This week! Books! Also justice!
We’ve had an incredibly distressing week in America, and I know a lot of people are wondering how to get involved and support this movement to end systemic injustice and brutality.
I’m going to focus on the book world. This is by no means an exhaustive list and please feel free to add your own suggestions. But here are some things you can do.
You can buy from this list of Black-owned independent bookstores.
You can donate to We Need Diverse Books, an organization dedicated to ensuring all kids can see themselves in print.
You can give these appalling statistics a long, hard look and do whatever you can to pressure book publishers to stop paying lip service to diversity:
You can read this essay and reflect on how Black authors have continuously been forced to engage with white expectations for how Blackness is portrayed and contend with the immense pressure of the white gaze.
You can read about how Celeste Ng and Shea and Larami Serrano and others are taking diversity in publishing into their own hands and think about how you can do something similar.
And you can SUPPORT BLACK AUTHORS.
Take the time to read about anti-racism and start living it.
Read anti-racist poetry.
For good measure, read a critique of anti-racist reading lists.
Use your platform to amplify Black authors.
Read some of my absolute favorite MG and YA novels by Black authors in the past few years:
- Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
- Full Disclosureby Camryn Garrett
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
- Ghost by Jason Reynolds
- Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
(I know I’m forgetting plenty so help me out with your favorites in the comments.)
Also, don’t just read books by Black authors this week. Always make sure the books you’re buying and reading reflect your values.
Lastly: I hope you’ll show your solidarity by joining a protest wherever you are. If you’re in NYC: I will see you in the streets.
In other news…
Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House have filed suit against the Internet Archive for mass copyright infringement stemming from their so-called “emergency library.”
It’s Pride month and BuzzFeed compiled 21 essential YA novels to read.
Writer Beware updated their recommendations on evaluating publishing contracts. (And don’t forget you can always contact them at email@example.com if you have questions about a particular publisher).
The NY Times talked to Emily Powell of Portland’s famed Powell’s bookstore about the future of bookselling.
If you’re a freelancer who’s fortunate enough to be wondering if it’s time to raise your rates, Freelancers Union has some extremely helpful tips.
And with so many publication dates that have been postponed due to the pandemic, fall is now packed with new releases. This is a problem.
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:
- Hideawayby Nora Roberts
- Fair Warning by Michael Connelly
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- Camino Winds by John Grisham
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Untamed by Glennon Doyle
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Plague of Corruption by Judy Mikovits and Kent Heckenlively
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
Young adult hardcover:
- Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
- Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Middle grade hardcover:
- The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
- Wonder by R.J Palacio
- Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Refugee 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:
- What is your highest and best use?
- Writing, marathons, and sprints
- Articulate a character’s motivation precisely (page critique)
And keep up with the discussion in all the places!
Comment! of! the! week! goes to Angela Brown on channeling this moment into words:
There are so many words I want to say, so many emotions to express, so much so that I wish to scream. But screaming brings attention to the scream and not the WHY behind my scream.
So I hold my hold my scream praying the WHY remains the focus.
I’ve had the outline of a story waiting for me, patiently as I focused on my paying gig for some months and then COVID-19 was handled with the delicacy of striking a hammer into the apex of a glass house with all of us beneath the falling destruction, damping my writing drive more than I would care to admit.
Now, it is time to let the desire to scream to flow into the words and be my silent scream for me.
And finally, RIP to Christo, who left us with such unforgettable memories of his grand works, including The Gates in Central Park, one of the most beautiful works of art I’ve ever seen.
Have a 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: Taking a knee for justice in Brooklyn. Photo by me.