This week! Books!
Lots and lots of good links for you this week, so let’s get to it.
First up, there’s…. good news? In the publishing industry? 😱😱😱 What is this? Book sales are up a whopping 21.4% YOY, fueled by adult fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. The rest of the year looks promising as well, though pandemic-related high costs and service disruption plague the print supply chain.
What was the year of the pandemic like for people within the publishing industry? Literary agent Jennifer Laughran has a great timeline of dealing with the adjustments, delays, and backlogs forced by the pandemic, on top of all of the stress everyone was separately experiencing. Worth a read to get a sense for why response times might be slower than normal in an already-slow industry.
There’s been a lot of attention on the Great Depression-era Federal Writers Project recently. In The Atlantic, Scott Borchert looks at the strange, fascinating history of American Guides, nominal travel guides that were more like a compendium of American history. And in The New York Times, Borchert makes the case for a new New Deal for writers.
Are NFTs and crypto a flash in the pan or will they alter the publishing industry? Walker Kaplan has a really great survey of some of the different ways authors are dipping their toes in the NFT waters and what the newfangled tech could mean for writers and the industry.
Author Isabel Fall was the target of a great deal of Twitter outrage after publishing a science fiction story called, “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter,” which many people criticized without reading, assuming Fall was anti-trans. In the wake of the criticism Fall checked into a psychiatric ward due to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Then she came out as a trans woman. Emily VanDerWerff has a rundown of the chain of events and the unique collision of sexuality, meme culture, Twitter outrage fests, and authorial identity. Lincoln Michel delves into the issues and argues against a puritan art police.
In writing advice news, Lincoln Michel delves into Cesar Airas’s “no revision” method, Kristin Lamb talks about the importance of a character’s burning desire as the heart of great stories, Sarah Penner has a pre-launch checklist for debut authors, and Rachel Michelberg talks about dealing with post book launch depression, which is definitely a thing.
And Jackie Collins is typically regarded as one of the queens of pulp fiction, but Sophie Gilbert makes the case that it’s time she got her due.
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:
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino
- The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
- Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- The President’s Daughter by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Nightmare Scenario by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- (Re)born in the USA by Roger Benett
- Killing the Mob by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
- Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Young adult hardcover:
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- The Betrayed by Kiera Cass
- Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
- Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Middle grade hardcover:
- Ali Cross: Like Father, Like Son by James Patterson
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Star Wars: The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower by Daniel José Older
- 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:
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, if you’re a soccer fan you definitely know Roger Bennett, one of the Men in Blazers, and GQ has an utterly fantastic excerpt from his new book (Re)born in the USA, which chronicles a Beastie Boys concert gone bad in Liverpool.
Have a great weekend!
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It was sad to read of the mental torment Isabel Fall experienced after being on the receiving end of criticism.
My 0.02c on this: All this suffering can–to one degree or another–be averted. When running a retail biz, my junior became anorexic, and then hospitalised, because of school bullying. Megan Markle felt suicidal after constant media attacks. What most younger people don’t yet realise–and this is life-changing–what others say to us, or about us, or do to us, doesn’t define us. These things only defines those who have spoken and acted. It is only how we react that defines us and how others judge us.
For example, if someone entered a room and slipped over on a banana skin, most in the room might laugh. If feeling embarrassed and annoyed, the person who slipped angrily got to his feet and yelled, ‘Oh, shut up!’ Then, this person might be judged as, perhaps, touchy and self-absorbed.
But if that person after slipping laughed at himself, got up, and then bowed to the room and, even made a joke (‘For my next acrobatic performance…’), people would judge this person as clever and fun to be around.
When we’re aware other people’s actions and words don’t define us, it doesn’t matter what people say or do as we know it’s only about them–and not us. And, then, it’s relatively easy to control how we react and come across as amazing.
Neil Larkins says
Excellent point. My first wife was born with cerebral palsy and suffered a great deal of taunting and bullying by her schoolmates (this was from 1951 to 1963). The ill-treatment shaped her in a very negative way. When she was 16 an amazing teacher took her aside and taught her that other’s perception of her was not important. Her perception of herself was. This totally changed her; in her own words, “from a self-loathing child to a confident woman.” And it was this confident woman that I met and married in college. We’d known each other only a few days when she revealed that had I met her two years before I likely would not have liked her at all.
Wow–great story, Neil. This teacher was so right. It’s impossible to rise above self-imposed limitations to achieve our full potential which is limitless. But we have to know it before we can show it. I wish a teacher had whispered this to me when drowning in a morass of misery. lol
And thanks for that interesting take on how the pandemic affected the publishing industry, Nathan! And books sales are currently up–24? I must admit, I’m Kindling more lately. Does this indicate an escapism trend?