This week in books 6/2/17

by | Jun 2, 2017 | This Week in Books | 7 comments

This week! Books!

Longtime readers will likely remember Bryn Greenwood from the comments section, and her novel All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is a NY Times bestseller and all the rage. Goodreads published a post today about the book as a case study on the impact of giveaway copies on its initial momentum and eventual huge success. Definitely worth a read.

A carbon paper recently discovered in an old notebook revealed two previously unknown Sylvia Plath poems. Score once for science!

And speaking of science and carbon… NO… NATHAN DON’T DO POLITICAL YOU SAID YOU’D…

It’s done.

The US is also not the country in the world that reads the most.

The folks over at Reedsy put together a pretty comprehensive post on everything you need to know about books and copyrights.

Amazon opened a bookstore in NYC, which… yeah that’s happening! Two takes on it: M.G. Siegler compares it to the now-defunct Borders, and publishing sage Mike Shatzkin marvels at the use of online data to drive the experience and the possibilities for experimentation.

Beloved author Denis Johnson died. Tobias Wolff wrote a remembrance.

Agent Wendy Lawton wrote about one bad type of author: the entitled author.

And Tracy Hahn-Burkett wrote about the difficulty of writing when it’s hard to maintain focus.

This week in the Forums…

Ask me anything!
How have politics affected your writing?
Nominate Your Query for a Critique on the Blog
Nominate Your First Page for a Critique on the Blog

Comment! of! the! Week! goes to Susan Gourley/Kelley, who reported back from a writers conference with some interesting news:

For the first time ever, I attended the annual Pennwriters Conference in Pittsburgh and met many writers who had not desire to pitch to an agent. There may even have been pitch spots open. So many writers are interested only in self-publishing. I don’t know where it all is going.

The times they are definitely changing!

And finally, my good friend Sarah McCarry wrote the best article about Chris Cornell and Seattle because of course she did.

Have a great weekend!

I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and consultations! And if you like this post, check out my guide to writing a novel.

Photo by me. Follow me on Instagram! @nathanbransford



    Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the…Oh wait! I see the snow, but not Snow White. And what are those strange horseless carriages?
    But, seriously, thanks for the links, Nathan, and congratulations to Susan Gourley/Kelley for her Comment of the Week!


    Oddly, it never occurred to me that Americans read the most. I do note though that the survey measures time reading, not the number of books or pages. Americans could be faster readers!

    India's heading the list should interest us English language writers, since India has the world's second largest number of English speakers at 125,000,000.

  3. G.B. Miller

    In regards to Agent Wendy Lawton, she is being seriously skewered and taken out to the woodshed on The Passive Voice Guy's blog for the fact that she is of the belief that the author works for her and not the other way around. Seems like she would prefer that the author should have a servile attitude when it comes to her, her agency and the publisher.


    Thanks, G. B. Miller. The TPV post and comments about Wendy Lawton are very interesting. I must admit I mostly missed the religious angle when I first read Lawton's post.

    Anyway, I'm glad I've never revealed that I'm actually the 62nd Grand High Nabob of Kalamazoo. Oh wait, I just did…

  5. Nathan Bransford

    G.B., I think PV Guy is missing the point of what Wendy was saying. It's not about an author *being* a servant to the agent, it's having a servant mindset (and yes, there are religious undertones to the phrase, as in thinking about what you can do for others.

    Wendy's right that there are some writers out there who think everything should be handed to them on a silver platter and they shouldn't have to lift a finger (apart from writing the book).

  6. atsiko

    Nathan, the commenters seem to have a pretty good understanding of the religious reference and many appear to know this person irl. I'd give some weight to their comments. Plus the servant mentality isn't probably intended to apply to your business associate. Also, she said she serves the publisher, too, so… odd for an agent.

    The entitlement issue also covers a lot of what I'd construe as ignorance as she admits in the comments. Don't be a jerk is always a good message, but I think there have been much better jobs of expressing it, though.

  7. Nathan Bransford

    Again, her point isn't about a power dynamic, or a servant/master relationship. It's about thinking about what you can do for others. It's a mentality, not a role.

    I don't doubt that this is tapping into a preexisting perception that agents are entitled, but it feels like this is getting run through that grist mill rather than being evaluated on its merits.


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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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