So when I was in high school a writer and former publisher visited our school to give advice. He told us that when publishers receive a manuscript from someone unknown they generally reject it. This is without reading anything. Sometimes it’s that they don’t have time or don’t like the title, or simply just don’t want to read anything. He also said that when they do read it, it’s generally just the first couple sentences, if it doesn’t immediately grab their attention or has a cheesy opening like ‘once upon a time’ or 'it was a dark and stormy night’ they immediately reject it. His advice to us was keep sending them in, make sure the opening is exciting, and try to have a catchy and interesting title. While this may not be every company or things may have changed, this was the advice given.
This woman’s name appears on the Declaration of Independence. So why don’t we know her story?
Mary K. Goddard printed one of the most famous copies of our founding document. To do it, she had to face down the Twitter trolls of 1776.

The Declaration of Independence printed with the names of the signers. Mary Katharine Goddard’s name is at the bottom. 

“Look closely at one of those printed copies of the Declaration of Independence.

See it? The woman’s name at the bottom?

It’s right there. Mary Katharine Goddard.

If you’ve never noticed it or heard of her, you aren’t alone. She’s a Founding Mother, of sorts, yet few folks know about her. And some of America’s earliest bureaucrats did their best to shut her down. Same old, same old.

Goddard was fearless her entire career as one of America’s first female publishers, printing scoops from Revolutionary War battles from Concord to Bunker Hill and continuing to publish after her offices were twice raided and her life was repeatedly threatened by haters.

Yup, she faced down the Twitter trolls of 1776.”

Read the full piece here

I do love you. I still love you.
I will never tell you that, though. There’s no use. Our time is over. Telling myself this is most difficult when I see you. When you speak to me. When I see you at that bar neither of us
gave up since our break up or the corner gas station. I hate how small this town is. I love you though.

You’re still so sweet to me. You say hello, with that smile that could melt thin air. Your eyes still look at me the same. Or is it that I only still choose to look at them the same? My heart beats out of my chest, if you looked hard enough you’d see it. You say hello, then we have a short conversation. But my heart knows no boundaries. My words are homesick and miss you being their home. I love you and my heart can’t keep secrets. So when we say goodbye, there’s nothing more my heart wants than to grab your hand and tell you I love you. I miss my lips on your forehead before you’d leave. Remember that?

I can’t say I love you. But I can’t say goodbye.
So instead I cope with this by using any other three word phrase. See you later, take care now, until next time. It’s saying it, without saying it. Those three words, each word replacing the ones I wish I could still use. I’m getting better at it. I’m getting better at loving you from afar.

You looked beautiful tonight,
You were never one to wear white. You’d always wear black. At least with me. You’ve curled your hair in a way I’ve never seen before. A bit more messy, good messy. You looked so alive. I’m glad we’re both still in this small town I hate, running into each other every now and then. Because you make me feel alive too.

“Until next time.”
—  Those Three Words // a.m.g.
Dear Publishers

I love buying your books but PLEASE DON’T

  • change the covers halfway through a series, could you at least wait until the series is over and then re-print? Or print the old versions as well?
  • change the size of the paperbacks halfway through a series, now my bookshelf is messed up thanks
  • if people aren’t complaining about the covers they are probably fine, don’t change them 

Please DO:

  • Put the number on the front of books and the spines so I know what order the series is in when I’m in a bookshop
  • sell series in sets for a discounted price
  • talk to the readers more about what they like regarding cover designs
  • add illustrations to the inside cover pages, I love illustrations
  • Spines in a series that make a rainbow, my heart

Louis Christophe François Hachette (5 May 1800 – 31 July 1864) 

French publisher who established a publishing Paris house designed to produce books and other material to improve the system of school instruction. Publications were initially focused on the classics and subsequently expanded to include books and magazines of all types. The firm is currently part of a global publishing house. (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: 1.-2. Frontispiece “Fig. 1 - Le théâtre à huit heures du matin. P. Laplante, Sc.” and title page from L’Envers du Théatre. Machines et Décorations par M. J. Moynet. Deuxième Édition. Illustrée de 60 Vignettes sur bois par l’auteur. Paris: Librairie Hachette et Cie, 1874.  3.-4. Title page and illustration “Patriotes élégants en 1789 et 1790, d’aprês le Cabinet des modes. Languet” from Histoire du Costume en France. Depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqua la fin du XVIIIe Siècle par J. Quicherat. Ouvrage Contenant 481 Gravures dessinées sur bois d’aprês les documents authentiques par Chevignard, Pauquet et P. Seller. Paris: Librairie Hachette et Cie, 1875.  5. Title page from Étude sur la vie et les ouvrages de M. T. Varron par Gaston Boissier. Paris: Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie, 1861.  6. Title page from Le Théatre Français sous Louis XIV par Eugène Despois. Paris: Librairie Hachette et Cie, 1874.

We’ve been suffering a gross internet blackout for the last couple of days. Talk about a dark night of the soul! 

I made this little french knight during the disaster. 

Things I want in more books
  • illustrations on the inside pages. you know how you open The Wrath and the Dawn and there’s the beautiful picture of Shahrzad? MORE OF THOSE
    • i want this to be a normal thing in hardcovers
    • go big or go home. have a full page illustration of the opening scene
    • wouldn’t that be awesome
  • for heaven’s sake make sure there’s a blurb on the paperbacks. because sometimes there’s just quotes from reviews and other authors and that’s ridiculous
  • less describing female characters in terms of their attractiveness. if you don’t introduce every male character like that don’t do it for the girls. this pisses me off.
  • more books without romance
  • make it easier to get signed books! not everyone can get to book signings. please i’m jealous
  • more books where the spines do pretty things like make a rainbow or a picture or a face or just somehow go together really nicely
    • in the same vein, more authors whose books match. you know how all rainbow rowell books are like pastel-ish and look hand drawn? like the books themselves don’t match but the author has a general aesthetic
  • i thought i had more of these i’m gonna have to add to this
So you want to be a writer? Essential tips for aspiring novelists

How to write a killer opening line. Why Google is not research. When to rip it up and start again. Whatever you do, just write! Lessons from acclaimed novelist and creative writing professor Colum McCann

Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody,” said Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet more than a century ago. “There is only one way. Go into yourself.” Rilke, of course, was right – nobody but yourself can help. In the end it all comes down to the strike of the word on the page, not to mention the strike thereafter, and the strike after that. But Rilke was taken by the request from a young writer, and he corresponded with Franz Xaver Kappus in 10 letters over the course of six years. Rilke’s was advice on matters of religion, love, feminism, sex, art, solitude and patience, but it was also keyed into the life of the poet and how these things might shape the words upon the page.

“This most of all,” he says. “Ask yourself in the most silent hour of night: must I write?”   


In the age of Amazon, used bookstores are making an unlikely comeback

Early next month, Pablo Sierra is opening a used bookstore in Northwest Washington — an unlikely bet in the digital age made even more inconceivable, given that his only experience with books is reading them.

“I guess it is pretty crazy,” Sierra said, echoing an observation shared by some of his friends.

Or maybe not. Sierra, like ­other book lovers, has read articles about slowing e-book sales and watched as independent bookstores such as Politics and Prose thrive, catering to readers who value bookish places as cultural hubs and still think the best reading device is paper.

Used bookstores, with their quintessential quirkiness, eclectic inventory and cheap prices, find themselves in the catbird seat as the pendulum eases back toward print. In many cities, that’s a de facto position: They’re the only book outlets left.