Having trouble reading this email? View this email in your browser.
Jane Friedman's Electric Speed newsletter

A note from Jane

I can’t remember the last time I went so long without traveling to a conference. My best guess: I haven’t been home this much since 2003.

While I’m losing some income, I’m also getting back valuable time. Fortunately, I’ve been able to focus that time productively (no kids on hand) and do some long-term business development. Such as:

  • I revamped the landing page for my paid newsletter, The Hot Sheet. This involved changing the Wordpress theme and committing to the new Gutenberg block editor from Wordpress. It looks much better now.
  • Similarly, I’m in the process of changing over my main site, Jane Friedman, to a new theme that makes full use of Gutenberg. This is a painful transition, but a necessary one. If you’re a Wordpress user who has avoided Gutenberg (like me), it might be time to reconsider and get up to speed.
  • I changed my online course technology. The Wordpress plugin I’ve used for 5+ years to support self-study online courses is no longer being developed. Rather than choose another LMS (learning management system), I decided to buy a membership plugin, Restrict Content Pro. This is for two reasons: (1) I don’t need most of the features of an LMS, and (2) I’m preventing another transition to a new LMS in the future. (I assume every digital tool eventually becomes obsolete.) I’m grateful to Kate McKeon for opening my mind to this alternative; I also used information and tools from Paul Jarvis to help me.
Reflecting on this list now, I see my key coping mechanism: stay busy creating.

I hope you’re finding ways to cope and manage through the spring and beyond.

Be well,
Jane's signature

P.S. My most popular blog post right now:
How to Put Together an Indie Author Anthology
Business of Being a Writer Facebook Group Business of Being a Writer Facebook Group
Jane on Instagram Jane on Instagram
Cultivate a community of readers that will buy every book you write and tell their friends about it


Ready to Launch Your Breakout Book?

Veteran publicist Dana Kaye cuts through all the noise surrounding book promotion, and focuses on the tactics that make the biggest impact. This means spending less time trying to figure out what works and more time doing what you love: writing. Become a member to gain instant access to the trainings, templates, and checklists you need to finally launch Your Breakout Book.

Sponsorships help support Electric Speed. Learn more.

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.)

Exotic backgrounds for Zoom

Despite recent security concerns over Zoom (which the company has been actively resolving), the service remains my go-to for business meetings and casual get togethers with friends. If you want to have a little fun—best for casual dates only—here are some exotic video backgrounds you can use.

Also: Hayao Miyazaki backgrounds!

Speaking of video meetings, here’s how to check your appearance quickly

For Mac users only: Hand Mirror is a one-click camera check for your lighting or to ensure nothing is stuck in your teeth. Once installed, just click the icon on your Mac menu bar before going live.

Learn about emergency funds for writers

I keep an updated list of where writers and other creative people can find financial help during the current crisis. Most grants are small ($500 or $1,000), but they’re being paid out quickly. Here’s the list.
JF logo from Fiverr

Fiverr logo maker: I got decent results

OK, I’ll admit it: I’m not a fan of Fiverr. Also: Most “instant logo” tools offer results you should not use. But this one from Fiverr has the best results I’ve seen—it actually came up with a logo I might consider using if I didn’t have one. The secret: they ask you good questions first. Still, if you have the funds: hire a designer.
Creating Income and Connecting with Readers Using Short Fiction

Next online class: Creating Income & Connecting with Readers Using Short Fiction

On April 22: Short fiction is enjoying a market resurgence and provides opportunities that can benefit you again and again over the long term of your career. It builds your author brand, grows readership, and can create additional revenue streams. In this one-hour session with Mark Leslie Lefebvre, gain the insights, knowledge, and strategies for effectively publishing short fiction.

Learn more and register

Your turn: Favorite games

In the last issue, I asked you to share your favorite games. (My favorite game to play solo is Civilization VI, although I play with friends, too.)
  • I have been in love with the Kingdom Rush series for years. Kingdom Rush is a tower defense game, where you try to stop moving enemies walking along a path from getting past your stationary forces. I am such a fan of tower defense that I have a whole post on the best games in the genre. —Todd Sattersten
  • Spite and Malice—a highly addictive card game you can play on your iPad by yourself or with others. Also Trivia 360. I love trivia games and this one is pretty good. You play against others in the sense that there’s a scoreboard and you see your rank. Of all the trivia games I’ve tried on my iPad or iPhone, this one’s my favorite. —Vicki Stiefel
  • We’ve been playing Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes via Zoom. One person is the bomb diffuser; everyone else must guide the diffuser in how to disarm the bomb. Each session progresses in difficulty in terms of time and the number and difficulty of modules. Only the diffuser can see the bomb and its modules. The team uses the diffuser’s description of each module and a 20+ page manual to tell the diffuser how to proceed. It’s fun, collaborative, and fast-paced. It’s available on Steam and through an app. —Jennifer Yankopolus
  • I’ve rekindled Logic Problems that I used to do as a teen. There’s a great Apple app that’s crammed with 10 free puzzles, and an additional 360 puzzles that can be unlocked if you pay for the app. I find these problem-solving challenges entertaining and stimulating. —Emma Lombard
  • Osmos is a nine-year-old game I keep coming back to, because it’s one of the most beautiful and relaxing games I know. —Anonymous

Next question: I have a handful of YouTube videos I like to watch when I need cheering up. Do you have a favorite video you return to again and again? Hit reply and let me know what it is. 

Where Jane Might Be Speaking Next

Enjoyed this issue? Share it

Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
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.” 
—Marshall McLuhan
Copyright © 2020 Jane Friedman, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp