Social Media Sales Boosts & Self-Publishing Scandal | Book Pulse

Inside the Industry

Two game-changing factors in publishing are on show today: the power of social media to sell books—in large numbers, overnight—and the way self-published authors see their work (and that of others).

Danielle Walker announced her newest book on Facebook, sending Danielle Walker’s Eat What You Love: Everyday Comfort Food You Crave—Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes (Ten Speed: Random) soaring on Amazon, even though it pubs on Dec. 4, 2018. It moved from #14,265 to well inside the Top 100 overnight. Scott Harrison’s Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World (Currency: Random) got a huge boost on Twitter. It leaped from #22,071 to #176.

Faleena Hopkins, a self-published romance author, has trademarked the word “cocky” in titles and is sending other authors letters telling them they cannot use the word in their own titles. The Guardian reports that “The Romance Writers of America is working with an intellectual property lawyer in response to Hopkins’s trademark, and has asked writers contacted by Hopkins to get in touch.”


The NYT reviews Spring by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Penguin), calling it “a return to form, and a return to ruthlessness.” Also You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random; LJ starred review): “In the lives of Sittenfeld’s characters, the lusts and disappointments of youth loom large well into middle age, as insistent as a gang of loud, showy teenagers taking up all the oxygen in the room.” Of Feast Days by Ian MacKenzie (Little, Brown: Hachette) the paper writes, “Expatriate novels often reveal far more about their characters’ homelands than they do about their presumably exotic destinations.”

USA Today gives The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham (Random) a perfect 4, calling it “a thoroughly researched and smoothly written roundup of some of the worst parts of American history and how they were gradually overcome.”

NPR reviews Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston (Amistad: Harper): “eye-opening, terrifying and wonderful.” Also Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Knopf): “another reminder of the long dark shadow cast by war.”

Briefly Noted

Entertainment Weekly lists 14 new TV shows based on books.

Town & Country pick the “Best Books to Read This May.”

The NYT reports on a reading competition in Oregon, one that is raising divisions between parents and school administrators over the choice of the book George by Alex Gino (Scholastic; SLJ starred review), one ALA’s 10 most challenged books two years in a row.

Discussion questions are out for the PBS/NYT book club pick, Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Random; LJ starred review).

Richard Lloyd Parry’s Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone (MCD: Macmillan) wins the Rathbones Folio prize.

Shondaland considers “mother” books. And on that note, features That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam (Ecco).

The New Yorker considers fish/human books, using Melissa Broder’s The Pisces (Hogarth) as a starting point.

USA Today interviews Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Atria: S. & S.), on how she became a bestselling author.

Bitch Media interviews Julie Murphy, Puddin’ (HarperCollins Balzer + Bray).

Rachel Kushner, The Mars Room (Scribner: S. & S.) talks with Interview.

Salon interviews Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (Tim Duggan Books: Random House).

Rolling Stone features Paul Simon: The Life by Robert Hilburn (S. & S.) and the LA Times has a list of Hilburn’s picks of Simons’s songs.

LitHub has an interview with librarians who are also artists.

The Hollywood Reporter discusses the importance of Legends of the Condor Heroes by Jin Yong (MacLehose Press).

Signature features Dean Koontz’s Jane Hawk thrillers.

In audiobook news LeVar Burton reads “As Good As New” by Charlie Jane Anders and Benedict Cumberbatch reads Carlo Rovelli’s The Order of Time (Riverhead).

Authors on Air

Jay and Mark Duplass featured on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. On the show, Maureen Corrigan reviews Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston (Amistad: Harper), remaking “it vividly dramatizes two extraordinary voices in conversation.” NPR has a further short piece on the book.

On TV, The Chew pushes Jennifer’s Way Kitchen: Easy Allergen-Free, Anti-Inflammatory Recipes for a Delicious Life by Jennifer Esposito, with Eve Adamson (Grand Central: Hachette) up the Amazon ranks as does CBS This Morning for Gayle King’s Note to Self: Inspiring Words From Inspiring People (S. & S.). GMA helps sell Boying Up: How to Be Brave, Bold and Brilliant by Mayim Bialik (Philomel: Penguin) and the PBS NewsHour lifts Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer by Barbara Ehrenreich (Twelve: Hachette).

Sweetbitter gets focused attention from HuffPost and Eater.

Netflix will adapt Stephen King‘s In The Tall Grass, reports Deadline Hollywood.

How To Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran (Harper; LJ starred review) is heading to the movies. As is The Stars in My Soul, a memoir co-written by Hakeem Oluseyi that Deadline Hollywood reports just sold in a hot auction. The project will involve Chadwick Boseman. Louisa Luna’s Two Girls Down (Doubleday) is being adapted too.

Fox picks up the TV series The Passage, based on the Justin Cronin novel.

Gayle King will be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight. She will be on The Talk today. Jake Tapper will be on The View.

A trailer is out for A Very English Scandal, based on the book by John Preston. There is a tie-in.

13 Reasons Why has a trailer as well.

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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ's reader's advisory columnist. She writes The Reader's Shelf, RA Crossroads, Book Pulse, and Wyatt's World columns. She is currently revising The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2018). Contact her at

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