3 Steps for Using Prompts to Write Better & Get Published

In January of 2007—as a New Year’s resolution—I decided I was a writer. I resolved that I would stop saying that I’d start writing “someday” and instead would sit my backside in the chair and start writing now. No more excuses. I was a writer and I would start acting like one. That was when […]

Author website strategy

Is Your Author Website Doing Its Job? 6 Things to Check

Today’s guest post is by Laura Pepper Wu, the co-founder of 30 Day Books, a book studio that provides marketing tools and resources for authors wanting to find more readers. Recently, I did some informal research about how authors view and use their websites, and the results were a little disheartening. Many authors have a website […]

Digital Literary Magazines

5 Literary Journals Born of the Digital Age

Today’s guest post is by lit addict, movie junkie, writer Emily Wenstrom. A new generation of literary journals is taking advantage of technology to offer something fresh and creative to the literary journal scene. Here are five of my favorites, ranging from those with niche audiences to those with experimental approaches. Brittle Star For the […]

Bradlee Frazer

Q&A on Copyright With an Attorney

By far, I receive the most questions from writers on copyright, mainly due to this post: When Do You Need to Secure Permissions? So I feel very lucky to have found an intellectual property lawyer, Brad Frazer, who is friendly and enthusiastic about providing answers to writers on a range of copyright issues. He’s written three other […]

Plympton: serialized fiction for digital readers

Plympton: A New Effort to Produce Successful Serial Fiction

In the past year, I’ve run two posts specifically related to serial fiction—a guest post by Roz Morris and a Q&A with Sean Platt. I also wrote a more in-depth piece for Publishing Perspectives on the topic last year. Last month, Amazon announced Kindle Serials: a new, formal publishing program, exclusive to Kindle, that focuses […]

The Novelist by L.L. Barkat

Steal Your Way to Better Writing

Today’s guest post is by poet and editor L.L. Barkat. You may remember her from an earlier guest post, You Don’t Need a Degree to Find Your Voice. “I can’t write poetry,” she said. And it was true. This girl—who read Macbeth at age twelve and argued with the commentaries, who in the same season […]

What Does It Feel Like to Have Your Book Banned?

Did you know Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg—one of the most popular books on writing of all time—was banned? In honor of Banned Books Week, the good folks at Open Road Media have put together a video featuring authors whose books have been banned—plus celebrating censored favorites. If you don’t see the video appear […]

Josh Swiller

Kitchen Sink That First Draft

Lists of writing tips are always popular (and sometimes overdone), but Josh Swiller’s 12 tips in the latest Glimmer Train bulletin are a delight to read. Two of my favorite tips, directly quoted: Kitchen sink that first draft. Throw every damn thing in there. If you aren’t sure something belongs, if you aren’t even remotely […]

Free tag

5 Free Services That Help You Build Author Platform

Today’s guest post is by Matthew Turner (@turndog_million). You may remember him from a previous post, 100 Tips to Alleviate Self-Doubt. If there’s one word that fits perfectly with an author, it’s FREE. Here are five free services that can help build your author platform. 1. Twitter Let’s get this one out of the way. It […]

author website

Building Your First Website: Resource List

When writers ask me what the most important thing they should be doing to further their career—aside from write—it’s almost always start your own website. Even if you don’t consider yourself a tech person, services have advanced to the point where an average person can establish a site without knowing code, and without hiring professional […]

Stephen King

The Stephen King Guide to Marketing

Today’s guest post is by Jason Kong. You may remember him from an earlier guest post here at JaneFriedman.com: Are You Making This Marketing Mistake? How does a writer become successful? Here’s one simple formula: Write something someone values. Get that something in front of that someone. Put another way, you need both good writing […]

Paradise Lost Office

Creating a Successful App Without Programming Skills

Today’s guest post is by Jason Braun. You may remember him from an earlier guest post here at JaneFriedman.com: If the Book Is Dead, Then Why Buy a Zombie? I like this story because it illustrates new ways of thinking about your stories or content, plus not letting lack of technical skills stop you from playing […]

Memoir by Meni's Style and A S O !

Why Is There a Surge in Memoir? Is It a Good Thing?

Today’s guest post is by Shirley Hershey Showalter, who has been blogging about memoir for four years and is writing a memoir about growing up on a Mennonite farm in the 1950s–60s. Depending on whom you ask—or what lens you apply—memoir is either a boomlet that burst or a timeless form just now coming into its own. The […]

Louisiana Book Festival

Road to Publication (Paved in Book Events)

Today’s guest post is by Darrelyn Saloom, who I first met in December 2008 at a Writer’s Digest event. Her career reached a major milestone over the summer: a book deal with Glasnevin Publishing in Ireland, which has now released My Call to the Ring, the life story of boxing champion Deirdre Gogarty. While collaborating […]

Drinking Diaries: Women Serve Their Stories Straight Up

Drinking, Writing, and Self-Discovery

More than a year ago, I participated in a Q&A over at the Drinking Diaries website, which is a forum for women to share, vent, express, and discuss their drinking stories without judgment. It was a fun experience and many wonderful comments came through, plus a couple people bluntly said they didn’t want to know the […]

Stefani Nellen

How to Distract Yourself From Trying to Impress

Do you find yourself writing descriptive passages meant to “wow” the reader? Later, do you find that such passages amount to nothing more than small talk? Or maybe you’re just tired of your current revision process? Writer Stefani Nellen stumbled on a method that has helped her attain needed distance to see her writing for what […]

Leaving Behind Your Day Job

I worked many jobs in my younger days: Papa John’s pizza delivery driver, Cedar Point amusement park employee, McDonald’s drive-thru worker, and KFC associate, just to name a few. Most writers have worked a number jobs before finding the way or the means to pursue writing full time. Open Road Media has put together a […]

The Plot Whisperer Workbook by Martha Alderson

7 Essential Elements of Scene + Scene Structure Exercise

Today’s post is excerpted from The Plot Whisperer Workbook (Adams Media, 2012) by Martha Alderson. Two lucky commenters were chosen to receive a free copy of the book: Tanette Smith and Mindy Halleck. Congratulations! In a scene, a character acts and reacts to people, places, and events. In this respect, scenes are the basic building […]

Press

How to Get More (and Better) Press

Today’s post is by freelance journalist and independent author Dana Sitar (@DanaSitar).  You’ve just released a book. You’re participating in a live reading. You’re planning a book tour. Whatever it is, you want press. While social media and blogs are a great way to share news with your audience, the value of a good article in print […]

You Should Really Write a Book

Two Deadly Sins of Memoir Writing

Today’s post is excerpted from You Should Really Write a Book by Regina Brooks and Brenda Lane Richardson. Copyright © 2012 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin. In considering memoir writing through the prism of relationships, it’s important to alert you to two deadly sins. From the standpoint of trying […]

Copyright symbol

Copyright Is Not a Verb

Today’s guest post is by copyright lawyer Brad Frazer. He has written two other posts for this site: Trademark Is Not a Verb and Is It Fair Use? 7 Questions to Ask Before Using Copyrighted Material. “I copyrighted my book by putting © on the bottom of the first page.” “This picture is on the Internet, so […]

Jane's Twitter bio

Build a Better Author Bio for Twitter

Before you decide to follow someone on Twitter, what’s the first thing you look at? Probably the bio. Let’s assume you’re on Twitter because it’s part of your author platform—whether you’re in relaxed mode or professional mode. Have you written a bio that’s likely to attract followers or turn them away? Let’s look at four […]

A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie

What Does Your Mother Think of Your Writing? Does It Matter?

Today’s post features an item excerpted from A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement (New World Library, 2012) by Barbara Abercrombie. Barbara has published 14 books and numerous essays and articles, and has taught creative writing courses for almost three decades. She lives in Santa Monica, California. Find out more at her […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]