletters, and I find its UI (user interface) to […]

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks, Joanna Penn, J.F. Penn, Prophecy, ARKANE Thriller, The Creative Penn, TheCreativePenn, Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro, The War of Art

EXTRA ETHER: Shadowy Platforms

Writing on the Ether is currently sponsored by author, Internet entrepreneur, and international speaker J.F. Penn and her new book, Prophecy, an ARKANE thriller. 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.

Haole Wood by Dee DeTarsio

A Small-Budget Advertising Experiment

Today’s guest post is by Dee DeTarsio. While it is more of a brief advertising anecdote than a serious ad campaign with strong conclusions, many authors ask me about online advertising (where, why, how). But I find it difficult to offer concrete advice on the matter since so much depends on the place where you […]

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks, Joanna Penn, J.F. Penn, Prophecy, ARKANE Thriller, The Creative Penn, TheCreativePenn, Dan Stevens, Man Booker, Downton Abbey

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Cleans Up

Writing on the Ether is currently sponsored by author, Internet entrepreneur, and international speaker J.F. Penn and her new book, Prophecy, an ARKANE thriller. 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.

Rejection

Tips for Dealing With Rejection + Other Success Strategies

Earlier this week, I was the featured interviewee over at Andrea Hurst’s Authornomics series. I answer questions such as: What’s the most important thing a writer should focus on to grow their career? What are some tips for dealing with rejection? How can self-publishing authors be successful in an ever-changing environment? Click here to read […]

The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood

5 Remarkable Writing Prompt & Exercise Books

After working at Writer’s Digest for a decade-plus, I saw more than my fair share of writing exercise/prompt books—plus I also acquired and edited quite a few. Writing prompts have always been an ever-popular topic of discussion (and usefulness) for writers, regardless of stage of career. Here I’d like to share what I found to […]

Virginia Quarterly Review

A Little Bit About My Work at VQR

Yesterday, over at Neal Abbott’s blog, I answered a few questions about my new job at the Virginia Quarterly Review, what VQR does (plus when and what to submit if you want to be published there), and my latest favorite things related to social media. The last question Neal asked: 3 things that most people […]

Author Solutions and Pearson

Is the Author Solutions Acquisition a Good Thing for Authors?

Yesterday, news broke that Pearson (parent company of Penguin) had acquired Author Solutions for $116 million. Read the basics here. Just to make sure we’re all up to speed: Pearson is one of the Big Six publishers. Author Solutions (ASI) is the world’s leading provider of self-publishing services, primarily dealing in print-on-demand (POD) publishing and […]

KFUN radio

Notes From My On-Air Interview With Writer’s Block

Last week, I was a guest on KFUN radio, where I offered advice and insights for writers. Topics covered: First steps in creating an online presence Resources for e-publishing How to determine the best tools for marketing and promoting your books 3 tips on effective blogging Click here to read a full summary of the […]

Seeking Feedback From My E-mail Subscribers

This post is directed at anyone who reads this blog via e-mail subscription. (That means if you’re reading message this inside your e-mail account, I’m talking to you.) I am considering a new service to deliver my blog posts to your inbox. The end result may look quite different than it does now, but before […]

Question mark

How to Impress the People You Interview (and Be Professional)

Today’s guest post is from author Christina Katz. Her most recent book is The Writer’s Workout. Not too long ago I received a formal interview request, which was well executed, so I said I would make time for the interview. Once we got on the phone, the interviewer said, “Okay, go ahead.” I thought, “Oh […]

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks, Will Entrekin, Exciting Press, The Prodigal Hour

EXTRA ETHER: Will DIY Pay for R&D?

Writing on the Ether is currently sponsored by author and publisher Will Entrekin and his book The Prodigal Hour from Exciting Press. The Ether is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday.

Electric Speed newsletter by Jane Friedman

3 Worthwhile Reading Tools (Plus 3 Sources for Great Reads)

Today I sent out the latest issue of my e-newsletter, which focuses on three tools for reading on digital platforms. I also share three of my favorite sources for “long reads,” including: Longreads Byliner Atavist Click here to view the newsletter, and click here to subscribe and never miss a future issue.

Double arrow sign

Should You Self-Host Your Blog or Website?

Update: I’ve written more advice on this topic at Self-Hosting Your Author Website: How and Why to Do It. Recently I was asked why authors should self-host their own blog or website. First, what does self-host mean? It means that you don’t use a free service to run your blog or website. The most popular free services […]

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks, Will Entrekin, Exciting Press, The Prodigal Hour

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Silly Season

Writing on the Ether is currently sponsored by author and publisher Will Entrekin and his book The Prodigal Hour from Exciting Press. 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.

Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

The Reader Must Want to Know What Happens Next

Today’s post is excerpted from Wired for Story by Lisa Cron, just released from Ten Speed Press. We think in story. It’s hardwired in our brain. It’s how we make strategic sense of the otherwise overwhelming world around us. Simply put, the brain constantly seeks meaning from all the input thrown at it, yanks out […]

Danielle Lazarin

Why Write When Others Write So Much Better?

Every writer I know can identify with the following: I was only halfway through Stuart Dybek’s I Sailed with Magellan when I decided I should just give up on writing altogether; that the intimacy he achieves with childhood and adolescence was more than I could ever imagine accomplishing, and I wanted to leave it to […]

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks, Will Entrekin, Exciting Press, The Prodigal Hour

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Independence

Writing on the Ether is currently sponsored by author and publisher Will Entrekin and his book The Prodigal Hour from Exciting Press. 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.

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks, Will Entrekin, Exciting Press, The Prodigal Hour

EXTRA ETHER: eBooks Gone in 5 Years?

Writing on the Ether is currently sponsored by author and publisher Will Entrekin and his book The Prodigal Hour from Exciting Press. 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. Because it is a long post, each edition includes a table of contents to help you move quickly to sections of the article you’d like to reach quickly. When you click on a table of contents listing, the URL generated can be sent to others to direct them to that specific section.

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks, Will Entrekin, Exciting Press, The Prodigal Hour

WRITING ON THE ETHER: They, the Readers

Writing on the Ether is currently sponsored by author and publisher Will Entrekin and his book The Prodigal Hour from Exciting Press. 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. Because it is a long post, each edition includes a table of contents to help you move quickly to sections of the article you’d like to reach quickly. When you click on a table of contents listing, the URL generated can be sent to others to direct them to that specific section.

The Birds Tree by ploop26 / DeviantArt

Why Self-Publishing Is a Tragic Term

Today’s guest post is by Ed Cyzewski. You may recall him from his previous post here, When Self-Publishing Is More Useful as a Marketing Tool. My friend Shawn recently released a book that shares his journey into full-time writing. It involves a failed small business, $50,000 in debt, a difficult return to his parents’ basement, […]

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks, Will Entrekin, Exciting Press, Nick Earls

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Clear Surface

Writing on the Ether is a collection of news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) for Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) and appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Because it is a long post, each edition includes a table of contents to help you move quickly to sections of the article you’d like to reach quickly. When you click on a table of contents listing, the URL generated can be sent to others to direct them to that specific section. Writing on the Ether is currently sponsored by Will Entrekin and his Exciting Press, and features Nick Earls’ book, Perfect Skin.

Crowd by James Cridland

Are You Making This Marketing Mistake?

Today’s guest post is from Jason Kong. When your goal is to sell ideas, books, or yourself, it’s easy to think that the key is to target strangers. People unfamiliar with your writing seems like the best opportunity to reach new readers. The problem is that even if you’re just looking to create awareness, talking […]

How Dads Influenced Some Famous Writers

My dad once told me I could do or be anything I wanted. Apparently that’s the same thing author Patricia Bosworth was told by her dad. Dads seem to enjoy sharing this advice with their daughters. In honor of Father’s Day, the folks at Open Road Media have produced a video where famous writers discuss […]

Trademark symbol

Trademark Is Not a Verb: Guidelines From a Trademark Lawyer

Today’s guest post is from lawyer Brad Frazer. He has also written two other posts for this blog: Copyright Is Not a Verb and Is It Fair Use? 7 Questions to Ask Before Using Copyrighted Material. I bet I get one call or e-mail per day from someone wishing  to “trademark” something.  “Hey, Brad,” they […]

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks, Will Entrekin, Exciting Press, Nick Earls

WRITING ON THE ETHER: uAreWhich?

Writing on the Ether is a collection of news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) for Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) and appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Because it is a long post, each edition includes a table of contents to help you move quickly to sections of the article you’d like to reach quickly. When you click on a table of contents listing, the URL generated can be sent to others to direct them to that specific section. Writing on the Ether is currently sponsored by Will Entrekin and his Exciting Press, and features Nick Earls’ book, Perfect Skin.

Video: Changes in Publishing & Self-Publishing

Some of you may have heard about the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), a new organization supporting self-published authors. I’m one of the advisors, along with Mark Coker (Smashwords), Joanna Penn (Creative Penn), and Victoria Strauss (SFWA), among other well-known publishing professionals. I discuss reasons for moving to VQR, changes in publishing and self-publishing and […]

It Takes an Egg Timer by Joanne Tombrakos

There Are Two Kinds of “Busy.” Is Yours the Good Kind?

The following is excerpted from It Takes an Egg Timer: A Guide to Creating the Time for Your Life by Joanne Tombrakos (@JoanneTombrakos). It’s a brief but essential guide about how to get stuff done, while also helping you understand when and how self-sabotage occurs! Find out more on Amazon, or visit the author’s website. Technology’s […]

Writer's Digest & HOW Books team photo

Love Letter to Cincinnati (#4)

It will be hard to think back on Cincinnati without thinking about F+W, the whole reason I moved to the city in the first place. It was a promising and lucky career start, even though I wanted to leave the company— and city—initially. I had dreams of joining Peace Corps or teaching English in Korea. […]

Kitty Cornered by Bob Tarte

How One Introverted Author Successfully Markets His Work

The following Q&A is with author Bob Tarte. Bob lives in Michigan with parrots, ducks, geese, parakeets, rabbits, doves, cats, hens, and one turkey. I met Bob at a Florida writers conference, where he was speaking about the success of his pet podcast. He has published three books with Algonquin; the latest, Kitty Cornered: How Frannie and Five […]

How to Blog a Book by Nina Amir

How Long Does It Take to Get Blog Readers?

The following advice is excerpted from How to Blog a Book by Nina Amir, recently released from Writer’s Digest Books. Aside from describing in detail how to launch and maintain a blog to ultimately land a book deal, Amir’s book offers a range of valuable interviews with successful bloggers who succeeded in doing just that. […]

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Hustling: How to Spread the Word About Your Work

The following advice is excerpted from The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau. For longtime readers of my blog, you probably know how often I recommend Chris’s invaluable and free manifesto, 279 Days to Overnight Success. His latest book, The […]

Silas Dent Zobal

Fiction Is About What We Can’t Say

If you write fiction, then you don’t want to miss the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, which features three wonderful essays focusing on craft. One of the essays, by Silas Dent Sobal, is a powerful meditation on both how things die and how one writes fiction. Here’s how it starts: I have a sense that what […]

Facebook strategy

Facebook Strategy for Authors: In-Depth Discussion

If you’re like most authors I know, you’ve wondered about how to best use Facebook. Should you stick to your personal page, should you create a fan page, how do you promote a fan page, and what exactly does a marketing strategy look like on Facebook? I’ve written several posts addressing the basics, as well […]

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Apples Cored

There are untold hurdles ahead in this vast, digitally enabled terra nova of self-publishing at our feet. When new writers ask me what to do, these days I suggest they wait, whether they’re looking for a DIY or traditional approach.

Platform by Michael Hyatt

Top 10 Blog Traffic Killers

The following advice is from Michael Hyatt’s newest release, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. The book is one of the most comprehensive guides on building an effective platform I’ve seen. Both beginning writers and established authors will find excellent and insightful instruction. Assuming you want to increase your blog traffic, there are certain mistakes […]

Everyday Writing by Midge Raymond

No Excuse Not to Write: 10 Five-Minute Writing Prompts

The following is excerpted from Everyday Writing by Midge Raymond. The book is meant for anyone with a passion to write but never quite enough time. Find out more at the publisher’s website or view on Amazon. Why take the time for writing prompts? Writing exercises can help our writing in ways we don’t know until […]

Love Letter to Cincinnati (#3)

Note: Read the earlier installments in this series, #1 and #2. My favorite places in Cincinnati are mostly tied to ritual. But I didn’t even believe in ritual until recently, around the time I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. She writes: This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human […]

Writer Unboxed

Do You Adopt a Totally Different Voice to Market Yourself?

Today I’m a guest over at Writer Unboxed, where I discuss how finding your unique writing voice is not so different from finding your marketing voice. What Authors Seem to Forget About Marketing—Especially Those Who Dislike It Here’s a brief snippet: I think we can all agree that every author has a distinct writing voice […]

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks

WRITING ON THE ETHER: The Daunting

Saints preserve us, the Bezosian Beelzebub has struck again, this time spinning his stinking seductions, pants on fire, in the High Street, itself. Publishing’s punditti and free-range bloggers have been on overdrive since Monday, of course, heaving their loudest lamentations back and forth across the Atlantic over the news that the UK bricks-and-mortar bookstore chain Waterstones has made a deal to sell Kindles.

Megaphone

Please Do Not Pay Money for an Online Ad Until You Read This

Articles about the ineffectiveness of online advertising are a dime a dozen. (See this one and this other one, from just this past WEEK!) I rarely advocate authors spend money on advertising, in part because it takes a specialized skill set to do it well. Plus you have to know how to reach your target […]

Art vs Commerce by Tom Giebel / Flickr

Starving Artist Vs. Slimy Marketer: How to Strike a Balance

Today’s guest post is from one of my UC students, Jarrod Welling-Cann. He is facing the issue—as we all do at some point—of how to making a living from his art. His thought process here is particularly relevant for any creative professional wondering about the role of marketing, sales, and promotion in the artistic life. […]

Email symbol

Yes, E-mail Still Works for Book Marketing

After last Friday’s post, 4 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Book Marketing Efforts, I received a few responses questioning the effectiveness of e-mail. Or, in other words, isn’t e-mail dead? Who reads e-mail any more? Regardless of what the biased Mark Zuckerberg says, e-mail is alive and well. (Here’s a bit of research that compares […]

Jane in Cincinnati (Mt. Adams neighborhood), 1999

Love Letter to Cincinnati (#2)

Note: Read the first installment in this series. After I graduated college, I packed up my 1985 Ford Thunderbird with all my belongings and drove to Cincinnati to start my job with F+W Publications. I didn’t know anyone in the city except my boss, Greg. He served as my only anchor for many months, so much so […]

Super Mario Mushrooms

4 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Book Marketing Efforts

When I see bad book marketing out in the wild, I wish I could do something productive to help that author (or sometimes publisher!) see how they’re wasting their time. What is bad book marketing? It’s whenever I receive: A tweet from a total stranger asking me to look at their book An e-mail from […]

Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, author, publisher, agent, books, publishing, digital, ebooks

Writing on the Ether: The Dance Darkens

Much of the ‘stupid DoJ!’ crowd noises that had followed the original filing in April were missing this week. The US District Court’s opinion suggested, wrote Jeff John Roberts at paidContent, that “Apple and the publishers may be in a deep hole.”

Broken pencil

When Self-Publishing Is More Useful As a Marketing Tool

The turning point of my long-term publishing plans came when I realized I have very little in common with author Joanna Penn. Have you heard of her? I started following Joanna on Twitter because she always shared great writing links, but I also began to follow her self-publishing story. She wrote a novel, released it […]

Mary-Jane reading

How Do You Answer “What Are You Working on Next?”

What are you working on next? is a question that always takes me by surprise (which is why it’s good advice for writers to have an answer prepared). Words gurgle in my throat. If I can’t change the subject, I mumble something about an essay or short story or blog post. I want to say My […]