We’ve been taking about diversity in publishing quite a bit, both on the writing end and the reading end of things. This TED talk focuses on what it means to have a voice, and what it means to be heard, as well as the importance of being a good listener. While Andrew Losowsky is talking about the broad scope of publishing, his ideas carry out to all areas of life. His argument really illustrates the importance of developing a publishing industry that includes and respects all types of experiences and points of view. Definitely worth the time to watch. Not only is it an interesting talk, but it might help any of you currently asking yourself how you can include diverse characters in your work-in-progress without trampling on someone else’s culture or story. Enjoy!
Happy Friday! Who has plans to write this weekend? Or maybe hit the beach with a good book? Whatever you have on the agenda, I’m wishing you a wonderful time.
As for me, I’ve a huge stack of reading looking at me — client manuscripts, submissions, and some books with covers that are taunting me with their presence. No question as to what’s on my schedule for the next few days. But first, I bring you this week’s links. Some reading recs, some writing inspiration, and just some general bookish fun. Enjoy!
Dani Shapiro on Vulnerability, the Creative Impulse, the Writing Life, and How to Live with Presence – A mouthful of a title, but worth checking out.
Nailing Your Novel’s First Chapter – Some great advice, whether you’re just starting a new project or going back to revise.
Bookstores of New York – Charming sketches with fun anecdotes to accompany them.
14 Brilliant Pieces of Literature You Can Read in the Time it Takes to Eat Lunch – What it says on the wrapper. Great assortment.
The Muscle-Flexing, Mind-Blowing Book Girls Will Inherit the Earth – Wonderfully upbeat look at one segment of the reading population.
Happy Friday! Today is the first Friday after the Memorial Day weekend, which in publishing ushers in the phenomenon of summer Fridays — those short work days that kick off the weekend early all summer long so that publishing folks can get the heck out of dodge and enjoy a few days at the beach, or wherever. Of course, for those of us on the west coast, that means a summer of remembering to get hold of editors early in the week because by the time we’re awake and working Friday morning, everyone in New York has one foot out the door.
Summer Fridays make me think of summer reading. My plan for the next few weeks, however, involves plowing through my inbox backlog and reading submissions rather than anything specific off my to-read pile or one of those infamous lists of beach reads. But that doesn’t mean I can’t point you all toward some fun summer reading material, as well as inspire you to get some summer writing done. Don’t get lured away from your desk by those longer days and lovely weather; put your time in and get your words down before you go play!
That said, I offer you this week’s links, and wish you a wonderful weekend. Enjoy!
Book Clubs Mean Business – An interesting look at the role of book clubs in today’s publishing market, and also a peek inside some really fun book-club activities.
Definitive Manifesto for Handling Haters – Anne Lamott looks at the dangers of perfectionism and putting other people’s opinions and needs ahead of our own.
How the Amazon-Hachette Fight Could Shape the Future of Ideas – Thoughts on the long-term, big picture effects of this latest publishing feud.
The Great 2014 Short Fiction Round-Up – Recommendations for some great new collections of short stories.
Adventure Reading 101 – An introduction to some exciting books/authors focused on adventure and travel writing, for those of you looking for an armchair vacation.
We’re kicking off a long, holiday weekend here in the U.S., as Monday is Memorial Day, but whether you’re plotting a getaway, some local BBQ action, or simply kicking back with a cool drink and a good read, I wish you a very wonderful few days. Those of you not anticipating an extra day off, use that weekend wisely and have a great time.
With that said, I offer up this week’s collection of links to keep you informed, entertained, and maybe even inspired. Despite the pending holiday, it’s been a newsy sort of week. One of the biggest stories going around is the dispute between Amazon.com and Hachette Publishing, that has led Amazon (who has been delaying delivery of Hachette titles) to pull the order buttons entirely from the publisher’s books, sending authors who were already frustrated into an uproar. So, in the spirit of supporting the little guy (by whom I mean the authors, not the corporations duking it out), I encourage you to take your book-buying to your favorite independent bookseller in lieu of giving your business to Amazon. And if you must order online, check out Powells.com.
Enjoy the links, and have a great weekend!
Amazon Ramps Up War Against Hachette – A little more information about the above referenced situation.
30 Diverse YA Titles to Get On Your Radar – Some really great sounding books, either out now or set to publish in the coming months.
Steamy Romance Novels Flushed with Color – On the rise of interracial relationships in romance novels.
Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians – The British Library has made a collection of Victorian and Romantic era writings and research materials, including notes from experts and documentaries, available online.
Summer Reading: 20 New Nonfiction Books that Will Make You Smarter – Really diverse list of titles with some fascinating sounding subjects.
First Novels: The Weird, Thrilling Trip through a Very Narrow Door – On the odds of getting a first novel published and all the reasons you should try anyway.
Why are books important? Why should we continue reading once we’ve finished school? What is it about a good movie that resonates with us long after we leave the theater? Why do we need diverse, inclusive media that looks at different lives and different points of view?
As book lovers and/or film buffs, we might simply say we love to read, we love to go to the movies. Maybe we enjoy the thrill of living vicariously through someone else’s story, or perhaps we appreciate the escape from our own daily grind. If we’re feeling a little bit more analytical, we might add that reading expands the mind, or that film can be art, or any other number of reasons, all of which are good and true.
But what about the how of things? How do books and films — story in general — affect us in these profound ways? What is it about a good story that becomes a part of us? Lisa Cron explains in her TEDx Talk, Wired for Story. Whether you consider yourself a devoted reader, a film aficionado, a writer, or combination, or just a human being going through life, this is a fascinating look at how we learn and absorb and form our impressions of the world, and how story is inextricably twined with our approach to life.
Happy Friday! I am coming to you through the magic of scheduled posting, since at this moment (assuming you read this by Sunday morning) I am in Boise for a writers’ conference. Scheduled posting is one of the best internet inventions ever.
That said, I have a great collection of links this week, so I hope you all find something to entertain and inspire you. Also, I’d like to suggest that now is a great time to take a look at your goals for May. Yes, we are a couple of days in already, but that’s no excuse to avoid the subject. No time like the present. So what writing tasks have you set for yourself? Have you been working on anything that you started in April that you’d like to keep up this month? Or maybe you need to retrench a bit. Give it a little thought this weekend in between whatever else is on your schedule. Happy weekend, and enjoy!
Talking with the Publishers of New LA-based Unnamed Press – Because it’s always great to hear about people joining the publishing party.
How I Tackle a Big Writing Project – Feeling overwhelmed? Here are some great tips from Leo Babauta.
50 Signs You’re Addicted to Reading - Chances are you already know you are, but this list is still fun.
The Lost Art of Memorizing Poetry – Because Poetry Month is never truly over.
Ditching Dickensian – What does the term mean, and is it overused?
Last week was a bit busy, so I wasn’t online quite as much as I usually am. So imagine my surprise when I hit Twitter on Friday afternoon and discovered the latest diversity mess in the publishing world, namely the appalling lack of diversity in the lineup of authors scheduled to speak/sign/present at BookCon in May. For those of you unaware, BookCon is the new incarnation of the Power Readers Day portion of BookExpo America, the major industry rights fair held annually in New York. The last couple of years, Power Readers Day provided public access to what was previously an industry-only affair, allowing book enthusiasts to come in and get ARCs, attend panels, and meet their favorite authors. This year ReedPop, the organizer for the event, has rebranded the public portion as BookCon with the intention of broadening the scope and drawing more attendees. All of which was fine until they announced the authors participating in their Kid Lit panel last week, and they turned out to be four white men. A look at the BookCon website reveals that the list of guests so far consists of approximately 30 writers (and a cat), all of whom are white (though some women show up here).
Those are the basics. Anyone looking for a more detailed rundown of the details should check out BookRiot, where they’ve been tracking the situation and BookCon’s lack of responses to their queries all week, as well as an analysis of the statement ReedPop finally issued yesterday. It’s pretty comprehensive, and includes additional links to further discussion of the situation.
I, however, am more interested in looking at the bigger picture right now. Am I astonished by BookCon’s lineup? Of course. Do I think they purposefully set out to white-wash their guest list? No. However, I do believe they are guilty of planning without an active awareness of the issues facing the industry (and society) today, and that is short sighted and irresponsible. Diversity in publishing is a hot topic these days, and rightly so, and I’m hard pressed to imagine how anyone organizing a publishing event, in the middle of New York City no less, can be blind to that ongoing discussion. This is not a small town event with limited access to speakers, but an enormous convention based in the publishing capital of the nation if not the world. The existing panel of guests consists of a wonderful array of talented writers — no one is arguing their worth as speakers. Certainly the people inviting authors to participate had a wealth of diverse options to choose from; they simply focused on a very narrow portion of that broad array of talent. It never crossed their minds to reach out and make the effort to include people of color in the lineup, because if it had, we would be seeing the evidence on their website.
That’s the bigger picture that’s so troubling. This lack of thought. We all know that there are racists in the world, and while that’s certainly troubling as well, it’s at least more clear cut. What feels more insidious is the other group — the people who believe themselves to be fair minded, rational, and certainly not racist, but who never stop to think about how their actions come across or affect those around them. These are the people who gravitate toward “their own” unconsciously, because they don’t make a conscious effort to be inclusive in their thought processes. They would never utter a racial slur or think negatively about people of color, but that’s pretty much because they don’t think about them at all unless someone else brings up the subject. They insist that they are choosing “the best of what’s available” when selecting submissions for their magazine or panelists for their conference, and think that justifies an outcome lacking in diversity, when in reality it merely underscores their closed-minded views of the world.
At the end of the day, it isn’t enough to say you have nothing against a certain group, whether it consists of women or people of color or individuals whose sexual preferences or identities differ from your own. If you’re not making an effort to help things get better, you’re still contributing to the overall problem. We’re all human, and no one expects everyone to get it right one hundred percent of the time. But the key is to try, and if you muck it up, to acknowledge your errors and try to fix the problem. BookCon is just one more hurdle in the ongoing battle to diversify the publishing industry, and it likely won’t be the last.
TGIF! Are you ready to kick off the weekend? I have a long to-do list, personally, but I’m hoping to squeeze a little personal reading time into the schedule. How about all of you? Reading? Writing? Chores? Maybe a weekend getaway?
Whatever your plans, I’ve got some fun Friday links for you to enjoy in your spare moments, both reading- and writing-centric, with a few things that skirt the fringes. I hope you find them interesting and, perhaps, a bit inspirational. Enjoy, and happy writing!
Opportunities for Writers: May and June, 2014 – A round-up of contests and calls for work.
YA Historical Fiction for Downton Abbey Fans - A nice list of suggested reads from various decades.
Literary Rebels You Need to Know – Some of the lesser known writers out there bucking the status quo.
The Genre Debate: ‘Literary Fiction’ Is Just Clever Marketing – Another round in the genre vs. literature wars. Nicely put.
Speed-Reading Apps Are Great for Speed, Terrible for Reading, Study Finds – A look at how speed reading may cause you to remember less.
Happy Friday! It’s officially the start of the Easter weekend in much of the world, and so for all of you celebrating, enjoy. Our offices are closed today, so I’m taking the time to catch up on some non-work related things and — I hope — do some personal reading. My TBR pile has been glaring at me especially hard the past few weeks.
But before I go “off duty,” I have some fun links for you to kick off the weekend. They’re definitely a bit all over the place today, so I hope you find something that sparks your imagination or just entertains you. Have a great weekend!
The Virtual Moleskine – A look at the history of this popular notebook, and at their efforts to add a digital option.
A Photographic Tour of America’s Libraries – In honor of National Library Week.
Bookmarks Competition Winners – Book Depository held a contest, and these charming designs were the winners.
In Pakistan, Literary Spring Is Both Renaissance and Resistance – A look at the book festival behind held in Lahore, despite the atmosphere of political instability and oppression.
The Power of Garcia Marquez – A look back at the writer, who passed away yesterday.
Holiday bonus: Peeps Show 2014, Winner and Finalists – An adorable and entertaining use of Peeps — those traditional too-sweet, sticky Easter-time treats — in storytelling. Worth a look, whatever your beliefs.
TGIF! And I mean that most sincerely. This has been the sort of week where you take two steps forward and 14 back, with schedules turned on end and all sorts of unexpected things flying out of the woodwork, some good, some of the duck-or-run variety. My consolation is that the weekend is here (nearly) and I plan to spend a good portion of it sleeping, and also in an air conditioned movie theater with Captain America and his cohorts. (Have you seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet? No? What are you waiting for? Go!)
Okay, now that we’ve gotten the agent-as-geek portion of the post out of the way… I bring you links! A fair few are colored by my love of National Poetry Month, but there’s some other stuff going on as well. I hope you find them entertaining and interesting, and maybe a bit inspirational, depending on what floats your boat. Wishing you all a great weekend, filled with words and sunshine. Enjoy!
Kima Jones, On Black Bodies and Being a Black Woman Who Writes – A great piece from NPR with this talented emerging poet.
Revisiting YA Verse Novels: A 2014 Guide to the Format – For those of you who love, or are curious about, YA novels in verse. Good list.
Amazon.com to Acquire ComiXology – Yeah. Not sure how I feel about this.
A Censored History of Ladies in YA Fiction – On writing under the anonymity of initials and more.