Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Writer’s Digest

New #Publishing Periodical for #Writers & #Authors ~ The Hot Sheet

If you’re a writer (author) looking to be published or striving to understand the publishing-world, you may want to spend around $US 2.27, biweekly, for an email periodical from two industry powerhouses—Jane Friedman and Porter Anderson.

Here’s a bit about Jane:

Jane Friedman “Writer and professor Jane Friedman has more than 15 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. From 2001–2010 she worked at Writer’s Digest, where she ultimately became publisher and editorial director; more recently, she served as the digital editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review. Jane specializes in educating authors about the publishing industry, and is known for thought-provoking talks on the future of authorship. She currently teaches digital media and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly.”

And, a bit about Porter:

“Journalist, speaker, and consultant Porter Anderson is Associate Editor for The Bookseller’s The Porter AndersonFutureBook in London. A former news anchor, correspondent, editor, and producer, he now focuses his coverage on publishing. His analysis is read at New York’s Thought Catalog, and he programs conference events for IDPF, Frankfurt Book Fair, The Bookseller, and Novelists Inc. He has worked with CNN International,, The Village Voice, Dallas Times Herald, Publishing Perspectives, Rome’s UN World Food Programme, and Copenhagen’s INDEX. He is a Fellow with the National Critics Institute.”

Here are the basics about the periodical from their site:

Why did you start The Hot Sheet?

“We wanted to create a way to help authors understand issues that affect them, but without drama and hype. With a biweekly schedule, we’re not interested in delivering breaking news, but perspective on stories that are likely to retain importance or meaning for your long-term decision making. Thus, we hope to provide distance and nuance on complex issues.

“We hear frequently from authors that they’re confused about what’s happening in publishing, or they wonder who’s ‘right’ about controversial issues. The Hot Sheet helps you sort through the noise. You’ll understand reactions and opinions from across the publishing spectrum, and you can decide for yourself where you stand. We think this helps reduce anxiety, increases the knowledge and power of authors, and helps us all work better together.

“Without fear of missing out, you can stop looking through comment threads or social media channels in which everyone is shouting at each other, and focus on your author career.”

Is it for traditionally published authors or self-published authors?

“Both. Changes in publishing affect everyone. We take a neutral perspective on how authors publish, and deliver information about stories, developments, publishers, retailers, and services without any specific agenda or bias.”

Is it for unpublished writers?

“If you’re interested in keeping up with changes in the publishing industry, sure. You’ll be able to understand it. But this newsletter isn’t about how to get published.”

So that $US 2.27/biweekly ends up costing $US 59.00/year and they call that an “Introductory Rate”

They offer a “30-day free trial” but it ends up that you need to pay for a year; but, they don’t charge your credit card during the first month and you can cancel anytime for a prorated refund

You can use PayPal to subscribe but they don’t spell out how the first-month-free works for that

I’m recommending this periodical purely on the reputation of Jane and Porter—I can’t imagine them doing something that’s just hype or producing something that isn’t of great value

So, if you’re interested, go grab The Hot Sheet :-)

Here are a few more reasons, from Jane & Porter, to try it:

  • Do you worry that you’re not keeping up with marketing strategies other authors use? When it comes to PR, are you on thin ice?
  • Do you get exhausted trying to find information about something “somebody said on some blog the other day”—and you don’t even know if it’s important?
  • Have you ever tried to figure out how changes in the publishing industry affect your next book? For that matter, do you know what most impacted your last book?
  • Can you tell if the latest overnight success story is an outlying case, or if it represents something you need to add to your long-term goals?
  • Are you so focused on your writing that you don’t have the industry context to assess issues? When you look for answers, do you find only gossip?
  • Are you looking for a competitive business edge—to be a smart and informed author in today’s shifting business environment?


Perhaps I’ve given you enough to encourage you to, at least, go visit The Hot Sheet site?
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

You Wouldn’t Be Trying To Mislead Me, Would You?

The #Danger of Being a #Critic

People have been trying to mislead me for at least 60 years—how about you?

Way back between my Saturday cartoons the ads promised me a lot more fun than any cereal could ever hope to provide

A bit later, the ads in the back of the comic books lured me into begging money from my parents for an Ant Farm—thin clear-plastic box with sand in it, separate cardboard tube with the ants, and a message that the ants were asleep and would wake when I put them in the sand—I waited for a few days—they were indeed dead

Luckily, the first girl I was sweet on warned me that every girl did Not want chocolates

There were thousands more attacks on my credulity; then, in my forties, I began to find certain things that stayed true no matter what I thought.

So, there’s this survey claiming to show the preferences of writers for either traditional or self-publishing.

The Los Angeles Times article about the survey begins with:

“Writers prefer to be published by a traditional publisher over self-publishing. Go figure.”

That happens to be a statement that’s misleading to the max—how did they find out what all writers prefer?

Then, they attempt to cover the misleading pontification with misdirection:

“More than 9,000 authors responded to questions about the publishing industry in a report to be issued next week. Of the writers surveyed, 57.8% said they’d rather go the traditional route with their next book than try self-publishing.

“These aren’t just old-fashioned authors. That percentage includes writers who have been both self-published and traditionally published. What’s more, the survey was conducted by Writers Digest and Digital Book World — which certainly captures people interested in digital publishing.”

9,000 authors is probably enough to show some kind of trend, right?

But wait… what kind of authors are these 9,000 souls?

An article about the survey in Digital Book World says:

“The survey sample is a non-scientific sample, since it is voluntary rather than a random sample. The authors, most of whom responded after receiving a notification from Writer’s Digest about the survey, may not be representative of the population of authors.”

They also say:

“The majority of respondents to the survey were aspiring authors who had not yet published a manuscript…”

That last statement should make any person who’s been severely misled in their lives consider that all the other numbers and pseudo-scientific pronouncements about the survey are rubbish.

Something rather surprising about the author of the article in Digital Book World is that they’re “…Professor of Sociology at Queens College – CUNY…” where they direct “…the MA Program in Data Analytics and Applied Social Research.”

Perhaps they got paid really well for lending their credentials to such sloppy surveying

I truly hope writers aren’t taken in by attempts like this.

I can’t avoid quoting one more statement that goes even further into the realm of fantasy surveys:

“The greatest preference for traditionally publishing was reported by traditionally published authors (87.2%) followed by not-yet-published authors (76.8%).”

Are they hoping that big percentages will prove that “Writers prefer to be published by a traditional publisher over self-publishing.”, in spite of the fact that those who’ve already been accepted by legacy publishers and those who’ve never been published might just not be the folks who can be relied on to help decide what most writers want??

There are a few true statements in that article but the effect is somewhat like those commercials between the cartoons—Yep, this is Really cereal!!!

So, if you happen to be the kind of person who lets their opinion be swayed by names like the Los Angeles Times, Writer’s Digest, and Digital Book World, you can also be misled by Forbes

Finally, if you happen to find out what most writers prefer, would you let me know?
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
GRAB A FREE COPY of Notes from An Alien

Help! I’ve Been Scammed!!

scam It appears that, just as big banking can get away with anything they do, so can big publishing.

Consider this answer to a comment on David Gaughran‘s blog [bolding by me]:

“…Author Solutions has proved to be an expert at creating a veneer of legitimacy. Appearing at literary festivals…is just one small aspect of that grand plan (and it really doesn’t help when they are invited to speak onstage at events like BEA either).

“Think about that (faux) legitimacy for a second. They are owned by the largest publisher in the world – Penguin Random House. They have partnerships with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Writers Digest, Hay House, Sony, Overdrive and Lulu – all respected companies. For example, if you go to the Sony Ebookstore and look for information on how you can publish there, you are sent to Author Solutions…and it’s the same with Overdrive.

“On top of that, they run a number of fake websites, purporting to be independent publishing information sites, that only recommend Author Solutions companies.

“The people they target aren’t experienced writers/self-publishers. They target those *without* experience (and the knowledge and instincts that come with experience). These people look at the companies partnering with them, look at the company that owns them, see the festivals they appear at, see their ads in places like the New York Times and the Bookseller and they think ‘these guys must be okay.’”

That rather lengthy quote was just one of the 38 comments on David Gaughran’s post, Author Solutions Takes Signing Scam To Miami Book Fair.

I’m glad I was poor when I got serious about getting published.

I didn’t have the thousands of dollars unsuspecting writers pay to companies like this

Some of David’s commenters claim that anyone spending thousands without investigating a deal deserves it; yet, Gaughran responds, “I really don’t blame anyone for falling for it.”

From the body of that blog post is revealed the sickening fact that Author Solutions made half a million dollars at the Miami Book Fair in 2012.

And, guess what? You can get scammed this year, too. Unless you heed the warnings, calm your fevered author’s heart, and do the hard work book promotion demands


Penguin Random House owns Author Solutions yet they have other operations like the $9,600 dollar scam offered through Simon & Schuster in that image.

And, they have a few other aliases they work under: AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse, Trafford, and Palibrio.

A couple of David’s commentors mentioned that an author could spend only $1,000 and have their own booth for the book fair.

Do you feel outrage at these companies or do you feel anyone paying them deserves what happens?

I published my latest book for $300 and I’m using my Sweat Equity to, slowly, encourage folks to read it—long haul promotion

There’s another good place to get info on author scams and I certainly hope my readers will share this kind of information, as widely as possible
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

GRAB A FREE COPY of Notes from An Alien

Select as many as you like:

Help! I’m Being Swamped By Writing Advice!!

Some is good for you, some is pure poison; and, one writer’s poison is another’s saving grace

Writing advice is ubiquitous and, as more folk enter the expanding arena of publishing, the advice has become a bit like a tsunami.

In a previous post about Joe Konrath, A Book Review In The Midst of A Publishing Firestorm…, I quoted Joe quoting someone else:

Baz Lurhmann once said: ‘Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.’”

I then followed that quote with lots of advice from Mr. Konrath :-)

Want more advice?

Try these past posts:

Some Publishing Advice from Two Extremely Successful Authors

Writing Resources & Advice ~ Tread Carefully…

Good Advice About Self-Publishing

The weird thing about this post is that I’m giving you advice about taking advice by giving you more advice

Naturally, I feel my advice is good but what’s the core meaning of “advice”?

“from L. visum, neuter pp. of videre ‘to see'”

So, just to round-out this advice-filled post, try an article from Writer’s Digest, 23 Timeless Quotes About Writing.

Here’s my favorite:

“Long patience and application saturated with your heart’s blood—you will either write or you will not—and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.”
—Jim Tully, October 1923

What’s your best advice for writers??
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Learning from The Best ~ But, How Do You Find Them?

With all the changes going on in publishing, not only writers need to find the best sources of information and advice; readers would do well to pay close attention, being the consumers of what writers and publishers produce.

One of my go-to experts is Jane Friedman, full-time professor of e-media at the University of Cincinnati and, formerly, publisher and strategic leader of all content and community for F+W Media, corporate parent of Writer’s Digest.

My past seven posts featuring Jane Friedman show the wide range of topics she can address

One of her recent posts gives us a glimpse into where she turns for information and inspiration.

12 Must-Read Articles from 2011 is, itself, a Must-Read :-)

To encourage you to follow that link, here are the articles Jane recommends:

Accessibility vs. Access: How the Rhetoric of “Rare” Is Changing in the Age of Information Abundance
by Maria Popova

Wikipedia and The Death of the Expert by Maria Bustillos

Advice for Young Journalists in the Digital Age by Nate Silver

There Are Some People Who Don’t Wait: Robert Krulwich on the Future of Journalism

Is the Future of Physical Book Publishing the Same as the Future of Reading and Writing? by Daniel Nester

The Web is a Customer Service Medium by Paul Ford

The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King by Michael Margolis

The Ultimate Crowdfunding To-Do List: Before You Launch by Nathaniel Hansen

The 7 Biggest Fan Page Marketing Mistakes by Brian Carter

Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings? by Paul Ford

What Books Will Become by Kevin Kelly

Monoculture: How Our Era’s Dominant Story Shapes Our Lives, a book review by Maria Popova

Jane’s comment on those articles: “You may not agree with the arguments you’ll find, but you have to give them credit for being original and thought-provoking. They will enrich your thinking about writing and publishing, and give you a more nuanced perspective of the industry.”

I’d love to know which articles You found most interesting :-)
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

%d bloggers like this: