This week! Books!
I have been notified that is nearly the end of November, and next week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving here in the United States. Accordingly, the blog will be on a brief hiatus next week, but I’ll be checking email so please feel free to reach out to me if you need editing or a consultation!
Now then, on to the links!
The National Book Award winners were announced this week, and congrats to the winners:
- Fiction: Hell of a Book by Jason Mott
- Nonfiction: All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles
- Poetry: Floaters by Martín Espada
- Translated Literature: Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin, translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins
- Young People’s Literature: Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
Those who are not technologically inclined may not feel like they have the tools to learn to use something like, say, TikTok, which is why I really liked Dan Blank’s framework for how to learn and strategize with unfamiliar platforms.
There is a concerted, national push for book banning afoot. Ugh.
Publishing industry sage Mike Shatzkin has an interesting take on the DOJ’s antitrust objection to Penguin Random House’s proposed acquisition of Simon & Schuster, which hinges on the alleged harm it would cause authors and their ability to negotiate with publishers. Shatzkin argues that as the number of titles traditional publishers can meaningfully break out shrinks and their market share ebbs, it may make sense for the industry to consolidate.
As a former agent, I personally think the industry observers downplaying the effects of industry consolidation are underestimating the extent to which it has made it harder for agents to hold the line on everything from e-book royalty rates to rights grabs to even advance payouts stretching out endlessly amid record publisher profits. This isn’t just a problem for the biggest bestsellers, as many authors live in the shadow of the precedents established for the authors with the most clout.
Count me as team DOJ, and let’s go after collusion and late payments too. We need way more meaningful competition between the major players in the publishing industry.
And amid a time when autofiction and realistic contemporary fiction is thriving, Lincoln Michel lauds fairy tales that embrace their fiction-ness.
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 Dark Hours by Michael Connelly
- The Judge’s List by John Grisham
- The Stranger on the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom
- Never by Ken Follett
- Better Off Dead by Lee Child and Andrew Child
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Will by Will Smith
- The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber
- The President and the Freedom Fighter by Brian Kilmeade
- The Storyteller by Dave Grohl
- The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present by Paul McCartney
Young adult hardcover:
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Theo
- Gilded by Marissa Meyer
- These Violent Delights by Chloe Zhao
- All of Us Villains by by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman
Middle grade hardcover:
- The Christmas Pig by J.K. Rowling. Illustrated by Jim Field
- Out of My Heart by Sharon M. Draper
- Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
- The Official Harry Potter Baking Book by Joanna Farrow
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
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, writers tend to shade to the anxious side of the spectrum, and I really enjoyed this article by Arthur C. Brooks that our fears of what other people think of us are almost always overblown and are standing in the way of us being liberated to be our real selves.
Have a great weekend!
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