This week! Books!
We’re entering the dog days of summer, when publishing industry news (and employees) become scarce, but I still have some links to share with you.
If you’ve been reading more books in the past year you’re not alone. According to the American Time Use survey, reading jumped 21% year over year in the second half of 2020, probably a significant factor in the rise in book sales, which just happened to be up…. 21.4%.
A literary agent recently complained about receiving a query sent after business hours, which just… no. Don’t worry about when you send a query to an agent. If you don’t want to take my word for it, here’s agent Jennifer Laughran.
Booker Prize longlist released! Four Americans made the list, which still looks odd given the Booker’s long tradition as an award for authors in the British Commonwealth.
Lincoln Michel examines the writing maxim that characters need to change over the course of a novel and wonders if it’s really true. Personally I think something needs to change for the character, whether it’s their understanding of self or their circumstances. The threshold I like is the idea that after the events of the novel things can never be the same for the protagonist again. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a character’s personality has to fundamentally change.
In writing advice news, Milo Todd has some really strong about the importance of knowing your invisible narrator if you’re writing third person, and Austin Keon has a great riff on skipping the boring parts.
And The New Yorker resurfaced a profile of legendary editor and publisher Alfred A. Knopf from 1948. What’s remarkable to me when reading this is how, if you replace “book clubs” with “Amazon,” it feels like very little has changed.
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:
- Black Ice by Brad Thor
- The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
- The Cellist by Daniel Silva
- People We Met on Vacation by Emily Henry
- The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- I Alone Can Fix It by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker
- American Marxism by Mark R. Levin
- Landslide by Michael Wolff
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- How I Saved the World by Jesse Watters
Young adult hardcover:
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
- The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
- Lore by Alexandra Bracken
Middle grade hardcover:
- The Official Harry Potter Baking Book by Joanna Farrow
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Ali Cross: Like Father, Like Son by James Patterson
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- 3 ways “show don’t tell” can lead you astray
- Don’t lose sight of what’s on and off the page (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, get vaccinated already. All the cool writers are doing it!
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 and my guide to publishing a book.
And if you like this post: subscribe to my newsletter!
Photo: Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Follow me on Instagram!