Author Archives: Ben Sobieck

3 Helpful Blogs I've Recently Discovered

While you can keep up on my favorite online reads here, it’s been a while since I discussed some of the newest and best sites I’ve found. Note that I am very pragmatic in my online reading. Aside from keeping up with industry trends, I look for nuts and bolts resources...

Learn How to Sell Books on Amazon (From Amazon Employee!)

Tomorrow, Writer’s Digest is offering a live, online class on how to use Amazon to boost book sales, featuring Jon P. Fine, Amazon’s Director of Author and Publisher Services. Please note: Amazon has graciously agreed to help Writer’s Digest conduct this training session so that you can learn how to get...

Writing Can Be Learned—But It Can't Be Taught

The following guest post by Lawrence Block originally appeared in the October 1982 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine. It ran under the headline “Crockpot Macramé.” — Good morning, class. Good morning, sir. I’d like to talk a little this morning about a teaching job I interviewed for last week. I put...

Bestselling Author Turns Down $500K Deal to Self-Publish

The breaking news today is that NYT bestseller Barry Eisler turned down a $500K deal from his publisher, St. Martin’s, in order to self-publish his next book. In honor of the occasion, he and JA Konrath have a conversation that extends 12,000 words. You can read/download the entire thing here as...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 3/18/11)

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. Looking for more great resources? Sign up for “3 Happy Things,” where I curate more advanced tools/content and deliver it via e-mail. Also, check...

MFA: Art or Business?

MFA programs are art programs. They exist to help students learn to create the strongest stories and the most beautiful writing they possibly can. But do they also have a responsibility to teach students about the business end of the literary industry so that one day, after all the money we’ve...

4 Key Categories of Self-Publishing

Let’s start with the obvious. The self-publishing landscape is changing rapidly. It’s becoming more difficult to explain the options available not just because there ARE more options, but because there are subtle shades of differences between the options that aren’t immediately clear or apparent—even to people inside the industry. With this...

8 iPhone Apps to Grow & Connect With Audience

Last summer, I did a post on Ultimate iPhone Apps: 30+ Productivity and Creativity Boosts. In a few months, I’ll update that list, but first, I’d like to share specific iPhone apps that can help you market, promote, and grow your audience. I’m dividing the apps into 2 categories: Key Tools....

How to Write a Thriller That Sells

Tomorrow, novelist Hallie Ephron is teaching a live course on writing a mystery or thriller that sells. If you’re not familiar with Hallie’s advice, here are a few places where you can get a taste: The Art of the Page Turner. This is a recap of the session Hallie did at...

Storyweek

It’s Storyweek at Columbia, a weeklong festival that celebrates writing and the literary life in various venues across the city. There are readings by authors like Joyce Carol Oates, Aleksandar Hemon, Gerard Woodward, and Jennifer Egan, panel discussions, and parties. It’s basically a reminder and a celebration of the fact that...

Share Your Stories Using Broadcastr

A new iPhone app just launched this month that I’ve already fallen in love with. It’s called Broadcastr. I had an opportunity to talk with one of the founders, Scott Lindenbaum, while at SXSW. Here’s a little of what he had to say about what the app can do: Anybody anywhere...

Creating Memoir That’s Bigger Than Me, Me, Me

Today’s guest post is from Tracy Seeley, author of My Ruby Slippers. Visit her site, or find out more about her book. — Memoir tells stories from our own lives. It says, “This happened to me.”  Should be simple. And yet in writing memoir, we face certain challenges: How do we...

Best Tweets on Break (SXSW)

Best Tweets is on break due to SXSW, where I’ve been speaking and attending panels. We’ll be back next week. Keep an eye out for my special project releasing on April 1, The Future of Publishing: Enigma Variations. If you’d like to receive updates on this project, as well as other...

The Best Education for Writing Memoir

Today’s post is from regular guest and favorite, Darrelyn Saloom. Follow her on Twitter, or read her previous guest posts. Pictured above: Darrelyn’s mother in 1969 as she works her way to owning her own business. — Mama owned an answering service and worked a switchboard under a beehive of red...

Quick Post!

It’s a miracle: I’m not only on time to class tonight,  but I’ve actually arrived with ten minutes to spare!  I was so excited about this I thought I’d stop by the computer lab here on the twelfth floor and write a quick post. This has been one of those semesters...

Catch SXSW PubCamp Streaming Live!

Tomorrow I’ll be giving a brief talk at SXSW PubCamp in Austin, along with some outstanding speakers from the publishing industry. The free event is now wait-listed, but catch it live and online here (link updated morning of March 11!). AGENDA 4:00 p.m. (CST)Keynote by Sarah Wendell, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books 4:30...

Ask the Agent Power Panel

This weekend, Writer’s Digest is hosting its first online “power panel” that features 4 agents ready to answer all of your questions related to getting published. The price of $129 comes with: A query letter critique from Writer’s Digest publisher Phil Sexton A 3-month subscription to WritersMarket.com (which includes all listings...

The Future of the Novelist

This week, I’ll be at SXSWi in Austin, where I’m presenting a brief session on your publishing options at PubCamp (free!), and moderating a SXSWi panel,  The Self-Publishing Novelist. I can’t envision a more exciting or opportune time to be at a national event, guiding a discussion on self-publishing. Why? Take...

7 Don't-Miss Sites for Online Marketing

Today’s guest post is from author Meg Waite Clayton. You may remember her from an earlier guest post, How Book Club Readers (and Bookstores) Can Drive Success. — How friendly are you, really? Do you have enough followers to qualify as a cult? Are you still blogging, or have you bought...

Thoughts From a Teacher-Writer

As a teacher and a writer, I’ve got something to say. I don’t write this as a complaint, but rather, because I am getting so sick and tired of the constant maligning of teachers and teachers’ unions that I am seeing everywhere I turn: Facebook, newspaper editorials, TV, etc. My own...

Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 3/4/11)

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. Want to know about the best stuff I read each week? Click here to subscribe to my shared items. Quick plug: check out these...

Fact Versus Truth in Writing Fiction

??Today’s post is from regular guest Susan Cushman. Visit her blog!— If you’ve been following the lawsuit filed by Ablene Cooper against Kathryn Stockett, author of The New York Times bestseller The Help, I’m sure you saw this article in the February 17 issue of the Times: “A Maid Sees Herself...

6 Common Plot Fixes

The following post is an excerpt from “The Ultimate Revision Checklist” by James Scott Bell, featured in the Writer’s Digest special issue, Write Your Novel in 30 Days. If you enjoy this post, check out Bell’s upcoming seminar in June on how to sell your novel. Key Questions to Ask About...

Meeting Famous Writers

Our visiting writer at Columbia this semester is the wonderful British novelist Gerard Woodward, and as part of my coursework I’m doing a one-on-one manuscript consultation with him. I’ve been hearing great things about him for awhile now, and since I knew I’d be meeting him soon, I decided to read...