This week! Books!
Lots and lots of links from the past few weeks, but first, in case you’re not a newsletter subscriber, a quick heads-up that I’m offering special “Get your writing back on track” discounts, including 25-35% off coaching sessions and a special editing package to get you unstuck. So if you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber, please sign up!
Now then, on to the links.
RIP to the immensely influential picture book author and illustrator Eric Carle, who created The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, among others. His books sold an astounding 170 million copies, and left an indelible imprint on many of our childhoods. It’s worth revisiting Ashley Fetters’ extremely smart analysis of The Very Hungry Caterpillar‘s lasting appeal on its 50th anniversary in 2019.
There has been continued fallout and employee unrest over Simon & Schuster’s decision to move forward with Mike Pence’s memoir. Alex Shepard at The New Republic dove into a tense town hall meeting, and Constance Grady at Vox examines the generational divide within the industry around the ultimate purpose of book publishing and who “deserves” to have a book deal.
In addition to her run for governor and tremendous voting rights work, Stacey Abrams is also a successful novelist. While her politics and fiction are often treated as separate life pursuits, Ayana Mathis has a great article that fuses those vocations around Abrams’ ability to utilize narratives.
Camryn Garrett has a new novel out, Off the Record, and she participated in two excellent interviews recently, one with Kirkus, in which she discusses how you can’t change the world if you’re not healthy, and one with We Need Diverse Books, where she talks about how she thinks about writing and marketing.
There have been some interesting discussions around how much money authors really make, which is a ridiculously difficult topic to generalize about because there is nearly endless variability. Lincoln Michel took a stab, as did Jane Friedman.
There has been a ton of buzz around NFTs, and Emily Wenstrom at Book Riot has a really good feature on what they could mean for the world of books. Namely: imagine a world with “used” e-book sales where authors continue to get a slice of these sales.
In writing advice news, agent Kate McKean talks about how to stick to your deadlines, agent Rachelle Gardner has a reminder that you should only embark on a paid edit if you’re prepared to do the work, Diana Giovinazzo has a really nice post on writing through grief, and Lincoln Michel delves into “Chekhov’s Gun” and what the phrase really means.
In publishing advice news, a close look at a query letter to Kristin Nelson that ultimately resulted in a six-figure book deal, agents Jessica Faust and James McGowan discuss when it’s okay to re-query, and Kristin Nelson has an important reminder from her archives: never sign an un-negotiated boilerplate contract with a publisher.
You know you’ve really made it as a New Yorker when your eating habits are chronicled in the Grub Street Diet column. Here’s the entry with Pantheon and Schocken Books publisher Lisa Lucas.
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 Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
- Sooley by John Grisham
- Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- 21st Birthday by James Patterson
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
- Zero Fail by Carol Leonnig
- Killing the Mob by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
- Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstei
- What Happened to You? by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
Young adult hardcover:
- Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
- Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater
- Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo
Middle grade hardcover:
- Stamped (For Kids) by Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi and Sonja Cherry-Paul
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate
- The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- Don’t start a scene without these four essential elements
- Don’t let voice interfere with a query’s readability (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!
And finally, Casey Cep in The New Yorker has a really fascinating article on what helped create and sustain the Spiritualist movement in the United States and beyond, and how it never totally went away.
Have a good weekend! I’ll be back Tuesday after the long weekend.
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