This week! Books!
Literary agent DongWon Song has restarted their newsletter, the aptly named Publishing Is Hard, and they recently posted a really fantastic talk they gave at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference, which ranges from the effects the pandemic had on publishing to advice for authors and the importance of perseverance. An absolute must read.
Hard to believe, but the first Goosebumps book by R.L. Stine was published thirty years ago, and the series has gone on to sell more than 400 million copies.
If a literary agent offers you representation, you will likely need to sign an author/agency agreement. What’s in it and what do you need to know? Agents Jessica Faust and James McGowan discuss.
In the run-up to publishing her book The Inheritors, Eve Fairbanks (a white writer portraying some Black characters) was warned about what awaited her from interviewers, reviewers, and, of course, Twitter. The actual response was quite a lot more muted, and Fairbanks wonders why people (particularly, in her words, “elders in the world of letters”) think cancel culture is some sort of pervasive reality.
And Carl Phillips meditated on the importance of silence to writers.
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 Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
- The Boys From Biloxi by John Grisham
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- Verity by Colleen Hoover
- Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton
- And Then There Was Light by Jon Meacham
- I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
- The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man by Paul Newman
- Madly, Deeply by Alan Rickman
Young adult hardcover:
- Long Live the Pumpkin King by Shea Ernshaw
- The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera
- I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman
- Hocus Pocus: The Illustrated Novelization by A.W. Jantha
- The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber
Middle grade hardcover:
- The Hocus Pocus Spell Book by Eric Geron
- Odder by Katherine Patterson
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Two Degrees by Alan Gratz
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- Don’t force your characters to ask leading questions just so you can deliver exposition
- Don’t bury the plot in a query letter (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 past is not that far in the past. Daniel Smith, one of the last known children of an American slave, passed away this month. He really lived a remarkable and generous life.
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: Descanso Gardens, La Cañada Flintridge, CA
Neil Larkins says
Yep. Publishing is hard. Writing is hard. Every damned aspect of this damned business is hard. And I’ll be whipped if I know why we do it when the specter of failure looms before us every hour of every day. We just do.
And try get anyone who is not a writer to believe that. No matter how often and how many ways you tell them, they say, “Oh, it’s so easy for you. You’ve got a natural talent and don’t even know it. Look at [someone we both know who is a writer]. She says she loves to write!”
Okay. Fine. Even though I have stopped writing for over four months now and have no desire to start again, I still know it’s hard and still can’t put it out of my mind. I might get back to it before I’m completely disabled and totally out of my mind. I might not.
But I’ll still be what I never thought I could be: A writer.