How to Research & Identify Top Websites & Blogs in Your Category

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 […]

Eugene Cross

Doubting Your Work? An Excellent Sign!

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 […]

#DBW12, #toccon, #WDC12, Amazon, author, AWP, B&N, Barnes and Noble, book, confab, conference, critic, criticism, critique, DBW, Digital Book World, e-book, e-reader, ebook, ereader, Jane Friedman, publishing, Tools of Change, writer, writing

Writing on the Ether: Literature and Long Lines

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).

AWP 2012: Tech-Empowered Writer

The Tech-Empowered Writer (AWP Panel Resources)

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 […]

Effective Website [Robert Hruzek / Flickr]

Build a More Effective Author Website

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 […]

For fun and profit, learn to write briefly

Back to Basics: 5 Keys to Online Writing

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. […]

Writing on the Ether: Amazon Speaking Softly

On Friday 23 February at 4p Eastern, I’ll be joined by Dan Blank of We Grow Media in co-guest-hosting the weekly #FollowReader Twitter chat, at the invitation of Kat Meyer, co-chair with Joe Wikert of the O’Reilly Media Tools of Change Conference (ToC) just held in New York last week. You’re invited to join us.

Tools of Change, Tim O'Reilly, O'Reilly Media, publishing, books, conference, ebook, TOC, #toccon, Porter Anderson, Writing on the Ether, Jane Friedman, Joe Wikert, Kat Meyer, New York Public Library, New York City, DBW, Digital Book World, LeVar Burton, Baratunde Thurston

Writing on the Ether: Tools of Change

ToC: Techno-calities: Locution, locution, locution. In its sixth year, the Tools of Change Conference — just closed in New York City — easily held its own as one of publishing’s two great confabs of a stressful year, the other being last month’s Digital Book World Conference + Expo. And when it comes to locution, ye shall know them by how they say “data.”

Goodreads

2 Ways to Make the Most of Goodreads

I really admire the folks at Goodreads, not just for their site, but also for the data they share with the industry, including tips for authors. (If you’re not familiar with Goodreads, imagine a Facebook for people who love to read books.) The recent Goodreads author newsletter offered a number of gems helpful for any […]

e-publishing, e-books, e-reading, self-publishing

10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to Any E-Publishing Service

Note from Jane: I updated this post on Nov. 14, 2014. With new services continually appearing on the market that promise to help writers self-publish or distribute their e-books, it’s imperative that you educate yourself about how these services typically operate and understand the fine print of any new service before deciding to commit. Note that when I discuss “services,” […]

Vatican collection / iStockphoto / hairballusa

Writing on the Ether: TOC to the Rescue

If the Digital Book World Conference helped prepare our souls for the coming travail, the battle now is joined by reinforcements, in the form of the annual Tools of Change Conference (#TOCcon). In ToC we trust.

blog to book

Please Don’t Blog Your Book: 4 Reasons Why

It’s been a trend ever since I worked full-time as a book acquisitions editor: Blog-to-book deals. I acquired or oversaw the publication of more than a dozen bloggers-turned-book-authors. Sometimes it translated into book sales, sometimes not. Point is: I know that blogs can lead to book deals. However, I want you to think twice before […]

free ebooks

7 Free E-Books for Writers

Last year, I rounded up some of the best free e-books for writers. That list deserves an update, so once again, here are the most valuable e-books and downloads that I recommend for all writers. If you know of others I should include, please leave a comment! General Advice Write Good or Die, a compilation […]

Question Mark

100 Tips to Alleviate Self-Doubt

This post is a crowdsourcing effort to come up with 100 tips to battle self-doubt. Since this post went live on January 20, 2012, we’ve been able to collect 83 distinct tips. Click here to download a 1-page handout: 83 Tips to Alleviate Self-Doubt. The original post & comments are below. If you’d like to […]

Yelizaveta P. Renfro

6 Exercises for Stronger Character Relationships

As writers, we can spend so much time “fleshing out” our characters as individuals that we forget about the connections between them. That’s why I love this piece by Yelizaveta P. Renfro that offers six concrete ways to think about your characters’ relationships. Here’s an example of one of the exercises: Bury your characters. Imagine […]

Macca / Flickr

3 Numbers That Matter to Your Platform

Nonfiction authors have probably heard the refrain, “Build your platform! Build your platform!” but may not know what a strong platform looks like. Every platform is different (we are all unique individuals!), but here are 3 specific numbers that can come in handy when proving the size, strength, or impact of your online platform, especially in […]

Local Japan Times / Flickr

4 Ways to Find the Right Freelance Editor

Today’s guest post is from author and copyeditor C.S. Lakin. Whether you plan to submit your manuscript to an agent or publisher, or intend to self-publish, you’ve probably heard considerable advice about hiring an editor. (If you’re still wondering if the investment is worth it, read Jane’s post on the matter.) This post assumes you’ve […]

Writer Unboxed

5 Attitudes Toward Publishing You Should Avoid

Today I’m over at Writer Unboxed, discussing the types of attitudes that make me want to issue red-flag warnings to writers. They are: If I can’t get a deal soon, I’m self-publishing. I just want to get my book published. Quality is subjective, and I don’t need a professional editor. I just need someone to […]

Writing on the Ether: Digital Book World

There’s something about the stance of writers in the publishing community right now that isn’t quite what it should be. I don’t have to get too specific in describing this. It’s never more evident than at this time of year when two of our biggest conferences are choreographed to pass in the night.

Design Act 2010

Seeking Your Feedback on the Reading Experience

As some of you may be aware, over the past month I overhauled my site design. I’m continuing to tweak and improve the experience and would value your feedback, especially from those of you who read my posts regularly on the site (rather than via e-mail or RSS feeds). One thing I’ll soon change is […]

Red Maple by Bruce / Flickr

Placing Too Much Importance on Passion

Passion has become a cheap word. I’m starting to roll my eyes when I hear it. But it hasn’t always been this way. It all started when I read a 2010 post by Siddhartha Herdegen, “Why You Don’t Need Passion to Be Successful.” It was the first time I questioned one of my dearly held personal […]

iStockphoto / joshblake

Writing on the Ether: SOPA Bubble

Your hot seat awaits at the Writer’s Digest Conference and Digital Book World Conference in New York. Not since Margaret Mitchell fanned those other flames has the industry gathered in so superheated a salon of controversies for the kickoff of its annual ConfabWorld season. Can’t be there? No problem. Keep these hashtags handy: #wdc12 and #dbw12. We’ll be sure some smoke gets in your eyes.

E-Book Sales 2011

E-Book Statistics For Authors to Watch

This weekend, I’ll be speaking at the Writer’s Digest Conference about e-publishing. I’m in the process of updating my slides and information about e-book sales—which can be a confusing and murky issue since the reporting of such sales is not as standardized as print book sales (yet). Meaning: You can not only find various data […]

Jane Friedman speaking at the 2011 Writer's Digest Conference

Must-Attend Sessions: 2012 Writer’s Digest Conference

Once again, I’ll be speaking at the annual Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City this coming weekend. They have an incredible line-up of keynote speakers (plus the infamous pitch slam), but when it comes to breakout sessions, I’d like to share my picks for writers trying to get traditionally published. Pitch Perfect (Friday, 6 […]

© The fantastic Tom Gauld

Why Isn’t Literary Fiction Getting More Attention?

Today’s guest post is from April Line, a freelance writer and writing teacher. Read her previous guest post for this site, Can Children Develop Adequately Without Books?, and visit her online at April Line Writing. When I was in the home stretch of my liberal arts studies, something kind of shitty happened. I got pregnant. Being […]

Joe Vastano

Why Creative People Are Walking Paradoxes

In the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, Joe Vastano has a lovely essay on how writers have to acknowledge the duality inside them in order to achieve artistic triumph. I couldn’t agree more. Here’s a brief snippet: Creative people are walking paradoxes; both shrewd and naïve, libidinous yet prudish, and so on. I believe that this […]

iStockphoto / Uchar

Writing on the Ether: Libraries Vs. the World

It wouldn’t hurt our congregation of publishing to catch a church-window reflection of how we look engaging in one industry-wide panic after the next. Our energetic knees-up exercises of feverish fellowship seem so frequent nowadays that we might as well schedule them and put out a bulletin.

Closed for Business / Maistora / Flickr

Do You Hold E-Rights to Your Traditionally Published Book?

I recently received this very challenging question and scenario from traditionally published author Dr. Liz Alexander. I have an issue with one of my publishers and don’t really understand where I stand. Last year Octopus Publishing (who took over Gaia, publisher of four of my highly illustrated best sellers, including The Book of Chakra Healing […]

Brad Listi's Other People

How “Literary” and “Entrepreneur” Are Becoming Intertwined

Today’s interview is brought to us by the wonderful novelist and humorist, John Warner. Odds are, if you care about writing, reading, or books, you’ve run across Brad Listi. He’s the author of a well-received novel, Attention. Deficit. Disorder; the founder and publisher of literary website The Nervous Breakdown (and its associated publishing imprint); and has recently […]

Crowdsourcing

A Model for Crowdsourced Publishing

Today’s guest post is by Scott Vankirk (@mightyscoo). As much as we (aspiring authors) tend to get joy and satisfaction vilifying The System, the problem is not really the publishing houses nor the agents that feed them, nor their unhelpful rejection letters. The problem is the sheer number of us. Just about everyone has something […]

Writing on the Ether: The Publishers Strike Back

In chatting with some year-enders as we watched that ball ex machina descend in Times Square to haul us all out of the mess that was 2011, it became clear that many authors today see the digitization of things as just such a handy lift, a chariot swinging low to carry us home (where the readers are) — to deliver everyone from the gatekeeping Eumenides of old publishing and into the stage-center jig-fest of DIY abandon. Mickey Rooney, that ancient thespian, called this “let’s put on a show!”

Email Icon

Why You Should Add E-mail Subscription Service to Your Blog

If you have a blog, you should offer visitors a way to subscribe to new posts via e-mail. This means they can receive new posts via e-mail without having to visit your blog. You should offer this whether your blog is frequently updated or rarely updated—but especially if it’s rarely updated. Why? It’s a good and […]

How Do You Know If Your Agent Is Any Good?

I recently received the following question from a writer who wishes to remain anonymous: Every new writer wants to know how to get an agent and everyone seems to write about that topic. But I want to know how to assess my agent. How do I know if I have a good one? I’m trying […]

Flickr / Mark Chadwick

7 Ways Meditation Increases Creativity

Today’s guest post is from Orna Ross, a bestselling Irish author. Our creative intelligence is not accessed by effort in the conventional sense that you learned at school or work. We cannot try or strive or strain for it, any more than we can strive to have fingers or feet. It’s more about dissolving the […]

iStockphoto / Roob

Writing on the Ether: Authors Doing the Math

The tote baggers’ secret is that while everybody else gets drunk for the new year, the publishing industry is actually fortifying itself for ConfabWorld. The major conferences form markers in each new year, the better-lit features of a landscape to come. And this should be a season fraught with incident.

Writer Unboxed

So, How Do I Find The Time To Do All This?

It’s the most common question I get: How do you find the time to do everything you do? Until now, I’ve never had a ready answer, except that I have few obligations and responsibilities outside of my own career. But after pondering the reasons, I’ve written this post over at Writer Unboxed: The Secret to […]

Janus: One hairy eyeball on 2012. (iStockphoto / xochicalco)

Writing on the Ether: The Age of Amazon

I don’t think much of “year in review” rolls in the heyday — columns, posts, StoryCorps-weepy workovers, remember how we got lost in the Amazone after the opéra bouffe  “Ah, Borders” became no longer hummable? Dude, we were there. Keep your coals in your own Christmas stocking. We have onboard memories, you know. Who asked to be put through it all again?

Speaking at SXSW PubCamp 2011

My Best Advice for Writers From 2011

Last week I shared 12 Must-Read Articles From 2011. Now I’m going to share a list of the best advice I gave in 2011 as a handy reference. My Absolute Favorites You Hate Your Writing? That’s a Good Sign! This was one of the most tweeted articles I wrote in 2011. The Persistent and Damaging Myth […]

Publishing Perspectives

Serial Fiction: An Old Form Made New

Yesterday, my feature article for Publishing Perspectives went live: Experimenting With Serials for Fun and Profit Here’s a little excerpt: Debate continues about whether the reader really prefers [serials] for long-form narratives. Shya Scanlon, a literary author who experimented with serialization in 2009 with The Forecast 42 Project says, “It would have been much better had I had […]

Ball State professor Brad King

The Design of Authorship

In the visual realm, story and technology are intricately tied together. Ask any screenplay writer about the story development process and they will tell you there are three stories: the one the writer creates, the one the director shoots, and the one the editor puts together. Each story is different and each is intimately changed by the technology used to tell that story.*

Jane Reading on Her Kindle

12 Must-Read Articles From 2011

Here are the most brilliant online articles I read this past year. You may not agree with the arguments you’ll find, but you have to give them credit for being original and thought-provoking. They will enrich your thinking about writing and publishing, and give you a more nuanced perspective of the industry. Also, you probably […]

Ancient Roman coin, the head of Geta

Writing on the Ether: When the Amazonians Select You

A Christmas Nightmare North Pole, Amazonia: Guy Gonzalez in Toyland But pay no attention to our vested interests Robert’s wild ride: When the Amazonians select you Essay sommelier: Amazon’s price-scan spree The chasers Another thing-Amazonian: The Book Depository And back to Guy. Until the next blog post drops Sharing the wealth: Shatzkin talks turkey Rooting […]

Video Interview: The Future of Publishing

Earlier this year, I had a video chat with Jon over at Children’s Book Insider about the future of publishing, among other things. Please overlook any funny face you see in the screen capture (a sure-fire sign I’m making a really important point). It’s a 24-minute conversation. Click here to listen if the above video […]

Grunge Social Media Art

How Social Media Can Change Your Life

Sometimes I find myself defending social media to the experienced user and beginner alike. It can be easily accused—and rightly so—of being full of shameless self-promoters, shrill marketing, and naked people. That’s only one side, though, and it doesn’t have to be the side you engage in or tolerate. Just because you have to throw […]

Pulitzer Prize

8 Writing Techniques to Win You a Pulitzer

Today’s guest post is from writer Joe Bunting, who blogs at The Write Practice. We all know there are novels and then there are “literary” novels. When you read Margaret Atwood, it just feels different than when you read Tom Clancy. And for some reason, these literary novels are the ones that win all the […]

Keynoting the Indy Authors Fair (2011)

How Perfect Does Your Manuscript Have to Be?

As part of the 2012 Missouri Writers Guild conference faculty, I did a Q&A for their conference blog that discusses many topics, including: How I got started with social media The difference between marketing objectives, strategies, tactics, and tools How perfect your manuscript must be before submitting to an agent or editor

Wordpress

The Big Mistake of Author Websites and Blogs

     One of the easiest ways for an author to get a site up and running is to use Blogger or WordPress. As convenient as this is, and as wonderful as I find WordPress, this can lead to a critical error. Authors end up using a blog as their website, but aren’t interested in blogging. […]

Hawker Sea Fury FB 11 Portugal Air Show

Writing on the Ether: A Digital Dogfight

A digital dogfight FutureBook 2011 in London: Publishing in the pink Like a sieve: The Hachette Memorandum Tour d’Amazonia, Part 1: “Lock up your children!” Tour d’Amazonia, Part 2: Price-checking and knee-jerking? Tour d’Amazonia, Part 3: Dr. Shatzkin, I presume? Tour d’Amazonia, Part 4: ‘Vaporise’ this Tour d’Amazonia, Part 5: And it shall be agency-priced […]

Sheep herd

How to Confront the Fear of Public Speaking

Today’s guest post is by author Deborah Niemann. Last week as my adult daughter was driving me to a TV station in Indianapolis for a morning show to promote my book, Homegrown and Handmade, I said, “I guess I should be used to the fact that I feel like I’m really sick every time I […]

The Secrets They Kept by Joanne Tombrakos

What Good Salespeople Know That Writers Should

Today’s guest post is by author and business person Joanne Tombrakos. What ultimately spurred my decision to self-publish was a quality that had served me well during the 25 years I spent selling commercials on radio and television stations. Impatience. Simply put, I got tired of waiting for someone else to publish me. Good salespeople […]