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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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?”
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 […]
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 […]
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.)
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
Having reclaimed the fields of Pottermore here then, if only briefly, from the gabbling blog-fest, let’s talk about it from the real heart of the story. Because the only thing the readers know is the story. The only thing that makes Pottermore the slam dunk it is? — those readers who bond with that story.
Today’s guest post is from Jason Braun, who produces hip-hop sonnets from the Midwest. A year has passed since Jane Friedman’s 2011 AWP panel, “The Future of Authorship and Publishing in a Transmedia World,” and I’m still sorting through the fallout. I went to the panel with my friend Jamey Bradbury, a fine fiction writer, […]
Today’s guest post is by Dr. Sanjida O’Connell, a literary author based in the UK. Her latest book is out in paperback, Sugar Island. The Literary Novel. We all know one when we see it, although deciphering what it is or telling someone else how to spot one is problematic. In a tautological definition, literary […]
I was flattered when Paper.li reached out to me for a Q&A as part of their community interview series. They’ve titled the interview How to Get Published, and it covers a wide range of trends related to publishing, authorship, and technology. A few highlights are below; click here to read the full interview. My thanks […]
Here’s a lovely way to start your Sunday. With a nod to Women’s History Month, Open Road Media has created a 2-minute video featuring bestselling female mystery writers Ruth Rendell, Susan Isaacs, Jane Langton, Mary Burton and more, sharing their thoughts on women and writing. A couple great quotes from the video: “Being as old […]
You have to target a market. You can’t shoot for everyone. That’s the topic of my latest post over at Writer Unboxed: The Marketing Paradox: Start Small to Get Big Also check out the comments for a few points on how to research your target market and what communication strategies might be most effective in […]
It is a pleasure to share this interview with two authors who are also marketing geniuses, Avery Monsen (@averymonsen) and Jory John (@joryjohn). A couple years ago they authored a brilliant illustrated book with Chronicle, All My Friends Are Dead, which became an online sensation and breakout bestseller with more than 100,000 copies sold. This year, […]
Today’s guest post is by Ken Brosky. I asked him to share his experience because many authors have made the same mistake he has. Plus, his advice on how to do things right is spot on. In addition to his post, I recommend you read one of my rants, I Hate Press Releases—and hopefully you’ll […]
Last week, I spoke with Joanna Penn about trends in the publishing industry, e-books and self-publishing, and online marketing (and some other stuff!). You can see highlights of our conversation over at her blog, listen to the podcast, or watch the video! Here’s a brief overview of my Twitter comments, as summarized by Joanna: On […]
Today’s Q&A is with Ron Hogan. For anyone who’s worked in publishing for more than two minutes, Ron hardly needs an introduction. In 1995, he launched one of the most legendary sites in the literary community, Beatrice, which features interviews with authors. Even when Ron was working for Amazon in the late ’90s on book reviews, he kept up […]
It’s the Ides of March, and no longer do we call Caesar “ambitious” — today, he’s disruptive. We love the word, maybe too much, as coverage of the publishing empire starts with those controversial “human hotspots” at SXSW’s interactivity conclave. Aslo: Amazon Singles, publishing journalism, a Curator’s Code, Britannica, PayPal, grief engendered, more agency modeling, Margaret Atwood & Marx (not that one), Friedman, Pressfield, Chandler. Literally. Not really.
I encourage authors to use e-mail as one of the most powerful tools in their marketing arsenal. But with great power comes great responsibility, right? One of the quickest ways to turn a potential reader (or influencer!) into an enemy is to send an unsolicited message via e-mail or a social network. Here are 4 […]
A dizzying amount of copy is hitting the fan of the publishing community about the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation of “agency pricing.” This post is an off-day Writing on the Ether collection of selected writings on a potentially a key moment in the digital evolution of the industry.
Today’s guest post is from Dan Blank of We Grow Media. Author platform is about more than your homepage. Perhaps you hope your homepage embodies the essence of your writing, that it is the gateway into the world you are creating. But oftentimes, it isn’t. A website homepage is not like the cover of a […]
In the ongoing debate about how to price ebooks properly, it can seem that the author — whose personal investment and effort tops anyone else’s — is being overlooked, swatted aside.
I often advise new bloggers to identify the top blogs or communities for their target audience, and build relationships with those bloggers. (Don’t see blogging as a competition. It’s a community.) But then the question arises, how do you identify the top websites and blogs in your category or for your audience? Here are free methods […]
Here’s an absolutely fabulous and honest piece by Eugene Cross about what it feels like to study writing as an undergraduate/graduate. It reminds me of how I hoped, wished, dreamed that one of my professors would tell me, “You’re one of the students who really does have the gift. YOU should write.” That never happened. And […]
This week in Writing on the Ether: Literature and long lines / The AWP conference sits down in Chicago … Open sorcery / A call for industry-class conferences (not more AWP-level confabs) for authors … Amazon / Some embrace it, others run from it … plus book piracy, Google, Apple, reading, and Virginia Woolf (this week’s Last Gas).
This week I’ll be in Chicago for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference. I’m a panelist on “The Tech-Empowered Writer” on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. This post serves as a handy resource for anyone who attends the panel, plus all of you who will miss it. Think beyond the [analog] book Traditional authorship […]
Every author website should include these elements, whether on the homepage or elsewhere. About/bio page. I recommend a brief, professional bio (250 words or less), and a photo. You can expand in many different ways, but a short bio upfront is very helpful and essential for those looking for the quick facts. Information on your […]
Over at Writer Unboxed, where I’m a monthly contributor, I’m breaking out the principles I teach my university students: 5 Keys to Writing for an Online Audience The 5 keys are: Brevity is your friend. Make your content scannable. Clear and direct headlines get more clicks. Categorize, tag, and annotate your content wherever you go. […]