how to be a writer in the eage

Review: How to be a Writer in the E-Age, by Catherine Ryan Hyde, Anne R. Allen, Introduction by Saffina Desforges


I finally had a chance to finish “How to be a Writer in the E-Age” this weekend and wanted to post a short review first thing this morning while it’s still fresh. Although a good deal of what I read in this e-book tended to be things I’ve already experienced as a published author in the e-age, there were a few things I didn’t know and will retain for future reference. I started writing for e-publishers about seven years ago when everyone was still laughing at the possibility of e-books going mainstream.

I so wish there had been a book like this back when I first started to consider writing for e-publishers. Until that point, all of my publishing experience had been with small traditional LGBT print presses. And because the LGBT market wasn’t strong back then I made a point of trying to get my short stories into as many anthologies as I could each year. It wasn’t mainstream publishing and the money was terrible, but I loved what I was doing and it was considered legitimate.

When I started to look into e-publishing I read more than one questionable thing about it…or I couldn’t find any information at all. To be honest, I wasn’t so sure about it myself. So I played it very safe in the beginning and submitted short stories to several e-publishers just to see what it was like. These manuscripts were released as e-books and I found that I loved working with e-publishers. They were just as professional as all the print publishers I’d ever worked with in the past and in some cases even more thorough. And, best of all, it didn’t take a year or more to get a book released. That in itself was a novelty to me. The world’s slowest industry in the world was now starting to pick up speed.

The moment I started to read “How to be a Writer in the E-Age” I knew it was a winner in every sense. The information is not only valuable to new authors, it’s relevant to published authors who might be thinking about making the switch to e-publishing, too. Or for established authors who are interested in self-publishing and have been on the fence about doing it. I found nothing in this book that can be disputed either (not always the case with writer’s manuals). From the introductions to the last page it’s filled with realistic information that shows writers what the writing experience is like now.

One thing I’d like to point out that I liked in particular was that there are no preachy comments, and this book isn’t pushing any one particular way to be a writer…or whether or not traditional publishing is better than e-publishing. There are many aspects of publishing talked about in this book and that’s something I don’t see often (the authors even read the same publishing blogs I’ve been following for years). In other words, it’s not about hating literary agents and hating those big bad mean publishers and it’s not about how spectacular self-publishing is and how it’s going to change life as we all know it as writers and readers. The book talks about self-publishing in an objective way, which is something I don’t see often these days either.

A while ago I read a writer’s manual written by one of my all time favorite authors, Rita Mae Brown who was one of those authors that changed publishing in the 1970’s, and I thought that was the best writer’s manual I’d ever read. But this book on writing and publishing took what Brown had to say to another level and brought it all up to date so new writers will know what to expect and how to deal with all the changes that are happening in publishing now. But more than that, because it’s an e-book and we can now do things like this with e-books, there’s a feature I’ve never seen before. When you buy this e-book you get updates every six months that will allegedly deal with more changes in publishing as they happen. And the changes seem to be happening on a daily basis now.

As a side note, the book is affordable and worth every penny invested. Trust me, I paid far more for books and manuals on publishing fifteen years ago and got far less information.

"Writing in the E-Age," Writer’s Manual, and Hunter Parrish on iTunes…


I posted about Catherine Ryan Hyde’s and Anne R. Allen’s new writer’s manual titled, “How To Be a Writer in the E-Age,” last week and wanted to follow up today with a short post. I bought the book over the weekend and I’m halfway through it.

So far, not one complaint. I have to admit that although I haven’t learned anything new, what I have read in the book validates a lot of the things I’ve been doing for the past seven years in e-publishing. In other words, I wish there had been a book like this around seven years ago to help me figure things out instead of learning them all the hard way.

And what I’m liking most about the book is that it covers all angles and even mentioned a lot of the literary agent blogs I’ve been following for years now. It’s not against “trad” publishing; it’s not pushing self-publishing either.

One of my blog readers left a comment the other day mentioning that he’s not comfortable with self-publishing yet. I know a lot of people who feel that way and they have good reason, too. But books like “How To Be a Writer in the E-Age,” help validate self-publishing and they show that self-publishing is no longer regarded in the same way it was ten years ago. It’s not vanity publishing anymore either. It’s not something people do when they get rejected and can’t get published. I have over 94 published works listed on Goodreads with publishers and I decided to self-publish this past year. A lot of authors who have previously worked with publishers are doing it and they all have their own individual reasons. And those reasons have nothing to do with being against traditional publishing.

I will post a final review of this book when I’m finished reading it. But right now, even though I’m only halfway through, I would recommend it to anyone who is just starting out as a writer and needs good solid advice. There’s also some kind of a deal that when you buy the book you can sign up for electronic updates every six months, which I’ll also post more about in the review. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this done before (but don’t quote me). I’m assuming that as publishing changes and evolves, new updates will cover more information as it crops up, so to speak.

Now, the reason why I’m posting about Hunter Parrish’s new music on iTunes has to do with the way we are now buying and listening to music. It is a lot like the way we are reading and buying digital books. Hunter Parrish is best known for his part on the TV show, “Weeds,” as Silas Botwin. I recently read where he’s released his own music on iTunes and it looks as if he’s self-publishing them on his own. I could be wrong about this, so don’t quote me here either. I couldn’t find any information stating it as a fact. But my point is that if Parrish is self-publishing his own music in iTunes, he’s not the only one who is doing it. I’ve posted before about many talented artists who are doing this now. And in many ways it’s reflecting the same thing we’re now seeing in digital book publishing.

I remember an old friend who wanted to break into the music business. In those days, the best way to do it was to find a DJ (or talent agent) who would be willing to play your demo tape. It was virtually impossible to get a good DJ (or talent agent) to do this, and very few people were able to break into the music industry. Well it was the same way with book publishing until recently. Only instead of getting a DJ (or talent agent) to listen to you, you had to get a literary agent (or editor) to read your work. Again, virtually impossible to do.

The music angle is explained well on this web site:

Just as technological innovations have changed the way that customers buy music, technology also has changed how artists distribute music to their fans. In 2010, one-third of all music sales consisted of digital tracks, with the remaining two-thirds made up of CDs and other physical media [source: Jones]. This enormous digital market has removed one of the largest barriers for musicians trying to enter the market — money. Artists who once needed the support of a major label to release an album can now self-release music online, or even produce CDs at very little cost.

And here’s more about Hunter Parrish and his newly released music:

Hunter Parrish may be best known for playing the enterprising and hunky offspring of pot-dealing mom Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) on Showtime’s hit series Weeds, but as it turns out, the actor also moonlights as a singer, releasing his first EP Guessing Games on iTunes today.