by Oberazzi / via Flickr

The Complete Guide to Query Letters

This post was originally published in 2014; it is regularly updated with new information. 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 sales piece that you should be able to write it without […]

should you self-publish

Should You Self-Publish or Traditionally Publish?

Should you self-publish? There is no single right answer to this question—it’s always situational. It depends on you, your book, and your career goals. This post outlines the key questions you should ask.

Barry Eisler

5 On: Barry Eisler

Author Barry Eisler discusses the pros and cons (where they exist) of legacy, Amazon, and self-publishing; research and editing; selling book rights; and more.

Reggie Lutz

5 On: Reggie Lutz

Author and radio broadcaster Reggie Lutz discusses her tendency as a writer to synthesize fiction genres, recommends qualities to look for in a writing critique group, offers advice on pitching and interviewing with radio hosts, and more.

do you love your publisher #authorsay

Do You Love Your Publisher: Author Survey Results

Last month, author Harry Bingham and I launched an author survey to explore the experiences and current leanings of traditionally published authors in the English language. The Bookseller in the UK originally reported on the survey here; it can catch you up on what we hoped to accomplish with this effort. So the results are now in. We received 812 responses; you can view […]

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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 […]

Smart Set

Is Publishing in Trouble or Not—Decide! [Smart Set]

Welcome to The Smart Set, a weekly series where I curate a selection of articles from the past week related to the publishing/media industry that merit your attention. I also point to what I see as the most interesting underlying questions, and welcome you to respond or ask your own questions in the comments. “To seek: to embrace the questions, be […]

20 February 2014 iStock_000011862511Small photog UygarGeographic texted story image

Earning the Authors a Say

Much shorter and quicker to go over than the initial report, this edition takes into account information interpreted from approximately 11,000 titles in genre fiction; 900 in literary fiction; 30,000 in non-fiction; and some 10,000 in children’s (not YA) fiction. Hugh Howey has, since the first report, adopted a more frequent use of the term “spider” for the software his still-unnamed associate is deploying.

Commodity Publishing and The Future of Fiction

Commodity Publishing, Self-Publishing, and The Future of Fiction

Many years ago, when I started working for Writer’s Digest, I was put on the self-publishing beat. I started by reading Dan Poynter’s guide, by the godfather of self-publishing, then the Marilyn Ross guide. I attended EPIC, once the leading conference for e-book authors, and sat on a panel with Piers Anthony to discuss the […]

Avery Monsen & Jory John

What Is an Author’s Marketing Responsibility With a Traditional Publisher?

It is a pleasure to share this interview with two authors who are also marketing geniuses, Avery Monsen (@averymonsen) and Jory John (@joryjohn). A couple years ago they authored a brilliant illustrated book with Chronicle, All My Friends Are Dead, which became an online sensation and breakout bestseller with more than 100,000 copies sold. This year, […]

Jane Knows

When’s the Right Time to Leave Your Big Six Publisher?

I received the following question from published author Lisa Earle McLeod—who I remember first meeting at a Foothills Writers Guild conference in South Carolina: Hi Jane, My first book, Forget Perfect, was published by Perigee (Penguin USA) in 2001. It did moderately well. Now 10 years later, as sales were starting to peter out, Forget […]