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 […]

E-publishing

The Best E-Publishing Resources

Here’s a list of what I consider to be the most trusted resources on e-books and e-publishing. If you think I’ve missed a critical resource, please let me know in the comments. Last updated: October 2015. The Independent Publishing Magazine by Mick Rooney. Invaluable reviews of just about every publishing service out there. Digital Book […]

Paradigm shift

Distinguishing Between Straight-Up Advice and Paradigm Shift

A couple weeks ago I wrote a column for Writer Unboxed, “Should You Focus on Your Writing or Platform?” In short, I said it’s a balancing act, but there are times when you should probably emphasize one over the other. It generated more than 100 responses, many insightful and valuable, from working writers, established authors, […]

author, authors, book, critic, criticism, critique, e-book, e-reader, ebook, publishing, publisher, writer, writing, Jane Friedman, VQR, Virginia Quarterly Review, University of Cincinnati, University of Virginia, UVA, Charlottesville, Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Microsoft, Google, Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent, reading, Joe Wikert, Tim O'Reilly, Mike Cane, Don Linn, Jenn Webb, Kat Meyer, pundits, Department of Justice, DoJ, legacy publishers, Apple, lawsuit, Bookigee, WriterCube, Kristen McLean, Mike Shatzkin, Mathew Ingram, Jason Allen Ashlock, Rachelle Gardner, auction, L.L. Barkat, Rumors of Water, George Davis, Kevin Franco, FrancoMedia, Enthrill Books, PackaDRM, social DRM, watermark, Pottermore, J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter

Writing on the Ether: Death to DRM

Kevin Franco of Calgary’s Enthrill Books has come to the Ether, wise man that he is, to announce to you that PackaDRM — a new “social DRM” watermarking process of what he calls “Digital Rights Messaging” — is going to be made available to publishers and to authors who might be interested in using it.

Aurelio Asiain / Flickr

What Can Stop Your Career From Ever Starting

Today’s guest post is by Emily Latham. Emily has been one of my students this past academic year at the University of Cincinnati and will graduate soon. In response to Jonathan Fields’ new release, Uncertainty, she wrote the following. The honesty was so remarkable that I asked her if she’d allow me to share her […]

Superdog by Laura Diehl

It’s OK to Leave Stuff Out. In Fact, It’s Better

When I was in 5th grade, my mom spent hours working on a middle-grade novel. These were the days before word processing, so she used an old Smith Corona electric typewriter. It became a fixture on the dining room table. Eager to follow in her footsteps, I conceived my own novel. I bought a spiral-bound […]

Kevin Pogo Curtis

Love Letter to Cincinnati (#1)

I’ve visited New York City more times than I care to remember—always for work. Sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes not. But I always know for sure: I’m not part of those who live and work in that city. Living in Cincinnati these past 14 years means I’m invisible in most publishing industry circles—not so unlike […]

Jane Friedman at 2012 National Magazine Awards

Does Quality Always Win?

I had the very good fortune of attending this year’s National Magazine Awards in New York City. Even though I’m not yet officially on staff of the Virginia Quarterly Review, I was able to tag along and see if any of the three nominations would turn into wins. (Sadly, not this year.) The final award […]

author, authors, book, critic, criticism, critique, e-book, e-reader, ebook, publishing, publisher, writer, writing, Jane Friedman, VQR, Virginia Quarterly Review, University of Cincinnati, University of Virginia, UVA, Charlottesville, Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Microsoft, Google, Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent, reading, Joe Wikert, Mike Cane, Don Linn, Jenn Webb, Kat Meyer, pundits, Department of Justice, DoJ, legacy publishers, Apple, lawsuit, Bookigee, WriterCube, Kristen McLean, Mike Shatzkin, Mathew Ingram, Sotheby's, The Scream, Edvard Munch, Fran Toolan, Jason Allen Ashlock, Rachelle Gardner, auction, L.L. Barkat, Rumors of Water

Writing on the Ether: Worth More Than 1,000 Words

Detail of the Munch from Sotheby’s Twitter feed with news of the sale.   Note from Jane: For the first time ever, you will notice a sponsor this month for Writing on the Ether by Porter Anderson. Our initial sponsor is L.L. Barkat, author of Rumors of Water, as well as the managing editor behind Tweetspeak Poetry. […]

The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg

2 Questions You Should Memorize for Networking Events

Right now I’m teaching a senior capstone course that prepares e-media seniors to graduate and enter the workforce. There are two required texts: The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg and Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields. Why these two books? The Ellsberg book focuses on all the practical stuff you don’t get taught in school (at […]

Daniel Torday

Obsessing Over Your Manuscript’s Size

There are few things more obsessed over by writers than word count: required word count, in-progress word count, goal word count per day/week/month, words that were cut, words in the final version. So I love Daniel Torday’s essay in the newest Glimmer Train bulletin, “The Secret Lives of Novellas.” It begins like this: The Great […]

Electric Speed: Best tools & resources for writers in the digital age

3 Resources to Help You With Tech

Last week, I asked for your insight regarding: What Makes You Anxious or Fearful About Tech? There are 85 comments and more coming in each day! I also received some wonderful private responses via e-mail. While we’re far from “getting to the bottom” of the issue, we’re exploring it in a meaningful way, and I […]

Digital Native / Flickr

How Do You Balance Writing With Platform Building?

I’m often asked, “How much time should I spend on writing and how much on building my platform?” It’s a difficult question to answer. After a very long preface, I attempt to offer guidelines over at my column on Writer Unboxed. Should You Focus on Writing or Your Platform? I hope you’ll take a look, […]

author, authors, book, critic, criticism, critique, e-book, e-reader, ebook, publishing, publisher, writer, writing, Jane Friedman, VQR, Virginia Quarterly Review, University of Cincinnati, University of Virginia, UVA, Charlottesville, Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google, Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent, reading, Joe Wikert, Mike Cane, Don Linn, Jenn Webb, Kat Meyer, pundits, Department of Justice, DoJ, legacy publishers, Apple, lawsuit, Bookigee, WriterCube, Kristen McLean, TOC Latin America, Buenos Aires, London Book Fair, Mike Shatzkin, Mathew Ingram

Writing on the Ether: Springtime for Amazon

It’s springtime for Amazon, and there’s more than one evolving new slant on the massive retailer in play at the moment. Between the monkey chatter and the growls of slow-moving traditionalists, hear it? A skip in the usual drumbeats. A new syncopation in the publishing jungle.

Twilight Zone creature on plane

What Makes You Anxious & Fearful About Tech?

Today I’m looking for your insight on a phenomenon I see a lot with people over a certain age: fearfulness and anxiety around tech. Those of you who’ve followed my posts for a while know how much I promote the use of new media in a writing career. I think it can make it more […]

Flickr / tq2cute

3 Horrible Mistruths About Social Media That Drive Me Insane

This post really needs no introduction. Let’s just get to the rant, in my favored numbered list format. “Who cares what you had for lunch?” Your excuse for hating social media is that people talk about what they’re eating? You know what the problem is? You have boring friends with no personality. Find someone worthwhile to […]

Delacroix, Faust Trying to Seduce Margarete (detail)

Perfecting Your First Page: 3 Tasks or Exercises

Over the weekend, I was a speaker at the Missouri Writers Guild conference (a terrific group of people and an impeccably run event). One of my sessions focused on evaluating the first page of your novel or memoir manuscript. Here are 3 of the best exercises or tasks you might undertake when thinking about your […]

Flickr / Giovanni Orlando

Is Your Work Commercially Viable?

Writers often ask, “How do I get published?” But I don’t like to answer that question until I know what exactly they’re trying to publish. I’d say at least 50% of new writers are attempting to publish a work that would be deemed commercially unviable by a Big Six house, at least as initially conceived. […]

author, authors, book, critic, criticism, critique, e-book, e-reader, ebook, publishing, publisher, writer, writing, Jane Friedman, VQR, Virginia Quarterly Review, University of Cincinnati, University of Virginia, UVA, Charlottesvill, Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google, Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent, reading, Joe Wikert, David Carr, Mike Cane, Don Linn, Jenn Webb, Kat Meyer, pundits, Department of Justice, DoJ, legacy publishers, Apple, lawsuit

Writing on the Ether: Pundits Over the Edge

Table of Contents Post-DoJ: Pundits over the edge From TOC Bologna: The kids’ market Post-DoJ: Pushing and shoving Speaking for Amazon: Larry Kirshbaum Post-DoJ: DRM dreams Post-DoJ: But could no-DRM benefit Amazon? The Pulitzer’s shame: Patchett and Corrigan Industry in collapse: The strain is showing ‘Social’ media: Patently decent Blogging: How to make a correction […]

Brian Hathcock / Flickr

Writing & Publishing Terminology 101

Today I’m revisiting a few of the basics of getting published. (There are always people new to the writing and publishing community who need the info!) If you like this post, definitely check out Start Here: How to Get Your Book Published. What are submission guidelines? Also called writers guidelines, submission guidelines are instructions from […]

Writer's Digest May/June 2011

The Basics of DIY E-Book Publishing

In the latest issue of Writer’s Digest to hit the newsstands (May/June 2012), you’ll find my feature article on “The Basics of DIY E-Book Publishing.” Here’s a brief excerpt where I discuss what you need to consider before you e-publish: Even though e-books are skyrocketing in adoption, ask these questions before you begin: • Do your […]

CDG airport

An Author Who Markets Her E-Books in Airports

Today’s guest post is by Ann Okerson. Ann shared the following story on a listserv I belong to, and I asked her permission to share it with you, because I find it fascinating and instructive for authors everywhere. The other day I was sitting at Dulles airport, awaiting my flight to Hartford, Connecticut, reading a book […]

Vintage lady reading

The Future of Reading: The Syllabus

I recently received the following request from a friend & former classmate: Can you suggest a few key / huge / current books on the evolution of e-books and e-media, especially in the face of print culture? Theory, numbers, personal essays, experiences? How print and electronic texts augment each other or not? What a great […]

author, authors, book, critic, criticism, critique, e-book, e-reader, ebook, publishing, publisher, writer, writing, Jane Friedman, VQR, Virginia Quarterly Review, University of Cincinnati, Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google, Craig Mod, James Scott Bell, Rachelle Gardner, Q2 Music, Profile Books, Frankenstein, Dave Morris, inkle, Jon Ingold, app, literary app, Dominique Raccah, New York Magazine, Sourcebooks, Jessica Grose, romance, smut, Elizabeth S. Craig, Riley Adams, Mystery Writing is Murder, Nathan Bransford

Writing on the Ether: The Monsters We Create

“What other industries permit agency pricing? In what other sector do you find manufacturers setting the prices and retailers having to, essentially, like it or lump it at a certain percentage?”

Peter Bowerman

Freelance Success Is About Process, Not Personality

The following interview with Peter Bowerman is excerpted from How They Did It by Diana Bocco, a collection of Q&A with 25 writers on how they earn a living through their writing. Peter Bowerman is well known in the writing world for earning a six-figure income from his writing for more than a decade. He’s the author […]

Naive Chaos by Dr. Motte

Why It’s OK to Be Naïve

Today’s guest post is by writer Nick Thacker. Many “normal people” ultimately fail to achieve what they set out to achieve. They’ll struggle for years subsisting on a 9-5 dead-end job, keeping that unfinished manuscript in a drawer—socking away 10% of their income until their blissful-yet-underwhelming retirement. It’s not very encouraging, is it? Let me tell […]

Electric Speed Newsletter

Groundbreaking Tools for Creating E-Books

In my latest e-newsletter over the weekend, I shared three new tools for creating e-books. If you missed it, then you can view the newsletter here. Click here to sign up and receive future sends—or view the archives first. Each newsletter focuses on new tools and resources for writers. (Your address is never spammed or sold.)

3 Best Sites to Stretch Thinking

3 Websites to Stretch Your Thinking

I’ve always believed in sharing the resources I use to stay current and fresh in my thinking about writing and publishing—no matter how advanced or niche those sources are. With that in mind, I recommend the following 3 sites. Lean Back 2.0. This is a fairly new blog by The Economist. If you’re not familiar […]

Let It Rain by Tomcat mtl

3 Possibilities for Defeating Writer’s Block

Today’s guest post is by Chris Rosales. Writer’s block. Damn. What was I gonna say? It happens to all of us. My own particular method of avoidance is to pretend it does not exist. As Marcus Aurelius said, “Eliminate the sense of injury, and one eliminates the injury.” But what if we find ourselves blocked […]

author, authors, book, critic, criticism, critique, e-book, e-reader, ebook, publishing, publisher, writer, writing, Jane Friedman, VQR, Virginia Quarterly Review, University of Cincinnati, Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Magnum Photos, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Pottermore, Harry Potter, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google, Sony Reader, Peter Ginna, Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown, Bloomsbury Press, Jonah Lehrer, Imagine: How Creativity Works, Litopia, JK Rowling, TheFutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Craig Mod, James Scott Bell, Rachelle Gardner, Q2 Music

Writing on the Ether: New E-Reading Numbers

One publisher joins the discussion of authors and agents; a fifth of surveyed Americans have read an ebook; Pottermore is off to a bustling start; and still we look for ways to make craft, creativity, and business work together. On the Ether.

VQR logo

My New Job at the Virginia Quarterly Review

It’s hard to a remember a happier day than when I was offered a position at the University of Cincinnati as an assistant professor. I was looking forward to many years (decades, I thought) focused on teaching. After two years at UC, I can say the job is everything I had hoped for—and more. I […]

Facebook grunge logo

5 Principles for Using Facebook

It’s difficult to give advice about Facebook because it keeps changing—in structure, functionality, and effectiveness. For instance, I used to think accepting all friend requests for my personal profile was a workable policy, as long as I kept everyone organized in lists. But now that Facebook has a subscribe-to-profile feature, it doesn’t make sense to friend […]

Brad Beauregard

Writers Should Struggle Against Style

I often hear writers say they’re struggling to find their voice or their style. So it was unexpected to read this piece from Brad Beauregard about avoiding the adoption of a style. Here’s a brief excerpt: Sometimes writers talk about style as something you can pick up when you buy groceries, something you might stumble […]

The Future of Publishing: Enigma Variations

The Future of Publishing: 14 Variations (Now Free!)

Last year, on April 1, I released an e-book, The Future of Publishing: Enigma Variations. It was mostly an April Fool’s Joke—a joke that cost you $1.99. (Read a full description here, plus reviews.) In this 39-page PDF, I offer 14 possible scenarios for the future of publishing … exaggerated scenarios. But in the final variation, […]

The Nervous Breakdown

My Latest Thoughts on Literary + Tech

  In the past couple weeks, I’ve been interviewed as part of a couple pieces from others in the literary community: Chicago Publishes Podcast: These folks caught me at AWP 2012 after my panel on The Tech-Empowered Writer. Other interviewees include Dennis Johnson, Jotham Burello, and Michael Downe. [Unfortunately, their website has folded, and the podcast […]