The Complete Guide to Query Letters

This post was originally published in 2014; it is regularly updated with new information. If you’re seeking one-on-one help with queries, I offer a critique service. The stand-alone query letter has one purpose, and one purpose only: to seduce the agent or editor into reading or requesting your work. The query letter is so much of a […]

how to write a novel synopsis

How to Write a Novel Synopsis

Learn how to craft a strong novel synopsis, while avoiding the most common mistakes, including the dreaded “synopsis speak.”

How to Tell If Your Story Idea Is Mediocre—And How to Improve It

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is adapted from The Writer’s Advantage: A Toolkit for Mastering Your Genre by Laurie Scheer (@mediagoddess213). So you think your idea for a new vampire novel is a good one? Think again. Nine times out of ten, your idea is really quite mediocre and has been done before, actually a […]

New Year’s Restitutions | Writing on the Ether

Table of Contents Nobody Dast Blame Us Maass Production Wendigging It Nobody Dast Blame Us You know the line, right? It’s Charley, in Death of a Salesman: Nobody dast blame this man. You don’t understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there’s no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt […]

single career

Why I Choose to Both Self-Publish and Traditionally Publish

Since 2009, after the release of my second novel, I’ve been a so-called hybrid author, working with New York publishers as well as self-publishing. I’m often asked why I chose to combine these two seemingly disparate publishing careers, juggling twice the work.

Ether (+Bowker): Turning Corners on Self-Publishing and Amazon?

Here at the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair this week, if we’re not actually walking past a couple of smoothly contoured bends, we may at least be able to peer around them. (1) Self-publishing. We may be seeing a widespread, collective nod of recognition going on; not a big “eureka!” moment, but a frank acknowledgment that the energies of the entrepreneurial-author community no longer can be dismissed as a faddish bubble of activity nor as negligible in their effect. Bowker has stepped in to add some new edge to this concept. (2) Amazon. Not only is there less time and energy wasted on bad-mouthing Seattle here in Frankfurt than in many such earlier gatherings, but one rant against the retailer has been met with stark derision in the publishing community, and, in a more signal moment, a major leader in the business has waved the closest thing we’ve seen yet to an olive branch.

Porter Anderson, PorterAnderson.com, Writing on the Ether, Ether for Authors, London on the Ether, JaneFriedman.com, Ed Nawotka, Philip Jones, PublishingPerspectives.com, The Bookseller.com, books, ebooks, author, agent, Amazon, publishing, The FutureBook, CONTEC Conference, Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt Buchmesse, Jonny Geller, Kristin Nelson, Michael Tamblyn, Jon Fine, Hugh Howey, Amanda Barbara, Peter Armstrong, Florian Geuppert, Matthias Matting

Writing on the Ether: Contrarians Among Us

Table of Contents Three Valuable Views A Word for the Publishers Humming the Bookstore And Just Write It Already View from the North Ten: Poems after Mark Rothko’s No. 15 by Dave Malone Inspired by the primary colors of Mark Rothko’s vibrant No. 15 painting, these poems give life to the canvas of the rural Ozarks. […]

Porter Anderson, PorterAnderson.com, Writing on the Ether, Ether for Authors, London on the Ether, JaneFriedman.com, Ed Nawotka, Philip Jones, PublishingPerspectives.com, The Bookseller.com, books, ebooks, author, agent, Amazon, publishing, The FutureBook, CONTEC Conference, Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt Buchmesse, Bowker, WriterUnboxed.com, The Metadata Handbook, Thad McIlroy, Renée Register, Jonathan Franzen, Karl Kraus

WRITING ON THE ETHER: What’s Wrong With Franzen?

Jonathan Franzen, in his essay at The Guardian, wants to tell us that Viennese fin-de-siècle essayist Karl Kraus has “a lot to say to us in our own media-saturated, technology-crazed, apocalypse-haunted historical moment.”

Porter Anderson, PorterAnderson.com, Writingon the Ether, Ether for Authors, London on the Ether, Jane Friedman, Ed Nawotka, Philip Jones, Publishing Perspectives, The Bookseller, books, ebooks, author, agent, Amazon, publishing, The FutureBook, CONTEC Conference, Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt Buchmesse

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Are You Marketing to Your “Adjacent Fans”?

Table of Contents Looking for the “Comp”-etitive Edge Marketing: Not Just for Companies Anymore Wait. Who Wrote That? Looking for the “Comp”-etitive Edge Books are books but they are also containers of ideas, worlds, beliefs, philosophies, attitudes, world-views, etc. So far, so good, right? Even though I’ve hit you with the m-word here—oh, no, marketing!—we’re […]

Porter Anderson, PorterAnderson.com, Writingon the Ether, Ether for Authors, London on the Ether, Jane Friedman, Ed Nawotka, Philip Jones, Publishing Perspectives, The Bookseller, books, ebooks, author, agent, Amazon, publishing, The FutureBook, CONTEC Conference, Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt Buchmesse

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Counting in the Dark

In Writing on the Ether at JaneFriedman.com, Porter Anderson looks at a new effort to rank ebook sales in London — and at Peter Brantley’s worries in the States about e-literature’s collection and preservation.

Porter Anderson, PorterAnderson.com, Writingon the Ether, Ether for Authors, London on the Ether, Jane Friedman, Ed Nawotka, Philip Jones, Publishing Perspectives, The Bookseller, books, ebooks, author, agent, Amazon, publishing, The FutureBook

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Should Authors Stop Linking to Amazon To Support Bookstores?

Table of Contents Should Authors Stop Linking to Amazon? Timing, and Interdependence Chewing Each Other’s Legs Off Mr. Smith Goes to Town “Don’t Link to Amazon.” But She Does It. Should Authors Stop Linking to Amazon? I feel angry that these authors, unthinkingly or by design, have chosen to support Amazon, W H Smith or […]

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, blog, blogging, journalism, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Digital Book 2013, IDPF, BEA 2013

WRITING ON THE ETHER: The Indies are Coming! to BEA

Porter Anderson looks at how six of the most prominently successful self-publishing authors are taking their own booth (#966) at BookExpo America (#BEA13), staking their claim to a new, unified presence at the industry’s big trade show.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, blog, blogging, journalism, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Digital Book 2013, IDPF, BEA 2013

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Writers in the Inferno

How many authors do you know who seem more renowned among their peers than readers—not because these “thriving ink-slingers” (Michael Deacon) are writing books only other authors could love, but because their output seems to focus on these redundant how-to’s designed to crib a few more bucks from fellow would-be renowned authors?

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, blog, blogging, journalism, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Digital Book 2013, IDPF, BEA 2013

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Are Your Books’ Covers Sexist?

Writing on the Ether provides selected news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Ether for Authors—another gas—runs on Mondays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives. London on the Ether, a new UK-related edition of the column, has recently had its debut at TheBookseller.com

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, blog, blogging, journalism, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Springtime for Librarians

Writing on the Ether provides selected news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Ether for Authors—another gas—runs on Mondays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives. London on the Ether, a new UK-related edition of the column, has recently had its debut at TheBookseller.com

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, blog, blogging, journalism, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Agents and Authors at the Coalface

Writing on the Ether provides selected news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Ether for Authors—another gas—runs on Mondays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives. London on the Ether, a new UK-related edition of the column, has recently had its debut at TheBookseller.com

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

WRITING ON THE ETHER: ‘They’re Letting the Authors In!’

Writing on the Ether provides selected news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Join us on Mondays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives for the new Ether for Authors column.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Publishing’s Masks Need To Come Off

Writing on the Ether provides selected news and perspectives on publishing. It is written by journalist and critic Porter Anderson for Jane Friedman and it appears at JaneFriedman.com each Thursday. Sponsorship opportunities are available and offer generous promotion. Join us on Mondays at Ed Nawotka’s and Frankfurt Book Fair’s Publishing Perspectives for the new Ether for Authors column.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, TOC, #TOCcon, Author (R)evolution Day, #ARDay, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka, The Bookseller, FutureBook, Philip Jones, Sam Missingham, Foyles, #FutureFoyles, London Book Fair, #LBF13

WRITING ON THE ETHER: Authors Need Random House on Board

Writers in the Spotlight: How To Turn Your Readings Into Book Sales with Porter Anderson Join me in this spe­cial three-hour inten­sive Boot Camp ses­sion at Writer’s Digest Conference East (#WDCE) at 12:30pET on Fri­day, April 5. We’ll look at pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tion for the entre­pre­neur­ial author in an interactive, up-on-your-feet workshop format: come with two […]

The Future of Publishing: Enigma Variations

The Future of Publishing: 14 Variations (Now Free!)

Last year, on April 1, I released an e-book, The Future of Publishing: Enigma Variations. It was mostly an April Fool’s Joke—a joke that cost you $1.99. (Read a full description here, plus reviews.) In this 39-page PDF, I offer 14 possible scenarios for the future of publishing … exaggerated scenarios. But in the final variation, […]

How Do You Know If Your Agent Is Any Good?

I recently received the following question from a writer who wishes to remain anonymous: Every new writer wants to know how to get an agent and everyone seems to write about that topic. But I want to know how to assess my agent. How do I know if I have a good one? I’m trying […]