Digital media tools and resources for writers and other creative professionals
A note from Jane
One of my husband Mark’s favorite albums is God Bless Tiny Tim, first released in 1968. He believes it’s now an under-recognized album, mostly forgotten.
In 2018, the year of the record’s 50th anniversary, Mark decided it was time to write about it—a love letter, if you will—to convince the music world to listen again.
I was excited to see what he’d write. Of course he’s talked to me at length about what this album means to him. I couldn’t wait for his observations to be shared more widely. And he happens to be a very fine writer.
So he labored over this piece for months (doing loads of research) and was on the verge of publishing it.
But then he didn’t.
Why? Because of two mistakes.
The first mistake: He showed it to me.
The second mistake: I made a lot of revision suggestions that quashed his desire to go any further with it.
And now the 50th anniversary is in the distant past.
Editors do a lot of harm every day, unintentionally. In Mark’s case, I wanted the piece to work for the kind of audience I’d like him to have, not the audience he actually wants to reach. Plus I didn’t frame the feedback in a way that made it easy to take next steps.
It’s hard to find the right editor. If you’re struggling with an editor right now, ask them lots of questions. Figure out their assumptions. Ask for what next steps they’d take.
P.S. My most popular blog post right now:
How to Build an Author Website: Getting Started Guide
Business of Being a Writer Facebook Group
Jane on Instagram
Jane’s Electric Speed List
Here are some of the latest things I’ve found and enjoyed. (I have not been paid to mention any of these resources.)
Identify the categories of any book at Amazon
As experienced authors and publishers know, it’s important to select the right categories for your book on Amazon. One way to determine best categories: carefully study comparable and competitive titles. This tool, Bklink, shows you the full category list for any book.
A new calendar scheduling tool that’s free for now
I subscribe to the Tools for Reporters newsletter, which recently discussed the merits of Woven, a new calendar scheduling platform. This is already a crowded market that includes Acuity (my choice) and Calendly, just to name a couple. So why try Woven? It remains free in its early days. If you’ve been holding off on using a scheduling tool because of price, give it a spin.
Social media hashtags for authors
Attention users of Twitter and Instagram: Help your posts reach a wider audience by making use of a few appropriate hashtags. For example, to share the day-to-day trials and tribulations of the writing life: #amwriting. To pose a question to a pro? #AskEditor. Browse a great list of helpful hashtags.
Just for fun: Colorful Cities
I recently came across these lively coloring books that double as city travel guides. Cities covered so far: Havana, Seattle, Portland, Tokyo. And, very soon: Chicago!
Next online class: Improve Your Author Website with Jane (Feb. 26)
This 75-minute session covers best practices of author websites, how to avoid the mistakes most prevalent in the writing community, and how you can better reach your goals. Make sure the time and energy that you’ve put into your site will pay off with more readers, more sales, and more opportunities for your books.
Learn more and register
Your turn: Favorite browser extension
In the last issue, I asked you to share your favorite browser extensions. (My most-used extension? LastPass.)
• Nicholas Barron: ColorZilla makes it easy to grab the hex code of a color from an image/web page. The extension allows me to save time when I’m creating a social media or marketing image.
• Scott Weigle: uBlock Origin for blocking ads and popups. Have to remember to turn it off sometimes, though, when a site will not work.
• Anonymous: My favorite browser extension is Pocket. It’s so handy when I want to save articles or web pages for later [and] add tags for organization. You can also read most articles directly inside Pocket, without ads and with customizable font/font size/background. I love it!
• Michelle Bish: I’m a browser tab-aholic, often with 30+ tabs open at a time, causing my computer to drag and my children to make fun of me. OneTab puts the tabs into a list, in a tab of course, where they are easy to access and open. Also: Everyone is creating video content now, oh so many webinar recordings, video trainings, product overviews, etc. Video Speed Controller puts speed control shortcuts in the top left corner of videos to make it easy to speed them up and get through them faster.
Next question for you
Do you use a to-do list application? Let me know—just hit Reply to this message and share your favorite tool.
Classifieds are paid ads that support Electric Speed and get delivered to 33,000 subscribers each week. Place yours.
In Pigtails and a Tool Belt Sam is up to her eyeballs in clogged drains, an AWOL boyfriend, and a new employee—her ex-fiancé. Sparks fly, and it has nothing to do with electricity.
Writing your book is the easy part. It’s the marketing that’s so stressful. But what if marketing could be fun? #1 best-seller The 10 Commandments of Author Branding shows you how.
Called to Write provides a positive space for writers who want support to write regularly. We run daily online writing sprints at 9 a.m. PT and host twice monthly coaching calls.
The 7 Universal Laws of Getting Dreams Done: “A great handbook for everyone trying to make their dreams a reality.” This little book will inspire you to get your best work done.
Where Jane Is Speaking Next
• London Book Fair, Mar. 10–12
• Maryland Writers’ Association Conference (Hyattsville, MD), Mar. 28–29
• Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop (Dayton, OH), Apr. 2–4
• Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (Black Mountain, NC), May 24–28
• Midwest Writers Workshop (Muncie, IN), Jul. 23–25
• Writer’s Digest Conference (NYC), Aug. 13–16
• WriterCon (Oklahoma City), Sep. 4–6
• Kauai Writers Conference, Nov. 9–15
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Electric Speed is a free newsletter published by Jane Friedman that’s been sending since 2009. It is read by more than 33,000 subscribers. You can support it by (1) sponsoring an issue or placing a classified or (2) sharing it with friends and colleagues.
“At electric speed, all forms are pushed to the limits of their potential.”
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