This week! Books!
Lots and lots and lots of links for you from this frankly world-changing week. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. My heart goes out to our medical professionals, those that are experiencing health and financial hardships, and everyone suffering in any way from all of this.
I may post on this in a bit more detail at a later time, but one reason I didn’t post yesterday is that I’ve been dealing with pretty rough coronavirus-like symptoms for the past week. I’m fine and am on the mend and feel ridiculously privileged to have the means to weather it in self-quarantine, but one thing I felt unprepared for is the mental challenge of getting sick during this time, with all of the worst case scenarios pinging through our phones, knowing many hospitals are already stretched, and when most of us are pretty isolated.
A lot of us are going to end up sick before this thing is over, both from CV and other more run of the mill illnesses (which mine might have been for all I know–I haven’t been able to get tested yet). In addition to all of the material preparations you’re making, I’d highly, highly recommend preparing for the mental side as well and coming up with some sort of a game plan to keep your head up if you fall ill.
I’ve never been someone who gets nervous when I get sick, but this just isn’t like getting sick in more normal times. Stay in touch with your people and reach out when you need it. Heck reach out to me if you need to. We’re all in this together.
Now for the links!
It’s difficult to overstate the impact this week will have on…. well pretty much everything.
First up, the New York Times has a pretty good overview on the impact coronavirus is having on the publishing industry as a whole. In short: Bookstores are getting hammered and face an uncertain future in the social distancing era, author tours and speaking engagements are being canceled, and people are casting a wary eye in the direction of Barnes & Noble.
The Times also took a closer look at how independent bookstores are getting creative to serve customers during this time, even as vaunted indie bookstores Powell’s and McNally Jackson have announced substantial layoffs. Here’s a great roundup of how you can support bookstores during the pandemic. Print sales are already off 10%.
Another reason to support your indies: Amazon has announced (rightly) that they are going to redirect their warehouses to focus on household and medical supplies, meaning book fulfillment could take a hit and there could be delays obtaining print books.
Amid all this uncertainty we’re going to need the literary community more than ever, as LitHub editor Jonny Diamond writes. Along those lines, LitHub announced the launch of the Virtual Book Channel, which will feature readings, book launches, and regular shows.
Meanwhile, lots of people are wondering whether it’s okay to send out query letters right now, and agent Jessica Faust gives a definitive yes. My own conversations echo this. A lot of agents are at home and catching up on their reading right now.
I know it’s really hard to be a parent trying to juggling taking care of cooped up kids and working at the same time, and there was some good news on that front as Penguin Random House loosened its license for online story times and classroom videos and live events.
Jessica Faust also has a good post on writing in difficult times.
Agent Rachelle Gardner wrote an awesome post comparing pitching a manuscript to pitching on Shark Tank.
And as a reminder that there will be a time after this one, LitHub takes a look at America’s oldest bookstore, Moravian Book Shop in Pennsylvania, which has already survived a pandemic.
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 Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel
- Journey of the Pharaohs by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Untamed by Glennon Doyle
- The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
- The Gift of Forgiveness by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt
- The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant
- Educated by Tara Westover
Young adult hardcover:
- Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
- Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
- Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
Middle grade hardcover:
- Wings of Fire: Legends: Dragonslayer by Tui T. Sutherland
- Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- If We Were Giants by Dave Matthews and Clete Barrett Smith
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:
Comment! of! the! week! goes to Jaden Terrell, with another example about how you can go astray choosing a title that sounds like a different genre:
I gave my fourth book a title I thought was perfect for a private detective novel centered on a series of barn arsons. Sadly, I discovered that most of the people who land on A TASTE OF BLOOD AND ASHES are looking for books about vampires.
And finally, this pandemic is going to shape the world in so many ways, big and small. Politico talked to 30 experts on their predictions for how some of those changes might manifest themselves.
Have a great (and safe) 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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Art: Aomori, Japan. Photo by me. Follow me on Instagram!