Six Ways My New Shoes Are Like Jane Friedman’s Keynote: A HippoCamp 2015 Recap

[This is a guest blog post by Amy Fish, HippoCamp 15 attendee and author of The Complaint Book.]

jane friedman giving her keynote

Both Have Platforms

My platforms are black and an inch and a half high.

Jane’s platform is crystal clear.

Jane said that if Lee Gutkind is the Godfather of Creative Nonfiction, then she is the Godmother of Where Publishing Is Headed. She travels the globe talking about how publishing is no longer about printing paper books. Her mission is to get writers to consider alternatives to traditional publication: self-publishing, digital publishing, social media publishing, or publishing on WattPad.

There are many ways to interact with your readers: Think outside the book.

Both Suggest Collaboration

When it comes to shoes, in most cases, a pair is more useful than one single shoe.

Same is true for writers.

Collaboration, Jane Friedman tells us, is the new cornerstone of publishing. She gave us an example of a “Deadly Dozen” mystery writers who teamed up to bundle some of their earlier work and sell it for 99 cents on amazon. They ended up on the New York Times bestseller list. Working together, she said, allows you to reach more readers than you can on your own.

Both Are In Your Twitter Feed

I only got to meet you because I tweeted my $5 shoes during the conference and you stopped me to chat about them. If Jane Friedman’s followers stopped her to talk about shoes she would have to have almost 213,000 conversations. She said that the exponential growth just kind of happened. She wanted to help writers. So she started giving writerly advice through her twitter feed. Writers are clearly hungry for the advice that she had to offer. She told us that there’s an app that calculates how many words you have typed on social media in a year. If you add up all your words, you may find out that you have actually written three books worth of blah blah blah without realizing it. This is especially true for Hippocampers who made excellent use of the hashtag and were so desperate for material we were tweeting pictures of our footwear.

Both Are Black and White

Yes I also noticed Jane was wearing a black and white dress. And yes I agree it would have looked fantastic with my brand new black and white shoes.

But that’s not what I’m referring to.

Jane talked about writing for writing’s sake and continuing to produce content that pleases you. She also talked about embracing your readership and connecting with your community. Her ability to balance both sides of what can sometimes be a controversial issue, especially at a writing conference, reminded me of the black and white yin yang symbol. Ultimately, it’s about balance.

Both Have An Appreciation for History

Jane brought us back to Erasmus and how he got paid for his work. He was able to spread the world without social media she said to big laughs, showing a map of 16th century Europe. She explained how publishers originally made their money selling books and how writers were initially funded through patronage. Jane showed us how publishers have not changed their business model for centuries while the payment plans for authors shifted with the times. Her history lesson contextualized the current reform in publishing and author’s compensation structures.

My new shoes too had their style origins many years ago in the punk rock eighties. You know the old adage about how if you wore something when it was in style the first time you have no right to wear it when it comes back in fashion? Doesn’t apply to shoes.

Both Recommended A Super Cool Book

OK fine. You got me. My shoes didn’t recommend a book. But Jane did. Click here to read about how long it takes to become an overnight success. Jane also showed us a video about the future – click here – but do me a favour? Please don’t tell my shoes. I don’t want to play favourites.