Jane Friedman: Impressing Editors and Agents

Jane Friedman


Jane Friedman is editorial director at F+W Media in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she oversees the publication of more than 50 nonfiction titles each year, under the imprints of Writer’s Digest Books, HOW Books, Betterway Books, and TOW Books. Writer’s Digest Books is the world’s #1 reference publisher for writers, and for more than 85 years has published the bestselling reference guide Writer’s Market. Stop by her blog, There Are No Rules, at blog.writersdigest.com/norules.

Being a Savvy Author Who Impresses Editors and Agents

One of the fastest ways that a potential (or current) author can impress me is through their knowledge of what’s happening in the industry. Very few authors take time to stay current on how the industry is changing and what challenges it faces. In turn, this often results in authors who have the wrong expectations about publication or make the wrong kinds of demands from their agent or editor.

There’s a very easy way to become savvy and knowledgeable. Set aside an hour or two every week to read blogs and articles from the thought leaders in the book publishing industry. I’m not talking about those editors, agents, or published authors who give advice on how to get published or what’s “hot” and selling well today. I’m talking about blogs that monitor the state of the industry.

Here are four I recommend.

Tools of Change or Publishing (O’Reilly)
O’Reilly is one of the most progressive publishers on the scene as far as using new technologies to reach and serve their audience. When you visit this blog, you’ll notice the tag line, “Connect With Publishing Innovation.” Their analysis and opinion is always thoughtful and insightful, and usually accessible to even the most stubborn Luddite.

This blog can be very business-focused (at least from a writer’s perspective), with probably more analysis than you care to read about how retailers and companies are performing on a financial level. But it always covers important trends and strategies related to publishing. Even if you don’t care about the financial performance of B&N, it’s helpful to know what direction the wind is blowing.

The Digtalist (Pan Macmillan)
This is a blog by the digital team at Pan Macmillan in the UK. As they say on their opening page, it’s a place to debate books, publishing, the web, and the future, with posts such as “10 Reasons Not to Write Off Reading From a Screen” or “Short Fiction in the Age of the Ebook.”

Chris Brogan
I get tons of questions from writers asking about social networking. What is it? Is it important? How do you use it? And so on. Social networking and community marketing does play a role in publishing now, even if we’re not sure yet how to make it profitable. Chris Brogan is the one expert I’ve seen in social networking/marketing that consistently delivers accessible and useful information that can help writers (and, well, everyone) sort through the mess.

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