This week! Book!
First up, I’m going to be taking a quick one week blog break to focus on revisions on my new novel and my travels (see above). I’ll still be answering emails though, so feel free to reach out for editing. The blog be back the week of February 10.
The fallout from the hype and subsequent blowback around American Dirt continues to swirl. Flatiron Books canceled Cummins’s book tour because of “concerns about safety” which…… uh ok. Flatiron Books president Bob Miller acknowledged problems with the rollout.
And writing in The New York Times, David Bowles argues that it is more broadly symptomatic of a broken publishing industry. (As you’ll see below, the controversy did not stop American Dirt from debuting in the #1 spot on the Times bestseller list).
Annnnnnd speaking of said industry, publisher Lee & Low released their annual study of diversity within the publishing industry. This year they expanded their survey set to include academic publishers and literary agencies and received far more survey responses. While there were the barest glimmers of improvement at the executive level, the industry is still 76% white and not more substantively diverse than it was four years ago.
Congrats to the winners at the 2020 Youth Media Awards! Among the winners:
- Newbery: New Kid by Jerry Craft (the first time a graphic novel has won)
- Caldecott: The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson
- Printz: Dig by A.S. King
What’s behind the uptick in independent bookstores? While people often cite the community-oriented opportunities of indie stores, I think Mike Shatzkin offers a more compelling explanation.
Author Andrzej Sapkowski has seen The Witcher adapted into a popular new show and he participated in a pretty amazing interview with io9 . His answer about how much he was involved in the show is an instant classic:
Not very much, on my own request. I do not like working too hard or too long. By the way, I do not like working at all. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone at me.” John 8:7.
Ah, the dreaded synopsis. BookEnds Literary created a new video with advice on how to write them.
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:
- American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- Lost by James Patterson and James O. Born
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
- The Guardians by John Grisham
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- A Very Stable Genius by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig
- Profiles in Corruption by Peter Schweizer
- Educated by Tara Westover
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Young adult hardcover:
- One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Middle grade hardcover:
- Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- The Fierce 44 by the staff of The Undefeated
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Ali Cross by James Patterson
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:
- My plot framework
- Why protagonists need to be active
- What’s the right etiquette for authors leaving reviews?
- Avoid word salads in your query (Query critique)
Comment! of! the! week! goes to Shep, who makes the case that authors should still review books:
This is difficult for everyone (or I would at least hope it is) but I prefer honest reviews. I would much rather have an honest four-star that states the true experience someone had with a book than an all-exclamation pointed flatter-a-thon five-star that says the same crap my family tries to convince me of when they’re being biased. When editing, I’m very honest. When reviewing, I’m very honest. Flattery doesn’t help people improve skills. True compliments do a great deal more for an author than saying what they’ve done is priceless but secretly thinking you’d rather drink vinegar than be subjected to their pointless ramblings a second time. Be nice but be honest ????
And finally, I seriously enjoyed Ben Solo’s latest appearance on Undercover Boss, courtesy of SNL:
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 and my guide to publishing a book.
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Art: Shimokitazawa, Tokyo. Photo by me. Follow me on Instagram!