This week! Books! Get vaccinated!
Reese Witherspoon has become quite a publishing mogul with her book club and production company, which produced book-to-film adaptations like Wild, Gone Girl, and Big Little Lies. Witherspoon just sold Hello Sunshine for an eye-popping $990 million. Wow.
Andrew Cuomo resigned as governor of New York this week and controversy is still swirling around his administration’s alleged misreporting of nursing home deaths, cementing Penguin Random House’s reported $5 million+ acquisition of his pandemic memoir American Crisis as one of the worst publishing bets in recent history. Per the New York Times, Crown has only sold around 50,000 copies and is not likely to sell very many more.
The New Yorker profiled the fantastic Jason Reynolds, whose books I recommend to anyone and everyone for a master class in craft, but the appeal of his books go way beyond that.
Has the pandemic changed your relationship to physical books, either by pushing you to ebooks or making you more attached to your physical books? Mark Athitakis considers Jessica Pressman’s new book Bookishness, about our attachment to books as physical objects.
Can you steal someone else’s idea and use it as a jumping off point for a novel? Ideas and concepts aren’t generally copyrightable, but as agent Janet Reid asks… why would you want to be derivative?
In writing advice news, Charlie Jane Anders surveyed 12 authors about how they write in tough times, Lincoln Michel shares everything he knows about being a professional writer, Austin Kleon quotes Updike on the perils of even modest celebrity, and Janet Reid has advice on how to navigate bad apple literary agents.
And I really enjoyed this advice on time management from Oliver Burkeman, who urges us to consider how little time we have but also not rush off to improve our productivity, which often just invites more work.
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:
- Billy Summers by Stephen King
- The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
- Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- People We Met on Vacation by Emily Henry
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- American Marxism by Mark R. Levin
- Here, Right Matters by Alexander Vindman
- I Alone Can Fix It by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- The Premonition by Michael Lewis
Young adult hardcover:
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
- Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
- Small Favors by Erin A. Craig
Middle grade hardcover:
- Black Boy Joy edited by Kwame Mbalia
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- The Official Harry Potter Baking Book by Joanna Farrow
- 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:
- How to come up with good comp titles for your book
- How an editor at a publisher acquires a book
- Try to stick to one POV in a query (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, the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 is coming up, and Jen Senior’s incredible profile of one family navigating the aftermath is very much worth your time.
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.
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