Are You an Impatient Writer Who Burns Out?

Zach Duffy

by Zach Duffy

Recently, I was a featured guest interviewee over at Curiosity Quills. They asked me some challenging questions about publishing and the future of authorship. Here’s a small snippet:

People are impatient and they want to see results very quickly. There’s a lot of emphasis on quantity—quantity of friends or followers or fans or viewers—rather than quality, and John Locke to some extent was able to look at both and make some very good choices. He was very focused on who he was trying to reach. He understood what they would respond to, and he spent his time and energy on the places he saw a quantifiable return.

On the other hand, he was doing things that were authentic. So I think even though online media and social media can present this opportunity for a lot of noise and meaningless messages, those who are able to approach this in a more personal way are the ones who win out. It can’t be done without a strategy behind it—but not everyone hits on the right strategy at first. They tend to burn out before they get it right.

Click here to read the full interview, where I also discuss which social networks you should participate on, how the role of traditional publishers are changing, and how indie publishers can stand a chance in the marketplace.

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Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. From 2001–2010 she worked at Writer's Digest, where she ultimately became publisher; more recently, she was an editor at the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she led digital strategy. Jane currently teaches writing and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly. The Great Courses just released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017). 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.
Posted in Digital Media, Social Media, Writing Advice.


  1. I have bookmarked this as there is so much in it! I wish there was a F:F course that was run on all the things you cover!

  2. Hello again Jane,

    I read your interview in Curiosity Quills. I love the way you consolidate so much information into a concise overview. You covered most of the differences and advantages between traditional and self publishing, which is of great interest to me.

    One of the points you mentioned, is that traditional publishers, along with the big six, hope to gain most of their book sales in the first year of the launch, and that backlists are shrinking. A new author’s first novel may go out of print in a few years or less if it doesn’t generate enough sales out of the gate. The same is true for mid list authors.

    However, with self-publishing, where the author PAYS to get his work into distribution, the writer can also KEEP his work in distribution, as long he maintains the service fee. And that fee is nominal. Also, self-publishing generally uses print-on-demand production and shipping, which means warehousing and it’s cost is out of the loop. This is another reason why self-published authors have an easier route to staying in print. And sure, a new self- published author has to build her own social proof and promotion. But I’m finding out that’s a good thing, for writers AND readers. Whether it’s self or traditional publishing, I’m loving the way authors can now stay INTERACTIVE with their readers. And readers can write their authors.

    (I’m sure you knew this but I wanted to add this to your list.)


  3. I’m going to pop over and read the full interview. This sounds a bit like me…sometimes once I get to the point in the story where I know where it is going, I’m tired of it and want to move to a new project.  Thanks for the info!

    Malia Mallory

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