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Jane Friedman
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Helping Authors Make the Best Decisions for Their Careers
Helping Authors Make the Best Decisions for Their Careers

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In this Q&A, author Russell Rowland discusses the big mistake he made with HarperCollins, whether the journey of writing is truly its own reward, why his Indiegogo campaign worked so well, and his experiences with both traditional and self-publishing. With thanks to +Kristen Tsetsi.
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No matter how many books have been written about a topic, there is probably some important facet that has not yet been covered thoroughly or well. A key driver behind success is understanding how you fit into the existing landscape, what distinguishes your work, and why it is likely to appeal to a particular audience.
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When writers ask me, “How do I get traffic to my site?” I usually try to downplay the importance of numbers—especially for unpublished fiction writers and memoirists. You can safely assume that traffic to your site will grow as your career grows, whether you try to make that happen or not. That said, if you’re active on social media and/or regularly sharing work online elsewhere—or have a set release date for your first book—then it can pay to get serious about your website strategy and what role it will play in your platform.
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"Mostly, I write because I need you and see you, and I write out of the desperate and fragile hope that you might see and need me too." —Victoria Alejandra Garayalde
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"The other day, a high school freshman walked up to my book signing. When I asked if she had a Facebook account, she said, 'No, Instagram.'" If you're trying to appeal to a younger audience, YA novelist Annie Sullivan explains how to be effective on Instagram.
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"Public speaking skills are more akin to musical or athletic skills than intellectual knowledge alone. Mastery does not take place simply in your brain; it takes place in your body, in the 'doing' of it." —Betsy Fasbinder
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Writing a novel requires the creation of a living, breathing, fully populated world. Deities can pull off a trick like that in six days, but how long should it take to write a book? Merilyn Simonds explores the difficult answer to that question.
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"Not so long ago, a bibliography included almost exclusively references to books and articles. Today, you can offer a more vivid set of resources including recommendations for blogs, vlogs and online videos filmed by others or by you." —Betsy Graziana Fasbinder
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A trade distributor is a partner company who takes over the tasks and responsibilities of selling your books to trade accounts like bookstores and wholesalers. Because of their size and scope, trade distributors often have better leveraging power to sell books, get good placement for the books they represent, and, last but not least, get paid for books that have been sold. A trade distributor typically takes 27% of each invoice as their compensation. In this way, they are never losing money on a sale—though you may be.
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Few of your readers care about what you know, no matter how many years you have spent accumulating that wisdom. They care about what they need or want to understand.
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