Copyright law is written to protect stories, not characters, but over time the law on character protection has evolved.
A look at how the sources of my income shifted between 2016–2020, with online teaching now earning the lion's share.
What you earn is about what business model you can envision or build for yourself and whether it's sustainable for you over the long term.
Though registration with the Copyright Office is no longer required for protection, there are still many reasons why it’s important.
If you need to request permissions from an author or publisher, here are general guidelines, plus a sample letter you can customize.
When you’re starting out as a freelancer, it can be tempting to say yes to every project. But, as in writing, the key to success is often to go narrow.
If your goal is to see your book become a movie, it’s important to understand the rights you grant—and the money you earn—during initial development.
Every author must have a frank conversation with their publisher about book marketing—the earlier the better. Here's how to approach the conversation.
Book coaching is much more than editorial support. Coaches help clients complete a transformation—from someone who wants to write a book into someone who has created a book they are proud of.
In this Q&A, literary agents Jim McCarthy and Paula Munier discuss the priorities and responsibilities—to yourself and to others—of being a working writer.
Ensure that your work continues to generate earnings for you and your heirs by staying on top of contracts, royalties, licensing, and available formats.
Writing takes grit and so does publishing, but your odds are better if you understand what you’re up against. In this guest post, author and educator Susan DeFreitas shares some “secrets” everyone should know.
A series of setbacks can easily lead to feelings of failure. In this guest post, author Rachel Pieh Jones offers lessons on overcoming discouragement, refocusing, and getting back on track.
Copy editors are known for perfectionism. But while there’s no end to the fussing you can do, there’s a limit to what someone will pay you to do it. In this guest post, CMOS contributing editor Carol Saller explains how to determine what your time is worth.
For some authors, a single book deal is validation enough. For others, it's the beginning of a lifelong journey through en ever-changing landscape. In this Q&A, literary agents Sarah LaPolla and Kim Lionetti discuss what it takes to sustain a career beyond the first big break.
Libraries represent a valuable opportunity for a book discoverability and sales, but librarians may not know your book exists without marketing outreach.
Learn a few simple tricks to schmooze like a pro at your next writing conference—or at least operate like a less awkward version of yourself.
Whether you start writing as a child or in your golden years, it's never too early to learn about estate planning. You may wonder which is best, a will or trust, for bequeathing your written work. Both have their advantages. Here's what you need to know.
Publishing relies on contractual relationships, but not all contracts are equally enforceable. Here's what you need to know about forms of legal contracts.
Today's guest post is by intellectual property lawyer and novelist Brad Frazer (@bfrazjd). The “public domain” is not a place.
How do you navigate the writing life when you have an intense day job? Does such a thing as work-life balance exist?
I don’t trust author-income survey results and I question their usefulness in improving the fortunes of writers. Too often it feels like propaganda from writers’ organizations, with the outcome boring and predictable.
It can happen to you. Your carefully built author business and your reputation can come under attack and threaten to disrupt your livelihood and your personal life. But you can help prevent a crisis in the first place by using some simple engagement strategies.
Writing for businesses is a way for skilled writers to earn a good, dependable income. Someone is responsible for writing all the websites, brochures, and marketing materials out there. Why not you?
Over the last month, I've been talking (and writing) about how to build a business model for career that suits your particular strengths as well as the unique quality of your work. Here are my latest appearances.
A smart and strategic author should evaluate their platform strength on three levels: (1) ability to reach new readers, (2) ability to engage existing readers, and (3) ability to mobilize super fans.
In 2014, I made the leap from conventional employment to a full-time freelance career. Here's how I did it—and what I earned, down to the dollar.
My newest book, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), takes it on principle that learning about the publishing industry can lead to a more positive and productive career. It helps writers feel empowered and confident to navigate an ever-changing field.
When I began working as a freelancer, I wanted to find clients to pay me in the thousands. Once I figured out how to land writing jobs, I was working long hours, always seeking more clients, and somehow still getting paid next to nothing. I was missing something on the business side of things—an essential piece of the puzzle.
There are real risks to working together on a business with your spouse or partner, especially if you are both still learning how to do it well and manage your household through the uncertainty of the start-up existence. Adopting formal agreements on how to interact with one another can help avoid stress and anxiety.
You should consider how secret you want to be about your true identity. Maintaining secrecy is difficult. The higher the level of secrecy, the more complicated the process
Whenever you produce titles fast, you're making trade-offs.
I'm delighted to announce that I've been working with The Authors Guild on the creation and release of their new resource guide on e-publishing.
If you dream of a full-time freelance writing career, don't be discouraged by the largely negative messages about how difficult it is out there.
Is it better to have a long or short book description on Amazon? What should go in the first line? How do you research appropriate categories and keywords? Learn principles and tools to master the power of descriptions and reach your target market.
Unlike pure fiction, nonfiction is grounded in the real world, with real people, real names and real places, and this inevitably creates an environment where a legal misstep can occur.
The Mall of America residency isn’t going to be an appropriate opportunity for even a majority of writers. But it’s the right opportunity for someone.
A course’s success depends on anticipating and understanding the needs of writing students and producing the outcomes they most desire.
If you're preparing to pitch your nonfiction work to agents or publishers, you may have heard about the necessity of platform. What if you don't have one?
Amazon offers two ways for authors to advertise ebooks at their site. Learn how to smartly set up and manage product display and sponsored product ads.
Defining a "hybrid publisher" is difficult; you will hear different descriptions depending on who you ask. Here's what you need to know to evaluate one.
Today’s guest post is from writer and Sidebar Saturdays blogger Matt Knight (@mattknightbooks). One of many worrisome areas for writers
I'm proud to have a feature in Writer's Digest magazine on how to monetize your website and blog. I detail eight methods.
When deciding whether to write for free—or for exposure—here are 5 questions writers should ask.
Last year, I began regularly contributing to Publishers Weekly on the topic of independent authorship and publishing. Here's a list of all my columns so far:
A few lessons I've learned after more than a full year of full-time freelancing
How to Sell Digital Products & Services Directly from Your Website: Advice for Authors and Freelancers
To sell products and services directly through your website, here are a few services and tools to get up and running fast (no coding or tech help required).
In this latest podcast interview, I discuss understanding your business as an author and expanding your personal brand beyond just book sales.
I was delighted to be a guest on Stephen Campbell's podcast, The Author Biz.
Note from Jane: Today's guest post is from Joanna Penn (@thecreativepenn), and is based on her new book, Business for Authors: