This week! Books!
Things might be feeling pretty apocalyptic outside but since the onset of the pandemic Jeff Bezos is $24 billion richer. So, uh, there’s that.
In not-Amazon news, the co-founder of LitHub and Electric Lit is launching Bookshop, an online bookstore that supports independent bookstores and sports a rival affiliate program.
You might be hearing people advising you against writing directly about the pandemic, but at least in Italy, publishers are rushing books about the pandemic to publication as the country prepares to emerge from lockdown.
Kelsey D. Atherton wrote an awesome examination of the way cyberpunk science fiction foreshadowed the weak government, dominance of corporations, and rampant surveillance of our current pandemic era.
It’s pretty scary right now in New York City. Here are the books people are borrowing.
Tons of good publishing advice this week! First up, author Sarah Enni is launching a spinoff of her very popular podcast called Track Changes, which focuses on Publishing 101.
In marketing advice, BookBub has a good roundup of the ways authors are using Instagram to overcome physical distancing. And over at David Gaughran’s blog, Karen Inglis has 7 ways to market self-published children’s books.
Dan Blank’s newsletter this week has some really good thoughts on writing and anxiety.
And McSweeney’s has an essay on using your free time to not write a novel.
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:
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings
- The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben
- Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
- Untamed by Glennon Doyle
- The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
- The Last Book on the Left by Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski
- Fortitude by Dan Crenshaw
Young adult hardcover:
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
- One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
- Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis
- Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
Middle grade hardcover:
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
- Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Food Network Magazine: The Big, Fun Kids Cookbook by Food Network Magazine
- The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
- The Wizenard Series: Season One by Wesley King. Created by Kobe Bryant
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:
- Being productive can be self-care
- New newsletter option: Receive updates weekly!
- Is the pandemic upending the plot of your novel?
- Organize your query’s plot summary in a clear way (query critique)
And keep up with the discussion in all the places!
Comment! of! the! week! goes to… CORRECTION. There were too many good comments about productivity and self-care to name just one.
COMMENTS! of! the! week! go to… Wendy!
Productivity can also be helped by focusing on something positive for a while. As King Solomon one said (the wisest man who ever lived): ‘Be careful of your thoughts as they create your life.’
The pressure (imagined or not) to be productive can absolutely trigger depression if I’m not Getting Things Done. For me, sometimes the quickest way out of that flavor of depression is to find an easy win and take it. I might not be able to write 1,000 words of the Great American Novel or put 40 hours a week into the day job, but I can edit something I’ve already written or brainstorm ideas for a plot outline or change a light bulb that’s been out for a while or replace one of my kids’ bike tires.
Sometimes, that easy win is all it takes to get me out of my funk and try something harder. And when it isn’t, it’s still something I can point to at the end of the day and say, “I accomplished that today,” and that’s definitely not nothing.
For me, I like to be productive when I’m dealing with stress. But I think the problem is more the perception of what productivness really is. I think it should be personal. What’s productive for me may not be the same as it is for someone else. And it could mean different things every day. For anyone struggling, who wants to be productive but can’t, check out Mel Robbins 5 second rule. It doesn’t help me be a productive writer, but it helps with other things. Don’t judge your productiveness against someone else. Just do your best. There is a time for everything. Even if for some of you it’s a time for rest, your mind may still be learning and thinking and perceiving… just a different form of productivity.
And finally, with all of the turmoil and fear of our current era, Taylor Lorenz looks at the rise of people seeking out good news.
Have a great weekend!
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Art: Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Photo by me. Follow me on Instagram!