This week! Books!
So… I found out last week that I tested positive for COVID antibodies. I didn’t really talk much about how sick I was back in March, but I decided to tell my COVID story in the hopes that it might inspire some people to continue to stay vigilant.
Really upsetting news this week as Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy passed away suddenly from a heart attack at age 71. She had led S&S since the aftermath of the Great Recession in 2008.
There were some encouraging glimmers this week for the publishing industry as print sales rose 5% at the end of April, led by a notable uptick in children’s nonfiction. Literary agent Kristin Nelson also has a really helpful birds-eye view of what she’s seeing in the industry, from publishers cutting costs, to a rise in e-book sales, to delays in foreign rights payments.
Over in the UK, the Guardian surveys the scene and the impact of shuttered bookstores and Amazon de-prioritizing book sales. Literary agent Jonny Geller wonders if the time has finally come for publishers to sell directly to consumers.
And Vogue has its own survey of how the book industry is adapting to the pandemic, with a particular eye on virtual launches.
Many writers are struggling to write these days, so you might find this survey of tips for beating writers block helpful (I have one in there too).
And in agent advice news, Quressa Robinson at the Nelson Literary Agency has some reminders about things people forget about literary agents, and even with the rise of pitch hashtags and other ways of approaching agents, Jessica Faust reiterates that there are no shortcuts to querying.
This week in bestsellers
Here are the top five NY Times bestsellers in a few key categories. (All links are affiliate links):
Adult print and e-book fiction:
- The 20th Victim by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
- Camino Winds by John Grisham
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- If It Bleeds by Stephen King
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- Untamed by Glennon Doyle
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Plague of Corruption by Judy Mikovits and Kent Heckenlively
- The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
- Educated by Tara Westover
Young adult hardcover:
- The Betrothed by Kiera Cass
- Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
- Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
- One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
- Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
Middle grade hardcover:
- The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
- Wonder by R.J Palacio
- The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
- Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
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:
- Harness your fears
- Everything authors need to know about dialogue tags
- Lead with a character’s symptoms, not a diagnosis (query critique)
And keep up with the discussion in all the places!
Comment! of! the! week! goes to Wendy, with some wise words on harnessing fears:
I believe the spirit of fear is not our friend. I know ‘he’ is not. When we’re fearful, we’re not rational and not in complete control of our emotions, attitudes, actions or lives. It permeates our thoughts and dictates our emotional reactions and decisions. Deciding to ignore the thoughts of fear and do the opposite is the way to go–as you described, Nathan. When younger, I discovered that anger stopped the stagnation of fear. However, it was just swapping one demon for another. Both leave us without control, rationality or empathy for others. Or energy. These prolonged negative states usually result in depression where even more energy goes out.
Our most powerful tool is our minds. But it needs to be aware of what to avoid and what to embrace. The best attitude to take is believing in the positive: in our potential, in the goodness of others despite the constant struggle against the voice of negativity, and a future where we can achieve anything.. This eliminates stress and paranoia and gives us energy and hope–and enables us to have a more rational approach to life and to retain understanding and compassion.
In fact, I belief that faith in the positive, plus understanding and kindness, give us energy and confidence, and they are the building blocks of life. And endless creativity. They set our spirits free to soar to unimaginable heights while the negative states keep us in bondage to misery and limitation.
And finally, with everything shut down by the pandemic many of us are missing traveling, but you really can’t do much better as a substitute than this long, glorious ode to sleeper trains by Anthony Lane.
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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Art: Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Photo by me. Follow me on Instagram!