Writing on the Ether: How To and How Not To

Porter Anderson

Porter Anderson

I am thrilled to introduce a new weekly feature, Writing on the Ether, by former CNN journalist Porter Anderson. Writing on the Ether will round up some of the best and timeliest articles related to writing and publishing that you don’t want to miss.

Porter has been well-known to me since 2010 as one of the most dedicated Twitter feeders of great online articles for writers. When he began introducing me to fabulous stuff I had never seen, I knew he deserved a dedicated column. So here he is! (For those paying attention, this feature takes the place of my old series, Best Tweets for Writers.)


This week’s how-to and how-not-to

“An ‘authentic following’ comes down to this: Twitter doesn’t work without followers who actually read your tweets.”

Nina Badzin’s two-parter at Writer Unboxed: The Art & Science of Twitter 
(Part 1: The Science & Part 2: The Art)

 

The harkening and who knew?

“There’s a cool ‘read aloud’ feature on the device that allows the Kindle to read to me.”

Elizabeth S. Craig on listening to her character dialogue: Writing to Read Aloud

 

The horrors and the hand-wringing

“Failure to pay attention to what we can control as authors, and what we can’t, leads to a form of cargo-cult neuroses in writers.”

Tobias Buckell on who’s the real pigeon here, anyway? Writers and Pellets

 

The headstrong and the honest

“All writers, whether they’re among the fortunate ones who have a publisher pushing them or whether they’re trying to do it themselves, should be grateful that publishers are doing their damnedest to maintain prices and the perception of value for writers’ work.”

Mike Shatzkin, in a crystal clear argument:
Writers Who Oppose Agency Pricing Aren’t Acting in Their Own Self-Interest

 

The heartfelt and the hawking

“Kindle’s going to save me, right? I’m going to make all my new works direct-to-market digital, and I’m going to get rich two bucks at a time, right? Right?”

John Vorhaus, in a bravely forthright, intelligent meditation:
I Think My Model Is Breaking Down

 

The hunker-down I want more of

“I’m learning from you guys. The trend surprises me: most of you seem willing to take snark, condescension and find something useful in it.”

—agent Jason Ashlock (Movable Type Literary Group)

Ashlock tweetAshlock was leading an impromptu chat with writers and some agents—about literary agents’ Twitter patterns. Strictly in general terms. No names. In any business, tweeting on your professional account involves the potential both for prudent communication and for other things. On Monday evening, the term “snark” probably would have dominated a word cloud from the chat. But Ashlock is a gentleman.

“Let’s commit to steering our community’s conversations toward the productive and instructive,” he tweeted. “I’m … pretty impressed with the unflappable spirits & undaunted efforts of these writers.”

I think we could benefit from hearing more on this topic, in the constructive context Ashlock brought to the table. Are there any author-clients who have been surprised at the tone and substance of their agents’ tweets? And are there agents who’d like me to just get on to the next item? OK, I will.

 

The hope—collaboration?

“I worry about the day pilots decide they’ve got pilots’ block and planes start dropping out of the sky. Try telling your boss you’ve got ‘day-job block’ and see where that gets you.”

—Author Mark Williams guesting for David Gaughran in Stockholm:
Urban Writing Myths and the New Renaissance
(“Writing, a lonely profession? Be serious.”)

 

The huh?—what was this “publishing” thing, again?

“What we thought publishing was, was not in fact what publishing was. It’s not what writers and readers needed.”

Richard Nash to Boston Review’s Matt Runkle on Revaluing the Book

 

And the hype for which he has hankered

“Timothy Ferriss’ first book, The 4-Hour Workweek, was turned down by twenty-six publishers before being accepted by Crown … it’s easy to understand the caution of those twenty-six.”

—Rebecca Mead, on the news that Amazon will publish The Four-Hour Chef (Ferriss’ new book):
Better, Faster, Stronger 

This is a long, deep New Yorker (Sept. 5 issue) weekend read to bookmark. Watch for Mead’s mightiest moment: “Every generation gets the self-help guru that it deserves.”

 


Porter Anderson is a Fellow with the National Critics Institute, and a senior producer and consultant formerly with the United Nations World Food Programme in Rome and INDEX: Design to Improve Life in Copenhagen. As a journalist, he has worked with media including CNN, the Village Voice, and the Dallas Times Herald. He’s based in Tampa.

 

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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Susankayequinn
Susankayequinn

What a great round-up! Off to click through…

Porter Anderson

Thank you, Susan, hope you find some things to enjoy 🙂

Porter Anderson

Thank you, Susan, hope you find some things to enjoy 🙂

Nina Badzin

Porter, thank you so much for the mention! Looking forward to your regular updates here.

Porter Anderson

My pleasure, Nina, your double-header on Twitter is full of good info for writers, and I like how you and Therese at Writer Unboxed split the approach into the “art” and “science,” very helpful for folks getting the basics. Thanks for the good work and for reading the column here.

Porter Anderson

My pleasure, Nina, your double-header on Twitter is full of good info for writers, and I like how you and Therese at Writer Unboxed split the approach into the “art” and “science,” very helpful for folks getting the basics. Thanks for the good work and for reading the column here.

kathryn magendie
kathryn magendie

Looking forward to the new feature! I had a couple of these on my “linky love” post yesterday . . .

All kinds of information out there and I like it when I can see some “at a glance” like this. Thank you!

Porter Anderson

Super, Kathryn, sounds as if you have a good “linky love” operation, yourself, lol. Hope the column will work for you well weekly, do let me know how I’m doing.

Porter Anderson

Super, Kathryn, sounds as if you have a good “linky love” operation, yourself, lol. Hope the column will work for you well weekly, do let me know how I’m doing.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Congrats, Porter! Well deserved!

Porter Anderson

Thanks so much, Christina, meaningful praise from such an accomplished blogger, author, and instructor as you. Looking forward to the release of your new Writer’s Workout in December, too, keep us all from getting Flabby on the Ether. 🙂

Porter Anderson

Thanks so much, Christina, meaningful praise from such an accomplished blogger, author, and instructor as you. Looking forward to the release of your new Writer’s Workout in December, too, keep us all from getting Flabby on the Ether. 🙂

Darrelyn Saloom

Whoop! I am thrilled to know Porter will contribute a weekly round-up. I believe Jane has found the perfect person for the job. Now, I must check out the article on how to make my Kindle read to me. 

Porter Anderson

Yo, Darrelyn, a thrill to join you as a regular contributor on the amazing Jane’s site, thanks so much. (That Jane is some kind of brave, huh?)  I found the Kindle’s reading capability quite cool, too, when I read Elizabeth on it. On my version — a Kindle 2 — I do need to keep holding the shift key down (which is not a problem) and just push the SYM key once. The voice starts and keeps going as long as I keep the shift key pressed (it’s an up arrow on this keyboard). Surprisingly nice reading voice, too.  The… Read more »

evermeg
evermeg

Just in time. I’m off on my own writing venture and these will be sure to spur along ideas and resources. Congrats, and looking forward to continual reading.

Porter Anderson

All the best with your new venture —  I hope some of the work covered “on the ether” each week here will factor into your project, and thanks for commenting.

Joe Bunting

I agree with Darrelyn. Few people with credentials like Porter’s are sifting through the fluff as well as he is.

I particularly appreciated Nash’s, “What we thought publishing was, was not in fact what publishing was. It’s not what writers and readers needed.” I’m excited to see the publishers who figure out what the market needs succeed wildly.

Porter Anderson

Thanks, Joe, you and Darrelyn are too kind. Great of you to leave a comment, and I’m looking forward to seeing the development of your new TheWritePractice.com / @write_practice . Richard Nash generates about 14 good quotes a minute, lol, you’ll find reading his interview like walking through an intellectual wind tunnel. 🙂 And yeah, we’re ALL excited to see which publishers figure out what the market needs — I’d settle for merely figuring out what a few markets need three days a week, lol.  Enjoy the ride, at least it’s not boring. 🙂

Jeff Goins

Love that anecdote about Ferriss – very encouraging!

Porter Anderson

Hey, Jeff, thanks for your comment, and yeah, you have to read Rebecca’s piece on Ferriss, she delivers several jaw-dropping moments. The many, many ways of being human. 🙂 Looking forward to reading your interview today with Skye Jethani, hard to beat a title like “The Divine Commodity,” isn’t it?

mark williams international

Thanks for the mention, Porter!

Looking forward to the weekly round-up here.

Porter Anderson

My pleasure, Mark, I enjoyed your good work at David’s spot. If you have a Twitter handle, please let me know so I can add you to my follows. Cheers –

Anne R. Allen

My favorite blogger and my favorite Tweeter together again for the first time! And you have quotes from some of my favorite Tweeps: Nina Badzin, Mark Williams and Elizabeth S. Craig! I hope I’ll make it into that illustrious pantheon some day.

What a great addition to this blog!

Porter Anderson

So nice of you, Anne, all sentiments likewise, and I feel sure that with all the strong work you turn out at your blog, we’ll find you “on the ether” sooner than later. 🙂  Many thanks for the lovely comments and for reading the inaugural edition here. 🙂

Jan O'Hara/Tartitude

Well done, you two. A perfect partnership.

Porter Anderson

Especially appreciated from such a frequent contributor of good material, Jan, thanks so much for reading and commenting, hope all goes well for you –

virtualDavis

A match made in Etherland! Now if we can figure out a way to harness the energy and smarts that Jane and Porter are wrestling we might be able to abandon petro AND nuclear… It’s the Friedman-Anderson Dynamo! Thank you.

Porter Anderson

Hey, YOU’RE the one working up to the Tour de France, sir, but thanks so much for your kind comments, much appreciated. I’m really just cycling right behind Jane to get a free ride on her draft. 🙂

Kathleen Pooler
Kathleen Pooler

Porter, this is a fabulous collection of links & “pearls”. I’m looking forward to following your weekly updates. Thanks to you & to Jane for featuring you.I want to say ” when Jane & Porter talk, writers listen” 🙂

Porter Anderson

Too kind, Kathy, thanks so much for the good words — and listen only to Jane, I have no idea what I’m talking about. 🙂

We Wanted 2B Writers

What a nice surprise to find you here—great to have a world-class wrangler branding and herding the best info to my favorite corrals.

Porter Anderson

Thanks so much. Head ’em up, move ’em out. 🙂

Jgk0816
Jgk0816

Good job Porter. I will be a loyal reader every Thursday. J

Porter Anderson

Thanks so much, appreciate it-

Jgk0816
Jgk0816

Good job Porter. I will be a loyal reader every Thursday. J