Monday, January 25, 2010

Blog Review - There Are No Rules - Jane Friedman

Blog Review - There Are No Rules - Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman is Publisher & Editorial Director of Writer’s Digest, and I would love her blog for the title alone. I'm one of those people who always looks for the exceptions.

Jane's blog is diverse, and regularly presents thought-provoking topics. Although she doesn't post daily, she is a frequent poster. I would say she averages about 4-5 posts per week.

Recently she has been hosting a guest post series by Jim Adam. In "The Strengths of the Potter Series" Jim uses the Harry Potter books as a springboard to discuss a wide variety of issues relating to the craft of storytelling.

One of my favorite recurring features is Best Tweets for Writers.

She describes it as follows:

"I watch Twitter, so you don't have to. Visit each Sunday for the week's best Tweets. If I missed a great Tweet, leave it in the Comments. Always welcome your suggestions on improving this weekly feature."

A "Best Tweets" blog post is divided into sections, as listed below.

Best of Best
Stand Alone
Getting Published, Agents/Editors
Craft & Technique
Publishing News & Trends
Twitter, Blogs & Social Media
Marketing & Platform Building
Self-Publishing and E-Publishing
Resources & Tools
The Writing Life & Fun Stuff

"Best of the Best" is an "all-star" listing drawn from the other categories. If you;re not a twitter user, you may be surprised, as I was, about the high number of tweets that are links to articles or posts of subtance. The only tweets on Jane's list that are genuinely aimed at the ADD audience are those in the "Stand Alone" category. But beware - when you read one of Jane's "Best Tweets" posts, be prepared to overstay. The wealth of quality links assembled there can be overwhelming.

One unique aspect of Jane's blog is that her professional position is that of selling support services and information to writers via
Writers Digest. These include not only the magazine but also books for writers, conferences, and a variety of online classes, workshops and webinars.

This reminds me of the story told about the gold rush days. Individual miners might become fabulously wealthy, or go flat broke. But the steady reliable profits went to those who sold supplies to the prospectors. This observation may sound cynical, but that's not how it's intended. Jane is obviously a dedicated and talented individual, and I do not believe that she would be associated with an organization that did not deliver good value. Seeing the quality of what she gives away freely, one can only imagine what the paying customers get!

My reason for mentioning Jane's niche within the writer-advice community is that it frees her from dependence on any particular business model within the rapidly changing publishing landscape. Often I see opinions on major issues - traditional publishing versus self-publishing, for example, and the advice-giver, even when doing their best to be fair and even-handed, is nonetheless biased by the particular niche they occupy professionally. Jane has no built-in professional bias. Her niche is one that will flourish as long as there are aspiring writers. It gives her the freedom to take a truly open and unbiased view of the various controversies of the publishing world.

The wide variety of topics Jane covers is suggested by her sidebar list of blog categories:

Best of Twitter
Building Readership
Craft & Technique
Digitization & New Technology
F+W Life
Getting Published
Guest Post
Industry News & Trends
Marketing & Self-Promotion
New Titles From F+W
New Titles From Writer's Digest
Sneak Peek
WD Magazine

Check out Jane's blog. And get ready to get hooked!



Jane Friedman said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, Steve! I couldn't agree more when you write, "My reason for mentioning Jane's niche within the writer-advice community is that it frees her from dependence on any particular business model within the rapidly changing publishing landscape."

Writer's Digest has always existed to help writers thrive, no matter what shape the business takes. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be part of its tradition.

Steve said...

Hi Jane,

I think you are my first commenter (yay!). As a new blogger it means a lot to me to know that I've been able to make a contribution to the online conversation and that the subject of a review finds my words to be of value. Thanks much for the comment.