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Weekly Roundup: January 10, 2019

Our round-up of key news affecting authors. In this week’s edition: The publishing industry is excited about audio, whether Catcher in the Rye is still relevant, and more…

Does It Pay to Be a Writer?
The New York Times
“Writing has never been a lucrative career choice, but a recent study by the Authors Guild, a professional organization for book writers, shows that it may not even be a livable one anymore.”

Narrator of 133-Hour Audiobook Proclaims Boom in ‘Evolving Art’
The Guardian
“The increasing popularity of audiobooks has raised recorded narration to the level of a new art form, according to the man whose 133-hour version of an epic autobiographical novel has sealed his status as one of its foremost practitioners.”

These Heroes Are Saving Black Feminist Classics by Putting Them on Wheels
Teen Vogue
“With the Durham Public Library under renovation until 2020 and the selections at local stores lacking, Gumbs and her counterparts decided to take action: The trio is transforming an Airstream trailer into what Gumbs called ‘a tiny, black feminist nerd utopia.’”

How Hollywood Gets the Publishing Industry Wrong
The New York Times
“Hollywood’s love affair with book publishing has been long and varied, touching every cinematic genre. And yet it is a love that dare not spell its name correctly. Despite decades of sending emissaries back and forth from coast to coast,
swapping mediums, one side looking for money, the other for legitimacy, we remain strangers to our cousins in storytelling.”

He Disparaged the Police on Facebook. So They Arrested Him.
The New York Times
“About half of states have laws making libel a crime, and prosecutions are not uncommon. About 25 people were charged with violating New Hampshire’s law from 2009 to 2017, according to a lawsuit filed last month on behalf of Mr. Frese by the American Civil Liberties Union.”

Netflix’s Bow to Saudi Censors Comes at a Cost to Free Speech
The New York Times
“Netflix removed an episode of ‘Patriot Act’ with the comedian Hasan Minhaj from its service in Saudi Arabia at the request of the government there.”

Political Titles Like ‘Fire And Fury’ Helped Increase 2018 Book Sales
“The technology backlash has been a boon for books: As people try to tamp down their screen time, they’re turning back to reading more physical books.”

Going into 2019, the Publishing Industry Is Excited About Audio
“With even more audiobook accessibility, 2019 is poised to keep the audio train rolling, and no publisher wants to be left behind.”

For the First Time in More Than 20 Years, Copyrighted Works Will Enter the Public Domain
“‘There comes a point when a creative work belongs to history as much as to its author and her heirs,’ said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild.”

In the Race for Content, Hollywood Is Buying Up Hit Podcasts
The New York Times
“Executives at Netflix, Amazon and Apple are spending wildly for content, which has created a sense of urgency among their rivals at broadcast networks and cable channels. And like their mid-century predecessors, they have been aggressive about buying up ready-made programming to fill their expanding slates. These days, that means podcasts.”

J.D. Salinger at 100: Is ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ still relevant?
The Washington Post
“But what’s most striking is how common the novel’s tone has become over the intervening decades. Holden is Patient Zero for generations infected by his misanthropy.”

What Makes a Sentence a Masterpiece?
“A great sentence makes you want to chew it over slowly in your mouth the first time you read it. A great sentence compels you to rehearse it again in your mind’s ear, and then again later on.”

How to Write Your Way Through the Middle
“Writing a novel is a long, twisted journey to and through the middle. I know this because I’ve published two books, and while the beginnings and endings of each were clear to me, writing the middle felt like I’d booked passage to a country where the language and customs were foreign to me — a journey from which I wasn’t sure I’d return.”