This week! Books!
As you can see from the photo above I spent some quality time traveling during the month of August, but I still kept an eye out for some good writing links. Here are some of the best ones from the past few weeks.
In the olden days of yore, preorders weren’t really a thing. Sure, some people might place an order with their local bookstore, but for the most part people just bought books when they actually arrived in the stores. Now? Preorders are a really big deal. Literary agent Jessica Faust explains why preorders matter.
Reading these two deep dives back to back makes for a very interesting contrast. First, The New York Times profiles Barnes & Noble’s new CEO James Daunt, who helped UK bookstore chain Waterstones succeed by trying to make each one unique and responsive to its neighborhood, almost like a collection of independent bookstores. Will that work with B&N?
Meanwhile, The Atlantic looks at Amazon’s ever-growing domination over the publishing world.
Speaking of Amazon, they have a serious problem with fake/counterfeit books on their hands. (Though as the Wall Street Journal documents extensively: it’s not just books). As David Gaughran writes, many of the bad actors in the publishing world have gotten increasingly litigious and aggressive, and Amazon doesn’t really seem interested in dealing with the problem in a satisfactory way.
The publishing has at long last (mostly) woken up to the need to publish more diverse books, and the “We Need Diverse Movement,” now five years old, was a big part of that. Bustle interviewed 15 publishing pros on the impact the movement has had on the publishing industry.
A while back I published a post on why agents are passing on your query letter, which boils down to two reasons: Either your query isn’t strong enough or your query is fine but your project isn’t resonating with agents. Agent Rachelle Gardner adds one more important reason to my list, and agent Jessica Faust has a list of her own.
As you may have noticed, agents’ opinions differ wildly on…. well, pretty much everything, but there are still some tried and true principles and points of agreement. Writers Digest had an interesting look at where agents agreed and where they differed at their annual writers conference.
Crowdsourced books are enjoying a moment in the spotlight. Berlin-based platform Inkitt recently raised $16 million to continue to build its immersive reading app Galatea. And The New Yorker profiled three different writing collectives.
And, of course, a helpful reminder: It’s okay and necessary to step away from writing sometimes.
This week in bestsellers
Here are the top five NY Times bestsellers in a few key categories:
Adult print and e-book fiction:
- A Better Man by Louise Penny
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz
- The Dark Side by Danielle Steel
- Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Educated by Tara Westover
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Radicals, Resistance and Revenge by Jeanine Pirro
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
- The Pioneers by David McCullough
Young adult hardcover:
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis
- The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
- One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Middle grade hardcover:
- Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
- The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
This week on the blog
Don’t forget that you can nominate your first page and query for a free critique on the blog:
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- How to get back in the saddle
- What is your favorite audiobook?
- What to do when your query lacks a certain zing (Query critique)
And finally, this is an incredible and bittersweet read. Dan Piepenbring recounts his time working with Prince on his memoir in the months prior to his death. The memoir will be released next month.
Have a great weekend!
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
For my best advice, check out my guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and my guide to publishing a book.
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