This is one of those weeks when the news is distressing and other topics can seem a bit trivial in comparison. But books are still crucial, writing will keep playing an important role in whatever’s next, and your writing matters.
So on to the links.
The NY Times has a pretty fascinating look at how a book is made, with some great video. It also only represents the tip of the iceberg when you consider what goes into producing the ink, paper, and other components.
Fake reviews have been a problem on Amazon for… well, pretty much as long as Amazon has existed, and they may just be getting a bit more serious about dealing with it. This week Amazon sued two companies allegedly engaging in fake review brokerage.
Speaking of which, we live in a golden age of scammers big and small, and the publishing industry is not immune. Anne R. Allen has some really important tips on scams to watch out for, including cold calls and unsolicited emails and DMs. The best strategy of all: understanding your rights as an author and learning more about the business.
Is it too soon for pandemic fiction? Alexandra Alter surveys some literary writers who are grappling with whether, and how, to incorporate the pandemic into their fiction.
There was a Twitter debate last week about whether there’s enough science fiction and fantasy that imagines alternate ways of living and a world without capitalism. Lincoln Michel took on the challenge and surveyed some of his favorites that do just that.
Book Riot had a pretty fascinating look at some of the oldest children’s books in print, which is a pretty eclectic collection.
In writing advice news, Angela Ackerman provides some scenarios for when to kill a character, George Saunders talks about how a good story evolves in waves and the importance of sitting with imperfection as that’s happening, and David Moldawer talks about how the greats never phone it in, no matter the task.
And agent Jessica Faust dislikes the term “slush pile,” and sees her submissions as “a place of joy and opportunity.”
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:
- House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- Diablo Mesa by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
- Sierra Six by Mark Greaney
- Verity by Colleen Hoover
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- From Strength to Strength by Arthur C. Brooks
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- Red-Handed by Peter Schweizer
- The 1619 Project edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein
- The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman
Young adult hardcover:
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- Anatomy by Dana Schwartz
- Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds
- You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Middle grade hardcover:
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- The Last Cuentistia by Donna Barba Higuera
- Little Legends by Vashti Harrison
- Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
- Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- How to craft a great mystery in a novel
- The two key fundamentals of plot descriptions (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, love and solidarity this week for Ukranians defending their democracy and sovereignty and for their loved ones abroad, and for LBGTQ youth in Florida and Texas. The pendulum between darkness and light always swings, and we all need to do our part to summon our strength and push it back in the right direction.
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
For my best advice, check out my online classes, my guide to writing a novel and my guide to publishing a book.
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