The past few weeks in books 8/25/17

by | Aug 25, 2017 | This Week in Books | 4 comments

The link roundup is back!

I’ve been spending a lot of blog time on behind-the-scenes fixes and improvements (click through if you haven’t seen the re-design!), but am now ready to begin posting with a bit more regularity.

And I’ve been saving a ton of links for you. Here we go!

This week, YA Twitter got its Sherlock Holmes on when it noticed that a mysterious book appeared at the top of the NY Times bestseller list without much fanfare and, well, no one appearing to really be buying it. Was there something amiss? Yes, as it turned out. There most definitely was.

Accurate summary of YA Twitter:

Speaking of YA Twitter drama, Vulture has a long read on drama in the YA Twitter world surrounding The Black Witch and how quickly sentiment can be turned against a particular book.

Agent Wendy Lawton had a hot take: the query system is broken. Do you agree?

Forbes released its list of the highest paid authors — the 11 authors earned a combined $312.5 million. Nice work if you can get it!

One of the most beloved children’s books of all time, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler turned 50 in July, and The New Yorker had a lovely retrospective.

Truly the end of an era as revered/reviled/loved/feared/say-what-you-will-you-probably-have-an-opinion-about-one-of-her-reviews book reviewer Michiko Kakutani is retiring.

Is Trump ruining book sales too?

Author Jennifer Hubbard asks: Is the tech in most science fiction a little too functional?

In writing advice news: bestselling mystery author Jeff Abbott published his top 10 writing tips, agent Marisa A. Corvisiero has 10 tips for writing nonfiction book proposals, how professional romance novelists write 3,000 words a day, and becoming a writer after 50.

A writer who was rejected from the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop sued the program for age discrimination.

In a time of a shrinking book business, Mike Shatzkin argues that strategies to cut overhead makes sense.

There’s a ton of pressure in the publishing world to strike while the iron is hot and write as many books as publishers will contract you for. Readers are more patient.

Jason Heller wrote about his experience writing his first novel, which, as it turned out, was a ghost-written Pirates of the Caribbean novel.

The Millions had an awesome take on Thoreau and how instrumental he and his contemporaries were at establishing a distinctly American voice in literature. (Also, if you’re in New York check out the excellent Thoreau exhibit at the Morgan Library, where the photo accompanying this post was taken).

Book Riot has a list of book tropes they’d like to see die.

And finally, I’m really digging Sanrio’s new simmering office drone by day/metal karaoke singer by night Aggretsuko. The Times had a fascinating look at how Aggretsuko’s creators made anti-capitalism, well, profitable.

Have a great weekend!

Photo by me. Follow me on Instagram


  1. Anne R. Allen

    Great links. I thought Wendy Lawton’s article was especially enlightening.

    BTW, your share buttons aren’t working. All they do is bring up another copy of this page. Share buttons seem to be a big problem. I’m on my third set and still a couple don’t work.

    • Nathan Bransford

      Yeah, thanks — trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on with the share buttons.


    “Queries are not necessarily representative. Some of the finest writers are some of the worst query writers and vice versa. We’re making seat-of-the-pants decisions on a bit of promotional-type writing.”
    Something I’ve long suspected! Wendy Lawton also says that she doesn’t get many clients through queries.

    Amen to Jennifer Hubbard re modern technology! But what fascinates me is how ANCIENT tech always works in stories and movies and TV. The Hero enters a ruined temple or treasure vault or whatever where everything is wrecked, EXCEPT the booby traps, which work perfectly! Is there a booby trap maintenance crew on the job?

    And the Morgan Library looks FANTASTIC!

  3. abc

    Hey–that’s my local paper featuring the Iowa Writer’s Workshop article! (I drive by that building most every day and in fact assume I just saw the new breed out having some refreshments on the lawn) Seems like a difficult thing to prove, I imagine. I also suspect they wouldn’t have an issue with age.


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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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