Publishing Advice from Former Writer’s Digest Editor Jane Friedman



If there is one takeaway from Jane Friedman’s How to Publish Your Book it is that every writer needs to realize and take to heart why they write. Is it for commercial success? To live on afterwards in succeeding generations as a literary presence like F.Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and others? To impart advice similar to Jane Friedman and other how-to authors? To record a slice of life, whether yours or another? Or is more simply wanting to write for the pleasure of it? Whatever your answer, the reason you write will govern how your approach to the publishing industry.

The course is a series of lectures that gives to the unpublished or the newly published direction and advice about a world that can seem to be closed and insular. Everything from categorizing your book to query, pitches, and platforms to marketing to self-publishing is covered in 24 under-an-hour lectures. I listened to it during my morning and afternoon commute. Besides the practical advice, Jane Friedman throws out a lot of sources for further study on most topics. Examples are provided of query letters, synopses, merchantable introductory book chapters, non-fiction platforms, pitch q&a. For those who listen to the course, there is a print companion. I hit pause and used Siri on my phone to take notes.

The angle that Jane Friedman is coming from is directed toward authors seeking commercial or mass-market success, either through mainstream publishing with the Big 5 New York publishing houses or through self-publishing. The latter is covered mainly at the end of the series though several earlier parts contain good advice for authors taking the self-published or small press route. Marketing, knowing which genre(s) fits your book, developing a platform for your non-fiction book are but three examples that any author would gain insight from listening.

For me, I can say that after ten plus years,  I got some clarity on why I write and what that means for I want to do.