The Study: Issue #5 - Updates from the Book World

Writing with breast cancer, upcoming titles from Rob Hart and Steph Post, 2019 Booker Long List, and updates on my querying journey


It’s been a rough couple of months. Some personal issues have forced me to scale back certain projects, such as COVERED, which is on an indefinite hiatus. This newsletter also took a hit, but I wanted to get back into it. Below you’ll find some news stories, some upcoming release info, and a few updates about what I’ve been up to. Enjoy.

“The Year I Went Bald”

Sarah Weinman for The Walrus:

A debut book only happens once, a singular event. In my case, it’s all the more special because of how writing it forced me to reckon with the most essential parts of myself. Before cancer, reading was oxygen and writing was power. They remain that way after cancer but bound even tighter together, as if strengthened by an extra covalent bond.

Incredible essay by Sarah Weinman, author of The Real Lolita, who wrote the book while she was being treated for breast cancer. The whole piece is teriffic, but the part about her worrying whether she'll have to give back her advance in case her treatments prevent her from making her deadline says so much about what we expect from our employers--in that, we don't expect much.

The Warehouse by Rob Hart

The book doesn't come out for a few weeks, but you should pre-order it now anyway. It looks fantastic, which shouldn't surprise you if you're familiar with Rob's work. I had the honor of interviewing him for my podcast, COVERED, several months ago and it was clear that he was on the verge of a breakout hit. This looks to be it.

Set in the confines of a corporate panopticon that’s at once brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, The Warehouse is a near-future thriller about what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business–and who will pay the ultimate price.

If you're worried about a certain always-listening shopping conglomerate and their influence on the world, this should prove to be one hell of a ride.

Pre-order from any of the links at the top of the page linked below (though try to do it through your local bookshop. You know, so you don't feed the beast):

Holding Smoke Cover Reveal

Author Steph Post unveiled the cover of her next book, Holding Smoke, the final volume in her brilliant southern gothic noir series starring Judah Cannon. You can purchase the first two books, Lightwood and Walk in the Fire now and I suggest you do—they’re so much fun.

Holding Smoke comes out January 28, 2020.

2019 Booker Long List Announced

A little Atwood, a little Rushdie, a lot of titles I still haven't read yet.

Query Status Update

I started querying my latest novel, The Prophet, in June and here are the stats so far:

7 Queries Sent

2 Rejections (one from a query, one from a full)

2 Requests for full

4 Haven't responded yet

Getting two requests right off the bat is not common for me. I usually have a string of rejections/no responses before getting a nibble or two. That I received two full requests so quickly has me feeling hopeful.

In fact, just today I received a rejection that was so positive about the book, I’m certain it will find a home eventually. The agent didn’t fall in love with it, but felt sure someone else would feel differently. It was a seriously needed boost to the ol’ self-doubt.

It'll be several weeks/months before I hear back on the other one, so hopefully by the time the next issue of this newsletter comes out, I'll have some good news.

Query Hack

Speaking of querying, I got tired of my copying/pasting workflow for every query I sent. Instead, I built a Siri Shortcut on my iPad to help me automate the process. Read about it here and download the shortcut yourself to make your own querying journey a little easier.

About the Author

Harry Marks is the host of the literary podcast COVERED where he interviews authors about their books and the writing process. He is also the editor of the award-winning Plumbago Magazine and a writer for Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities podcast from the HowStuffWorks Network. You can read his work at The CoilHelloHorror, and

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