This week! In Books!
I’ve long been on the record that authors need to choose a genre. What does literary agent Jessica Faust have to say on the matter? You need to choose a genre. “No book transcends all genres and succeeds by being all things.”
Also from Jessica Faust, an inside look at how she pitched The Secrets of Lost Stones, which landed with Lake Union Publishing at Amazon.
Quite a dustup is brewing between publisher Macmillan, which recently changed its ebook policy, and Overdrive, which facilitates libraries lending ebooks. After Macmillan’s announcement, the CEO of Overdrive launched a broadside against Macmillan’s policy. (via Pub Lunch)
Delia Owens’s Where the Crawdads Sing is a runaway bestseller. Slate recently dove into a lesser told part of Owens’s story, her alleged connection to the 1995 murder of a poacher in Zambia that was filmed by ABC. (Owens is not directly implicated).
And author Jennifer Hubbard has a great post on the importance of characters having secrets, and how sometimes these can even be a secret they keep from the author until it’s finally revealed.
This week in bestsellers
Here are the top five NY Times bestsellers in a few key categories:
Adult print and e-book fiction:
- One Good Deed by David Baldacci
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- The New Girl by Daniel Silva
- The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
- The Reckoning by John Grisham
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Educated by Tara Westover
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
- The Pioneers by David McCullough
- The Mueller Report by The Washington Post
Young adult hardcover:
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis
- Avatar, The Last Airbender: The Rise of Kyoshi by F. C. Yee with Michael Dante DiMartino
- On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
- Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link and Robin Wasserman
Middle grade hardcover:
- Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Katt vs. Dogg by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
- A Wolf Called Wander by by Rosanne Parry
This week on the blog
Don’t forget that you can nominate your first page and query for a free critique on the blog:
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- What it costs to self-publish a book
- Should authors have more freedom to respond to bad reviews?
- Nail a character’s first impression (Page critique)
Comment! of! the! week! goes to Cinthia Ritchie, who thinks authors need to just chill out when it comes to bad reviews:
Not everyone is going to like what I write, just as not everyone I meet is going to like me or want to be my friend. That’s life. That’s just the way it is. If someone writes a bad review and tags me on social media, I don’t have to read that review. It isn’t god’s truth of what my book is about. It’s one person’s opinion. And for heaven’s sake, not every book reviewer is The New York Times. Many reviews are loaded with sloppy writing and grammatical errors. Many who review on Goodreads and Amazon are simply average readers with the average scope of the world. They don’t have literary degrees or MFAs from prestigious universities.. So what if they don’t like my book. So what if they think it’s garbage or use it to line the cat litter box. It’s their right to like or hate whatever they please. I’ve seen too many authors become too sensitive about reviews/bad reviews/a few critical comments in good reviews. We all need to understand that reviews aren’t for us, they aren’t promotional tools, though we can and do certainly use them as such. Reviews are basically aimed at other readers, outlining what one person or organization thought of the book’s themes, writing style, plot, characterization, etc.
I think we as writers need to chill out about bad reviews/ negative comments and concentrate instead on writing the best books we can.
And finally, America has a long tradition of hucksters, which I find endlessly fascinating. The New Yorker recently published an excellent profile of P.T. Barnum, who understood the extent to people want to be deceived.
Have a great weekend!
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JOHN T. SHEA says
Thanks for yet another good article, Nathan! And thanks to Cinthia Ritchie for her comment. Also thanks for your great pic of Greyfriars Kirkyard, once home of Greyfriars Bobby, the famous terrier who guarded his owner’s grave for 14 years in the 19th Century. He was the subject of several books and movies.