Author Platform and Career Development Bootcamp with Jane Friedman

Professional authors always have one thing in common: they seek an audience for their work, and almost always a bigger audience. Having a strong and growing readership helps turn writing into a sustainable, full-time career. But what leads to readership growth? And what can you do, especially without a publisher’s help (or a large bankroll), to encourage that growth and launch your next book successfully?

This bootcamp for advanced career authors offers hands-on guidance and discussion to help you better develop a strategic launch plan for your work, and identify and grow a readership over the long term, whether you’re traditionally published or self-published.

Improving one’s ability to launch requires ongoing trial and error, complemented by efforts to build one’s author platform; the work is never really done, and your strategy and approach will evolve over time. It benefits from incremental improvements and pushing the boundaries of your own skill set. This session will help you sort through various strategies, tools, and opportunities available and what makes sense at this point in time for the next stage of your career. You’ll come up with an action plan—with specific and concrete next steps to grow your marketing know-how and book launch capabilities—for the upcoming year.

This intensive is ideal for published authors or about-to-be-published authors, whether self-published or traditionally published. Smart marketing efforts can only coalesce around a definitive and identifiable body of work—even if that’s just one book. It’s very difficult to build a launch plan for work that does not yet exist in concrete form (unless you’re some kind of celebrity). Until you have completed work that’s (nearly) available on the market, it’s very hard to come to a useful understanding of who your readership is—and for this intensive, readership is central to our efforts and discussion.

Key components to this session include:

  • Target audience definition. What is your understanding of your readership and who they are? How can you find out? Is there a potential readership you’re missing out on?
  • Product and branding optimization. How well are your books “optimized” to appeal to your target audience? Are you offering a coherent marketing message online? Are you using the language of readers to help your efforts?
  • Direct reach. How do you reach readers currently, and what areas need shoring up? What opportunities are available to expand your direct reach? What does your own website, email newsletter, or social media analytics tell you about your reach?
  • Lead generation. What strategies and tools do you use to reach new readers? How effective are your methods? What methods should you try?
  • Community efforts. What opportunities exist to improve your reach through collaborations, partnerships, and influencers?

Your ability to reach a readership or community will start with relationships you have in place—and can build on. This session will help you start where you are, and grow in the year (and years) ahead. Be prepared to discuss your own efforts, participate in group discussion and critique, and offer feedback and insight to your fellow authors. This will be an interactive and hands-on session that goes beyond lecturing and theory, and includes creatively and critically thinking through how to grow your author career.

About the instructor

Jane Friedman spent 15 years working inside the traditional publishing industry and is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest. In addition to being a columnist with Publishers Weekly and an instructor with the Authors Guild, she is a professor with The Great Courses on the topic of how to get traditionally published.

Her most recent book is The Business of Being a Writer (The University of Chicago Press, 2018), a comprehensive guide on how to make a living as a writer. She has been a full-time freelancer and publishing consultant since 2014, and maintains an award-winning blog for writers at

Her speaking engagements have taken her around the world to BookExo America, Frankfurt Book Fair, the Dubai Knowledge Summit, SXSW, and hundreds of writing conferences and creative writing programs. Her expertise on the publishing industry and the future of authorship has been featured by NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, PBS, The Washington Post, and the National Press Club. She has also served on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. Learn more at