Jane Friedman, Writers' Advocate
Jane Friedman is the editor and publisher of The Hot Sheet, an industry newsletter for authors. She previously worked for F+W Media and the Virginia Quarterly Review. Here's a bit more about her.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I've worked in publishing for 20 years and I have a special interest in how the digital age is transforming writing careers, publishing, and storytelling. Rather than taking a dark view of how the Internet era has affected writers' livelihoods, I'm more interested in how revolutionary change can inspire new business models, and how authorship will ultimately evolve.
I believe history is on the writers' side: they've been sustaining their careers in ever more innovative ways since the era of Gutenberg. Furthermore, I don't think that business and art must be at odds — I believe they can inform and push each other to flourish.
“When all of us [writers] are more open about the money, we have more power to negotiate with publishers and get paid what we're worth.”
What’s a specific project that you’re excited about *right now*?
My paid email newsletter, The Hot Sheet. I know paid newsletters are a big trend right now among people who watch the tech & media space — but this one got started in 2015, before there were so many startups helping people create paid newsletters, and I had to roll my own technology to support it. It's been growing organically and sustainably since then, and I think it serves a real need in the market: business analysis of publishing, in plain English, for an audience of writers. Too long publishers have avoided business topics around authors, which only hurts their livelihoods and ability to adapt for long-term growth.
What's a current cultural edge you're excited to see people pushing?
I love seeing writers, of all kinds, being more transparent about their earnings — how much they make, how much they lose. When all of us are more open about the money, we have more power to negotiate with publishers and get paid what we're worth. It also helps avoid nasty surprises and sets the right expectations for success.