Favorite Reads of 2021 (early!) + the Book Shortage, Indigenous Indies, Literary Awards

Fave 2021 reads so you can order your books early; workshops; publishing as a latin-american writer; mid-size publisher challenges; dialogue beyond hemingway; indigenous lit; awards; french toast tea

Greetings readers & writers,

It’s October which, as many of you may know, is being pushed as retail’s “New December.” Book publishing, like most industries right now, is suffering from major supply chain issues. It’s a domino effect of pandemic lay-offs, paper shortages, a lack of domestic printers, and the incredible backlog of shipments. Vox has a comprehensive analysis of the causes and effects of the looming “great book shortage.” It’s not looking awesome so it’s more important that ever to find ways to support authors, publishers, and bookstores. For example:

  • Shop local when possible!

  • Order book gifts early, especially if you have specific titles in mind

  • Buy directly from small and independent presses

  • Pre-order forthcoming titles

  • Buy gift cards to your local indie

  • Shop what’s on the shelf/ask a bookseller for recs if they don’t have precisely what you wanted. The joys of browsing!

  • Promote your favorite authors/stores on social media

To inspire you in your early purchases, here are some of my 2021 favorite reads a few months early! I’ve used affiliate links here, which means I get a tiny portion of any sales. I’ll be donating any/all affiliate money to The Book Industry Charitable Foundation that provides emergency funds for bookstores and their employees.


You can view all these faves plus a few more, along with last year’s at my Bookshop.org shop.

Yesterday is History* by Kosoko Jackson
Andre receives a liver transplant, only to find it’s given him time travel abilities. A tender look at the people we miss and the moments we wish we could change through the clear and effortless voice of a Black, gay teen trying to make up for lost time.

His Majesty’s Dragon* by Naomi Novik
The Napoleonic wars… with dragons! I’m late to this series (you know what a Novik fan I am) and glad I finally picked it up. The attention to historical detail blended with a reimagined war reliant upon aerial combat (thanks to intelligent and opinionated dragons!) makes for an immersive, page-turning experience.

Interior Chinatown* by Charles Yu
The 2020 National Book Award winner, I wanted to read this as soon as I heard it was told in the form of a screenplay and by sometimes-SFF author, Yu. This a shifting, poignant, tongue-in-cheek, meta narrative of Chinese American and immigrant experiences, told through film, stereotypes, assimilation, and the roles we play.

The Goblin Emperor* by Katherine Addison
Still thinking about this book months later. Half-goblin Maia is the unlikely and unwitting heir to his human father’s crown and is thrown into the baffling, intricate world of court politics. Maia draws you in: humble, thoughtful, out of his depth, and highly relatable. The companion novel, Witness for the Dead, released this June!

In The Dream House* by Carmen Maria Machado
An absolutely searing and gutting memoir told through different genres and stylistic vignettes, which create a fractured mosaic of the author’s experience with domestic abuse. Machado is a potent master of language and image, a chameleon of style.

Craft in the Real World* by Matthew Salesses
A guide for writers and educators looking to expand their understanding of craft beyond the white, cis, hetero-norm that’s baked into the American MFA experience. Cracked open many of my own (mis)assumptions about storytelling and pedagogy.

Books by our Book Marketing Now interviewees!
I’ve been both honored and blown away by the incredible writers who’ve given their time and marketing advice to our readership. All of them are pandemic-published and include picture books, middle grade, YA, poetry, guidebooks, and memoir.


Do you have a book releasing soon? There are still a handful of open slots for Book Marketing Now guest posts! Fill out this form if you’re interested in participating!

Coming soon! An incredible interview with memoirist Anne Liu Kellor, author of Heart Radical on building a writing community for the long-haul and writing (and marketing!) with vulnerability.

ICYMI: Rising star kidlit author Rajani LaRocca shares marketing strategies for perfecting the pitch and promoting multiple titles in a single year!


Upcoming (Virtual!) Seminars

Not available these dates? Connect with me for one-on-one coaching that fits your schedule!

Book a marketing consult today!


Writing/Marketing Resources:


Reading Corner

Thanks to Brewster Bookstore for their compilation of Indigenous-Owned bookstores and this powerful and extensive list of books by and about Indigenous history (and present!) for readers of all ages.

A post shared by The Brewster Bookstore (@thebrewsterbookstore)

Industry News


Tea

Want to drink a tea that smells like French Toast? Look no further than Celestial Seasonings Vermont Maple Ginger. A sweet herbal tea, with a spicy ginger tang and a true autumnal feel.


Congrats to Sarah S. and The Burke Family who won my Book Moon bundles! You too can get Small Beer Press books through their website or by visiting their store in Easthampton, MA.


Happy writing!
~Allison

Writer & Marketing Coach
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