This Week in Books 5/13/11

by | May 14, 2011 | Uncategorized | 11 comments

What a week! Thanks so much to everyone for all of your support during JACOB WONDERBAR launch week, I appreciate it so much. Next week we’ll be getting back to regular programming to give everyone a breather from WONDERBAR WONDERBAR WONDERBAR, but there may be a few contests and surprises in store once everyone has recovered.

First off, holy cow, the amazing people in the discussion forums got together and sent me the nicest surprise at my launch party last night: Rocket cupcakes!! Thanks so much guys! I was so touched.

And! We have a winner in the Wonderbar Twitter Sweepstakes Extravaganza!! There were a total of 999 people who used the hashtag (which I thought was rather auspicious). In order to pick a winner, I went over to, which gave me…

And I went over to my handy-dandy spreadsheet of entries…. which gave a familiar face around these parts…

Congrats to Josin McQuein!! Her Kindle is on the way.

Meanwhile, I collected links this week and here we go.

There was some interesting e-book news reported by my colleague David Carnoy at CNET. First off, Amazon is rumored to have an Android tablet e-reader in the works, something CEO Jeff Bezos didn’t exactly deny. The tablet likely wouldn’t replace the e-ink Kindle but would be sold alongside it. Bezos also talked about color e-ink, which is in prototype stages but isn’t yet ready for prime time.

And in other e-book news, there’s still a looming potential crisis for e-readers on the iPad, something discussed at length in a fascinating and no-holds-barred Q&A with a maker of an e-book app called iFlow Reader, which the manufacturer pulled from the app store (and with some harsh words for Apple). Apple is supposedly cracking down on companies with a provision that requires them to make in-app purchases available to consumers. This essentially means that if someone buys an e-book within an app, because of the agency model Apple gets the entire profit from that sale, which was unsustainable for iFlow Reader. No word on how Amazon, B&N and Kobo are going to deal with this requirement.

Meanwhile, e-book distributor Smashwords has been in the news as they announced that they had published their two billionth word, and founder Mark Coker was the subject of a feature in the San Francsico Chronicle.

Some of the major publishers are teaming up with AOL/HuffPo for a new venture that will potentially include GoodReads-esque social features and sell e-books direct to consumers, called Bookish. Mike Shatzkin has some interesting analysis of what this means. And the line between agents and publishers continues to blur as Ed Victor and Curtis Brown UK (note: separate company from Curtis Brown US) are launching separate publishing ventures.

There was some really great writing advice out there this week. My former colleague, agent Sarah LaPolla, has a great post on some writerly band-aids to apply before querying to make sure your writing is as strong as possible, The Intern counts down the 14 stages of critique letter acceptance, my former client Jim Duncan talks about how it’s not your agent’s job to sell every piece of writing you write, and Tahereh Mafi talks about how there’s no secret to squeezing in time to write: it’s just hard.

Via @Bloomsbury a blog that delves into the secret history of punctuation marks. Word geeks, you now know how you’re spending your weekend.

Flavorwire had too pretty cool bookish posts this week, first a peek inside famous writers’ homes, as well as kid books re-imagined as Hollywood films (via Jennifer Hubbard).

Hilarious author Adam Rex wrote a great open letter to people who think it’s easy to write a children’s book.

And Tahereh Mafi interviewed me on her blog and is giving away copies of WONDERBAR! Though Blogger ate many of the comments. Darn it, blogger. (Also: This is how I feel too!)

This week in the Forums, discussing Ed Victor’s move to start a publishing venture, how to maximize a pitch session, the golden rule of social media, do first books always suck?, and a very nice launch party for Jacob Wonderbar!

And finally, via Lisa Brackmann, if you speak French you’ll have to pretend you don’t, but this is extremely hilarious. Extistential ‘Star Wars’:

Have a great weekend!


  1. Ted Fox

    First off, a busy week prevented me from saying congratulations to you, Nathan. And the preceding sentence is kind of a spoiler. Sorry about that. But: Congratulations.

    Also, Adam Rex's post reminds me of the frustrations I've often heard graphic designers express. I think their clients tend to assume because it's relatively easy to CONSUME something visually, it must also be a no-brainer to create. A woman I used to work with was actually asked at one point: "You mean you went to school for this?"

    Her response: "Yes, that's where they teach you not to use the five different fonts you've suggested for this one poster."

    Well, I like to imagine that's what she said, anyway.

  2. Josin L. McQuein

    Thanks, Nathan. I've been scouring Amazon for Kindle covers 😀

    I thought of something today that I'd never actually considered with e-readers before. I live on the backside of beyond with no bookstore and no public library beyond the high school one. Kindle will let me actually BUY NEW BOOKS when they come out. Realizing this makes me smile.

    I loved Adam Rex's post. People don't stop to consider how few things from their childhood they actually remember. The fact that favorite books are on that short list means those books stand out in a way that's not at all common.

  3. Doug

    The iPad/iPhone eReader apps thing is scheduled to come to a head on June 30 (or July 1, however you want to reckon it). That's how long Apple has given the app developers to come up with replacement apps.

    The problem is not just that Apple wants all of the money that the booksellers make off of e-books sold in-app. The total deal-killer is that the in-app sales system is only capable of listing a few thousand items, which means that only a limited number of e-book titles would be available. In addition, the booksellers would be forbidden from selling e-books outside the app that can't be bought in-app.

    Obviously, reducing their offerings to a few thousand titles is completely untenable for the booksellers. No wonder Amazon is rumored to be bringing out their own tablet.

  4. abc

    O-M-G! Josin wins everything! seriously, she does. Josin, I imagine you must have been a pretty amazingly kind and generous person in a past life. 😉

    Jacob Wonderbar has arrived at my house and we are set to be reading it!

    (love the cupcakes)

  5. Scarlett

    Some great links as alway's nathan-and the competitions you mentioned will they have jacob wonderbar books as prizes? possibly signed*looks hopeful*
    oh and congratulations Josin on the kindle

  6. Christina Katz

    Congrats again on your book launch, Nathan. Samantha is done with the Wimpy Kid series and stalling on starting the Little House Series, so I have a feeling Jacob Wonderbar is going to be very popular around here. And thanks for the Star Wars link. I'm sure my husband will enjoy it. 🙂

  7. Claudie A.

    Oh my god, the Star Wars thing is so weird. I DO speak French, and have watched SW more often in it than in English (read, I watched Star Wars before I could speak english). It's almost impossible to read what's down there and ignore what they're saying. XD

  8. Mira

    Those are gorgeous cupcakes! They make me hungry just looking at them. That was so sweet and heartwarming of the folks in the forums to send those to your launch party.

    So, judging by the number of wonderful links here, you clearly had lots of free time this week where you launched your book! You really are amazing, Nathan.

    Congratulations to Josin! And that Star Wars video was the funniest thing. I loved how they combined the lines with the expressions to make it even funnier.

    Well, sadly, I'm not so amazing as you, Nathan. My free time went to reading Wonderbar (terrific book!), so I don't have time to read your links, but I'm bookmarking them for later.

    Thank you! I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

  9. Anonymous

    Congratulations on your book! May it sell millions.

  10. Suze

    A 'looming potential crisis for e-readers on the iPad?'

    Watch them semantics, Bransford.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Hi, I’m Nathan. I’m the author of How to Write a Novel and the Jacob Wonderbar series, which was published by Penguin. I used to be a literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. and I’m dedicated to helping authors chase their dreams. Let me help you with your book!

My blog has everything you need to know to write, edit, and publish a book. Can’t find what you need or want personalized help? Reach out.


I’m available for consultations, edits, query critiques, brainstorming, and more.



Need help with your query? Want to talk books? Check out the Nathan Bransford Forums!