The publishing stories worth reading this week:
The Ultimate Guide to Bestseller Lists: Unlocking the Truth Behind the New York Times List & Others (Chad Cannon): There are a lot of posts on the bestseller lists out there, but I think this one really is the ultimate guide. If “become a New York Times bestselling author” is on your bucket list, this is an important read.
Nora Ephron on Women, Politics, and the Myth of Objectivity in Journalism (Brain Pickings): “I’ve never believed in objective journalism … because all writing is about selecting what you want to use. And as soon as you choose what to select, you’re not being objective.”
8 Reasons You’re Exhausted, Overwhelmed, and Unproductive (Michael Hyatt): In case you haven’t read the now-classic New York York Times article “The Busy Trap,” start there. Then come back to Hyatt’s article for some actionable advice.
If You Just Keep Writing, Will You Get Better? (Barbara Baig on JaneFriedman.com): “When most of us think about practice, we’re imagining what Ericsson calls naive practice, the kind of repetitive action we do to learn a skill and then put it on automatic pilot. We learn a lot of things this way—cooking dinner, for instance, or driving a car. The trouble with this kind of practice is that it will never help us improve our skills. For that, we need a different kind of practice, one Ericsson calls deliberate practice.”
Are you a bookmark user?
I’ve found this is a surprisingly divisive question! Jarrett swears by them, and I usually want nothing to do with them.
He’ll use anything: a scrap of notebook paper, the library receipt, a tattered old rag of a real bookmark. One time I caught him holding his spot in a book with an entire piece of mail, still in its envelope. This is by no means normal.
Me? I couldn’t keep track of a bookmark if my library card depended on it. I find it a hassle to place it down somewhere and make sure not to lose it/crumple it/splash a beverage on it. Instead, I get a sick thrill out of challenging myself to remember where I was in the book. I’m a fairly visual person, so I can usually remember whether I was on a verso or recto page and on what approximate paragraph. But no, this process is not time-efficient. And no, it’s by no means normal, either.
But then again, is there a true “normal” to any of our reading habits? We can’t all neatly tuck into bed, read for exactly 60 minutes, mark our spot with our perfect bookmark, and turn over for our perfect 8 hours of sleep.
(Although that 8 hours of sleep sounds pretty great and should really be a non-negotiable, says every scientific study ever!)
So today I designed a little treat for you, for your summer reading pleasure:
If you’ve been using a scrap of paper as a bookmark (ahem, Jarrett…), try swapping it out for these.
If you’re not in the habit of using a bookmark but have always aspired to (ahem, me…), give these a go.
You can print them on regular paper, but if you have thicker paper, they’ll have much more durability to them.