London Chef Elizabeth Haigh’s Cookbook Withdrawn After Plagiarism Allegations

From Eater London: The worlds of London food and international cookbooks are rocking after far-reaching allegations of plagiarism by a highly regarded chef. Cookbook publisher Bloomsbury Absolute has withdrawn Makan, the debut cookbook by Mei Mei owner Elizabeth Haigh, after allegations of plagiarism from Sharon Wee, the author of Growing Up in a Nonya Kitchen, … Read more

Four hundred years of melancholy—why Robert Burton’s masterpiece speaks to our pandemic age

From Prospect: It has become increasingly difficult to ignore our great capacity for experiencing and describing psychological pain. To many observers across the globe, mental illnesses and disorders are now alarmingly prevalent, and talk of crises, unprecedented surges and epidemics has become widespread amongst clinical experts and in the media. Living through a viral pandemic … Read more

The Dangers of Editing

From Writer Unboxed: I edit books for a living, so I know it’s true that writing is rewriting. But I’ve sometimes seen clients fall into editing traps that can cause real damage to their work. Although some simply waste valuable writing time, others get so caught up in the wrong kind of editing that they … Read more

Reading Jane Eyre as a Sacred Text

From The Paris Review: The summer that I did my chaplaincy internship was a wildly full twelve weeks. I was thirty-two years old and living in the haze of the end of an engagement as I walked the hospital corridors carrying around my Bible and visiting patients. “Hi, I’m Vanessa. I’m from the spiritual care … Read more

The Howe Dynasty

From The Wall Street Journal: On the hot afternoon of July 6, 1758, advance troops of a vast Anglo-American army probed through forest toward the French fortress of Ticonderoga, in what is now upstate New York. As skirmishing suddenly erupted, the woods crackled with gunfire. Casualties were minimal but momentous: Shot through the heart, and … Read more

Full Spectrum

From The Wall Street Journal: Color is to the eye what birdsong is to the ear: a primal communion between ourselves and nature. The elemental power of color radiates from van Gogh’s shimmering wheat fields; in celestial photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope; and in the Technicolor fantasyscape that bursts onto the screen in “The … Read more

Gaming the Publishing Industry

From veteran author and writing coach Dave Farland: I was at a writing conference last week and noticed that several times I passed groups of writers who were trying to figure out how to “Game the System.” In case you didn’t know it, every distribution industry tries to set up roadblocks for creators so that … Read more

What Does Book Publishing Stand For?

From The New Republic: Seven years ago, when Amazon was in the midst of a contentious pricing battle with one of the country’s largest publishers, a group of famous authors banded together to make the case that publishing was a crucial industry for the nation’s cultural and intellectual life. “Publishers provide venture capital for ideas,” … Read more

Scholastic Halts Distribution of Book by ‘Captain Underpants’ Author

From The New York Times: A children’s graphic novel by the creator of the popular “Captain Underpants” series was pulled from circulation last week by its publisher, which said that it “perpetuates passive racism.” Scholastic said last week that it had halted distribution of the book, “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future,” … Read more

Tips for Working With a Social Media Assistant

From Writers in the Storm: I’ve heard many authors—myself included—express our frustration and dismay at the expectation that we will not only produce wonderful books, but also carry out what amounts to a second full-time job as our own marketing team. Most of us don’t mind holding events, whether live or virtual, where we get … Read more

Class Action Suit: Amazon & Publishers Face Price Collusion

From Personanondata: Attorney’s Sperling & Slater acting on behalf of three eBook buying plaintiffs are suing Amazon and the “big 5” publishers (Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Harpercollins) for eBook price collusion in the Southern District Court in Manhattan.  These plaintiffs are deemed representative of the following class:   All persons who, on … Read more

Be ruthless about protecting writing days

Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have ‘essential’ and ‘long overdue’ meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some … Read more

The Monster Publishing Merger Is About Amazon

From The Atlantic: In 1960, Dwight Eisenhower’s attorney general, William Rogers, read the paper with alarm. He learned that Random House intended to purchase the venerable publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Rogers began making calls to prod his antitrust division into blocking the sale. In those days, monopoly loomed as a central concern of government—and a … Read more

Should You Hire a Social Media Assistant?

From Jane Friedman: I hate social media. It’s an addictive rabbit-hole. I just don’t have time. Social media takes away from my precious writing time. I’m no good at creating those visuals and posts. I hate all that self-promotion. I’ve heard many authors—myself included—express frustration and dismay at the expectation that we will not only … Read more

Hellacious California!

From The Los Angeles Review of Books: NINETEENTH-CENTURY AMERICAN CRITIC Hinton Rowan Helper left a lasting impression on how Californian culture is still viewed to this day through one mordant comment: I will say, that I have seen purer liquors, better segars [cigars], finer tobacco, truer guns and pistols, larger dirks and bowie knives, and … Read more

‘Twilight of the Gods’ Review: A Blood-Soaked Peace

From The Wall Street Journal: A tale-telling axiom holds that complex narratives—whether from a writer’s quill, the pulpit or a Hollywood storyboard—are best broken into threes. From Sophocles to Coppola, the trilogy has thrived as a means to carve an enormous meal into manageable courses. World War II, history’s most complex bloodbath, often seems to require such … Read more

Wordsworth at 250

From The Wall Street Journal: It’s time to celebrate the great Romantic poet William Wordsworth, born 250 years ago in a picturesque market town in northern England. One way to size up his achievement is to venture backward, beginning in the present day and drifting past the postmodernists, the modernists, the Edwardians, the Victorians, until we … Read more

Artists and Writers Warn of an Intolerant Climate

From The New York Times: The killing of George Floyd has brought an intense moment of racial reckoning in the United States. As protests spread across the country, they have been accompanied by open letters calling for — and promising — change at white-dominated institutions across the arts and academia. But on Tuesday, a different type of … Read more

Bread Winner

From The Wall Street Journal: For Jack Lawson, “ten hours a day in the dark prison below really meant freedom for me.” At age 12, this Northern England boy began full-time work down the local mine. His life underwent a transformation; there would be “no more drudgery at home.” Jack’s wages lifted him head and … Read more

Online Marketing Doesn’t Have to Mean Lying, Cheating, or Gaming the System

From Anne R. Allen’s Blog: A lot of authors get that deer-in-the-headlights look when I mention marketing books online. But it’s pretty much the only way to promote books during this “stay at home” pandemic. So we gotta do it. I understand your reluctance. Social media is full of trolls, scammers, and vast herds of … Read more