Learn about four of the biggest pitfalls in story beginnings: false suspense, prologues, dream sequences, and too much backstory.
The widow of Elia Kazan writes about the disruption of her writing routine, and how it was eventually restored.
Learn how self-published novelist Ransom Stephens landed a two-book deal with Amazon—without even querying.
Some writers think a small press is something you have to make the best of. Yet small presses can often serve as a first—even best—option. Three case studies show why.
One of the biggest challenges in publishing today is discoverability, particularly at Amazon and other major online retailers. You can ensure your book is found more easily by optimizing your metadata—here’s how.
I had 7 an overflowing shelf of rejection notices when John Grisham—a friend and neighbor—took me under his wing and taught me his writing secrets.
If you’re having trouble finding your audience, your message may not be connecting with readers on a personal level. Here’s how to fix the problem.
If you’re ready to hire and work with a freelance editor, learn how to find qualified candidates, plus how to properly evaluate them.
Today’s guest post is by writer and editor Jennifer Niesslein (@jniesslein), who is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. I’m experiencing karma. For more than a decade, I co-edited a literary magazine—I was the person who wouldn’t respond regarding your writing for three months, sometimes longer. And now, for the past nine months, I’ve been writing. It […]
Today’s guest post is adapted from Red Hot Internet Publicity by Penny Sansevieri. Between Los Angeles and Las Vegas there’s a stretch of I-15 that’s just barren desert with you, sand, a cactus or two, a few vultures hoping to get lucky, and endless billboards. Most people speed down this stretch of highway as fast […]
The following guest post from Elizabeth Sims is adapted from her newest book, You’ve Got a Book in You, from Writer’s Digest. As you plunge into writing your book, here’s the main thing to do: Strive for the ordinary. Because that’s what the greats do. If I were a person who used vulgarities, I would […]
Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is from Dan Blank (@DanBlank) and covers a topic that was recently addressed on this site by L.L. Barkat: the value of blogging. If you remember, Barkat advised writers to stop blogging. For the other side of the story, I’ve asked Dan to offer reasons to keep blogging. In […]
How authors, especially novelists, can start using Pinterest in a way that’s a natural outgrowth of their work.
Should authors take advantage of the Amazon KDP Select program? A comprehensive discussion of who the program is well-suited for, plus best strategies.
There are no “rules” for agent-assisted self-publishing, but the biggest drawbacks are usually loss of control and loss of royalties. All authors should negotiate a contract beforehand that protects their rights and lifetime earnings.
Author L.L. Barkat argues that writers who already have experience—as well as authors trying to promote themselves—should stop blogging.
Today’s guest post is from Brad Phillips (@MrMediaTraining), author of The Media Training Bible: 101 Things You Absolutely, Positively Need to Know Before Your Next Interview. Radio stations hate bad guests, since listeners will immediately switch the dial. Here are five habits of bad radio guests. 1. They give long answers. Short answers allow the […]
Today’s guest post is by Judy L. Mandel, author of the Replacement Child, forthcoming from Seal Press in March 2013. I asked her to tell the story of self-publishing her memoir, which ultimately led to a traditional book deal from Seal. Most authors don’t give any credence to luck, but they lie. Luck has so […]
Today’s guest post is by Ed Cyzewski (@EdCyzewski). You may remember him from a previous guest post at this site, Why Self-Publishing Is a Tragic Term. Ed’s latest e-book is available as a free download on Tuesday & Wednesday of this week—visit Amazon to download Creating Space: The Case for Everyday Creativity. After years of doubting that […]
Today’s guest post is by Rob Eagar, author of Sell Your Book Like Wildfire. Book clubs and discussion groups—where millions of readers congregate both in-person and online to discuss their favorite books—offer a powerful marketing opportunity for novelists. Some of the most popular social networks devoted to book readers include GoodReads (12 million members strong), LibraryThing, Red Room, […]
In January of 2007—as a New Year’s resolution—I decided I was a writer. I resolved that I would stop saying that I’d start writing “someday” and instead would sit my backside in the chair and start writing now. No more excuses. I was a writer and I would start acting like one. That was when […]
Today’s guest post is by Laura Pepper Wu, the co-founder of 30 Day Books, a book studio that provides marketing tools and resources for authors wanting to find more readers. Recently, I did some informal research about how authors view and use their websites, and the results were a little disheartening. Many authors have a website […]
Today’s guest post is by lit addict, movie junkie, writer Emily Wenstrom. A new generation of literary journals is taking advantage of technology to offer something fresh and creative to the literary journal scene. Here are five of my favorites, ranging from those with niche audiences to those with experimental approaches. Brittle Star For the […]
Today’s guest post is by Matthew Turner (@turndog_million). You may remember him from a previous post, 100 Tips to Alleviate Self-Doubt. If there’s one word that fits perfectly with an author, it’s FREE. Here are five free services that can help build your author platform. 1. Twitter Let’s get this one out of the way. It […]
Today’s guest post is by Jason Kong. You may remember him from an earlier guest post here at JaneFriedman.com: Are You Making This Marketing Mistake? How does a writer become successful? Here’s one simple formula: Write something someone values. Get that something in front of that someone. Put another way, you need both good writing […]
Today’s guest post is by Jason Braun. You may remember him from an earlier guest post here at JaneFriedman.com: If the Book Is Dead, Then Why Buy a Zombie? I like this story because it illustrates new ways of thinking about your stories or content, plus not letting lack of technical skills stop you from playing […]
Today’s guest post is by Shirley Hershey Showalter, who has been blogging about memoir for four years and is writing a memoir about growing up on a Mennonite farm in the 1950s–60s. Depending on whom you ask—or what lens you apply—memoir is either a boomlet that burst or a timeless form just now coming into its own. The […]
Today’s guest post is by Darrelyn Saloom, who I first met in December 2008 at a Writer’s Digest event. Her career reached a major milestone over the summer: a book deal with Glasnevin Publishing in Ireland, which has now released My Call to the Ring, the life story of boxing champion Deirdre Gogarty. While collaborating […]
Today’s post is excerpted from The Plot Whisperer Workbook (Adams Media, 2012) by Martha Alderson. Two lucky commenters were chosen to receive a free copy of the book: Tanette Smith and Mindy Halleck. Congratulations! In a scene, a character acts and reacts to people, places, and events. In this respect, scenes are the basic building […]
Today’s post is by freelance journalist and independent author Dana Sitar (@DanaSitar). You’ve just released a book. You’re participating in a live reading. You’re planning a book tour. Whatever it is, you want press. While social media and blogs are a great way to share news with your audience, the value of a good article in print […]
Today’s post is excerpted from You Should Really Write a Book by Regina Brooks and Brenda Lane Richardson. Copyright © 2012 by the authors and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin. In considering memoir writing through the prism of relationships, it’s important to alert you to two deadly sins. From the standpoint of trying […]
Today’s guest post is by copyright lawyer Brad Frazer. He has written two other posts for this site: Trademark Is Not a Verb and Is It Fair Use? 7 Questions to Ask Before Using Copyrighted Material. “I copyrighted my book by putting © on the bottom of the first page.” “This picture is on the Internet, so […]
Today’s guest post is by author Bruce Holland Rogers, whom I recently met while teaching at the Whidbey MFA program. Since 2002, I’ve been selling my flash fiction by e-mail to paying subscribers. The venture has been the core activity of my writing career for more than a decade, but it began with what may […]
Today’s post features an item excerpted from A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement (New World Library, 2012) by Barbara Abercrombie. Barbara has published 14 books and numerous essays and articles, and has taught creative writing courses for almost three decades. She lives in Santa Monica, California. Find out more at her […]
Today’s guest post is by Dee DeTarsio. While it is more of a brief advertising anecdote than a serious ad campaign with strong conclusions, many authors ask me about online advertising (where, why, how). But I find it difficult to offer concrete advice on the matter since so much depends on the place where you […]
Today’s guest post is from author Christina Katz. Her most recent book is The Writer’s Workout. Not too long ago I received a formal interview request, which was well executed, so I said I would make time for the interview. Once we got on the phone, the interviewer said, “Okay, go ahead.” I thought, “Oh […]
Today’s post is excerpted from Wired for Story by Lisa Cron, just released from Ten Speed Press. We think in story. It’s hardwired in our brain. It’s how we make strategic sense of the otherwise overwhelming world around us. Simply put, the brain constantly seeks meaning from all the input thrown at it, yanks out […]
The following is excerpted from It Takes an Egg Timer: A Guide to Creating the Time for Your Life by Joanne Tombrakos (@JoanneTombrakos). It’s a brief but essential guide about how to get stuff done, while also helping you understand when and how self-sabotage occurs! Find out more on Amazon, or visit the author’s website. Technology’s […]
The following advice is excerpted from How to Blog a Book by Nina Amir, recently released from Writer’s Digest Books. Aside from describing in detail how to launch and maintain a blog to ultimately land a book deal, Amir’s book offers a range of valuable interviews with successful bloggers who succeeded in doing just that. […]
The following advice is excerpted from The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau. For longtime readers of my blog, you probably know how often I recommend Chris’s invaluable and free manifesto, 279 Days to Overnight Success. His latest book, The […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]