This week! Books!
We had a peaceful and inspiring inauguration day, and 22-year-old Youth Poet Laurette Amanda Gorman was a breakout star with her incredible poem “The Hill We Climb.” Penguin Random House is rushing to publish a hardcover edition the poem, which is already available for pre-sale.
Speaking of politics, Ibram X. Kendi published a list of his 10 favorite political books written by Black women.
And still more politics: after Simon & Schuster canceled Senator Josh Hawley’s book deal in the wake of his actions in the insurrection at the US Capitol, conservative publisher Regnery will publish it instead. The irony: Simon & Schuster distributes Regnery outside of the United States.
Connecticut’s attorney general announced an investigation into Amazon’s e-book practices and whether they constitute anticompetitive behavior.
Author Mathew Salesses has a new book out, Craft in the Real World, that challenges the assumptions that underpin writing workshops and traditional approaches to teaching craft, arguing that they fail marginalized authors. Laila Lalami reviewed Craft in the Real World in the NY Times, and Salesses gave a great interview at Hazlitt about the book.
And in agent advice news, Kate McKean talks about where to put illustrations in book proposals, and Jessica Faust has a perennial, vital reminder: you have to read widely if you want to have a writing career.
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 Duke and I by Julia Quinn
- The Scorpion’s Tail by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
- The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
- Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- A Promised Landby Barack Obama
- Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
- Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
- On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
- Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Young adult hardcover:
- Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
- Lore by Alexandra Bracken
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Middle grade hardcover:
- The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling
- Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison
- Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure by Jeff Kinney
- This is Your Time by Ruby Bridges
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- We need to talk about email thread etiquette
- Agents assume you’ve researched your novel (query critique)
Don’t forget that you can nominate your first page and query for a free critique on the blog:
And keep up with the discussion in all the places!
Comment! of! the! week! goes to Ken Hughes, who has a helpful reminder about reply all:
Keeping the subject line (which Reply does) really is that important for letting your message sort right, out of the hundreds of mails someone gets. Basically, not using that means you’re diving back into the slush pile.
Also: if there are other people in the CC line, use Reply All instead of Reply. The sender had a reason to include them, and you’d need a good reason to change that. (Assuming this isn’t some company email that went to dozens of people. Using a Reply All to those is a classic oops.)
Reply All has one other use: if you want to follow up your own message before you get a response, you can Reply All to that and keep all the settings right. (Reply would only send your followup to yourself.)
And finally, there are some more actually-serious questions about whether we’ve already been visited by aliens.
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 (now available in audio) and my guide to publishing a book.
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Photo: The Empire State Building lit red, white, and blue for the inauguration. Follow me on Instagram!