These Past Few Weeks in Books 2/1/13

by | Feb 1, 2013 | Uncategorized | 21 comments

Madison Square Park – Photo by me

First of all, before I get to the bazillion links I have saved up… I smell something. Is that a… I think… why, yes, I think I know what that is. A CONTEST IS COMING.

And not just any contest. One of the big huge ones. It’s been too long. This one is going to be good. I’m very excited. Stick. Around.

Or maybe just come back on Monday. You don’t need to literally stick around.

Now then, these links aren’t going to link to themselves.

A new Jacob Wonderbar is also coming next week! Yes indeedy, the third and final installment of the Jacob Wonderbar series, Jacob Wonderbar and the Interstellar Time Warp, is coming out on Thursday! Make sure to pre-order so you and the kids in your life can be hipster middle grade readers and say you read it before it was all popular and stuff. I’m very excited to have this series all wrapped up and ready to be read in full:

Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow
Jacob Wonderbar for President of the Universe
Jacob Wonderbar and the Interstellar Time Warp

Whew! Excitement! I swear adults will enjoy them too. They’re not just for kids.

Okay now for the real links.

Author Stephen Elliott had a great post called The Problem With the Problem With Memoir, in which he has this priceless quote:

…celebrity memoirs are rarely interesting, despite how interesting their lives appear from the outside. The problem is not that they don’t live interesting lives, it’s that they’re not writers.

In book promotion news, a pertinent question for our age: Why do literary readings always make me want to kill myself? (via The Millions). And Adam Mansbach has a hilarious and very timely post on the state of book promotion: Hell is my own book tour.

Gosh. If I didn’t know any better I’d think authors hate self-promotion.

In new book ventures, esteemed blog The Millions is launching an e-book venture, and Random House is launching a Facebook app to help people share and discover books.

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go downtown. When you’ve got no worries all the noise and the hurry seems to help I know, downtown. At least, that’s where HarperCollins is going.

In io9 writing advice news, these are the character names that should be banned forever, and here is a writing tip that really does work, in fact I have employed this one myself from time to time.

Agent Mary Kole has advice for getting the most out of a writer’s conference, and agent Rachelle Gardner has a new e-book out on deciding between traditional and self-publication!

Publishing industry expert Mike Shatzkin had too good posts lately on the importance of bookstore buying and inventory management decisions and also about what Barnes & Noble’s recent contraction announcement means for publishers.

In social media news, Scientific American has a terrific posts on the pros and cons of comment threads and moderation.

GalleyCat has a list of free places to back up your work online.

And award news! You get a Newbery! You get a Caldecott! You get a Printz!

These past few weeks in the forums: mourning the end of Game of Thrones Season 2, making meaning out of the adolescent years, giving yourself permission to fail, your 2013 writing goals, and do you have to listen to everything a beta reader says?

And finally, a seriously awesome article about love.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Ava Jae

    Great roundup, Nathan! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Maya Prasad

    Congrats on the release of your third book, Nathan!

  3. Fred

    Love the picture. Nice shot.

  4. tonyl

    "Gosh. If I didn't know any better I'd think authors hate self-promotion."

    Yes. So yes.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. D.G. Hudson

    Congrats on the release! I like your photo, it has atmosphere.

    Will check back on Monday!

  6. Anna Roberts Moore

    Firstly – I just found out about Adam Mansbach two days ago (I read his wish-it-was-real college syllabus), so it's hilarious how you start to notice things once you notice them in the first place.

    Secondly, will the competition be open to those who do not live in the U.S. (I'm currently residing & writing in Ireland)?

  7. Nathan Bransford


    Yeah, open to everyone, I just can't send a book overseas. Learned that lesson the hard way!

  8. Denise Stanley

    Congratulations! Thanks for sharing such great stuff. Going back to the manuscript to change my main character's name now.

  9. Anonymous

    Beautiful photo, Nathan! And yea on the contest (I was the anon who missed it!!)!

    BTW, also for your list: remember how much we love and appreciate your Friday wrap-ups -they are fun and food.

    And, don't forget guest blogs. Those too have been golden.

  10. Lesley

    Liked the love article Nathan. As a psychologist myself brain chemical talk does bring warm fuzzy feelings. Just wanted to say, there was not enough talk about human attachment and bonding in the article.
    The chemicals are the tin tacks but behaviours, experiences and shared oxytocin moments really do forge more than the initial heart flutters of early romantic love.
    Ah, love. Its never bad. It all comes down to how your defining your terms.

    Congratulations on the third book.

    I'm now going to follow up the terrific links you have posted and get back to my weekend writing goals!

  11. Helena

    First, congratulations on your new Jacob book.

    Second, I seriously love your photograph.

  12. Cyndy Aleo

    Wait! The LAST Jacob Wonderbar? OHNO! I have a reluctant reader here who is going to be INCONSOLABLE. There are only three series he will read: Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, and Jacob Wonderbar.

  13. Bryan Russell

    Great collection of articles, but that's an even better collection of photos. Love 'em.

  14. Maya Prasad

    Thanks for the link about blog commenting! Very useful. I think you've done an excellent job of keeping the discussion here serious and not trollish, and you even allow anonymous commenting!

  15. wendy


    Thank you for the huge line up of links. Will devour those in a moment. Already checked out the love one and while I agree that one can – and should – connect with anyone and everyone in a loving way even for a nanosecond, when the article becomes technical and starts dissecting the emotion, my interest wavered as I think the answer is much more simple: the mind directs the emotions and that's all one needs to focus upon. Based on my experiences, I'd also speculate that another person's beliefs and thoughts strongly influence our own, and visa versa; and if one truly believes that he or she is loveable and that another will find them so, too, then this subliminally affects the beliefs and experiences of those who meet them. I also speculate that it doesn't matter as much what we say, do or wear as much as what we think/believe if we want to attract someone into our life.

  16. wendy

    A P.S. Your photos are amazing, btw. Especially like the Maddison Square Gardens shot featured on your blog. Art!

  17. DearHelenHartman

    Congrats on the new release and thanks for the linkage.

  18. Brendan O'Meara

    This is one of the high lights of my week: you corralling all these wild links into one convenient bowl of M&Ms.

  19. Mira

    Congratulations on the release of your third book! I can't wait to read it! 😀

    Terrific photo!

    The memoir piece is really good. I like what Elliot's saying. And Mangash's piece really is too funny! 🙂

    I haven't read it myself, but I've heard Rachelle's book on which way to publish has some good things in it, but is biased – indie authors are 'control freaks' for example, which is pejorative. But, on the other hand, she self-published this book! So, I ultimately think an agent self-publishing a book is pretty awesome, I just wish she'd picked a on which she was more likely to be neutral.

    The article on love is interesting. I think the researcher is on to something, but it's incomplete. In other words, I think the value of pleasant connections is important, and I like that the research is bringing that out. Friendship tends to be under-valued in our culture, even though studies show it is as important, if not more important, than romantic love in terms of an individuals' happiness.

    But I think there is more than one type of love. I agree with Lesley that the article leaves out attachment and bonding. People can love others intensely, and even fiercely, over distance and time, even without pleasant exchanges. There are deeper types of love than the one she is measuring, imho. People are not as interchangeable to other people as the article may imply.

    Interesting and fun links, Nathan. Thanks! And congratulations again on your release! 🙂

  20. Anonymous

    All the best with the new release!


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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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