This week! Books!
First up, congratulations to Angie Thomas, whose wonderful novel The Hate U Give just marked three full years on the New York Times bestseller list! Incredible. (Here’s my interview with Angie from a few years back).
The fallout from the COVID-19 coronavirus hit the Bologna Book Fair, an important venue where agents meet to sell lots of international rights for children’s books. The fair has been postponed until May.
RIP Clive Cussler, the swashbuckling novelist whose 85 books sold over 100 million copies.
LitHub rounded up the 16 best book covers of February.
Let me give a hearty amen to commenter Nicole and agent Janet Reid for calling out the atrocious Twitter behavior of some literary agents. On the one hand, the punching down feels pretty exhausting at this point. On the other hand, it’s also a useful public service: you know who you shouldn’t query.
And agent Jessica Faust has a useful reminder: if you have to explain that your book really gets going after a slow opening, you probably need to fix your opening.
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:
- One Minute Out by Mark Greaney
- American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
- Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant
- Dark Towers by David Enrich
- Open Book by Jessica Simpson with Kevin Carr O’Leary
- A Very Stable Genius by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig
- Un-Trumping America by Dan Pfeiffer
Young adult hardcover:
- A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
- One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
- Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Middle grade hardcover:
- Legacy and the Queen by Annie Matthew. Created by Kobe Bryant
- Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof by Ivy Claire. Created by Kobe Bryant
- The Wizenard: Training Camp by Wesley King. Created by Kobe Bryant
- Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison with Kwesi Johnson
- Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
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:
- Don’t release the tension
- Make characters interesting through contradiction
- Avoid micro-flashbacks (page critique)
Comment! of! the! week! goes to SJ, who recognized some mistakes releasing the tension:
These were some of the key issues with my first draft. My protagonist came across as flippant and dulled the sense of danger I wanted. Also, his love life basically stayed in the same muddled place. Working through these problems in a revision, and I’m seeing life in the story that wasn’t there before.
And finally, this was one heck of an obituary. Mafioso John Franzese died at 103.
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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Art: The Nebuta Museum, Aomori, Japan. Photo by me. Follow me on Instagram!