Friday Feast: An Open Letter to Authors at Bookstore Tables, How Rejection Shaped One Writer, How Novelists Recover History’s Marginalized Heroes, Donald Ray Pollock’s 5 Writing Tips, and What Makes a Bestseller

eyesAw. It’s sad to watch a poor, lonely author in a bookstore or at a book festival who simultaneously desires and dreads conversations with customers. Because people! Conversations! Eeek! And then there are those authors who flag you down like street canvassers with their not-smiling eyes ablaze: BUY MY BOOK.

Writers who wish to one day be published, read the first link for some excellent humor and helpful hints on what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

  • In the style of a Craigslist Missed Connection, Peter Damien writes an open letter to authors at tables in bookstores and offers practical tips for how authors can make it suck less and not appear like a car salesman.
  • Marjorie Liu, the creator of the graphic novel, Monstress, shares how rejection she experienced as a biracial woman shaped her writing. “Liu makes it a priority to put women of color, especially Asian women, at the center of Monstress, which takes place in an alternate version of Asia. The world she’s created is made up of women who don’t fit into neat little boxes.”
  • Dead Darlings contributor Milo Todd wrote about How Novelists Recover History’s Marginalized Heroes. “We can’t claim everything in our stories as completely factual due to those damn missing pieces, but we can portray them as close to fact as possible by getting creative with the truths we find. And perhaps getting at some objective truth isn’t even the aim here. Perhaps it’s more about inspiring a new generation of people, for them to simply know that their kind existed in ways and times they’d never thought possible.”
  • One of my favorite novels is Donald Ray Pollock’s The Devil All the Time. I push it on all of my friends, even the ones that I know will likely squirm at some of the content and gruesomeness. I can’t help myself. He shares his 5 writing tips with Publishers Weekly: “I truly believe, however, that people who want to write can if they want it badly enough and are willing to sit quietly in a room and do the work.”
  • What Makes a Bestseller? Jonny Geller, literary agent at Curtis Brown, gave a TEDxOxford talk to discuss his fascination with and learnings from digging into this question:

2 comments

  1. Stephanie Gayle

    I have perfected my “middle distance stare” for conferences and other bookish events where I am made to sit and sell books. That stare says, “I am not at all feeling sorry that the author just across from me has a line of twenty people and I have no one at my table.” It is a very good stare.

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