It is Friday, friends!
And because I have two deadlines, zero motivation, and 48 hours of reading ahead of me, I cannot wait for it to be the weekend. (Just kidding. I’ll be writing for at least 24 of those 48 hours.)
Anyway, my super smart friend Katherine Gleason, who has written over 30 books and countless short stories, suggested that rather than diving straight into the next novel, I finish an incomplete short story and give myself a win and some finishing energy instead.
So, that’s what I’ll be doing in the coming week. And then I think I know which novel I’m tackling next.
Enjoy the issue!
NEWS & VIEWS
The book blob
In what is the strangest thing I have written about so far in this newsletter, allow me to introduce you to: The book blob. The book cover of 2022.
“Picture electric blues, earthy greens, maybe pops of pinks and splashes of red blended together,” writes Trish Rooney. “While a plain white font announces the title, perhaps the swirling cursive of the author’s name is mixed into the pattern itself.”
This is the prominent book cover of 2022, especially in women’s fiction by debut authors. You’ve probably seen it on a few, if not several, books in your local bookstore. The modernist book cover, or blobs, as it has come to be called, is the aesthetic of many bestselling titles—The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters, and Untamed by Glennon Doyle, to name a few.
It is no news to anyone that book covers, like other design trends, come and go. But the current crop of covers are designed not only to grab attention from a bookstore shelf, but on Instagram and TikTok. They have to look good on a Kindle, jump off the screen while a user scrolls through Instagram. Plus, how much a book will get photographed to be shared on Instagram often depends on how appealing the cover is.
“… the first job of a book cover, after gesturing at the content inside, is to look great in miniature,” writes Margot Boyer-Dry for Vulture. “That means that where fine details once thrived, splashy prints have taken over.”
Moral of the story? If you’re an indie author, don’t design your own covers. And understand that you’re not the best judge of what’s working in the marketplace. Hire a designer who’s tapped into current trends and let them do their job.
Negotiation tips for writers and creatives: “I used to imagine negotiation as people in business suits shouting numbers at each other. Instead I learned that there’s an actual framework for it, specific things you can say and practice, and that it is something anyone can do,” Pia Owens, lawyer, writer, and alumna of the Harvard Program on Negotiation, says in this interview with The Atlantic.
Why I quit writing screenplays and wrote a novel: Screenwriters are taught “do not write what you cannot see”, writes screenwriter and author P. David Ebersole. “And this is why, after a career of writing screenplays and directing films, I wrote a crime novel.”
Have some news and views of your own? Send ‘em here:
FiveThirtyEight (Pays $600)
Mother Jones (Pay rate unspecified)
Slate (Reported pay $350)
The Diplomat (Pay rate unspecified)
The Nation (Pay rate unspecified)
The New Republic (Reported pay $300-$400; up to $1-a-word for features)
INTERVIEWS WITH WRITERS
Our weekly interviews have been on hold as we found our footing with The Wordling. Starting next week, however, the interviews are back! And we’ve even created a dedicated page for them so that you never have to miss a single one.
(Have someone you’d like us to feature? Hit reply and let us know.)
Want to write from a place of truth?
Be direct. Speak without fear of causing offence. Write from a place of conviction and passion, not from a place of meeting in the middle.
Not everyone will appreciate your truth. It’s still your job to speak it.
EUROPEAN UNION: “The Digital Services Act, formally adopted with a final vote on Tuesday, aims to “effectively tackle the spread of illegal content online and protect people’s fundamental rights in the digital sphere” in particular by ensuring they are not exposed to false or harmful content online. But the European Magazine Media Association (EMMA) and The European News Publishers Association (ENPA) issued a joint statement warning that the rules on moderation could see news content being wrongly reported and taken down by tech platforms.”
GAZA: Over a year after the building housing the news agency’s Gaza bureau was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike, The Associated Press announced today it has reopened its Gaza Strip offices in a new location.
WALES: “Hanan Issa, a Welsh-Iraqi poet, film-maker and artist, has been named the fifth national poet of Wales. As national poet, Issa, who is due to serve a three-year term, will represent the diverse cultures and languages of Wales and act as an ambassador for the people of Wales.”
SHARE THE WORDLING
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