Interview with Jane: Art of Commerce Series

Art of Commerce

It was a pleasure to be a guest over at 0s&1s interview series, The Art of Commerce, where I had a conversation with editor Andrew Lipstein.

According to their site, The Art of Commerce sits on the corner of literature and the marketplace, asking the age old question: “Who’s got the right of way?” They talk with writers, editors and entrepreneurs about … anything. All conversations are “manuscript-first,” meaning they were typed as you see them.

In my interview, we cover building a digital presence, serendipity, querying 15 years ago vs. now, agents vs. self-publishing, crowdfunding, the future of publishing & more. Here’s a little snippet:

If you can help authors make the best decisions of their careers, I’m going to assume you can prevent them from making the worst decisions of their careers. What are some common mistakes you see authors make?

Everyone’s in such a damn rush. I’m unwilling to blame it on instant-gratification culture (that’s too easy), but there’s a real lack of patience. Patience to make a piece of writing better, patience to research agents-editors-outlets, patience to network, patience to get comfortable with social media.

Also, many people are confused about the role of social media or other online activity (e.g., blogging). They put it before the writing or the message. Let’s be clear: the work comes first, in 90% of cases. (Sometimes the blogging is the creative work. Sometimes the social media can be the creative work, too.) But for writers who want to write traditional things (books, essays, etc), you build off the work itself.

Click here to read the entire interview.

Posted in Publishing Industry and tagged , , , .

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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[…] Jane discusses building a digital presence, querying 15 years ago vs. now, agents vs. self-publishing, crowdfunding, and the future of publishing.  […]


Jane, this is your problem, you present reasoned, nuanced arguments. You need to be more bombastic and black and white. Don’t tell authors that there are a myriad of factors to building a career, just give us the ten steps to success that will make us rich and famous overnight. Forget reality, think American Idol!

Apart from that, great interview! I am always learning something new.


Excellent interview. I’m surprised by how many people are on Wattpad, too. I guess it’s the success of Twilight and 50 Shades – it makes authors think that all they have to do is get their writing out there with no thought to learning how to write well.


Thanks for this great interview, Jane!
I’ve learned a lot of useful information from it.