on Jane Friedman site:
If you aspire to be an author, then you probably already know that you need a “platform” to land that big book deal. Or any book deal, period.
Most of us are aware, by now, that we’re supposed to have two million Twitter followers, plus a couple gazillion more on Instagram, YouTube and Substack. Platform haunts our dreams in the literal sense. It follows us around like a swarm of starved mosquitos. If you’re anything like me, the word alone makes you want to bolt up from your desk right now and go hide in your hall closet, behind the Swiffer and forgotten rolls of Christmas paper, stopping only to grab a Lime-A-Rita.
It’s not just us link-stained wretches churning out the nonfiction, either. Even fiction writers eventually need a platform. Story alone may get your query plucked from the slush pile, and later acquired by a Big Five editor, but those odds are long. You bet on them at your own peril.
Now what if I told you that you could distinguish yourself amidst the slush, disguise the weaknesses elsewhere in your platform andstick it to your snarky brother-in-law, just by doing some freelance writing?
By “freelancing,” I mean contributing articles to websites and other outlets, and by “byline,” I mean the journalism term for author credits, i.e. whom a piece is attributed to.
But before we get into the how, let’s look at five reasons you might want to do some freelancing.
on Jane Friedman site:
As an editor and coach, I’m frequently asked by writers when they should level up from free and low-cost feedback (critique groups, webinars, and classes) to more expensive forms of feedback (workshops, private editors, even MFA programs). Some are newbies who don’t understand the feedback landscape. Other writers have been burned by overly critical MFA programs, bad editing experiences, or critique group dramas—and they’ve learned that while some mistakes hit your pocketbook, the costliest ones can damage your manuscript.
Often these problems have one common cause: You’ve asked the right question of the wrong person.
Thank you so much for this article, Nicolas, even though it almost breaks my heart.
The Passive Guy recently shared a post by Jane Friedman on the future of Barnes & Noble; a topic you may remember from my earlier post, “How Amazon Destroyed Barnes & Noble.”
Quite frankly, Jane’s post made me sad. The latest chairman, James Daunt, is credited with saving UK’s famous bookstore, Waterstons. However, all you got to do is read the following quotes to understand that he really doesn’t get B&N – or books.
Early on, when Daunt was asked what he thought of Barnes & Noble on his last store visit, he said, “There were too many books,” by which he meant that featuring the right inventory is more important that stocking a big blur of titles. Back in 2015, he commented to Slate, “My faculties just shut down when I go in there.”
So… the big problem with a bookstore is that it has too many books.
And this gem:
Daunt loves the physical book, but he wants to give customers a digital option to get them into reading as an entry to physical books.
An entry. To physical books. Like, kids use digital books but us, highbrow grownups, know better. “Thank you, Amazon, B&N will stick to our guns and our lovely paper. No need for this new fandangled way of doing things.”
Thank you for your information about the search for publishers and agents, Jane Friedman!
If you have a book idea or a manuscript, one of your first questions is probably:
How do I find a publisher?
Or, if you’re more advanced in your knowledge of book publishing, you may ask:
How do I find a literary agent?
The good news: there’s no shortage of resources for researching publishers and agents. The bad news: you can easily spend hours going down the rabbit hole of available information.
Jane Friedman provides us with information on how to write a novel synopsis. Thank you for this very educational post, Jane!
It’s probably the single most despised document you might be asked to prepare: the synopsis.
The synopsis is sometimes necessary because an agent or publisher wants to see, from beginning to end, what happens in your story. Thus, the synopsis must convey a book’s entire narrative arc. It shows what happens and who changes, and it has to reveal the ending. Synopses may be required when you first query your work, or you may be asked for it later.
Don’t confuse the synopsis with sales copy, or the kind of marketing description that might appear on your back cover or in an Amazon description. You’re not writing a punchy piece for readers that builds excitement. It’s not an editorial about your book. Instead, it’s an industry document that helps an agent or editor quickly assess your story’s appeal and if it’s worth them reading the entire manuscript.
This is an interesting and well-written post on Jane Friedman’s blog. Sarah Chauncey wrote about flashbacks in books and how many of us make mistakes when writing them in our story. Thank you very much for your information, Sarah.
Flashbacks are scenes that take place prior to the narrative arc of a story. They can illuminate any number of story elements, from revealing the origins of an unusual habit to new information about a relationship. Flashbacks can give the reader a depth of context not available in the primary narrative.
Alternately, flashbacks can help the reader understand your reaction to an event in the primary timeline. For example, maybe you had a fight with your spouse, and the exchange reminded you of how you used to cower in your closet when your parents fought. While you can tell with that line, showing via a flashback can be more engaging for the reader.
However, flashbacks can be tricky to write. Written unskillfully, flashbacks can leave a reader disoriented and disengaged.
What follows are the five mistakes I see most often in memoir manuscripts, though these principles are also relevant to fiction. If you’re writing fiction, just substitute “your main character” for “you.”
Jane Friedman provides us with an excellent informative article about public libraries. Thank you so much, Jane.
When you see headlines discussing the staying power of print and the decline of ebooks, it’s important to remember those headlines are describing only sales of traditionally published books. Such headlines aren’t factoring in other market trends, such as digital subscription services, self-publishing, and—perhaps the most overlooked sector—library lending.
In 2017, OverDrive (the largest digital content catalog supplying libraries and schools) recorded 225 million ebook and audiobook checkouts around the world. To put that in context, consider that—during the same year—US traditional publishers reported 162 million ebooks sold.
On the ‘Jane Friedman’ blog, Justin Attas wrote a guest post about three common pitfalls and how to avoid them. I find this an energetic, educational and interesting blog post which I thought I needed to share.
Today’s guest post is by novelist Justin Attas (@justinattas).
Writers always seek to produce a unique story, hoping readers will choose their book from the increasing pool of what’s available. But this can lead to creating a character or story that is “different” sheerly for the sake of, well, being different.
I’ve found three dangerous pitfalls for writers struggling to stand out:
- “Strong” female characters
- enemies-to-lovers storylines
- Leading characters who are damaging, not damaged
Luckily for anyone struggling with one of these tempting story blackholes, there are ways out of all three.
Dave Chesson informs us on ‘Jane Friedman’ what we authors need to know about the changes to Amazon Advertising. Thank you Dave!
Amazon is always looking for better ways to crank out a higher profit margin.
While some of their updates have been much to the chagrin of authors, recent changes to their book advertising system should help authors make better decisions about their ads and target their markets more precisely.
But it’s not all good. I’m leery of some aspects I think might be problematic.
To read the entire blog post, click here:
On the Jane Friedman blog I found a great article on how to grow an email newsletter starting from zero – written by Christina McDonald. Thank you very much for the detailed descriptions and great ideas, Christina!
An email list is your secret weapon for selling books—it is a direct connection to your reader. But when I got my first book deal, I had no audience, no author Facebook page, and no email list. I knew I needed to build awareness to give my book the best chance to succeed. Here is my step-by-step guide to how I built my email list to 6,000 subscribers in one year.
1. Draft a plan
The first thing I did when I got my book deal was sit down and come up with a plan to build an email list. Coming from a digital copywriting background, I knew that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter were good for brand building, but not for getting people to buy. Buying happens through an email list. I also knew I would need to provide people with a benefit to get them to sign up. Here’s what I decided to provide:
- Quarterly newsletters
- Interviews with authors
- Free book giveaways
To read the entire blog post go to: