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Introducing Porter Anderson’s Ether for Authors: Sans Frontières

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed Nawotka

By Porter Anderson / @Porter_Anderson

Table of Contents

  1. Wel­come to Ether for Authors: World­wide Gas
  2. A Scamp on Skype: Penn Inter­views Wendig
  3. ‘Piracy’: Poland’s Cir­cu­la­tion of Culture
  4. Writing Digital: Two From Janestown
  5. Author Col­lec­tives: The Reader’s Second Rogue
  6. Sell­ing It: How To Piss Off Everybody
  7. New Con­fer­ences: Authors Launch & TOC Authors
  8. Books: Read­ing on the Ether
  9. Last Gas: Song from the Uproar

Wel­come to Ether for Authors: World­wide Gas

A new Polish report on informal file-sharing calls assumptions about motivations into stark and eloquent question. More on that in today's Ether.

So glad to have you with us for the inaugural column in a new weekly series here at Publishing Perspectives. This is an outgrowth of Writing on the Ether, which for more than a year has been challenging the patience of everybody who got near JaneFriedman.com on a Thursday.

Thanks to our brave host here, Publishing Perspectives’ Editor-in-Chief Edward Nawotka (what was he thinking when he took on an edition of the Ether?), we have a chance not only to focus on publishing issues and craft points for authors, but also, I hope, to start getting our international community of authors better in touch.

Some of my favorite industry folks (and you know who you are) are outside the States. What I learn from them — about both commonalities and differences in what we’re all experiencing — is always instructive.

We’ll be covering “craft” in its broadest possible sense here — from writing guidance and advice to the sometimes apoplectic state of folks in the industry! the industry! as it undergoes an inexorable redesign courtesy of the digital dynamic.

 

Consider the Ether a conversation, your conversation. Talk with me, argue with me, dance with me, the digital conga line forms here. Jump into the Comments section. Or flag me down as I go bombing by on Twitter — I’m @Porter_Anderson there. Or drop me a line through my site. I’ll be happy to hear from you.

And if you have an olive branch nearby, water it. Today, we are all Ethernauts.

Back to Table of Contents

A Scamp on Skype: Penn Inter­views Wendig

Every novel and every story is, at its core, a horror story.

Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig makes an entertaining podcast guest — and without uttering a single of his trademark curse words — as Joanna Penn conducts her transAtlantic call with him (35 minutes). She dubs it Writing Metaphor, Memorable Characters And Horror With Chuck Wendig. Both Penn and Wendig work horror into their fiction — maybe fiction into their horror on some days, if they’re like the rest of us — and their conversation is something of a revelation in terms of how they feel the public might see them. I suppose I have worried a few times what the inside of Stephen King’s head must be like, haven’t you? Which may be why we find Wendig insisting (not altogether convincingly) that horror writers are among the most boffo of authorial creatures.

In the author community, some of the nicest people have been the horror authors. Which is either because they’re, like, purging it, it’s like an infection and they’ve purged all that stuff and now they’re just all light and unicorns. Or it’s a ruse and they’re planning on killing us…They’re, like, sociopaths.

Joanna Penn

Penn has a great question for Wendig about reader reactions to violence and female characters, having taken some flak in this regard for her own work. “I mean, you’re a man, right?” she somehow asks along the way. “I’m told that,” Wendig says. Penn:

I have people saying (to her), “You’re a woman, how can you write these violent things?” But you’re a man who has written a female protagonist who is really, really violent (in his book Mockingbird). Do you ever get any comments on the gender stuff?

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution DayWendig:

Every time I get a bad review, I can usually be sure that (it) is going to talk about one of two things. One, that I have a foul, foul mouth, and the book is sodden with vulgarity…And the second thing is about how I’m a man writing a female character and it feels like she’s a dude…And every once in a while, I get the criticism that men should not write women at all…Am I supposed to just write books about white, middle-class dudes?

Penn then volunteers that women are “as dark and twisty, or possibly more dark and twisty, than men.” agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution DayWendig agrees with her, probably a little too quickly. But, seriously, he gets handily at the rightful point that women characters should have the same options as male characters of being whatever their authors need them to be.

I mean, that’s the hope, right?

Penn then leads Wendig into an interesting discussion of metaphor, another topic Wendig is eager to take on.

Metaphor is like a little peek, a pinhole through the door, into the author’s brain…(Metaphors) really have to be right and weird at the same time.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution DayBy the time he’s telling her about his right-weird boyhood spent with terrible eyesight — and stalking rocks he mistook for pheasants holding very still — Penn must be wondering if Hitchcock wouldn’t have adored the podcast as a special form of info-tainment. True to form at her site, The Creative Penn, the host-author here provides a good deal of text as a “bed” for this audio. This is especially helpful in this case because Wendig, as interviewee, produces more sound-chewing than sound bites. He annotates himself as he talks. He starts points, restarts them, trundles through them, then circles back to comment on them.

On Penn’s page, there are a few paragraphs of background about Wendig, some descriptive work about his writings, and a kind of rationale for the phone call in the form of elements of his work she finds compelling and important. She picks out references he makes and explains them for you, sorting out the themes of the chat, and noting that Wendig is a “hybrid” author, as we say — he publishes both traditionally and as a self-publisher. agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution DayThis is a model I hope other bloggers will follow. Too frequently, they offer a link for an audio or video podcast with barely a word of context or explanation. A transcript would be ideal in these cases, although it’s a time-consuming task to produce one. The problem with video and audio (they are old-media, after all) is that they’re largely unsearchable. Time codes — referring to where in the tape a given point of conversation arises — could be a great assist here, if added to each of the points Penn is making about Wendig’s work. As an aside, the folks at O’Reilly Media (producers of the new Tools of Change “Author (R)evolution Day” conference in February, more below) are aces in the time-code approach to presenting the limitations of audio and video tracks to online users. Thanks to the care Penn takes to signal the high points of her exchange with Wendig, you get the opportunity to listen intelligently and enjoy some of Wendig’s running commentary on himself. Here’s real-life horror for you:

Email feels like drowning.

Yes, it does. And you also learn that Wendig’s lush, green-looking lawn in the Pennsylvanian jungle is “all weeds.”

Before the chat’s end dumps you back into the bottomless nightmare of your own email inbox, Penn is cleverly asking Wendig for “two top tips for writing memorable characters.” Bless her heart, the “two” is significant. Wendig normally writes 25 tips for this or that in posts at his blog site, TerribleMinds.com, and Penn obviously didn’t want the podcast to take us into the next decade. So she asks for and gets just two tips.

  • Characters have to be active and interesting. They have to do stuff.
  • The character needs to have a save-the-cat moment (that shows us) their own ethos in a cool way.

You also hear some interesting insights from Wendig on advantages of traditional vs. self-publishing.

The experiences I’ve had with Blackbirds and Mockingbird…I could never have had if I’d self-published them…There’s things that you don’t get with self-publishing. You don’t get great reviews. You don’t get your book in unexpected hands…I got to pitch to some incredibly awesome people in LA for films because they had a copy of Blackbirds. Without me — they just got it…and I’ve had foreign rights sold.

Wendig’s traditional publisher is Angry Robot, one of the verticals of Oxford’s Osprey Group, which has offices in Long Island City, another part of the forest. Osprey’s Rebecca Smart was featured in Thursday’s Writing on the Ether, on the importance of diversification in her company’s efforts. Diversification is important for how writers approach their audiences, too, says Wendig. The riff among some authors in the industry, he adds, is a bit of a horror in itself.

There’s no competition (between traditional and self-publishing). I don’t know why people seem to feel these things need to compete.

Back to Table of Contents

“Piracy:” Poland’s Cir­cu­la­tion of Culture

Images that follow are from the Centrum Cyfrowe "Circulations of Culture Mashup" design by Michael Szota

Want to see something cool? Well, of course you do.

Have a look at this animated info-graphic on the results of the study we’re talking about in this Ether-eal item. It’s called Circulations of Culture and it goes a long way toward making a complex and contentious topic accessible.

Keep scrolling down — rather than clicking — as it renders for you. Then come back here and we’ll carry on with a look at what you’re seeing.

Don’t worry. I’ll wait for you. Off you go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, welcome back.

Let’s talk:

The Centrum Cyfrowe Projekt: Polska recently posted an English language translation of their report, The Circulations of Culture, which deals with the informal, sometimes illegal exchange of media content which is occurring in contemporary Poland.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day

Henry Jenkins

Henry Jenkins, faculty member in journalism and cinema at the University of Southern California and formerly with MIT’s Comparative Media Studies shop, is interested — as are so many of us in the industry — in getting a better handle on the actual incidence and impact of piracy. Big point: It’s often referred to here as “informal” file-sharing to reflect the fact that actors in this drama are mostly everyday users without commercial recourse, not “crooks” in a normal context.

This report is a model of the kinds of thoughtful research which should be done in other countries around the world, including the United States, on this highly contentious topic. They start with a recognition that the pervasive language of “piracy” closes off issues which we need to be exploring.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution DayIn “We Do Not Have Hollywood on the Outskirts of Warsaw”: What Poland Can Teach Us About Circulation (Part One) Jenkins not only summarizes some of what the original study produced, but also interviews the report’s authors — Mirek Filiciak, Justyna Hofmokl, and Alex Tarkowski. In the report’s introduction, in fact, the trio makes the point about the nature of the issue very clear:

Our research project is not a study of piracy. We prefer to speak about social exchange of digital content and their informal circulations. If one sets out to find ‘pirates’ on the internet — he will find them. We try to show through our research that the same people, who are stigmatized as ‘pirates’ in the public debate, are also lovers of books, music and movies. And among some of the best clients of the cultural industries.

It’s in the process of Jenkins’ extensive interview, in fact, that you can read some of the most important elements of the terminology issue. The attempt to get past the talk of “piracy,” for example, hardly represents an attempt to legitimize unpaid file-sharing of commercial property.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day

Justyna Hofmokl

Hofmokl puts it this way, emphasis mine:

The “piracy” tag draws attention solely to the financial consequences suffered by authors and intermediaries, while omitting issues that are absolutely fundamental for the state’s cultural policy, such as building social and cultural capital through accessing and sharing content. Only by framing the issue in a neutral way can we look for regulatory solutions that will balance the interests of the authors and intermediaries with societal benefits.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day

Alek Tarkowski

Her associate Tarkowski points out the irony in how frequently paying customers and freeloaders are the same people.

About a quarter of them are people who at the same time download informally and purchase content. Surprisingly enough, they are among the culture industries’ best customers. They make up the largest group among said customers and their expenditures are similar to the expenditures of consumers who don’t engage in illegal downloading.

Hofmokl clarifies the cultural (as opposed to legal) approach of their body of work:

We didn’t want to evaluate the legality of the behaviors we studied – and by the way, that’s not an easy task. In Poland, even the lawyers themselves can’t agree on what classifies as “fair use.” We assume the point of view of the users themselves and take a closer look at the way they access and use cultural content. We want the debate on regulating certain cultural practices on the Internet to be based on facts and reliable data.

Peter Mountford

And in related reading: author Peter Mountford on discovering a Russian translator preparing his A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism for publication — no publisher attached. Steal My Book! in The Atlantic. Back to Table of Contents

Writing Digital: Two From Janestown

Yes, I do find there to be an over-emphasis on self e-publishing, and media outlets unfortunately encourage this by featuring the latest, greatest success story who has sold thousands of copies or been picked up by a traditional publisher, often leaving out the amount of work it took to reach “overnight” success.

Jane Friedman

Not that she isn’t usually ahead of most curves, Jane Friedman — digital editor at Virginia Quarterly Review and host of the original Writing on the Ether — is making the most of her new, high view from the University of Virginia.

That said, I think there’s a reason the vast majority of titles don’t even sell 500 copies (or 100): They’re of poor quality. Of those titles that are of reasonable quality, often the authors don’t have copywriting skills or basic online marketing skills (or even a passable website) to get it noticed.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed NawotkaFor example, in spending a day with the Reddit writing community doing an “Ask Me Anything” session, Friedman covers a notably astute round of questions from authors. In 26 Questions on Writing & Publishing: My Answers on Reddit, Friedman sets up the Q&A and then links you to it — highly worth your perusal.

Then, at the invitation of the Bay Area Bloggers group in California, Friedman produces A Framework for Thinking About Author Platform. You play this as you would a video, in case you’re unfamiliar with Google’s Hangout service, which records an online group interview for replay later. On author-platforming: In the beginning, I think people thought an author platform was about social media or about having writing degrees…a one-stop shop, like “This month or this year, I’m going to attain the platform.”

Jane Friedman in a Google Hangout with the Bay Area Bloggers.

But I think we’re starting to understand — all authors are starting to understand — that it’s really more of a career growth thing. It’s not a one-time event, where you’re suddenly going to be done. Maybe not the happiest news if you were thinking you could just hammer together that platform and forget it. But good, rich perspective, highly watchable (32 minutes). And in related reading: Friedman has just released an extensive, free new guide for nonfiction writers on her site: Start Here: How to Write a Book Proposal. Back to Table of Contents

Author Col­lec­tives: The Reader’s Second Rogue

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed NawotkaI Ether-ized the launch of The Rogue Reader in Writing on the Ether as a “publishing hybrid,” when it was being prepared to introduce its first author’s work, Ro Cuzon.

The program bears watching not only because it’s testing a potential new format for self-publishing authors but also because it’s mounted by a literary agency, Jason Allen Ashlock’s and Adam Chromy’s Movable Type (MTM).

The plan in this assisted-publication program for a select group of suspense writers is for a new author to be introduced each month, TheRogueReader.com turned over largely to emphasizing that writer’s new works.

Michael Hogan

Michael Hogan is the author of this month.

His featured books, just being released, are Sistine and Dog Hills.

And this interesting model for self e-publication (no print copies are made at this point) sees MTM providing what Ashlock terms “capital-infused marketing” — meaning the agency’s money — to run the program and promote the books and authors.

The authors, who self-publish through Hugh McGuire’s Pressbooks, are then paid 70 percent of net revenue, “net” being after MTM’s expenses.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed NawotkaAshlock sees this producing roughly 50 percent of list price for the authors he and Chromy choose for Rogue Reader — and they do choose them.

The curatorial element, if you will, is in the agency’s gathering of authors whose work seems right for the “fiction from the bleeding edge” branding logline the program carries.

We’re told that Sistine, like Cuzon’s Under the Dixie Moon last month, is to have the added push of a Barnes and Noble Nook First promotion. Which can’t hurt.

Back to Table of Contents

Sell­ing It: How To Piss Off Everybody

“What a terrible tragedy in the news today. I had a similar situation take place in the book what I wrote. Here’s a link to the purchase page, in case anyone’s interested.”

Jon Gibbs

Not that anybody might have tried that during the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy. No, of course not. This is the author Jon Gibbs in a guest post at agent-turned-author Nathan Bransford’spopular blog site. In 10 Marketing Techniques That Annoy Potential Readers, Gibbs gets at some of the least attractive promotional stunts you see authors — none of them Ethernauts, of course — trying to pull over on readers. About one faux pas he calls “Buy my book and help save an orphaned kitten,” for example, Gibbs writes:

There’s an invisible line between using your work to help a good cause, and using a good cause to sell more books. If you cross that line, or give the impression you crossed it, folks will notice, and not in a good way.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed NawotkaPersonally, I’d say that line isn’t even invisible. It’s easy to look down and spot it. You may enjoy (blameless as you are) some of his other offerings, including:

“In case you missed the other twelve I posted this morning, here’s another [insert relevant social media post] telling you where to buy my book.”

And:

“What a delightful writing group. I thoroughly enjoyed my first meeting. Why yes, I did leave those promo postcards on every chair before we started.”

Have a look. And get it to the people who need it most, please. You know who I mean. Back to Table of Contents

New Con­fer­ences: Authors Launch & TOC Authors

Agents, left, and authors speak to each other — for 90 seconds each — in the Pitch Slam event at Writer's Digest Conference West in Hollywood last month.

 

We have news of two all-new author-specific conferences — each a one-day affair.

These are being produced by organizers who until now have mounted conferences for publishers, editors, agents, publicists — not writers. It’s significant that these new confabs start offering to the creative corps the kind of industry-class information and viewpoint enjoyed for years by those industry attendees of F+W Media’s Digital Book World (#DBW13) and O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change (#TOCcon) conferences.

Readers of Writing on the Ether may recall me making a lot of noise about this last winter at the DBW Expert Publishing blogs in Open Sorcery: Letting the Authors In and at Matt Gartland’s site in Curing Author Ignorance — and, of course, up and down the Ether. My concern then was that while we had major and regional and genre-specific conferences for writers in many settings, we didn’t have the sort of business-centered, major-players presentations offered to authors that their colleagues in publishing are lucky to have.

Authors Launch and TOC Authors are a terrific response — from two of our premiere conference-producing outfits — to just that appeal. We all can thank Mike Shatzkin, Michael Cader, Tim O’Reilly, Joe Wikert, Kat Meyer, and Kristen McLean for taking that commentary onboard and really working to get a fresh start on this issue with two brand-new events for authors.

Please consider trying to be at one or both, I’d love to see you there.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, Pearson, Penguin, Random House, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, Writers Digest University, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution DayAuthors Launch comes first, on Friday, January 18, at the Hilton New York (Sixth and W. 53rd, half a block from the Museum of Modern Art). This is a one-day follow to F+W Media’s major annual Digital Book World Conference.

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution DayWhile details still are coming together, the roster of speakers is a strong one. It includes

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, Pearson, Penguin, Random House, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, Writers Digest University, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day

***

Not quite a month later, on Tuesday, February 12 at the Marriott Marquis New York in Times Square, it’s Author (R)evolution Day, also referred to as #TOCAuthors, designed by the creators of Tools of Change for the empowered author leaning forward into the digital dynamic, not hiding from it.

The lineup for this one includes:

***

For an updated list of planned confabs, please see the Publishing Conferences page at PorterAnderson.com.

Back to Table of Contents

Books: Read­ing on the Ether

Books included here have been referenced recently either in Writing on the Ether, here at Ether for Authors, or in tweets. I’m bringing them together in one spot each week, to help you recall and locate them, not as an endorsement.

Back to Table of Contents

 

Last Gas: Song from the Uproar

agent, author, books, digital, ebooks, Jane Friedman, Porter Anderson, publisher, publishing, Writing on the Ether, Tools of Change, O'Reilly Media, Writer's Digest, webinar, author platform, blog, blogging, journalism, Authors Launch, TOC Authors, Author (R)evolution Day, Publishing Perspectives, Ether for Authors, Ed NawotkaDo you use music as you write? Before you write? After you write? Not at all?

Some of us find the work of our fellow artists who need not fight it out with spell check to be an important element of what we do.

For my part, I’m none too good with lyrics I can understand. If they’re in a language I don’t speak or not positioned at the front of the soundscape, I’m fine. Choral can work well. I find my creativity supported best by instrumental work.

Missy Mazzoli

But in the case of Missy Mazzoli’s music-theater piece, Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt, I find the vocals exhilarating and the overall sound something Darius Milhaud could have used as a prompt to write his L’Homme et son desir.

This, however, is very much about a woman and her desire to be far beyond her time. Isabelle Eberhardt was Swiss, a19th-century explorer. Did a lot of traveling in North Africa. She’s said to have been fluent in Arabic and a convert to Islam. She wore guys’ outfits to get around the social constraints of the day on women.

Isabelle Eberhardt / Wikipedia

She died in a flash flood — in the desert.

You’re wishing you’d written this as a novel, right?

Mazzoli, one of the most gifted of composers working in the contemporary-classical field today, has recorded the piece with the NOW Ensemble and mezzo soprano Abigail Fischer for New Amsterdam Records. We learn from Daniel Stephen Johnson, writing for Q2Music, that the label’s offices were badly damaged in Hurricane Sandy. His write is Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar.

You may find this work helpful in your own creativity’s clamor. Good writing.

Back to Table of Contents

***

 

Porter Anderson is a Fellow with the National Critics Institute, a 32-year journalist with several newspapers and networks of CNN, and a former producer posted to the Rome headquarters of the United Nations’ World Food Programme. His Writing on the Ether is read Thursdays at JaneFriedman.com

Main image by iStockphoto / loops7

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20 Comments

  1. Posted November 13, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Porter – I was wondering how you were going to spend all of your copious spare time, and now I know: Ether for Authors!

    :)

    Congrats on getting the first edition out!
    -Dan

  2. Posted November 13, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Great job! Congratulations, Porter. See you later at the webinar bar.

  3. Posted November 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on your inaugural issue of Ether for Authors, Porter. Well done!

  4. Posted November 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on finding something to fill up all that free time of yours! Well done, as always, and it’s great to have an Ether just for authors. We need it!

  5. Posted November 14, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Welcome to Publishing Perspectives, Porter! Look forward to adding this version of the Ether to my reading diet!

  6. Posted November 14, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Porter, it’s fun to see you frolicking at another venue. Perhaps you should explore other media mashups too: maybe give online harmonica lessons with Neil Gaiman or maybe author-head pumpkin-carving lessons with Chuck Palahniuk (Whitman, with that strong nose, would make a good first pumpkin-head model). Just a thought…

    Anyway, I’m happy to read you in this (non-gratuituously) gaseous corner of the Ether as well.

  7. Posted November 14, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    What a marvelous column! While I’m moderately astonished that I haven’t come across The Ether before, I shall remedy that immediately.

  8. Posted November 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Porter,
    Since you said Cool Gus needed to be more cool and I said I might have showed my ass– I no longer feel that way. After reading the glowing 5 star reviews on Rogue Readers latest book which you feature here, I have to laugh. Didn’t they know about the whole sock puppetry implosion? It’s so obvious they’re spamming reviews for their own book (or perhaps the author is, except two have only their other release as 5 star reviews), it’s sad, because it’s obvious they have talented authors. And the effort they put into the spam reviews is lame– two lines? That’s it? Come on. Put some effort into it. In Special Forces we believed in cheating– but cheat well!

    I feel like that old commercial about Cool Gus: We do things the old fashioned way. We earn it.

    And the more I see ‘gurus’ offering classes, offering consulting, etc. about something they themselves obviously can’t do because they have no content, the more I think Cool Gus is pretty damn cool. There’s an agent who is self-publishing her first book: about self-publishing. Am I missing something there? Do it for 50 or 100 books like we have and then talk about it, but don’t try to leach off writers who don’t know better. And don’t write about something you’ve only observed but not done.

    There are so many experts and gurus out there telling authors what to do while the gurus are desperately trying to make money. I think authors should really listen to those who are making money being authors, not those trying to make money off authors but the gurus, themselves, apparently can’t follow their own advice. Or are not capable of it.

  9. Jeff Roberts
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Well done, Porter. I intended to swoop by for a cursory inspection but found myself drawn in by the fast-paced and eclectic tour of the literary-scape. I’ll be back — reading this was a delightful opportunity to my small, ever-fellating world of tech journalism and hear about horror, Poland and the rest of creation. Keep it up – JR

  10. Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Porter, congratulations on your new column! And thanks for taking the time to educate us :-) Cheers to new beginnings!
    ~Terre

  11. Posted November 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Terre, thanks so much for the cheerful welcome — glad to say that Ether for Authors is off to a good start, and it’s great to find a warm welcome here at Publishing Perspectives, too. Your loyal readership both here and at Writing on the Ether is much appreciated. Bring the rest of the Ethernauts over with you! :)
    -p.

  12. Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Dear Jeff and John Roberts :-) — you’ve undone me with your description of tech journalism as “ever-fellating.” Suddenly publishing journalism looks positively…above the belt. Grand to have you as a reader, as impressed as I always am with your Gigawork. (We’re not sounding mutually consensual here, are we?) A happy surprise to find you imbibing in a snootful of Ether, I’m honored. Come back frequently, the gas just keeps expanding, you know.
    -p.

  13. Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Yo, Bob Mayer,

    Thanks so much for dropping by the new column with your usual cheerful blessing. I’m not sure we could do a real Ether without you, sir, you’ve made our launch complete.

    I believe that Jason Ashlock of The Rogue Reader delegation has answered you in tweets I saw Argyling by re: sock puppetry. Very odd, I grant you, and apparently perpetrated by a promotional partner with good intentions — of course the MTM guys knew about the wider faux-review uproar. I went on so long about it on the Ether that waiters at the restaurant two miles from me knew about it. So I’ll leave that issue with you and M. Ashlock.

    And I’m only too happy to take your word for it on the quality of cheating you guys in Special Forces can achieve when you put your minds to it. :)

    As for gurus-uncredentialed, I’ll have what you’re having. We can only hope the known universe soon turns to Cool Gus for guidance on all things. Beats me what’s taking them so long.

    Seriously, Bob, good to have you, you’re not getting better, you’re only getting cooler. And my godbeagle Cooper sends his best to Gus.
    -p.

  14. Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Mike McCallister,

    Clearly, you’re a perfect representative of the discerning, intelligent, and articulate reader we readily ordain Ethernaut around here. Welcome to us, and thanks (seriously) for such a friendly welcome — we’ll try to live up to your generous words weekly. Do talk to us frequently, we can use such convivial company. :)

    -p.

  15. Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Rich Fahle, so good to hear from you, and thanks for your kind words. As many of your good DBW tapes as I’ve enjoyed, it’s super to have your generous input. Come back often and let me know (as Ed Koch loved to say) “how am I doing?” :)
    -p.

  16. Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Viki Noe, you and Dan Blank going on about my free time. What do you know that I don’t? :) Seriously, a Campari toast to your kind words and thanks for the good wishes. Delighted to be here at Publishing Perspectives — you’ll love this site.
    -p.

  17. Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Kathy Pooler, so good to have you on First Gas here at the new column, many thanks for your unfailing loyalty and good wishes. We’ll keep the hot air rising. :)
    -p.

  18. Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Darrleyn Saloom!
    Just catching up with the kind comments of our first-column readers here at Ether for Authors and realizing you dropped your comment in before our Tuesday webinar. Was Tuesday one busy day or what/ Hope your arm is recovering from all that “homework” after the webinar, so glad to see your site taking such grand, reformulated shape. You’re a hell of a grasshopper, as we were saying. :)
    Congrats, yourself, and thanks for your lovely input, as always,
    -p.

  19. Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Dan Blank,
    First comment on the first Ether for Authors, that has to be worth something suitable for framing. :) Seriously, thanks for coming by and checking out the new digs here among the fine folks of Publishing Perspectives. Good to be here, and great to have so many friends from the original Ether stopping by. Thanks again and have a great weekend!
    -p.

  20. Posted November 17, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Tom Bentley,
    Great to have you join us here at Ether for Authors, thank you for your very kind words and for checking out the new column. Hope it will be informative and helpful to you as we go along. Don’t hesitate to keep me posted on how you see it shaping up. Bests for now, and thanks again for your comment!
    -p.

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