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. […]
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.
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.”
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 […]
Last updated in January 2019 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,” they typically fall into 2 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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!”
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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?
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 […]
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 […]
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.*