November 5-7, 2020

Author Archive

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in Publishing: From First Pitch to Book Birthday

This session will aim to educate writers on diversity in the current publishing climate. It will provide writers with takeaways related to traditional publishing, dispel myths regarding diversity and inclusion in the publishing world, and provide important information to consider when pitching their books to literary agents and the journey towards publishing. Writers will also gain a deeper perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly of literary tropes.

Marketing Collectives for Mutual Success

Not only do marketing collectives amplify your own marketing efforts, but they also provide a supportive community that lets you tap into your members’ diverse expertise, experience, and relationships. Often competition and fear drive authors but it’s time for a better model of collaboration and generosity.

The award-winning author marketing collective, the Tall Poppy Writers (TPW) are a group of 45 traditionally-published female authors representing a wide range of genres. Formed in 2013, TPW now has a combined members social media reach of approximately 660,000 and their posts frequently go viral. They have a unique relationship with Frances Ford Coppola’s Winery, Book Trip, Book Scents, Bedside Reading, Jungle Red Writers, and Career Authors to name a few, and a philanthropy arm that donates to Room To Read. In this session, the founder of the Tall Poppy Writers will provide the basics of how to build a robust and functioning author collaborative.

Learn what works and what doesn’t, what an author-directed group addresses that a publishing house can’t, what agents and editors think of author marketing collaboratives and what results TPW is seeing on sales, attendance at live events, social media engagement, and charitable fundraising.

How To Plot Your Book With Ease

What’s the biggest mistake writers make? They don’t know how to merge the technical aspects of plot and cohesion with the emotional aspects of characters and desire. Without these things working together authors get rejected time and time again. The job of a writer is to entice, compel, and seduce readers; to tell a story while entertaining and evoking emotions so readers can feel beyond normal feelings. Emotion and scene are the secret weapons of plot and creating a truly compelling story. In this workshop, participants will be taken step by step from idea to emotion to story. Participants will have a clear understanding of how to move forward with their story after just 60 minutes of instruction. Examples from the participants will be workshopped.

Seven Key Questions You Need to Answer to Successfully Publish Your Nonfiction Book

If you’re writing narrative nonfiction, self-help, or memoir, do you really have to be Michelle Obama or David McCullough to beat the odds and be published? No—truth is, agents and editors are eager for great nonfiction stories because they sell.

In this session, we’ll address seven key questions that will improve your likelihood of finding success. In so doing, you’ll begin to understand who your readers are and how to reach them. We’ll explore why it’s important to have one main conflict or theme, and what that means in terms of developing an entire book. And by asking “So what?,” you’ll discover what tricks to employ to make your story more compelling and relevant.

You’ll come away with new ideas for your work and an understanding of how to develop and pitch your book idea. There will be time for some on-the-spot exercises that will help you avoid common pitfalls, and a Q & A.

Building a Sustainable Writing Career: Priorities, Platforms, and Getting Paid

This exclusive pre-conference workshop kicks off the 2020 Writer’s Digest Annual Conference weekend on Thursday, August 13th. Seats are limited, so register today!

Before the arrival of the Internet, writers had few options for making a living that didn’t involve working with traditional publishing outlets or businesses. Today, there are many potential business models and sources of income that enable writers to build a sustainable career—whether they are an introvert, extrovert, or some combination thereof.  

If you want your writing to be a career-long activity and provide a living wage, then it’s necessary to consider the business model that will support you and how you will sustain and adapt it over time. By developing a diverse mix of writing opportunities, you can future-proof your career, create more of the opportunities you want, and decrease those you do solely for the money. 

In this full-day workshop, Jane Friedman—co-founder of The Hot Sheet, former publisher of Writer’s Digest, award-winning blogger and author of The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press, 2018)—will teach you how to be clear-eyed and strategic about developing revenue streams best suited to your personality, your writing, and your career expectations. We’ll discuss early career foundation and brand-building for freelancers who want to work for publishers or businesses, how and when freelancers can successfully market and sell their work directly to readers/consumers, and the varied income opportunities related to being a visible writer or expert in the market.  You’ll learn:

  • How and when early career freelancers might work for “exposure” versus cash 
  • Principles and techniques for building a platform, with special attention paid to lead generation 
  • Foundational strategies and principles for using your website, online writing (blogging), email and social media in concert with each other to develop opportunities for your career 
  • How to optimize your branding and messaging in an online environment, and use the language of clients or consumers to help your efforts 
  • The importance of relationships and community, and uncovering freelance opportunities through collaborations, partnerships, and influencers 
  • Methods of patronage and reader support that can support less commercial writing efforts, including crowdfunding and grants 
  • The critical difference between hourly work, scalable work, and passive income 
  • The basics of selling services, such as editing, coaching, consulting, and online courses (and how to get started with something like freelance editing or non-university teaching) 
  • How to more confidently talk about money and negotiate, and how to price your services—whether you do it on a fee-basis or hourly basis 
  • How to crack the holy grail of digital subscriptions 
  • What affiliate marketing is and how to start simply and ethically 
  • The most popular, economical, and easy-to-use tools to support your freelance business 
  • Resources to help you uncover more freelance opportunities and creative freelancer networks wherever you live 

Who this session is for

  • Established and aspiring authors who want to develop more freelance income or diversified income streams 
  • Bloggers and other online writers 
  • New and emerging freelance writers 
  • Creative writing students who want to make a living through writing or freelancing 



Jane Friedman is a full-time entrepreneur (since 2014) and has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. She is the co-founder of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, and is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest. In addition to being a columnist with Publishers Weekly and a professor with The Great Courses, Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at Jane’s newest book is The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press, 2018).