This week! Books!
The fantastic organization We Need Diverse Books has launched its 2023 mentorship program, which pairs aspiring children’s book authors/illustrators with experienced mentors. Applications are free and open to anyone working on a diverse project; you don’t necessarily need to be from a diverse background. The deadline to apply is September 30. Apply, apply!
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about prologues and I’ve been meaning to update my post about it, but Kristen Lamb beat me to it with a fantastic post on the seven deadly sins of prologues, which I pretty much completely agree with. I’m much more prologue agnostic than most in the writing world and believe they can work, but with a prologue you’re essentially asking the reader to start a novel twice, so it had better be worth it.
As Guy Gonzalez notes in Jane Friedman’s recent newsletter, traditional publishers mainly rely on tried and true marketing strategies like sending ARCs to influencers and using sales conferences to build buzz for books, and do little effective paid marketing. One group Qu attempting to change that is Open Road Media, which has built an automated e-book marketing service called Ignition, which monitors for signals that can give backlist titles a boost, then market to newsletters and ad platforms. Mike Shatzkin looks under the hood.
Query letters are no joking matter, as agent Kate McKean writes. Thinking of making a joke in a query? An agent has probably heard it. Stick to writing professional queries that reflect the tone and spirit of your book.
And if you have some lingering summer heartbreak, Chelsea Leu rounded up some books that are balms for a broken heart.
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:
- Fairy Tale by Stephen King
- Desperation in Death by J.D. Robb
- Verity by Colleen Hoover
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
- Breaking History by Jared Kushner
- The Daughter of Auschwitz by Tova Friedman and Malcolm Brabant
- Solito by Javier Zamora
Young adult hardcover:
- Long Live the Pumpkin King by Shea Ernshaw
- Hocus Pocus: The Illustrated Novelization by A.W. Jantha
- The Sunbearer Trails by Aiden Thomas
- Lightlark by Alex Aster
- Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus
Middle grade hardcover:
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston
- The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton
- Ground Zero by Alan Gratz
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, there’s a ton of bad career advice out there, particularly of the “grind” and “boss” variety. I really enjoyed Derek Thompson’s actually-good-career-advice.
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 online classes, my guide to writing a novel and my guide to publishing a book.
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Photo: The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA. Follow me on Instagram!