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Jane Friedman's Electric Speed newsletter

In this issue

A note from Jane

I worked at my college newspaper as the staff copyeditor and loved the job. I was known for being able to spot errors on page proofs from across the room.

I also loved writing for the newspaper, and—since there wasn’t all that much competition—I covered student government meetings and penned an op-ed column.

But it wasn’t my idea to work at the paper. One of my friends from high school recruited me to work on staff, and I was easily persuaded. I wanted to be wanted.

After a year, my friend decided he would run for editor in chief, and told me I’d be second in command if he got the job. That sounded pretty good and I was flattered.

Only then I started wondering: What if I ran for editor in chief? Why shouldn’t I have the job?

So I ran against him and won.

He never forgave me, and did his best to ensure serious consequences—such as convincing existing staff to quit the paper rather than work with me. I had to recruit new editors and reporters in short order.

I couldn’t blame him. What I did was nakedly ambitious and not the behavior of a loyal friend. Yet I’ve never regretted it. I’ve often wondered why.

While I wouldn’t have used this language at the time, he treated me as a supplicant when I knew I was his equal. Once I recognized that, change was inevitable and instantaneous.

As they say in Zen, “Now is the right time.”

Jane


P.S. The most popular blog post at my site this month:
Online Book Events: A Necessary Pivot in 2020, But How Do You Compete?

P.P.S. There is more to this newsletter—keep scrolling!
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Jane’s Electric Speed List

Here are some of the latest things I’ve discovered. (I have not been paid to mention any of these resources.)

An efficient way to create book links for marketing

Booook Link creates one link to rule them all: a link that allows readers to choose which store to buy from—free for you to use. If you don’t like this tool, an alternative is Universal Book Links.

 

Plottr: a visual software for novel planning

In the most recent issue of Hot Sheet (my other newsletter), novelist Jessica Strawser reviewed the relatively new software Plottr. She found some useful features even though the software remains in the early stages of development. Read her review.

 

For journalists and prolific online writers: Authory

Authory helps you organize and save all the articles you’ve written for publication, assuming they’re available online. It also helps you understand how well your articles perform on social media, and offers tools to build an email newsletter list. Pricing begins at $8/month.

Wheel bug

Identify the plants and animals around you

Last month, Mark and I were outside when he noticed this scary (to me) bug that we could not identify. So I found and downloaded the Seek app (a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society) to ensure our lives were not in danger. The app immediately identified it as a Wheel Bug, ominously part of the assassin-bug family. But an assassin of soft-bodied insects, not humans.

Blogging Strategies That Work in 2020 with Jane Friedman. $25 class. Wednesday, October 7. 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

Next online class: Blogging Strategies That Work in 2020


On Wednesday, Oct. 7: Blogging remains one of the most straightforward paths to build and engage a readership over the long term, at least for writers. But for blogging to have a real payoff for your career or author business, it has to be done with a particular strategy in mind, and executed with some discipline. Jane will teach you the principles of strategic blogging and the best practices she’s learned since she started blogging consistently in 2007.
Learn more and register

Your turn: Favorite paper greetings

In the last issue, I asked you to share your favorite retailer or creator of paper greeting cards.
  • My favorite greeting cards and blank cards (which I like to use as stationery) come from my artist friend Jacqueline Sullivan, Rifle Paper Company, LovePop cards (expensive but exquisite paper cuttings), and Pretty Flours prints by Molly Thompson on Etsy. —Chris Wachsmuth
     
  • I love Little Otsu for paper products. I started buying my weekly planner from them years ago, when I wanted something more eco-friendly than what I could get at a big-box store. I liked that they were a small company with products designed by artists they know. And I always end up adding a bunch of cards to my order. —Emily Jane Buehler
     
  • Greeting Card Universe makes beautiful cards for less than what you find at the store, and you can personalize with photos and words. I order all the birthday and anniversary cards for the year at once, which brings the price under $2 per card. —Tammy Euliano
     
  • LovePop has a huge selection of cards for every occasion and although the cards are about twice the price of regular store-bought cards, the LovePops are always a welcome surprise to the people I send them to. (And are kept when other cards are tossed out after the special occasion is past!)
     
  • I love Emily McDowell & Friends. This collection is a fresh, funny, and honest alternative to the sometimes unoriginal sentiments of other greeting card options.
     
  • My favorite retailer of all things paper is Two Hands Paperie in Boulder, Colorado. It’s the most magnificent art and gift shop. The cards are curated by the owner, Mia Semingson. The cards are often from a small business or artist and are of the highest quality. I often buy a lovely boxed set for my mom, knowing she will send me one as a thank you. The Cavallini puzzles and tea towels are to die for, and the journals and art supplies are the best. —Cynthia Morris
     
  • Cronin cards, for buying in bulk and for business purposes. Paper Source for boxed thank-you notes, Emily McDowell and friends for empathy cards with a little sass. And local artists for any time cards, like Amanda Williams Galvin at Revel Revel. —Evelyn J. Starr
     
  • My go-to for great cards is Etsy. The products are unique, hand-made and clever. I recently bought a set of letter-pressed notecards that have a laser cut perforation and attached ribbon that lets you make a bookmark out of part of the notecard. They are wonderful to send as follow-ups after calls with authors. —Todd Sattersten
     
  • My favorite creator of paper cards is Nikki McClure. The often nature-oriented images look like a woodblock print, but she actually produces them by cutting one sheet of paper with an X-Acto knife. Astonishing. She also puts out a calendar that I’ve had by my desk for at least the past 10 years. —Tatiana Masters
Next question: Do you have a favorite email newsletter (aside from mine, of course)? Hit reply and let me know.

Upcoming online classes


🚀 October 7: Blogging Strategies That Work in 2020 with Jane Friedman

✏️ October 21: Nail Your Memoir Structure By Thinking Like a Novelist with Allison K Williams

📖 October 25: The Foundations of Getting Published with Jane Friedman

💡 November 5: Will Your Nonfiction Book Sell? with Jane Friedman

👑 January 13: Query Letter Master Class with Critique with Jane Friedman

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Electric Speed is a free newsletter by Jane Friedman that launched in 2009. More than 34,000 subscribers receive it. You can support it by (1) sponsoring an issue or (2) sharing it with friends and colleagues.
 
“At electric speed, all forms are pushed to the limits of their potential.” 
—Marshall McLuhan
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