15.11: Digital is Different, with Cory Doctorow

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Piper, Howard, and special guest Cory Doctorow

“How do you break in?” is one of those questions we always get asked in some form or another, and it’s also one for which those of us who “broke in” more than a couple of years ago are increasingly unqualified to answer. The path “in” is always changing, and it seems to be changing faster as time goes on.

With the obligatory disclaimer out of the way, in this episode we’ll talk about how “digital” (read: “social media + everything else internet”) applies to building a career as a creative.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson


Think about a pen name for yourself. Practice the signature.

Catfishing on the Catnet, by Naomi Kritzer

7 thoughts on “15.11: Digital is Different, with Cory Doctorow”

  1. This is such a relevant time to talk about marketing without interacting with people lol

  2. I’m curious about Mary Robinette’s numbers: those 48%-52%, are those the number of books written, or the number of copies sold?

  3. Now if a shoutout to my home city doesn’t get me to comment, nothing will (thanks from Perth, Mary Robinette!) – and I can relate to this episode on so many levels. As a long time lurker on basically any platform I try, I think I need to have a long hard look at what I want to say and how. Hearing you all talk about finding your groove and not forcing something that doesn’t work was really helpful. Cheers :)

  4. Mary Robinette, Piper, and Howard got together with Cory Doctorow to talk about life in the digital world, or at least writing in the digital era. Cory started by pointing out that breaking in now isn’t what it was 20 years ago. John W. Campbell doesn’t edit anymore! Enjoy what you’re doing, be genuine, and balance online with writing time. Whose your audience? Watch out for the spicy Cajun Visine problem! One inch deep and 10 miles wide? Hedge your bets. Go! Read all about it in the transcript, available now in the archives.

  5. Great episode but I really want to hear more about pen names! Things to keep in mind when creating one, how secret can it be, who has to know who you are, concerns people should think about before making one, what’s it like having to two writing careers: one under your own name and one secret with a pen name and more.

    I’m considering working on a side project that I don’t want people that know me know I write it and would love to have advice.

    Also would want to hear more on author signatures! I never thought about it until you guys brought it up at the end.

  6. I apologize if this is not the best place to post this question. It was somewhat relevant at the start of the episode, but I have been mulling this over since the interview with the three self-published authors and I just have to get it out somewhere.

    In all of this talk about self-publishing, where do middle grade authors fit in? The three authors from a few episodes ago (sorry, I can’t remember their names) said that middle grade and children’s were one of the really hard ones to make money on self-publishing. And that makes sense, considering kids usually can’t go online to browse and buy a book they like.

    But where does that leave aspiring MG authors? Are there alternatives to traditional publishing available I just don’t know about or am I stuck in the trenches?

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