F+W Life

One of My Most Embarrassing Moments at Writer's Digest

The first author I ever interviewed for Writer’s Digest was Richard Russo. It stands as the only major author interview I’ve conducted in-person. Russo was serendipitously stopping in Cincinnati for a book signing at Joseph-Beth, just a couple weeks after he won the Pulitzer Prize for Empire Falls. I prepared extensively...

The Curse of Knowledge & Complexity of Publishing

I just came back from the annual F+W Media innovation summit, where as a company we were discussing the challenges of the publishing business—a mature business—that is entering a period of creative destruction. We had a guest speaker, William Welter (go check out the book here, releases this June), who offered...

Say Goodbye to the Starving Artist Mentality

Last week, Robert Brewer was competing for 2010 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere. (Robert is editor of Writer’s Market, Poet’s Market, and runs the very popular Poem-a-Day challenge in April.) As the final hours of voting ticked by, he and another poet were in a dead heat for the win. It’s...

How Do You Make the Time to Write?

Since college, I’ve held fast to an existential philosophy that goes something like this: We make time for whatever is important to us. Our actions are the biggest indicators of who we are. Not surprisingly, when I began working for Writer’s Digest, I had little patience for writers who complained about...

Your Writing Career May Depend on Someone You Never Meet

Yesterday I read and Tweeted about an article at Publishing Perspectives, “Career Reinvention for Publishing Professionals” by Andrew Malkin. To me it was both useful and sadly prescient; it made me recall the Richard Bolles’ book, What Color Is Your Parachute?, originally self-published for a large number of the clergy who...

Every Author Needs Professional Headshots

I don’t consider myself a formal person, and you can tell by the name of this blog—There Are No Rules—that I’m hesitant to put an absolute on anything. That said, I’ve been in the publishing business long enough to know and understand how important a professional photo can be (just like...

Marketing in a Digital Age

More than a year ago, I left a comment on the Booksquare blog by Kassia Krozser, on a post titled “Why Publishers Should Blog.” Kassia argued that publishers needed to be more vocal about supporting the titles they publish. I responded: Definitely agree, but I have to wonder if the lack...

Achieving a Dream of Mine

Years ago, back when I was directing the trade books and market annuals for Writer’s Digest, I would often have a conversation with author Christina Katz that went something like: CK: Hey, you guys should bundle together XYZ!Me: Yeah, I wish we could! We’re not set up to do that, though.CK:...

A Note About My Good Friend Earl

There’s a joke by Jay Leno that goes something like: Go through your phone book, call people and ask them to drive you to the airport. The ones who will drive you are your true friends. And there’s another saying, in publishing: Only work with authors who you wouldn’t mind being...

Benefit From Our Conference From Afar (or Nearby)

It’s definitely one the favorite parts of my job: speaking at events and meeting writers and other professionals in the business. This weekend, Writer’s Digest debuts its first stand-alone event in New York City at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square. (And there’s still time to register on-site at the event,...

Your Friends & Family Are Wrong

Time for a little tough love. To all those writers who say: My family has encouraged me to write this story I had this idea while talking with friends, and they thought it was brilliant My [insert close friend or family member name here] absolutely love my stories I read my...

Book Promotion: Like Shouting Prayers Into Hurricane

I first met author N.M. Kelby at the AWP Conference in Atlanta. The Writer’s Digest staff includes many fans of her work, so it was thrilling to talk with her about a potential book project. I’m now proud to announce the fruits of our collaboration, new to our list this fall:The...

Pain & Struggle: A Fundamental Part of Writing

Nearly one year ago, I came across the following passage on Galleycat: Reflect on this philosophical dispute submitted by one poetry-devoted reader: “The book was a collection of love poems by William Carlos Williams. The poem was ‘Asphodel, that Greeny Flower.’ And the specific line of the poem over which we...

Figuring Out Your Facebook Strategy: 3 Essential Tips

In May 2006, after reading this article in the New Yorker, I joined Facebook, which at that time was primarily used by students. Not being a student, I found very few people to friend, so the account lay dormant for 18 months until Facebook really took off as a direct competitor...

The Secret Weapon Behind Writer's Digest Books

Our executive editor of Writer’s Digest Books—who has been part of Writer’s Digest for longer than I have—is probably the best-kept secret we have around here. That’s because she’s a little shy, a bit modest, and likes to work behind the scenes. Starting today, we’re gently nudging her into the limelight...

I Hate Telephones (an Irrational Rant)

Every time I get in a relationship with someone, early on I establish a rule: We will not be having (long) conversations on the phone. I suspect it’s been a deal breaker at times, or at least a red flag (I’m thinking of you, Mr. Get-Anything-I-Want-on-the-Phone Conductor). This morning, I overheard...

Dear Writer, Please Pay in Full

As publisher of Writer’s Digest, I get the tough, make-you-cringe cases for response. Back in March, we received the following e-mail through our general account. It’s a long message, but important to convey in its entirety. Dear Writer, please pay your membership fee in full.Dear Writer, please pay for your online...

The Risk of Innovation

I’ve been silent this past week due a company off-site innovation summit in Iola, Wisconsin (the headquarters of Krause Publications, a division of F+W Media). As part of this off-site, I presented a success story from the Writer’s Digest community related to our webinar series that launched in January 2009. (P.S....

5.75 Questions You've Been Avoiding

About a year ago, I discovered a little video (via The Chief Happiness Officer) called The 5.75 Questions You’ve Been Avoiding. Ever since then, I’ve had the 5 questions on a little note sticking out of my dormant rolodex that really serves as a miscellaneous inspiration file (see end of this...