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Author of a newsletter about writing (and other things) called The Novelleist. About to release my novel via Substack. Subscribe at ellegriffin.substack.com.

And other truths about publishing

Woman looking at her book.
Woman looking at her book.

After I completed my first novel, I had dreams of a beautiful black book, its ivory pages sewn into the binding, the title embossed in gold leaf, a single red ribbon denoting the place where a reader might pause in their reading, adrift in another world.

Perhaps, if I was lucky enough, more than a few readers would love it. Perhaps, in my wildest dreams, Reese Witherspoon would even recommend it to her book club. Perhaps it would go on to become a New York Times bestseller and Hello Sunshine would adapt it into a series for HBO. …


After I finished writing my first novel, I spent an inordinate amount of time researching this article on the best way to publish it. What I found is that the current model — publishing through a Big Four publishing house — is still the author’s best bet for attracting readers and earning a living. But even that outcome is highly unlikely — and there could be a better way.

There are starting to be platforms that could disrupt the publishing industry — Patreon, Wattpad, Substack, Twitter’s new Super Follow — where writers can build a following and then monetize it…


Bryan Brandenburg wants to increase our lifespan.

“We recently filed for a patent on an anti-aging device that is basically a human gyroscope,” he tells me.

“It’s based on NASA technology―because when astronauts go into space they start seeing muscular atrophy, so they developed some technologies, vibrational things to restore muscles. We have taken that to the next level, combining it with a device to turn back your biological clock.”

Brandenburg’s idea is based on the twin paradox―the idea that if a set of twins are born on Earth, but one immediately gets in a spaceship and travels away at…


January went by in the fevered haze of a COVID-induced quarantine during which, exactly two weeks after my husband got the virus, I got the virus, and we had to do the whole thing all over again.

Not to be deterred by complete and utter boredom and the sheer absurdity that comes from watching The Truman Show immediately followed by EDtv, I emerged from my fevered state much like Mozart in the final scene of Amadeus — that is to say, not dead exactly, but rather having written something.

It’s a blog! Only not a blog, because we don’t really…


What we are witnessing could be evidence that we live in a multi-dimensional universe. That we are not alone. That we may be interacting with other entities, other intelligence,” says Brandon Fugal, real estate mogul and investor in the now infamous Skinwalker Ranch.

Once owned by hotel financier and billionaire Robert Bigelow, the ranch is a 512-acre parcel of land in Utah’s Uinta Basin long reputed to be rife with paranormal activity. …


This will be my sixth year living in a place with winter, and I now know what I didn’t at first: that something about my biology doesn’t enjoy the cold. That the happiness that comes with ease during the warm summer months is harder won during the colder winter ones. That the anxiety and depression I so thoroughly removed from myself long ago tries to seep back in once the snow settles in.

Every year I get stronger. I have gathered the tools I need to survive—the almond oil that drenches my bath every morning, the stair-stepper that keeps me…


Rebecca Zimmermann recently decided to move to Hawaii. She’d been working as an account coordinator for Double Forte, a creative agency out of San Francisco, when stay-at-home orders forced the company’s six office spaces to close. One month into closures Double Forte decided to allow it’s employees to work remotely indefinitely.

Zimmermann jumped at the opportunity. “I began thinking of places I could relocate to that would support my lifestyle,” she says. “That’s when I started considering Hawaii. …


When we started working from home we stopped using our cars and for a brief moment, the clouds parted. We saw a world in which the air we breathe became cleaner and we clung, for a moment, to the hope of a smog-free future. Maybe that could be our future, we thought, if we changed all our gas-powered cars out for electric ones.

Indeed, as carbon emissions plummeted by up to 30 percent worldwide, stock in electric vehicle manufacturers soared by up to 616 percent ―the inverse correlation implying a sort of aspirational environmentalism: The idea that electrification could save…


Sahil Lavingia raised $8 million between Seed and Series A rounds, opened offices in San Francisco, and managed 23 full-time employees. He planned to build a billion-dollar company and he was well on his way to doing so, all he needed was a $15 million Series B.

For Lavingia, during the six years he spent in San Francisco, his business Gumroad was his whole identity. He did nothing but eat and work, and he can’t recall going out on a single date during that time. He read business books on the weekends and had an office in SOMA. …

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