This week! Books!
A bit of a quiet week out there in publishing land as people get back into the swing of January and omicron life, but I have a few links.
After a school board in Pennsylvania grabbed a list of books, documentaries, and articles created by a diversity committee and instead banned everything on the list (including, among others, I Am Rosa Parks, please click this link to see how ridiculous this is), two students led a sustained protest that gained national attention that resulted in the ban getting lifted.
Someone is going to have to help me make sense of how these next posts go together. First, Michael Cader at Publishers Marketplace takes a look at Bookscan data that points to the very big sales gains at publishers in 2021 ($ link). Cader: “Measured print sales reached 826 million units in 2021, up 68 million units (or 9 percent) over 758 million units in 2020 — when sales had grown 57 million (or 8.2 percent) over 2019.” The sales growth was almost entirely in the backlist, which might still send debut authors’ teeth gnashing.
And yet despite all those eye-popping sales Gallup released a poll that suggests Americans are reading fewer books than at any point since 1990.
Shoulder shrug emoji. Are people just buying a bunch of books and not reading them? Is the polling just off?
Many writers get memoir and autobiography confused, and think they’ve written one when they’ve really written the other. Liz Alterman has a good post distinguishing the two.
Many authors know they need to build their author platform, and one of the best resources out there is Dan Blank, who really hones in on how important it is for platforms to be built on being genuine. He has a great newsletter this week about how to approach platform, including starting early and being patient, focusing on a few key activities and the importance of being systematic.
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:
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- Verity by Colleen Hoover
- Invisible by Danielle Steel
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Unthinkable by Jamie Raskin
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- The 1619 Project edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein
- Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
- Will by Will Smith
Young adult hardcover:
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
- You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus
Middle grade hardcover:
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Out of My Heart by Sharon M. Draper
- Pony by R.J. Palacio
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- How to avoid overcorrecting after receiving feedback
- Weave personality and a sense of atmosphere into your plot description (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, Neal Stephenson, the author of Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon gave a really great interview to David Marchese about humanity staring down the apocalypse and the different archetypes people use to determine what’s true. Fascinating stuff.
Have a great weekend!
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