Reading in different formats and animals going goblin
September 2022 Newsletter
This month I read My Mess is a bit of a Life by Georgia Pritchett and it got me thinking about book format and humor. I started out listening to it on audio but realized the format was unusual in that it is a memoir told in short vignettes and I kept expecting more standard longer chapters, so I felt a little thrown off.
So I checked out a hard copy from the library and read the rest that way because for some reason that format felt like a better fit to me. The book definitely made me laugh (but also had serious elements) and I liked that it had some interesting insights into being in a comedy writing room (Pritchett wrote for Veep and other shows).
I’ve had some books recommended to me as funny that I listened to on audio and didn’t find super funny. Part of that is just that humor (and book preferences) are very subjective, but I also think format plays a role for me — audio feels a little tricky for humor because of the way the narrator delivers it. Some works better than others. But I’m always on the lookout for funny audiobook listens because audio is how I get a lot of reading done these days, so let me know if you have any recs.
Books Humor and Other Distractions:
Funny animal account you probably need in your life: Animals going Goblin Mode.
This Reductress headline made me laugh.
Short humor: Some good jokes (and hard truths) in this piece comparing British baking shows to American baking shows.
Kid book rec: My kids have been into the graphic novel book series Mr. Wolf’s class lately, which they tell me is funny.
I think after getting a rejection from an editor it is natural to want to know why and so I get why a lot of writers try to ask the editor for more details, but as Lucy Huber (an editor at McSweeney’s) said in the above tweet, it’s not a good idea to do. I also think part of the reason why editors don’t give a reason sometimes is it can open up avenues for the writer to argue, so I sort of see why some editors stick to more general rejections (although as a writer, I also get that they can be frustrating).
I’ve been making my way through the #AmWriting podcast series on creating a blueprint for a book and I’ve found the episodes really helpful as a way to plan a book. So if you have a book idea or are even in the midst of a book project, it’s worth checking out.
Looking to pitch Vulture? I recently realized they have guidelines here.
The above tweet/stat made the rounds on Twitter and then it came out that there were some caveats — that this is likely a BookScan number (which does not include all books) and could include books that have been around for a really long time and thus aren’t selling much. This newsletter and the comment from a person who actually works at BookScan help clarify some numbers of how many books sell in the first year (which may still be less than a lot of people assume!):
News from me:
One of my tweets made it to this funny women's roundup on BuzzFeed.
What happens when an introvert participates in a local author showcase event? You can find out this month if you are in my area.
I’ll also be at the Erma Bombeck conference on the exotic Dayton Riviera next month. If you will be there too, let me know.
And looking ahead to 2023 (!) I am part of a panel on writing for mainstream and literary outlets that will be at the AWP conference in Seattle in March. So far, I’ve been listening to a lot of Pearl Jam to prepare, that’s probably all I’ll really need, right?
Finally, Substack is giving me an option to add a poll so I am going to use it! I’ve been mulling some different topics for this newsletter, so let me know if you have a preference on any of these, or feel free to suggest something else in the comments:
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So wierd, I didn't know there were others who felt similar to me in that I like audio books when they are serious in nature, but for humor I like a good ole fashioned sit down read. Maybe because it's nice to be fully present if there's a chance to laugh etc.