Chip MacGregor

August 2, 2013

How do you stay on top of trends in publishing?


Someone wrote to ask,  “What sources are there for authors to keep an eye on writing and publishing trends?”

Publishers Marketplace, Publishers Lunch, Publishers Weekly, Digital Book World – all of those resources will keep you up to date on the industry. Watching the various bestseller lists can be helpful, as can finding some blogs that talk about the industry. I like and, but there are a ton of good ones: PubRants, GalleyCat, SlushPileHell, BuzzMachine, Adventures in Agentland, BookSquare… there are too many to count.

Each year Writers Digest does a list of “the 101 Best Websites for Writers,” and they always have some great advice. I discovered GrammarGirl, InkyGirl, and Editorial Anonymous by seeing them in the magazine. (I’m one of those who still thinks Writers Digest is one of the very best resources any writer could have.) To watch trends specifically, check out Seth Godin, Mashable, and Alan Rinzler’s blog. Great spots.  It often seems like agent blogs have become a key resource for writers who need to know what’s going on across the industry, so checking out your agent’s blog (or those of other members of AAR) is probably one of the best sources of information.

Going to conferences is really helpful, since it allows you to talk face to face with authors and editors, gaining firsthand knowledge of what’s happening. There’s nothing like having an editor say to you, “We’re looking for a book on Amish vampire pirates in space” to know that everyone in this industry has lost their freaking minds. (Or that they’re all thinking creatively.) If you go to a book show, you can quickly spot the latest trends in covers, colors, themes, what types of books everyone is doing, what everyone is NOT doing, and what the latest scuttlebutt is. And while I no longer do any online writing communities, I know many authors enjoy being part of the conversation that takes place in a big online group.

My question for you: What online sites (blogs, communities, information sites, etc) do you find more helpful for your career? I’d love to share a list with readers.

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  • Judith Robl says:

    My essential list includes Rachelle Gardner, Steve Laube, Chip MacGregor, Vonda Skelton, Story-Fix, The Write Life, and Writer Unblocked. You will note the alpha order. I’d be hard pressed to manage any other arrangement.

  • Bonnie McKernan says:

    I enjoy Nathan Bransford’s blog and website. His tone is upbeat and fun, but his content is seriously practical.

  • Lynn Morrissey says:

    Agreed on all the wonderful recommendations. Chad has a new and helpful site: He’s an excellent editor. Also try
    And my question for you, Chip, is: When, as an author, do you flow with the trend or against it?

  • Julie Surface Johnson says:

    I like C.S. Lakin’s Live Write Thrive, too. Also, Chip’s, Rachelle Gardner, Steve Laube, Janet Grant, and Michael Hyatt.

    • chipmacgregor says:

      Yeah, I should have mentioned Mike Hyatt’s blog. Really good stuff there. Thanks, Julie.

  • Violet N. says:

    I enjoy the blog of C.S. Lakin (Live Write Thrive). She is doing a series where she describes the various camera shots film makers use and shows how writers can use those points of view and movements when telling stories. She sometimes has guest bloggers who have successfully self-published who relate their experiences and give advice. She also posts regularly about punctuation and word usage issues. Lots of good info. URL is

    • chipmacgregor says:

      Thanks, Violet. This is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to see in the comments section. Appreciate you suggesting Lakin’s site.

  • Cheryl Russell says:

    Writer Unboxed-www.Writer, Beyond the

  • I always keep an eye on your blog, Chip, as well as Rachelle Gardner’s and the Steve Laube Agency blog. For instruction in craft, I read Cec Murphey’s Writer to Writer, and I also get some good info, instruction, inspiration, and encouragement from Vonda Skelton’s The Writer’s Den.

    • chipmacgregor says:

      Appreciate you bringing up two friends, Cecil Murphey and Vonda Skelton. You’re right — both have good stuff. Thanks, Cheryl.

  • Mark Young says:

    I would recommend the following blogs for those authors writing
    mystery, suspense and thriller genres and those writers interested in indie

    The Kill Zone
    A Newbies Guide To Publishing
    Dean Wesley Smith
    Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    Janet Reid, Literary Agent

    • chipmacgregor says:

      Since I do a lot of suspense thrillers, I really like your suggestions, Mark. Also, MysteryWritingIsMurder, Murder By 4, mystery, and All have something good to share.

    • Mark Young says:

      I’ll add this to my list, Chip. Thanks.

  • Iola Goulton says:

    And I’ve seen Amish vampires, but they were still in Pennsylvania, not space. You wont’ be surprised to hear it’s a self-pub (not that I’ve got anything against self-pub: I can just see it isn’t really the thing most publishers would buy).
    Oh. Your actual question. What online sites do I find helpful?
    This, Steve Laube, Rachelle Gardner/Books & Such.
    Passive Guy, Joe Konrath and KK Rusch for their views on self-publishing
    NetGalley – because that shows me what’s coming up and gives me lots of free books to read and review
    I’m in New Zealand, so I’m also involved in some Australasian writer groups – Omega Writers, Christian Writers Downunder and Australasian Christian Writers (launching in September)

    • chipmacgregor says:

      Thanks, Iola. I happen to think Joe Konrath is one of the biggest dipsticks on the planet, of course, but some people like his blog.

    • Iola Goulton says:

      I agree Konrath has a very high opinion of himself, but I like the fact that he presents a different point of view than (say) Rachelle Gardner. Understanding different viewpoints helps authors understand the market and the different publishing models, which will help them make a better publishing decision. Think of Konrath as giving you the opportunity to practice patience and discernment.

  • Rachel Leigh Smith says:

    There is a vampire pirates in space book, but I haven’t seen an Amish one. Yet.

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