“It takes guts to be gentle and kind.” —The Smiths


Jane Friedman is the co-founder and publisher of Scratch, a magazine about writing and money, and is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest. She has more than 15 years of experience inside the book, magazine, and literary publishing industries.

Jane specializes in educating writers about the publishing industry—from all perspectives, without hype or bias—to help them make the best long-term decisions for their careers. Since 2001, she has spoken at hundreds of writing conferences around the world, and is known for thought-provoking talks on the future of authorship. She recently delivered keynotes at The Muse & The Marketplace, the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute, and PubSmart.

What I Care About

I have a special interest in how the digital age is affecting and transforming writing careers, publishing, and storytelling. I was involved in a 3-day collaborative experiment at the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair, sponsored by Arizona State and Intel, to write a book on the future of reading, writing, and authorship.

In 2011, after being asked so often to predict the future of publishing, I wrote a satire on futurist commentary (The Future of Publishing: Enigma Variations), but most of my work is rather practical and sincere, and meant to educate writers on how to create sustainable, meaningful careers in the digital era.

The Long Version

I began my career at F+W Media in Cincinnati, where I ultimately oversaw the transition of a predominantly print-driven business to one centered on digital media. I was responsible for the business strategy and financial performance of a team of twenty, which covered editorial, advertising, online education, and e-commerce operations. During my tenure, I launched and managed the social media presence of Writer’s Digest, growing its Twitter fan base to over 150,000 followers and its Facebook fan base to over 25,000 followers. I started the Writer’s Digest blog There Are No Rules in 2008, which has been maintained as the primary staff blog since my departure. In my role as publisher, I also launched and artistically directed the Writer’s Digest Conference and Writer’s Digest webinar series, which still continue today.

My leadership and business results at F+W ultimately landed me a job as a tenure-track professor of e-media at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, which grants BFA degrees to students seeking full-time careers in the media. While at UC, I was recruited to work at the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia, to spearhead and manage digital publishing initiatives. I launched the first digital subscription to the journal (now comprising 25% of subscriptions), and led a major content migration and strategic relaunch for VQR Online. My audience development for the brand led to a 100% increase in website visits during issue release months.

The More Personal Take

I am a late-sleeping, bourbon-drinking editor, at least mostly sane. I live life forward, even though you can only understand it backward.

I don’t have hobbies, unless drinking is a hobby. I write, I read, I edit, I teach, I speak. Working and playing are the same activity for me.

I travel when I have the time.

I’m open to just about any adventure, and even a whole lot of situations (or conversations) that most people would consider boring.

I’m fascinated by the concepts of happiness, memory, loss, death, regret, settling, staying put, personal choice, homes, family, corporations, rituals, beginnings and endings.

The 3 things very important to me: compassion, service, and independence. I avoid environments (or people) lacking these qualities, especially organizations without a strong service component—a strong why—driving their work-play.

I am an unashamed Zen-inspired intellectual who tests INFP on the Myers-Briggs and Type 3 on the Enneagram. I care about joy and beauty, in a broad sense. I’m occasionally even fun to be around.

I have been called Miss Jane, Wonder Jane, Sweet Jane, Plain Jane, The Other Jane, Not-That Jane, and Smiling Jane.

I’ve also been called a pusher, a dream crusher, a hopeless idealist (or just plain naive, depending), a bad influence, an adventurer, a fierce independent, and the one who knows how to turn this thing around.

Recent Media Mentions

  • My magazine about writing & money, Scratch, was featured in the New York Times (July 2014).
  • Posted at Medium & Thought Catalog, Jason Allen Ashlock interviewed me about Scratch and how the magazine publishing business has changed in the last five years (February 2014).
  • I participated in a Reddit AMA on writing and publishing (November 2, 2012)


  • Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers (2013–2014)
  • ALLI‘s Top Website for Self-Publishing
  • Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2011–2012 (Write to Done)
  • 2008 Dorothy Hamilton Award, Midwest Writers Workshop
  • 2004 Instructor of the Quarter, Beckfield College
  • 1999, 2000 Xavier University Poetry Award
  • 1997 University of Evansville Vision Award

Recent print publication credits

Shh! Jane’s Embarrassing College Poetry


“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” (Terry Tempest Williams)