How the Internet Helps Indies, Twitter Essays, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

The New York Times profiles independent bookstores across the United States that are using the Internet and social media to gain customer loyalty and keep up with online retail giants like Amazon.

This morning the National Book Foundation announced the finalists for the National Book Awards in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and young people’s literature. The winners of the $10,000 awards will be announced on November 16. For the complete list of finalists, check out the Grants & Awards Blog.

At Vox, Pulitzer Prize–winning fiction writer Junot Díaz discusses the role of the humanities today. “I am profoundly committed to and believe that it is impossible to operate a democracy, and the specific society that I assume that we all value, without a very strong commitment to the humanities and to the values of the humanistic enterprises.”

A piece at the Los Angeles Times celebrates the impact of Luis J. Rodriguez, Los Angeles’s second poet laureate. Rodriguez’s two-year term concludes this month. Read a Q&A with Rodriguez in the July/August 2015 issue of Poets & Writers.

Romance publisher Harlequin is launching Graydon House Books, an imprint focused on commercial women’s fiction. The imprint, aimed at book club readers, will release its first titles—including Eva Woods’s How to Be Happy and Kelly Rimmer’s Before I Let You Go—in September 2017.

“Women authors, genius aside, must make sure they are not too old, or too young. Not too serious, but also serious enough. They have to be attractive, but not too attractive; for some reason in men it’s dreamy but in women it’s suspicious.” In an essay for the Millions, Marie Myung-Ok Lee considers author photo expectations, privacy, and the pressures on women writers.

What is a Twitter essay and why write one? A Twitter essay, writes Emily Smith, is “entirely different from a storm of Tweets written by, say, Donald Trump…. Watching a Twitter essay unfold is like watching a concert, not the recording; it’s like attending an author’s reading, not reading the book itself.” (Ploughshares)