Author Archives: Ben Sobieck

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6 Key Components of an Online Author Platform

Next week, on June 2, I’ll be teaching a live, online class on building your author platform. To help make “platform” more understandable and approachable as a topic, I’ve boiled it down into 6 key components. Here they are, briefly. VISIBLE Your website (your hub, or Grand Central Station) Your social...

3 Publishing Trends Writers Must Stay On Top Of

This week marks the publishing industry’s largest trade show, BookExpo America. This is the first year since 2004 that I’m not attending, but in honor of that show, I’m offering up 3 key industry trends you should stay on top of. (Above: My cat Zelda implores you to stay informed.) 1....

Final Post :(

Well, the school year is finally over and with it comes the end of my tenure here at MFA Confidential. I want to thank Writer’s Digest for giving me this wonderful opportunity to reflect on my MFA experience in a magazine with a national readership. It’s been such an honor and...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 5/20/11)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the comments. Best of Best How to earn your info dump@elizabethscraig 7 Pre-Launch Tips for A Successful Kickstarter Campaign @nathanielhansen Best post on Facebook marketing I’ve...

There Are Some People Who Don't Wait

I shared the following on my Facebook page, but it’s too good not to post here as well. Robert Krulwich (who hosts Radiolab—a phenomenal radio show & podcast if you’re not familiar) delivered an inspiring commencement address to graduates of the Berkeley School of Journalism. The full text his talk is...

Get Your First 1,000 Words Critiqued By Agent

Among the most popular events at writing conferences today are “Why I Stopped Reading” panels, in which brave attendees offer up the opening pages of their manuscripts to participating literary agents, who then read them aloud and explain when and why they would likely lose interest (or, with any luck, not!)....

5 Things The Great Books Taught Me About Writing

Today’s guest post is by Robert Bruce, a full-time writer and a book blogger at 101 Books, where he is currently blogging through Time Magazine’s 100 All-Time Novels. Follow him on Twitter.  — Last summer, I started a personal quest to read through Time Magazine’s “All-Time” Top 100 books (plus Ulysses),...

Videos to Help You Find the Muse

In my last newsletter, I mentioned several videos that I find inspiring that aren’t really about writing. And I asked readers to share with me videos they find memorable. Here are two of the best. One is Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk; the other is JK Rowling at Harvard commencement. Thanks to...

8 Things Readers Want From Self-Published Authors

My post last week, The “Self-Pub Is Crap” Debate, has probably generated more comments than any other post in 2011. Reviewing the comments provides an excellent to-do list of how self-published authors can be taken seriously by readers. Hire professionals for editing, proofreading, and design. Put most of your cost toward...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 5/13/11)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the comments. Best of Best Seth Godin explores people’s goals in publishing a book @DanBlank 6 tools to help you format your eBook; includes tools for...

The Comeback Fight

Pictured above: Boxer Deirdre GogartyDarrelyn Saloom, a monthly contributor here at No Rules, has written an article for Boxing.com about a comeback fight for boxer Deirdre Gogarty. As many of you know, Darrelyn has been working with Deirdre on her boxing memoir for a number of years. Go check out the...

Happy News About My Teaching Future

As many of you are aware, for the past academic year, I’ve been serving as a full-time visiting assistant professor of electronic media, at the University of Cincinnati. When I signed up for the gig, I knew it was only for a year—but of course I hoped that if it was...

The "Self-Pub Is Crap" Debate

I’m reaching an exhaustion level with the following two viewpoints: Most self-published work is crap. Anyone can “publish” their e-book and call themselves an author. None of these “books” are edited. It’s a huge pile of crap that’s just getting harder and harder to sift through. (God save us from the...

Some Fun Trivia For You

I just discovered trivia nights in Cincinnati recently and am hooked. I go whenever I can talk my wife into going, and it’s a lot of fun. For anyone out there who enjoys trivia as much as me, I’ve decided to post questions from time to time for you to enjoy....

Should You Self-Publish After a Near-Miss?

Writers often ask if it’s wise or helpful to self-publish their work if they have “near-misses” with agents or publishers. There’s no one answer that works for everyone. But I’ll try to help you come to the right conclusion. YES: Go ahead and try self-publishing a book You know how to...

5 Key Research Sites You May Have Missed (Plus Cool Tricks)

I’m as guilty as the next person: I use Google for everything and don’t wander much outside it. (In fact, I use iGoogle as my browser homepage.) But as any astute researcher knows, Google’s search engine can rank poor-quality content very highly just because the site has good SEO (search engine...

Another Year Over

Today begins my last week of classes for the spring semester. This time next year, if all goes as planned (which it rarely does) I will be submitting my thesis and graduating with my MFA degree. Then what? Well, if I’m going to think positively, I suppose the next step is...

Is Email the New Blogging?

The meme these days seems to be that e-mail newsletters (or content marketing through e-mail) is the new blogging. Actually, I lie. It’s a fairly old meme—I can at least trace it back to this blog post by Jason Calacanis, a longtime respected blogger, who decided to start a paid e-mail...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 5/6/11)

I watch Twitter, so you don’t have to. Visit each Sunday for the week’s best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the comments. Also: Check out these upcoming online classes from Writer’s Digest: I’ll be presenting How to Start a Successful E-mail Newsletter on May 12. Best...