Tag Archives: Jane Friedman

How to Publish

Writing guru Jane Friedman has made a useful chart describing the features of different ways to publication:


The PDF download is larger and easier to read with a magnifying glass feature.

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One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed in the last six years is the attitude of big publishers towards eBooks. In 2013, those companies that issued a digital version of a print book, priced it the same or even more expensive, even though it cost them virtually nothing to store and distribute—unlike hard copies, which need warehouses, lorries and staff to handle. It almost felt like the Big 5 still secretly harboured a hatred of eBooks and were trying to kill them off by making them unaffordable.
More recently, several long-established publishers have opened imprints to promote digital sales, staffed by experienced and enthusiastic marketers. They often publish genre fiction by debut authors, which looks commercial but is still too risky to send to the printers. I think they’re still charging too much, which is why staying Indie is attractive to me, as I can ask as little as £1.99 on KDP Select to lure readers. Changing the price is as easy as a few mouse clicks. I can give my eBooks away for free for five days of every 90-day contract, to help promote sales. I haven’t heard of any mainstream digital publishers who’ll allow this.


The Purgatory of Submission

This heartfelt article describes what many of us know is involved in querying literary agents.

If you’re just starting out as a writer, yet to jump through an agent’s submission hoop, then what Glen Cadigan describes will give you a good idea of what to expect when you’ve completed your precious story.

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I just received my 40th ‘No’ from 88 queries made in February, which brings my total of rejections up to 677 since 2013. I’m not upset by this, forging ahead with my plans to return to self-publishing, which, at the moment means adding posts to my Paul Pens blog in anticipation of it going live. To me, rejections are like flies splattering themselves on my windscreen as I drive onwards.

I found Glen Cadigan’s article via a link on the excellent Writers’ Services newsletter, which is worth subscribing to, that also featured an article from Jane Friedman who does a question and answer session with two literary agents, comparing and contrasting what they say with the reality that Glen Cadigan describes.

Before I started reading it, I predicted that both agents would stress the importance of good quality writing, which is what they always say, and that I’ve described here in an old post as the biggest fallacy about publishing.

The idea that your manuscript will rise to the top of the slush pile, glowing like an irresistible gold ingot because it’s well-written is nonsense. It certainly helps, for writing has to be coherent, at the very least, but from seeing what does get published to become best-selling, I reckon that it’s the concept of a story, something unusual, intriguing and exciting that can be marketed, which motivates agents and publishers to get behind a book.


Jane Friedman reports on a new social media network in her Electric Speed newsletter.

Are.na claims to be: A visual platform that helps you think. Spend less time “liking” and more time thinking. Are.na frees your mind from distraction and lets you organize your internet more mindfully.

Jane Friedman describes Are.na as a mashup of Pinterest, Scrivener and Pocket. At first glance, it looks a bit like Pinterest, with the feature of being able to add files to help organise and publicise writing projects. It’s free to use with up to 100 of what are called private ‘blocks’, with unlimited public blocks. A Premium Package at $45 a year offers additional features.

I’ve opened a free account and will be exploring the site.

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Hmm, in the sinister way of modern cyber life, I noticed just now when I logged onto Are.na, that although I haven’t filled in any personal details or made any posts, the profile picture I have on the Gmail address I used for contact has been added to Are.na—without my say-so—social media really is watching me!

More about Are.na here.