This Week in Books 6/10/11

by | Jun 10, 2011 | Uncategorized | 23 comments

This week! Books! On time!

First up, I hope you are coming to ComicCon in San Diego next month, because I am going to be participating in an EPIC panel. I can’t even believe they’re letting me in the same room as these incredible authors, but somehow I’m moderating a panel with Andrea Cremer! Amanda Hocking! Tahereh Mafi! Stephanie Perkins! Laini Taylor! Kiersten White! I KNOW!!! Told you it’s epic.

Be there or be sad you’re not there.

And here is Part II of my interview with Writer Unboxed, where I talk about my writing process, writerly doubt, Jacob Wonderbar, and, of course, space monkeys.

There are quite a few new book-related sites launching these days. Among them, Red Lemonade, which allows you to share your work with a community of writers, Booklr, a site that helps authors manage social media and promotions, and Inkubate, which wants to connect authors with publishers and agents. Check them out!

The big news in the book social media this week was prompted by a Wall Street Journal article that wondered whether contemporary young adult fiction is too dark. The community of YA writers and readers responded with great umbrage, and author Maureen Johnson created a #YASaves hashtag that quickly went viral. Johnson also responded with an article in the Guardian, agent Sarah LaPolla had a great response, Barry Lyga had a defiant response, and one of the authors called out in the original author, Sherman Alexie, wrote a thoughtful response for the WSJ.

The tech blog GigaOm points out that the Kindle business will make 10% of Amazon’s money by the end of the year, which is pretty astounding. And Wired posted five reasons why e-books aren’t there yet, though I’m especially confused by Point #2: You Can’t Keep All Your Books in One Place. Um. It’s called an iPad?

Meanwhile, speaking of Amazon, they recently started a Sunshine Deals program that favors low priced e-books, which Mike Shatzkin called a wakeup call for the Big 6 publishers, who aren’t doing enough to experiment with e-book pricing. As Shatzkin writes: “It can’t be a good thing for agency publishers if the only price promoting taking place is with their competitors’ books.”

Lastly in e-book news, it looks as if a major standoff in the e-book world has been averted as as Apple changed its in-app purchase policy.  My colleague David Carnoy explains what happened.

Eric from Pimp My Novel surveyed the business and lists some of the genres that are hot, and editor Alan Rinzler talks about why this is such a good time for authors.

In writing advice news, Jennifer Crusie talks linear vs. patterned story structure (via John Ochwat), and in the agenting world Stacey Glick responds to an Atlantic article about editors, and Courtney Miller-Callihan has an extensive post on author/agent protocol.

This week in the Forums, geeking out over the E3 gaming expo, the best e-mail service to use while querying, discussing #YASaves, how price-conscious are you when buying books, does analyzing books ruin them for you, teasing the reader, and where do you get your story ideas?

Comment! of! the! Week! There were a lot of great responses to the post on rejection, but I wanted to single out Terry Tiffany, who one of the best, short-and-sweet strategies for how to deal with rejection:

 By writing something new:)

And finally, CNET had quite an exclusive this week as we had Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss do a dramatic reading from the iTunes end user license agreement. The result was completely hilarious and went viral fast.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Mr. D

    The Comic Con is fun. I used to exhibit my art there every year.

  2. Matt

    So many links and stuff to read from this. You rock.

  3. Cathy Yardley

    I miss the Con! Wish I could see the panel, but not this year. Loved your interview over at WU. And thanks for the links. I'm still wrapping my head around Booklr… so, they're like Hootsuite and Rank Forest, with, what, a fan database attached? Gonna have to get an account to test drive.

  4. JP Kurzitza

    Thanks for the book-related links.

    As far as the whole Ya-books-being-to-dark thing, has anyone seen some (most) of these covers? I mean, c'mon people, we ain't talking picnic blankets and daffodils. The outside of a novel is usually a pretty good indication of the inside, no?

  5. D.G. Hudson

    Enjoy the ComicCon, Nathan! We used to search in San Diego and San Francisco for BIG LITTLE books (pubbed in the 30s, 40s & 50s), the small hardcover forerunners of the comic book you see today.

    Loved the response by Sherman Alexie to the 'out of touch' Wall Street Journal' writer. It's easy to be arrogant if you haven't experienced what some of those kids have suffered (native & others). It's difficult to reinstate a individual's sense of worth, when it's been battered. Perhaps the writer of that article should have done more research.

    As for the Twitter response, isn't it easy to make things go viral to support your POV? There is a lesson in that, but most will miss it.

    Will check out your interview on Writer Unboxed later today, Nathan.

    Happy Weekend to all.

  6. Sommer Leigh

    (The Very Awesome) Sherman Alexie's response to the WSJ article has been my absolute favorite so far. I think I held my breath the entire time I was reading it.

    NPR has another excellent response up as well.

  7. Elisabeth

    I know I'm taking an unpopular position here. But I thought the responses to the YA article were way off base in accusing the author of advocating censorship. Expressing a negative opinion about the language or content of a book doesn't automatically mean you want to ban it. The article laments a prevailing trend becoming so all-encompassing that it's hard to find alternatives if you don't like that type of fiction. I think it should be taken not as an attack, but a challenge, to anyone in the writing and publishing field who wants to accept it, to provide that alternative.

  8. The English Teacher

    That dramatic reading made my morning. Thanks for the link. 🙂

  9. Cynthia

    I love the education I get when ever I read your blog. Thanks for doing so much research and sharing!

  10. Sheila Cull

    You can't even believe it? Nathan, I bet that they're more honored than you are, in your company!

    Get used to it Nathan Bransford. You're outstanding in a great way.

  11. Kristin Laughtin

    Let us know what day your panel will be! I mean, I'm sure we'll see it when the schedule is posted, but let us know anyway just for double confirmation points.

  12. Jenise Frohlinger

    Hi Nathan,
    Any chance there'll be a recording of the Comic Con panel? I would love to hear it.

  13. Bryce Daniels

    That IS a distinguished list. Congrats, Nathan, and have a blast!

    (Any chance all of you can swing over Kansas way when you are done? We have wheatfields that will send that beach, sun, and surf to shame.)

  14. Kathryn Magendie

    I am one of the authors in the Sunshine Deals, so I'm curious how it all will work out. I had no idea it was even in the works until the day it went live.

    Terri T! (comment of the week) – Go Terri! She's smart and savvy and a gifted writer.

    I enjoyed your interview, Pts 1 & 2 – Miz Tart is amazing, isn't she? 😀

  15. Marilyn Peake

    Have fun at ComicCon!! I've been invited to present at conventions, but am always too busy to do it … but, one of these years … that is my dream! Have fun!!

  16. Sheila Cull

    Message for Nathan Bransford:

    Jay Gale of Inkubate said to tell you thanks for spreading the word.

    Sheila Cull

  17. Colleen Fong

    Good luck, Nathan. Thanks for all the great info you enlighten us with.

  18. Addison Moore

    I just checked and it looks sold out. I would do anything to go. I'm SO bummed! I was really looking forward to meeting you and the rest of the panel.

  19. The Pen and Ink Blog

    I'd read about the Comic Con panel on Taherah's blog. I know you are all going to have a wonderful time. As usual your column was firm, round and fully packed. I loved the Richard Dreyfus reading.

  20. Mira

    Wow Nathan. Awesome links this week. Very interesting stuff, thank you!

    So, how absolutely fun for you to be at ComicCon. They picked a GREAT moderator, too, you'll be terrific. I hope you come back and tell us all about it!! Too bad, though, it's in San Diego. Nothing to do in San Diego during the summertime. Still, an occasional break to go lie on the beach and nap in the sun is probably part of your moderator duties, so I know you'll step up and do the right thing.

    I also loved your the second part of your interview – cool!

    I LOVE the idea of Inkubate. Such good idea as a way to connect authors and publishers. Much easier on everyone. I hope publoishers and agents participate.

    I am SOOOO relieved that Apple won't be taking my Kindle app away from my I-phone. I was going to hate them forever. But now, I will love them forever. I <3 you, Apple.

    I also heart you, Amazon, for your price promotions and brilliant business practices.

    Wired's article makes no sense whatsoever. I'm sorry, but I read that as self-delusion. On the other hand, Alan Rinzler's article was terrific!

    Great pick for comment of the week! Pithy.

    Dreyfuss is absolutely hilarious. So funny!

    So, I'm going to post separately about the YA stuff, because I actually agree with alot of what the WSJ said, and it's so controversial, I want to take some time to think about it before posting.

    Thanks so much, Nathan!

  21. Mira

    So, I had a huge amount to say about the YA controversy. Too much for a blog post. I started a forum thread there, where I shared my thoughts. If people are interested, here's the link:

    Concerns about the darkness in YA

    I will say here that I agree with Elisabeth. Although I don't think the WSJ article was balanced, I wonder if the YA writer's community's response was balanced as well.

    Although I know it can be difficult to do this, I think it's wise for writers to listen to readers non-defensively. Even if writers don't agree and don't end up changing anything, how readers feel is important information.

    I also think parents have the right to screen books for their children, and without any type of a rating system, their concern is understandable. There are two sides to this, and I hope the YA community is acknowledging that.

    So, those are my thoughts. Thanks for giving me a space to speak them, Nathan, both here and in the forums.

  22. Dawn Maria

    Damn- the year I skip Comicon so I can go to Dragon*Con! Are you goig to Dragon*Con too? Fingers crossed!

  23. marion

    Put the dark YA thing on my blog–the links at least.
    Thanks, Nathan.


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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!

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