Writing on the Ether: Digital Book World

The CEOs panel, moderated by F+W Media CEO David Nussbaum, was onstage Tuesday at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo.

“Ether” / Or?
Started out strong
Don’t try this at home
Good moves on the inky side
A proposal: Crossover Day

Note: Since publishing this column, I’ve had lots of good input from many folks, thanks. One especially keen comment comes from our good colleague Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, and I’m adding a link here to it in hopes that after you read my initial entry here you’ll check Guy’s very worthy counter-view and my comment that follows his. There’s more below, too, in this section. Thanks.

“Ether” / Or?

Just as the round tables were rolled into the Metropolitan Ballroom for the pre-conference DBW Marketing Summit

Just as the chillers cooled the low-pile carpeted pitch, slammed so bravely in those third-floor meeting halls…

Just as publishing industry stakeholders talked of achieving the “impactful discovery of niche markets through metadata”…

A small door at the back of the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers … clicked shut again for another year.

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Did you hear it? Shhh. Listen. Hear that? Nah.

No more than you could hear DBW’s Publishing Innovation Awards’ new QEDs announced over the din of Monday evening’s cocktail reception.

Barry Eisler speaks at WDC Jan. 21, 2012 / Photo by Dan Blank

That author standing in darkness is Barry Eisler at WDC (Jan. 21, 2012) / Photo by Dan Blank

No more than you could read the big-screen displays of the good Jack McKeown’s Verso Advertising slides about book-buying behavior Wednesday.

No more than you could be sure that it was really Barry Eisler on Saturday as he spoke in the annual darkness of the Sheraton’s New York Ballroom place of honor. The speaker in the middle of that room gets less limelight than a Rockette shopping her memoir.

In fact, NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty also spoke in that dim location. I might have guessed it was either John Malkevitch or Seth Godin on Viki Noe‘s shoulders, ship it.

Gathering for the first plenary session of the 2012 Digital Book World Conference.

If  you have a “wait — what?” sensation when I mention bookly events on Saturday and Sunday — or if you look at the well-lit stage (left) at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo and wonder if you’re in the same business — then your hearing is improving.

Wasn’t that the pitter-patter of writers leaving the building?

And they missed such a good panel of literary agents Tuesday, some handsome candor at the table. Here was Brian DeFiore mentioning that “indie” just isn’t the right term for a self-publishing writer. He’s right, it’s a euphemism. And Liza Dawson described her project with two existing clients — “we’re the guinea pigs” — to explore together the ins and outs of self-publication.

Then there was the take-no-prisoners sass of Ginger Clark saying that if an author insists on self-publishing a project, “Ultimately? The client is my boss. I get out of the way or I lose that client.”

Clark, who works with the Association of Authors’ Representatives as does  DeFiore, got off another good point: “If my client self-publishes, I’m not the publisher. The author’s name is on that contract, not mine.” At a time when the arrival of the agent-publisher is worrying a lot of us, Clark’s clarification is right, and timely.

I’m sorry our writers didn’t hear this panel and many other sessions of DBW.

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Started out strong

I’ve just live-tweeted a series of conference events produced by F+W Media across six days at the Sheraton. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the staffers on this reductio ad tweetum and I found these colleagues and conferees focused and committed, always ready with a laugh. These events were full of good cheer and sound intent.

I also appreciate the heads behind the programming of #DBW12, especially Mike Shatzkin, the conference chair and architect of the confab. In his opening tone-setter, Remaking an Industry: What publishers need to be thinking about in 2012, we heard him lay out a series of issues to be addressed. He showed clean-as-a-whistle slides to keep us on track as he went.

In some other parts of the world, Kindle does not start with the dominant position it had in the US (although it has the money to market and promote in a major way, so they might still get it.) Publishers need to cover all the ebook accounts and learn how to maximize sales in each of them.

By confab’s end, things seemed less clear, of course.

This is not unusual in times of complex change and when the progressive discussion format of a conference “migrates” the perception of topics. Some points had outweighed others heavily in 48 hours.

DRM went from gum on a shoe to a rebel yell once Matteo Berlucchi was given the floor.

Talk of Apple’s iBooks Author had given way to conversations about Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s deal to publish Amazon’s New York adult line of print books. (Both writeups I’ve linked to here are by Laura Hazard Owen.) Other issues seemed never to get off the ground.

The words “partnership” and “collaboration” popped up early and often at DBW, as publishers, agents, editors, marketers, retailers, technologists, researchers, journalists, and consultants were treated to panel chats and presentations — one by the excited futurist David Houle on what he calls the Shift Age. You can download his ebook free, thanks to Dominique Raccah‘s Sourcebooks, which will publish a new Houle work later this year.

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A surprise where I didn’t expect it: Oren Teicher of the American Booksellers Association in his address, “Booksellers Without Borders,” sounded genuinely moved as he assured the assembly Sunday that independent bookstores, overall, aren’t as bad off as many think they are.

The unparalleled role that indie bookstores play in discovery…this unique role that we play…is an essential catalyst.

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A subtle lesson showed up when executives of several romance publishers went over best practices from their viewpoints, their publishing houses standing among pioneers in the industry for digital-first production. Raelene Gorlinsky of Ellora’s Cave spoke as the veteran of this group when she talked about success with ebook prices up to $8 and more, her company resisting the “race to the bottom” in pricing.

But every time AllRomance.com moderator Julie Cummings used slides to offer statistics, the graphics were full of pastel colors and lightweight fonts. One of the folks at my table put her finger on it: “This is the look their readers understand,” she said. The romance publishers had missed a chance to adopt the professional look they’ve earned. Calling your strategy “faster, harder, deeper” might get you a laugh but little respect in the morning.

And by the time #DBW12 was coming to a close late Wednesday afternoon, we were deep in the land of the unanswered issue.

Shouldn’t publishers have their ebooks on public libraries’ catalogs for checkout? Of course, said the suits of Wiley, Bloomsbury, and Perseus. “We don’t have it yet, but we will…It just has to happen…It will happen.” No time frame.

Much of the closing afternoon’s material left points similarly adrift.

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Don’t try this at home

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, before we all gathered at DBW for blandishments in worsted wool, a panel called “Doing It on Their Own: Self-Publishing Authors Find Success” and moderated by DBW’s Jeremy Greenfield, gave us three self-published authors and a provider of “author services” talking about their success.

These were exceptional cases. In this game, the trotting out of big winners is common. People who can answer questions about “the largest check you’ve had from your writing” with responses of $72,000 or $112,000 are not representative of what most writers can expect in self-publishing.

And to be fair, the panelists worked hard to communicate how difficult this sort of success is and that there are conditions that need to be in place. Bob Mayer, one of the three, has been tireless in trying to explain the importance of his traditional-publishing backlist in his own road to selling around 400,000 ebooks last year.

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I heard an interesting anomaly, a break from common palaver on the topic: the entrepreneurial author Bella Andre said that her relationship to retailers who sell her books is her most important connection. In a biz that stresses relating to your readers uber alles, touting the retailers instead is unusual.

You know who I wish had heard that? The ones who were out that door before DBW started.

On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of writers left the same hotel. They finished up in some of the same ballrooms that would on Monday be occupied by DBW.  The Writer’s Digest Conference, also an F+W Media production, is the flagship annual writerly confab. The writers were in conference from Friday through Sunday, then they adjourned before the comparative big kids of publishing arrived.

There’s something about the stance of writers in the publishing community right now that isn’t what it should be. It never seems more evident than when these two big conferences are choreographed to pass in the night.

We each discuss the others’ business. In fact, publishing and writers are each other’s business.

But writers miss the exposure they need to the facts, the figures, the charts, the debates, the genuine fiscal binds and occasional braggadocio of corporate insecurity. And they miss the  charm and camaraderie of the DBW community. For the most part, these are fun, articulate, generous professionals.

I’m also sorry those specialists miss meeting so many members of “the talent” in one place. How many attendees of DBW (I’m hearing some 1,500 total this year) have seen WDC’s Pitch Slam in progress? The agents have. They’re the ones who sit across from jet-lagged and flummoxed writers who have 90 seconds to pitch their books. The agents respond for 90 more seconds. And then F+W’s faithful Sally Slack announces on the PA system that it’s time to move on. This goes on for three hours. Between 60 and 70 patient, supportive agents are there for 400 or more writers. Everybody stands in lines in these meeting rooms, a configuration vastly improved by Chuck Sambuchino and his cohorts this time around.

But this is the sole moment in which writers and their publishing counterparts come together in large numbers. Not that the resulting gulf is intentional, I regret the either/or reality at the Sheraton, the site (at least for the past two years) of these effectively firewalled conferences.

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Good moves on the inky side

Sessions the writers attended this year in their conference included:

  • University of Cincinnati e-media professor and former Writer’s Digest publisher Jane Friedman‘s clear eye for the myriad  approaches and services for authors who want to try to self-publish,
  • Agent Mary Kole on the background and status today of YA literature,
  • The platform-driven entrepreneurial perspective of We Grow Media’s Dan Blank and the tough-love career pounce of Christina Katz, better known as @thewritermama,
  • The devoted commitment of author James Scott Bell to the most elegant techniques of suspense (he shows a clip from The Graduate in his session),
  • Agent Donald Maass‘ hypnotic tones when he drops into “go ahead, just pick up a piece of paper and write this down” teaching mode (Socrates wept), and
  • The gravity of Baty’s closing commentary: on Sunday, the founder of the international mass-writing movement announced at WDC that he had resigned two days earlier from the organization he has led for 12 years.

Baty is going full time into writing, himself. And he told these several hundred writers gathered for WDC to go home packed as he was packing, taking along:

  • Deadline
  • Momentum
  • An appreciation of the mess along the way
  • Faith

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A proposal: Crossover Day

Writer’s Digest Conference ends each year on a Sunday, midday. I recommend that F+W consider offering an extra “between-confabs” event on the Monday that falls between WDC and DBW.

Currently, that Monday is a day of workshops and the marketing summit, which I’m glad to say is being expanded to full-conference status in the fall — Kate Rados made the announcement to us while doing her expert job of moderating the day this week.

I’d like to see programming developed for that “between day” that could show the writers some of the issues the business folks are dealing with, and, perhaps, vice-versa.

The organizers of these conferences didn’t invent the gap between creative and business workers, their conferences simply reflect it, and accurately.

But the industry overall can’t benefit from an assumption that you’re on either one side of the confab-weekend or the other. I found that I got a lot from being at both conferences this year and was very glad to be there for them. I hope to do this annually, there’s too much here to miss. I recommend it. And a crossover option, I hope, might be structured as workshops are now, as an elective premium for attendees interested in adding it to their base registration.

There are practical reasons of space and time and expense, needless to say, that may always prevent both conferences running at capacity simultaneously.

Many elements of WDC, craft offerings in particular, just aren’t in areas the publishing people can focus on for long. But that entirely necessary concentration on craft for authors can mean they know too little about the business, about technological changes, and about production availabilities and challenges.

And the DBW registration fee is a fairly big ticket for writers. It’s just under $1,500 per person. Don Linn has a nice piece at TheFutureBook today, A Question and Some Random Observations. As he cracks wise, on noting that ticket price:

My conclusion from the previous observation is that we should all be in the publishing conference business.

Clearly, the pricing structure reflects cost, and the full fee for Writer’s Digest Conference is about a third of that for Digital Book World.

But I hope there might be a chance to consider a “crossover” day when writers can opt to stay a day longer and work “with the industry” in the kind of format that F+W is adept at producing.

Nevertheless, again, do consider seeing what Guy Gonzales has to say about this.

His is a position that, while counter to mine, I fully respect — if anything, I’d apply it more quickly to myself than insist on it in others (another dodge of sorts, perhaps).  Gonzales argues that in the age of the writer-entrepreneur, we must all take responsibility for our business basis and pay to play in the real game of publishing, not expect easy outs. And I should note that I was there in a business capacity of my own, very glad to live-tweet coverage of these conferences, a part of my work as a journalist.  Here’s a bit of what Guy says in Should more writers attend publishing conferences?

What comes with authors’ shift to the business side is the reality that the water gets a lot deeper, particularly when it comes to attending conferences and registration fees. If you want to be a true self-publisher, there’s a lot more to it than uploading your file to Amazon, and that includes bearing larger expenses like conference registration fees. Any author’s money is just as good as any publisher’s, and no conference organizer I know would turn it down. You want a seat at the table, buy a ticket like everyone else.

I’m not about to say Gonzalez is wrong on this. While I might like to see this “crossover day” programming as what I think would be a healthy ice-breaker for many new writer-entrepreneurs, there’s everything right about Gonzalez’s “buy a ticket” position. Good conversation.

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Posted in Writing on the Ether.

Porter Anderson / @Porter_Anderson

View posts by Porter Anderson / @Porter_Anderson

Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) is a journalist and consultant in publishing. He's The Bookseller's (London) Associate Editor in charge of The FutureBook. He's a featured writer with Thought Catalog (New York), which carries his reports, commentary, and frequent Music for Writers interviews with composers and musicians. And he's a regular contributor of "Provocations in Publishing" with Writer Unboxed. Through his consultancy, Porter Anderson Media, Porter covers, programs, and speaks at publishing conferences and other events in Europe and the US, and works with various players in publishing, such as Library Journal's SELF-e, Frankfurt Book Fair's Business Club, and authors. You can follow his editorial output at Porter Anderson Media, and via this RSS link.

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Victoria Noe

Oh, what a beautiful morning…Ah, Porter, how did I know I’d show up in the Ether today?
I totally agree about the separate but not-quite-equal nature of WDC and DBW: everyone’s talking about the people who are at the OTHER conference. To have spotty wi-fi – not to mention poor lighting and temperature control in the rooms – was frustrating, to say the least. I did advocate for a disco ball to help illuminate the keynote speakers, but that tweet probably vanished.
However, and most importantly, your tweeting was magnificent. You gave everyone the feeling of being there. Made any progress on cloning yourself?

Porter Anderson

Hey, Viki, yes, I remember your crystal ball suggestion, still don’t know why the hotel didn’t jump rignt on that. 🙂  Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad the tweeting was helpful, it was fascinating to do and the DBW and WDC people are great to work with. Hope you’re getting rested up from WDC now for AWP, pack that crystal ball just in case. 🙂
-Porter’s Clone


[…] Porter Anderson’s recap in his weekly column “Writing on the Ether” for JaneFriedman.com […]

Bob Mayer
Bob Mayer

I think that’s a good idea.  I didn’t make it to WDC– wish I had.  But the line between writers and the rest of the industry truly blurs for the indie author.  I spend half my time running a business.  To the point where I now literally have two offices on opposite sides of the house.  One with Internet where I do business, then one without Internet, where I create.  I’m off today to the San Diego State Writers Conference to share all I learned.  My head is still spinning and To Do list is out the door.  I’m considering… Read more »

Porter Anderson

Hey, @Bob_Mayer:twitter , I hear you, #dbw12 (and #wdc12) leave your head spinning, all for the right reason but it does take a while to sort out your usual process afterward, as I’ve learned in the past. Great you have San Diego coming, though, and London BF might be a great one for you, too. As you say, the more entrepreneurial authors must become (even without self-publishing), the more some exposure to the publishing side via #dbw could really help. Great seeing you at the conference, good travels –

Ruth Spiro
Ruth Spiro

Thank you, thank you for acknowledging the role of the writer in this business. While we’re often told not to “write to the market,” the reality is that most successful authors do just that. I recently attended a webinar with one of the agents named above and was thrilled to hear her lists of “what will sell” and “what will not.” Now that’s something I can run with. Social media gives us a glimpse into the world of agents and editors, but I often feel like that pajama-clad child sneaking downstairs after bedtime to eavesdrop on their parents’ dinner party… Read more »

Porter Anderson

Hi, Ruth, and thanks for your comment. great of you to read me and engage.  I do think it’s important to note — and I’m sorry if I suggest something otherwise in my column — that there’s no effort to “keep the writers out” involved here, certainly not by the organizers of WDC and DBW  (truly a small team working extremely hard this time of year at F+W). And while I don’t think this idea of the writer-entrepreneur is nearly as new as some people seem to believe it is — ancient scribes did, after all, sell their services —… Read more »

Three for Thursday: Digital Book World Recap Links | Inspired by Real Life

[…] Porter Anderson […]

Tina Hoggatt
Tina Hoggatt

Porter, I love your idea of a crossover day. I attended Day 1 of last year’s conference and we writers were thin on the ground. All good information but there was not a sense of a place or role for writers in the conference culture. I believe the future is collaboration between creatives and publishers/agents on the production side, and creatives with public/retail on the sales end. Social media and events serve the sales side of things. It would be visionary to have a mechanism beyond submittal and response at the beginning of the process.

Porter Anderson

Well said, @TinaHogatt:twitter    There is “no sense of a place or role for writers in the conference culture” — other than, of course, in writer-specific conferences such as Writer’s Digest Conference, and those events sometimes intensify the ghetto-izing feel, however unintentionally. I agree on  your perception of collaborative exercises being the key. And I think an enabler on this for us all in the future is a peer relationship with the operatives of professional publishing. Positioning writers as dear, precocious children of the realm is not the answer. Nor, by the way, is the sneering rejection of traditional publishing’s… Read more »

Bookish news and publishing tidbits 27 January 2012 | Read in a Single Sitting - Book reviews and new books

[…] Comments from the Digital World Book Conference and Expo […]

Kathleen Pooler
Kathleen Pooler

Porter, between the Ether and your magnificent twitter stream at both #wdc12 and #dbw12, one would never have to leave the comfort of their own home to feel like they were there. For those of us lucky enough to actually have been there, your steady flow of tweets added a whole new dimension to the experience. Love your “crossover day” idea and Viki’s disco ball suggestion! Now I hope you are enjoying some well-deserved R&R from your Herculean efforts to inform, enlighten and entertain us 🙂

Porter Anderson

Hey, @kathypooler:twitter — of course, the great thing is that you’re a conference-goer with us, and a follower of confab info online. You’re doing the things we need all writers to do, to pull our collected class up by its bootstraps and earn a place at the table of publishing, itself, not at the kids’ table to which authors have been too easily assigned for so long. Thank you for doing that, for following my (endless) dispatches from ConfabWorld, and for helping other writers to understand the importance of this. If we ever do establish publishing as the “engine of… Read more »

Roz Morris fiction

Excellent idea of the crossover day. That would go a long way towards creating a healthier atmosphere between writers and the industry. We have to stop thinking of one side as more legitimate than the other. In truth, both sides have a lot to teach each other. To take my own experience as a very tiny microcosm, I’m teaching my agent about Kindle and how a writer builds a rapport with an audience through social media. Writers who tweet and blog are well ahead of the industry on this, and when the industry try it they look like dads dancing… Read more »

Porter Anderson

Exactly, @ByRozMorris:twitter — I like this example of the exchange of experience you’re doing with your agent in London, too. Smart author, smart agent. Then again, with so many books published, both ghostwritten and under your own name, you’re in a lot more mature professional moment than many writers are, and able to appreciate and create a peer relationship with others in the business, your agent being an example. While I won’t say that publishers necessary run around looking for chances to welcome writers into the fold as peers, I do think the burden at this point lies on authors… Read more »

Bob Mayer
Bob Mayer

One minor note– Jen Talty is my business partner, not my wife.  My wife is my story-pusher and works with other authors besides me.  And she always keeps the remote control.

Porter Anderson

Whoa, thanks, @Bob_Mayer:twitter  I absolutely had that wrong, thanks much, I’ve  fixed it in the comment to Roz, appreciate you letting me know! 🙂

Bob Mayer
Bob Mayer

One minor note– Jen Talty is my business partner, not my wife.  My wife is my story-pusher and works with other authors besides me.  And she always keeps the remote control.

Roz Morris fiction

Excellent points, @twitter-39469575:disqus – especially that we have more to offer than lessons from self-publishing!

Porter Anderson

Well, thanks, @ByRozMorris:twitter — somehow, we’ve just got to get our writing community seated in a more professional context than we’ve achieved so far. We simply must be able to approach the industry as its peers or we will continue to stumble along, kids at the “squirt table,” as we used to call the children’s spot in the kitchen in the South. Yes, we are absolutely fundamental to what the industry does — if we pull a Lysistrata and stop the storytelling, they have nothing. But then, neither do we. I hope to see the day when we can shock… Read more »

Peter David Shapiro

I’ll try not to take offense at the crack  “‘indie’ just isn’t the right term for a self-publishing writer… it’s a euphemism.” 

After all, readers seem to like GHOSTS ON THE RED LINE by Peter David
Shapiro which, as it happens, is self-published through PenLane Press and available as a paperback and eBook on Amazon (http://amzn.to/GhostsRedLine) and BarnesAndNoble.com. Some readers are even going to the trouble of ordering it in bookstores. 

Not all “indie” books are great. But legacy publishers have been known to shovel out crap as well (filed under Snooki).

Porter Anderson

Hello, @pdshapiro1:twitter — Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m grateful mostly because it’s clear that I need to correct a thoroughly wrong assertion you’re making in your comment. I won’t let it stand, and I don’t appreciate your tactic. Please read these points very carefully: (1) A self-published author can be fully as good as or better than a traditionally published author. (2) A self-published book can be fully as good as or better than a traditionally published book. (3) I have never said otherwise. If you believe I have said otherwise, show me the words. Quote me. You… Read more »


I’m going to chime in with, I think, a middle position between Porter and Peter. I use indie, mostly because when I jumped back into reading on the industry last year, it seemed to be the term in use. But I’ve also come to like it because *some* – not all – traditionally published authors I know equate today’s self-publishing to the old vanity press. (Often followed by “Oh, but I’m sure yours is great…”) I find the indie term can be helpful in those cases to make the point that this is a different approach, driven by changes in… Read more »

Porter Anderson

Hi, @twitter-11541172:disqus , and thanks for the good comment. I must say, I’m with you on disliking any suggestion from people that “self-published” means something bad. For that reason, I certainly think “vanity press” was a terrible term (and unlike “self-published,’ it was indeed completely freighted with negative implication. “Vanity” has rarely been seen as a positive trait. I’d like to hope, however, that if we simply use “self-published” for the clear, factual, phrase it is, that in a rather short period of time, people will be handling it without connotation. Substituting the film world’s baggage for our own with… Read more »

Roz Morris fiction

I use both ‘indie’ and ‘self-published’, quite happily. The lexical variety is useful. That is all.
Someone will invent a new term soon and everyone will use it regardless.

Peter Shapiro

Hello Porter Anderson, For the record, if it matters, I have no problem with the fact that GHOSTS ON THE RED LINE is self-published and calling it self-published. Calling it “indie” published is OK too. I don’t care. Perhaps you meant to say in your column that self-publishers should be proud of what they’ve done and not dress it up with a fancier term such as independent publisher, or “indie.”  If so, I misunderstood you. However, your comment that “indie” is a euphemism for self-publishing writers certainly doesn’t come across as complimentary, although to be fair, I didn’t hear Brian… Read more »

Porter Anderson

Thanks,@pdshapiro1:twitter , I won’t be needing a look at your work. I also won’t be agreeing with you that a lack of budget (or good form) excuses barnstorming others’ columns with self-promotion. @ByRozMorris:twitter , a self-published author and bestselling ghostwriter, recently had some good things to say about this in her interview with  @JennieCoughlin:twitter .  Here’s what Morris said: “Too many people are now shouting about their titles all the time. That’s never been a good way to sell anything. I think we have to earn attention, not yell for it. Give extra value, be interesting — and only mention… Read more »

Peter Shapiro

Thanks for your comment @Porter_Anderson. The posters on the Red Line trains were “constructive”  in the sense that they represented conventional advertising.  In fact they shared space in the trains with an ad from a legacy publisher.  On the other hand, they were quite costly for an “indie” publisher such as PenLane Press. Which brings me to the point that I was trying to make earlier, that apparently it’s OK for legacy publishers to place ads in all forms of media from newspapers to billboards that scream “buy this book!” and for critics and agents in the legacy publishing ecosystem… Read more »

Victoria Noe

Sorry for posting AGAIN, but this whole “author as entrepreneur” thing just got my attention. I’ve had two businesses – fundraising and educational book sales – that I’ve run from home for over 20 years So when I gave those up, the “conflict” of writing vs. entrepreneur never occurred to me. I assumed I was in business. I know we all want to be able to spend all of our waking hours “just” writing, but that’s not the reality now, even for established authors with traditional publishers. Conferences are a big part of the learning, networking, self-marketing and research. So… Read more »

Porter Anderson

Thanks, @Victroia_Noe:twitter , I know you get the business side of a writer’s career well. And sharing it with other writers, helping them understand the importance of fulfilling this side of the role, is one of the best things you can do. We all take things more easily from our peers than from others. So spread the word, insist that writers you know become fully vested in this part of the job. Eventually, I hope all writers can get a look at the no-nonsense quality of the industry’s business colleagues at work. But especially while things aren’t set up to… Read more »


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[…] Shatzkin staged Anobii’s Matteo Berlucchi in a major denunciation of DRM. As I wrote then on the Ether: “DRM went from gum on a shoe to a rebel yell once Matteo Berlucchi was given the […]


[…] has become among the most valuable parts of a Shatzkin conference. Gallagher was on-hand at the Digital Book World Conference in January. Kelly […]


[…] seems borne out by comments from agent Liza Dawson — who spoke well  to this issue at the Digital Book World Conference in January — and by agent Laura Rennert of the Andrea Brown agency. Rennert tells Deahl: “We are […]


[…] even had the Sis­ters of Roman­tica enter­tain the troops. But, of course, not enough con­fer­enc­ing yet: our beloved […]


[…] all things publishing, Jane Friedman features a weekly column,Writing on the Ether by former CNN columnist Porter Anderson on her blog, Being Human at Electric Speed.It’s the […]