If you have plot bunnies coming out of your plot holes, it’s time for a writing break.
Welcome, authors, or as they say on the island we’ll be visiting today, bon bini. I come bearing gifts. It’s been a busy week so far for your favorite editor. (That’s me, in case you were wondering.) So, I’d like to whisk you away to the Dutch Caribbean to visit with our listener friends. While we’re there, we’ll discuss beach reads, the impossibility of being a prophet in your own land, and, of course, publishing news. Plus, there are a couple of presents waiting for you at the end of this break.
Let’s start our relaxing time together at the Let's Chill Café located on Aruba’s Surfside Beach.
Well, I’m not sure what I’m drinking, but it’s pink and there’s an umbrella in it, so I’m happy. While I’m not overthinking my beverage, I will stretch out on a beach lounger under an umbrella and tell you what I am otherthinking about. And that is something I overthink about every year: beach reads.
I love having a summer reading list, and for the past several years, I’ve asked for summer reading recommendations from my Instagram followers. They are a sophisticated group with varying tastes, and they have yet to let me down.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I can never decide what to read at the beach. I prefer audiobooks at the beach so that I can take in my surroundings, but I find it hard to settle on a genre. I think that when most people say “beach read,” they’re referring to a lighthearted book in a tropical setting. Maybe living in a subtropical climate has taken away the novelty of a beach read at the beach for me, or maybe it’s just too hard to compete with Mother Ocean.
One nonfiction author I know loves reading detective novels at his beach house. What about you? What do you read at the beach? Let me know by sending me a message in a bottle or an email to email@example.com.
Why don’t we keep relaxing right here under this umbrella while I share some publishing news?
In response to the sickening increase in banned books across the country, The Authors Guild announced the launch of the Banned Books Club, a virtual book club in the Fable app.
Banning books is a practice I loathe, and Fable is a book club app I love. So, you know I’ve already joined the Banned Books Club. They’ll read a different book each month, and what is special about the book club is that you will be able to discuss each month’s book with the author. It doesn’t get any better than that.
The Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger said, “We hope this will spark discussions across the country about the value of a diverse body of literature and the harm book banning causes by ‘erasing’ the unique experiences and perspectives of marginalized voices.” I hope so too.
The Banned Books Club’s first selection is David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing, a YA novel about two 17-year-old boys who decide to participate in a 32-hour kissing marathon to set a new Guinness World Record. Doesn’t that sound like an interesting read?
Not according to the thought police. The novel ranks #18 on the American Library Association’s Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books of the past decade.
Levithan said he believes the Banned Books Club “will be a great forum to discuss not only why these books are being challenged, but how to support the kids who are disenfranchised by such challenges.”
The Authors Guild Banned Books Club is not a premium member book club on the Fable app, which means anyone can join for free. The book club is being supported by a grant from Hachette Book Group.
A new bill passed by the Kentucky Legislature puts libraries in the hands of politicians. In the past, county judges or county executives selected library board appointees from a list of recommendations submitted by, get this, the library board.w goes into effect January of:
Meanwhile, New York City libraries are joining the fight against rising book bans by giving US readers ages 13 and up free digital library cards through the month of May. The New York Public Library system is allowing readers in the United States of America access to a selection of commonly banned books via its free e-reading app called SimplyE.
Also fighting the good fight is Brooklyn Public Library, which is giving US readers ages 13 to 21 the chance to apply for a free eCard in order to gain access to the library’s e-books. The library card will be good for one year. A selection of frequently challenged books will be available to all Brooklyn Public Library cardholders through the library’s online catalog or the Libby app, and there will be no holds or wait times for those books.
If you’ve been listening to this show for a while, you’ll know that the fight against challenged and banned books is on, and I hope you join the resistance any way you can.
Blackstone Publishing has come to its senses and ended its library embargo. About three years ago, Blackstone Publishing decided to place a 90-day embargo on its newly published audiobooks. Why? Greed, of course. At the time they said they were “given the opportunity to enter into an exclusive deal.” They didn’t say with whom, but, c’mon, we know it’s Amazon Audible. We’ve seen those “Only from Audible” banners on all of Blackstone’s new releases.
Now Blackstone is claiming that they’re going to release new titles to all retail and library markets at the same time “In a continued effort to increase accessibility of audiobooks.” Welcome back to the land of the living, Blackstone.ciation has released a spring:
I’d like to thank my friend Elena for bringing this last bit of news to my attention. There is a cafe in Tokyo, Japan, called Manuscript Writing Cafe. The owner is a writer himself and has devised a system to help procrastinating writers meet their deadline. When you walk into Manuscript Writing Cafe, you let them know your writing goals and how much prodding you need to get your work done. Select mild, and staff will ask if you reached your goal on your way out. Select normal, and staff will check on you every hour. Select hard, and staff will frequently stand silently behind you while you work. Now that is pressure.
Links to these articles can be found in the show notes of this episode and on writingbreak.com.
Let’s meander over to the nearby independent bookstore and try to get back into vacation mode, shall we?
Bon bini to Plaza Bookshop in Oranjestad, Aruba. Dutch and Papiamento are the official languages of Aruba, and, according to Aruba.com, “most Arubans speak a minimum of four languages, including English and Spanish.”
In addition to books in several languages, Plaza Bookshop sells greeting cards, gifts, art supplies, beautiful notebooks, and more. So, let’s forego the author spotlight and make today all about you and your writing. Take a moment to walk about the shop and select just the right notebook for your latest and most brilliant book idea.
Then we’ll wander about town and talk about why you can’t be a prophet in your own land and what that means for you as a writer.
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “you can’t be a prophet in your own land.” The gospel of John, chapter 4, verse 44 says, “For Jesus himself testified that a prophet hath no honor in his own country.” That’s the King James Version for a bit of spice.
The general idea is, once you set out to do the thing. That is, an artistic endeavor, a business move, or a global takeover, the people who knew you when, meaning, the people who knew you before you set out on this latest venture, will not admire you or support you the way a person who is hearing you for the first time will.
For example, I work hard to bring this podcast to your ears, but most of my friends and family members don’t listen to it. These episodes, which are important to me, are of little value to them because they can access me whenever they want. What’s more, when they do interact with me, they don’t ask me about the latest happenings in publishing. It’s not of interest to them.
In this same way, the people closest to you are not going to be your most enthusiastic readers. They might be excited for you in general, but they’re not going to read your stuff the way a true fan would. If they do read your writing, it can be disastrous. More on this next week.
Now, it’s time for you to open your gifts! In the past two episodes, I talked about style sheets: what they are and why every author needs one. And I have prepared two style sheet templates for you, one for fiction and one for nonfiction. I’ve added some information to serve as a guide for how to fill it in, but you should adapt the document to fit your needs. You’ll see some text in brackets where you’ll need to decide what style you prefer, and there are also some words added in the word list serving as placeholders so that you can see how I set up a style sheet.
The templates are free for you to download. I tried to make the process as smooth as possible, but there is a verification process, and I ended up in my own spam folder during one of the tests, so check your spam folder if you don’t see the email with the templates.
Check the show notes for the sign-up link.
Thank you for listening, and remember, you deserved this break.
If you would like us to visit your favorite independent bookstore, feature your favorite independent author (even if it’s you), or discuss something you’re overthinking about, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for making space in your mind for The Muse today.
Writing Break is hosted by America’s Editor and produced by Allon Media with technical direction by Gus Aviles. Visit us at writingbreak.com or contact us at email@example.com.