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Jane Friedman Electric Speed newsletter

In this issue

A note from Jane

About a month ago, while out on a run, I suddenly experienced a sharp pain in my left hip. It came out of nowhere. I wasn’t sprinting, heading up or down a hill, or going long. It wasn’t the site of an old injury. But the pain persisted.

As a runner, I find it easy to ignore anomalous pain like this. Within a minute, it tends to go away; the body self-corrects.

This did not. After a mile, I was walking and cursing.

I become the most stubborn person in the world when I have an injury. I obsessively revisit and trigger the pain to explore its nature. I exercise through it if I can, because what happens afterward is instructive. Does it feel better or get worse? Or if I do rest, does it improve?

If I had experienced such dramatic hip pain in my twenties, I would’ve went straight to the doctor. But I have 20 years of running and assorted injuries behind me. Time and age, even if they’ve slowed healing, have improved my ability to understand what’s gone wrong.

After a few weeks of gingerly exercising through (and around) the pain, I landed on the right combination of stretches and strengthening exercises to remedy the problem on my own.

This process has a lot in common with manuscript revision, and the ability of writers to correct problems on their own once they have sufficient experience. You come to know your own strengths and weaknesses, and what the potential fixes might be. Early in your career, you might need to consult with book doctors to identify what’s wrong, but an inner editor eventually develops and can be put to work.

That’s not to say we don’t continue to need editors (or doctors). But it’s possible to fix more than a few problems on your own and get up and running again.

Have a great weekend,


P.S. The most popular blog post at my site this month:
Don’t Hold Out for Publishing to Make You Feel Seen. Here’s Another Goal Instead.

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

Here are a few of the latest things I’ve discovered. I have not been paid to mention any of these resources; I share them because of utility or delight.

Match your next read to your destination using this “literary travel agency”

While few people are avidly pursuing international (or even domestic) travel right now, here’s a neat site to bookmark for later: The Book Trail. It’s a search engine for finding books that match your travel destination. For people who love to armchair travel, no need to save it for later. Use it now!

Create your own music shows using Spotify

If you’re a Spotify user, you can now choose tracks from their catalog and combine them with your own talk segments to make a new kind of show or podcast—for free. It’s powered by Anchor (owned by Spotify). If music plays a significant role in your work, this is worth a look.

One of the best new features for Keynote users

I teach online almost every week, and it inevitably requires a slide presentation. Unfortunately, when presenting through a meeting software like Zoom, playing your presentation often means you see nothing on your computer screen except your slides. FINALLY there is a solution. Apple Keynote (which I devotedly use) has a new handy selection, “Play slideshow in window.” You can now present full-screen slides without the presentation taking over your whole screen. For anyone without a second monitor, it’s a godsend.

A Wordless Way to Write a Novel by Liana Finck

A wordless way to write a novel by Liana Finck

One of my favorite illustrator-cartoonists is Liana Finck. Her latest delightful drawing appeared in the New York Times. She also has a sort-of new book out, Excuse Me.

Will Your Nonfiction Book Sell, with Jane Friedman. $25 class. Thursday November fifth, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern

Next online class: Will Your Nonfiction Book Sell? with Jane Friedman

On Thursday, Nov. 5: Finding an agent or publisher for your nonfiction book requires not only sharp clarity about your idea or story, but also how that idea, in book form, is relevant and unique in today’s market. You’ll have much more success with your pitch if you take time to understand the market and conduct appropriate research beforehand. Jane Friedman helps you learn how publishing professionals evaluate nonfiction book concepts and how to ensure you’ve thought through critical issues like target audience and existing competition in the market.
Learn more and register

Your turn: Favorite newsletters, Part 2

Earlier this month, I asked you to share your favorite email newsletters. The response was so overwhelming that I’m parceling out your suggestions over a few issues. In this second batch, I’m sharing writing-related newsletters you recommended that I did not already know about.
  • For writing opportunities and submissions, I like Authors Publish magazine, which offers a weekly listing of paid and unpaid writing opportunities for blog, short stories, and books. It’s not as clean as Duotrope and even can feel a little spammy, but everything I’ve looked into and submitted to has been quality. —Leah Lederman
  • Tim Grahl’s Story Grid Weekly Roundup —Antoinette Arsic
  • Joanna Lobo from It’s All Write. It has a paid and free version. I am subscribed to the free one. —Inderpreet Kaur Uppal
  • New York Book Editors: When their newsletter hits my inbox, I usually open it immediately, and I have printed quite a few to make up a personal resource file for when I get to the publishing and marketing stages of my writing journey. —Sally Jane Smith
  • Amy Stewart’s email newsletter. Always interesting and insightful. Amy has always been a generous writer who is willing to share what she knows and help other writers. —Carol Michel
  • Kris Spisak’s Writing Tips & Trivia. She sends it consistently, and it’s always engaging (and often funny). —Karen Chase
  • Nathalie Sejean, a French filmmaker and writer whose generous newsletter is helpful to anyone interested in storytelling. I like her perspective, which is not American. —Mithra Ballesteros
  • Holly Lisle: I love her sense of humor and she’s the first one that popped up years ago on a Google search for learning how to write. Karen Goldman: she’s a lawyer who knows everything that authors need to know. K-Lytics: he’s the only one I know who understands Amazon. Christy Barritt: she’s the best author for email and social media. Everything she does is top notch and I watch her like a hawk so I can imitate her. —Anne

Upcoming online classes

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

📖 November 18: Regain Momentum In Your Story Middle with Tiffany Yates Martin

⚓︎ November 19: Create an Author Website in 24 Hours or Less with Jane Friedman

🗓 December 2: Harness the Power of Daily Writing with Eric Maisel

🔁 December 16: Second Draft—Your Path to a Powerful, Publishable Story with Allison K Williams

👑 January 13: Query Letter Master Class with Jane Friedman

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Electric Speed is a free newsletter by Jane Friedman that launched in 2009. More than 35,000 subscribers receive it. You can support it by (1) sponsoring an issue or (2) sharing it with friends and colleagues.
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