Scratch Q4 2014: Self-Help

On Self-Promotion, Selling Out, and Burn Out

The Fall 2014 issue of Scratch is now available. Inside, you’ll find a feature interview with New York Times bestselling author Austin Kleon, offering insights on how to balance your artistic lifestyle with marketing and self-promotion. Here’s what he says about being an author as his full-time job: It’s weird because I’ve written about how you shouldn’t be […]

Elizabeth Kadetsky

The Benefits of Procrastination & Distraction

Every month, Glimmer Train releases a bulletin that includes a few brief essays by writers on the writing life. For October, I was happy to find the themes of procrastination and distraction—and how they can be a positive influence in our work lives. Elizabeth Katdetsky discusses how she gives in to the procrastinator in herself, and how […]

5 Lessons in Publishing Success From Bella Andre

This week I’m speaking at the International Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy, which is slanted this year toward digital publishing and the future of authorship, particularly indie models. On Friday morning, Bella Andre gave a talk on her path to success, from a traditionally published author with 7 titles in 2010, to self-published phenom with […]

social media

How to Avoid the “Extra” Work of Social Media

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of speaking at a one-day publishing event hosted by Blurb in Brooklyn, NY. My topic was the art & business of building a platform, which included about 5-10 minutes of commentary on social media (out of a full hour). As often happens, most audience questions were about social media, […]

Smart Set

For Publishers to Thrive Requires a Kuhnian Paradigm Shift

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Amazon, Publishers, and Readers by Clay Shirky […]

Writer's Digest (October 2014)

The Evolving Role of the Literary Agent

In the most recent issue of Writer’s Digest magazine, you’ll find my feature article, “The Evolving Agent.” I discuss how literary agents’ business models and services are changing to fit the needs of their clients, who are increasingly self-publishing or choosing hybrid paths. The article covers: the value of agent-assisted self-publishing what happens when agents use […]

chronic back pain

How I Recovered From 3 Years of Chronic Back Pain

As some of you may recall, I’ve been seeking solutions to my chronic back pain, which I assume is partly related to my writing-and-sitting-at-the-computer lifestyle since the mid-1990s. You can read the first installment here. I’m very grateful to say that I’ve been pain-free for six months and have returned to long-distance running. (I can […]

Smart Set

How University Presses Need to Improve Their Marketing [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Direct-to-Consumer Marketing for University Press Books by […]

self-hosting your author website

Self-Hosting Your Author Website: Why and How to Do It

When it comes to establishing your author website, one of the more confusing topics is self-hosting: what it means, why it’s advantageous, and when you should do it. What Is Self-Hosting? Sometimes it’s easiest to describe what self-hosting is not. If your website has “wordpress.com” or “blogspot.com” (or the name of another service you use) in […]

Smart Set

Is It the Golden Age for Journalism? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Journalism Is Doing Just Fine, Thanks by Matthew […]

Amina Gautier

How Revising Rewards Mistakes

One writing and publishing adage I’ve always believed in: “Writing is rewriting.” Fiction writer Amina Gautier’s approach is similar. For her, revising is the best part. Over at the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, she offers tips on unlocking the joy of revision. She says: Revising encourages and liberates the writer to “make mistakes.” It rewards mistakes; each […]

Smart Set

How Can We Generate Rewards for Reading? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Publishing’s Future: When Editors Eat Robots by Porter […]

Social Media Just for Writers

My Latest Thoughts on Marketing for Writers

My latest interview, with advice for writers on websites, blogging, social media, and marketing, is now live over at Social Media Just for Writers. Frances Caballo asked me wide-ranging questions such as: What are the elements of a successful website and blog? How important is blogging for a writer’s success? Should writers participate in online […]

Writer Unboxed

How to Measure Whether Your Social Media Activity Is Worthwhile

Today I’m a contributor over at Writer Unboxed, discussing how social media can be used more effectively. My suggestions rely, in part, on categorizing your activity within distinct stages (though they certainly overlap with one another). Here’s a bit of what I have to say: Regardless of your stage of activity—but especially during marketing campaigns—you should measure traffic […]

Smart Set

Who Can Effectively Challenge Amazon in the Book Business? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams [How to Give] Amazon a Headache by Mike […]

Smart Set

What Does It Mean to Protect Authors’ Interests? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams More Fights About Terms by Brian O’Leary Publishing […]

Smart Set

What Should a Strong Authors’ Advocacy Group Be Doing? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams For the Authors Guild [a wish list] by […]

Josh Weil

Sow Your Characters’ Emotions in Early

In a thought-provoking post over at Glimmer Train, Josh Weil talks about Chekhov’s rule: If you bring a gun into the story, then it must fire by the end. Weil reverses it to produce a new insight: “If you’re going to fire a gun at the end, you’d better bring it in near the beginning.” He goes on to discuss […]

Smart Set

How Can Authors and Publishers Partner Better on Book Marketing? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Publishers Need to Rethink Their Marketing Deployments […]

Scratch Q3 2014

7 Industry Experts Discuss Book Marketing and Promotion

The Summer 2014 issue of Scratch (my magazine for writers) is now available. Inside, you’ll find a roundtable I hosted on book marketing and promotion, with an all-star lineup of industry folks with a wide range of experiences and viewpoints. Here’s a little snippet, featuring Rachel Fershleiser of Tumblr, talking about the author’s role in the marketing […]

Smart Set

Ebook Subscription Services: Good for Authors? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Kindle Unlimited: The Key Questions by David Gaughran […]

writing and money

Writers Are Opening Up About Money—And That’s a Good Thing

From a recent op-ed at the New York Times: Writers may always have worried about money, but now seems a particularly fertile time for writing about it. … This spate of talk about writing and money has opened up broader conversations about who can afford to enter the profession today, and who gets shut out. My magazine […]

Smart Set

What Is the Future of the Physical Bookstore? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams The Problem of Reinventing the Bookstore by Nate Hoffelder […]

World Domination Summit

3 Takeaways for Writers from the 2014 World Domination Summit

This past weekend, I attended the World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland, which attracts 3,000 creative people who are concerned with answering the question: “How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” They are guided by three values: Community Service Adventure Speaking personally, I’m really into the first two, as well as […]

Smart Set

The Latest Trends in the Indie Author Market [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams 2014 Smashwords Survey Reveals New Opportunities for […]

Digital Book Day

Digital Book Day: A New Marketing Effort By Bestselling Author C.J. Lyons

Over the holiday weekend, C.J. Lyons, a bestselling hybrid author, launched a new initiative called Digital Book Day, partly in response to the discontinuation of World Book Night USA. For those unfamiliar with World Book Night, it was a joint marketing effort to spread the love of reading by giving away thousands of books in a single […]

Smart Set

Has Anyone Figured Out How to Marry Digital Media and Literature? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I share three smart pieces worth reading about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams 5 Myths About the New Era of […]

Celeste Ng

The Argument for Ambiguity in Your Story

To create a story that feels as if it could leave the page: That’s the dream of many writers. But to pull it off means leaving space for the reader. Celeste Ng, author of the newly released Everything I Never Told You, explains: … you need to leave a few unmapped places so the characters can step beyond […]

Smart Set

Book Marketing: It’s About Data, Not Promotion [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Scared Money Never Wins by Chris McVeigh […]

Smart Set

The Healthy Profits of Traditional Publishers [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams How Much Money the Biggest Publishers Actually […]

Smart Set

What Is the Value of Traditional Publishers? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Advice to Publishers: Don’t Fight for Your […]

Smart Set

How, When, and Where Does Quality Rise to the Top? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams   “To seek: to embrace the questions, […]

Bret Anthony Johnston

Understand Your Character’s Obsession

Fiction writers: How well do you know your protagonist? While you may have learned the basics of point of view, and can tell the story from your protagonist’s perspective, how does your protagonist see the events and details of the world around him? Bret Anthony Johnston suggests, “Point-of-view is defined by obsession.” He writes in […]

uPublishU

Social Media 201: uPublishU Panel Preview

Tomorrow, I’m moderating a panel at BEA’s uPublishU on Social Media 201, featuring: Porter Anderson L.L. Barkat of Tweetspeak Poetry Jeanne Bowerman of scriptmag.com This post offers a sneak preview of what we’ll have to say. Jane’s Funnel Very often, when people talk about strategies on Facebook or Twitter, they’re discussed as if they exist in a […]

Smart Set

What Does Innovation Look Like for Literary Publishing? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams   “To seek: to embrace the questions, […]

My Latest Writings & Ideas—Elsewhere

This past week, I’ve been a guest at a range of sites. Here’s where you can find my latest musings on the future of publishing and more. Stop Looking for Innovation on the Newsstand In this piece for the Bo Sacks newsletter, I question why we’re using newsstand as a measuring stick for the health […]

Smart Set

How Does a Print-Centric Publishing Culture Become Digital-First? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams The Leaked New York Times Report Is […]

Freelance Income Survey

Take the 2014 Freelance Income Survey

Do you make a portion of your income through freelance writing? Then I’d like you to take this survey. Background My Scratch co-founder runs a blog called Who Pays Writers? that encourages transparency about pay rates in the media and publishing industries. In the past week, there’s been a lot of chatter about salary inequity in […]

Smart Set

Which Publishers and Authors Are Truly Engaged in Their Communities? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams   “To seek: to embrace the questions, […]

author websites

Do You Need to Rethink Your Website’s Key Elements?

For 10 years, I’ve been analyzing website traffic—for my own site, for Writer’s Digest (when I worked for them from 2001–2010), and now for the Virginia Quarterly Review. Every site has different traffic patterns, but what I’ve learned is that the homepage is rarely the first page that visitors see. They often end up on a story page from […]

by Niklas Wikström

Being an Author vs. Running a Business as an Author

Is there a difference between being an author versus running a business as an author? In this interview with Joanna Penn, we discuss some of the important shifts that happen when you begin treating your writing (and/or your art) also as your business. We also cover: The trade-offs that can make full-time writing possible The business […]

Smart Set

Why Are Harlequin Profits Declining? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams   “To seek: to embrace the questions, […]

Scratch Q2 2014 Faith

The Role of Faith (the Non-Religious Kind) in the Writing Life

The latest issue of my magazine Scratch is now available! The theme is Faith. If you’re not a subscriber, here’s what you can read for free. The Scratch Interview by Cheryl Strayed by Manjula Martin In this revealing interview, New York Times bestseller Cheryl Strayed talks about success, artistic faith, and how to bounce a rent check […]

Monica Byrne

Let’s Resist the Culture of Idolatry in American Literature

In a bold and insightful piece by writer Monica Byrne, she discusses how, as an emerging writer, she created a list of her favorite authors titled “My Idols.” But she scratched that out, then wrote “My Models.” Then, finally, “My Peers.” Why? … I realized the difference between admiration and idolatry. How I placed the famous writer’s innate […]

Smart Set

The Role of the Expert Has Radically Changed [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams   “To seek: to embrace the questions, […]

Smart Set

Will Self-Pub Dwindle When There’s Less Backlist for Authors to Exploit?

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams When an Author Should Self-Publish and How That […]

Are There Limits to Literary Citizenship?

The backlash against Literary Citizenship is underway, and perhaps it was inevitable. For those unaware of term, it’s widely used in the literary, bookish community to refer to activities that support and further reading, writing, and publishing, and the growth of your professional network. In some ways, it’s a more palatable (or friendly) way to […]

Why Are Romance Authors Better at Marketing & Promotion? [Smart Set]

Welcome to the weekly The Smart Set, where I curate new smart reads about the publishing and media industry. I also point to issues and questions raised, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.” —Terry Tempest Williams Today’s edition is abbreviated since I’m at […]

The Muse and the Marketplace 2014

Writing & Money: A Brief Syllabus

For my upcoming keynote talk at The Muse & The Marketplace, I’ve been immersing myself in histories of publishing and the evolution of authorship. While I’m quite well-read on what the future holds (see a separate reading list here), and often speak on the current digital-era disruption, I’ve always wanted a more cohesive understanding of […]