This week! Books!
First off, I need to give a heads-up to my fellow editors and freelancers who offer their services on Reedsy. I found out the hard way this week that despite how much Reedsy promotes their “project protection,” they do not offer freelancers on their platform protection from nonpayment.
If you’re a freelancer in New York City you have additional remedies via the Freelance Isn’t Free law thanks to Freelancers Union, but you would need to pursue a claim on your own without Reedsy’s support.
Nonpayment is a massive issue for freelancers, so if you’re at all sympathetic to the cause please consider joining Freelancers Union (it’s free), support political candidates who are in favor of safeguards for freelancers including expanded access to health care outside of traditional employment, and for heaven’s sake please pay the people you hire.
Companies like Reedsy who profit off of freelancers need to do a better job protecting them from nonpayment. Period. (If you’re interested in hiring me as an editor, please reach out to me directly).
*Steps off soapbox*
Now then, I spotted some good links out there and let’s get to them!
Literary agent Rachelle Gardner weighed in on one of the perennial topics in authordom: When is it okay to re-query an agency? Rachelle admits she’s on the more laid back side of things, other agents are stricter. (Here’s my own overall guide to literary agent etiquette, including re-querying).
Meanwhile, Jessica Faust at BookEnds tackles another common question: what do I put in my author bio in a query letter?
I’m of the mind that character and plot are inseparable and think plot vs. character arguments are a false dichotomy. Along those lines, Lincoln Michel wrote a great post this week about how many different elements of a story can serve as the engine for a story.
Oh yes, I stopped by the NaNoWriMo blog to talk about how to stay productive while writing a novel.
Janet Reid had a great post on the pleasures of being an early fan of an author.
Meanwhile, given the way people browse in person and buy online, The New Yorker asks a provocative question: should we pay to enter bookstores? (Although the article starts with the false premise that buying a used book somehow supports authors and publishers. It doesn’t, at least not directly. Authors and publishers only receive royalties for new copies sold. But that’s a discussion for another day.)
This week in bestsellers
Here are the top five NY Times bestsellers in a few key categories. (All links are affiliate links):
Adult print and e-book fiction:
- The Guardians by John Grisham
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- The 19th Christmas by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
- Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
- Stealth by Stuart Woods
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Me by Elton John
- Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
- Blowout by Rachel Maddow
- The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe
- The Body by Bill Bryson
Young adult hardcover:
- Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel by A.W. Jantha
- The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis
- The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
Middle grade hardcover:
- A Tale of Magic… by Chris Colfer
- Allies by Alan Gratz
- Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds
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:
- The 6th SUFPC finalists are…
- Entrepreneur Sarah Hill on book marketing and changes in the industry
- The 6th SUFPC winner is…
- Make sure your protagonist’s motives are clear (Query critique)
Comment! of! the! week! goes to John Shea for articulating a lot of the confusion and exhaustion around the necessity of social media even when the conversion isn’t great:
Opportunity can become overwhelming and we need experts as much to advise us on what NOT to do as what to do. The sheer scope and width of social media can induce shallowness of engagement and low conversion rates, measured in actual sales. I see that from my own reactions to social media. I easily get overwhelmed and speed-read or just turn the whole damn thing off. But I return again and again and learn something new every day, if not every hour.
And finally, speaking of which, I’ve been thinking quite a lot lately about what social media and the internet have been doing to us. More on that soon, but there were two very thoughtful articles this week on that topic:
The first uses the selfie explosions at the site of my above photo in Brooklyn as a jumping off place to ruminate on how social media is melting our sense of time. And the other coins a helpful term, The Discourse, to describe the exhausting and predictable online outrage cycle. Both represent a feast for thought.
Have a great weekend!
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
For my best advice, check out my guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and my guide to publishing a book.
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