Five Things: April 29, 2021

Sign up to get this as a fancy email newsletter every other Thursday: As in Guillotine. [NOTE: This post was backdated to align with the newsletter as it was published after I was able to access my own site again!]


Why Is an Insignificant Site Like Mine Being Attacked? | Wordfence

I didn’t send out a newsletter last week as scheduled because my website,, got hacked and it took a week to finally clean it up. (fingers crossed!) It took a lot of Googling, a little help from my host, Namecheap, and ultimately discovering Wordfence to identify and get rid of the malicious files. I’m now able to see hacking attempts in real-time and have greatly strengthened my security, so much so that I was locked out of my own site today because I tried to log in with an old username Chrome had saved for the site. FML!

Why would a little site like mine be a hacking target? Are the Big 5 out to get me as a few people (jokingly, I think) suggested? The truth is apparently more benign and depressing, and of course there’s even a stupid cryptocurrency angle to it.

The internet was famously built to route around failure, but what if the internet itself is what’s failed?


Your Burnout Is Unique. Your Recovery Will Be, Too. | Yu Tse Heng & Kira Schabram

“Self-care is not self-indulgent; on the contrary, taking a break and focusing on yourself is one of the best ways to combat exhaustion and burnout.”

Almost everyone is feeling some form of burnout, but I didn’t realize there are three distinct types that require subtly different ways to recover from. Exhaustion is the most familiar one for me, but cynical detachment is far more dangerous and the one I keep a close eye on. The past few years has made it an even bigger concern.


How the Pandemic Is Affecting Book Publishing | Jane Friedman

“Unfortunately, the New York Times frequently gets stuck on independent bookstores as the way for new talent and new titles to get discovered, even though they represent maybe 4-5 percent (optimistically) of overall book sales in the US.”

As a follow-up to a typically myopic NY Times article on the publishing industry a week ago (and a perfect example of data-driven vs. data-informed journalism), Jane Friedman actually dug into the data and offers several INFORMED insights with context and links. If you want to really understand the ins and outs of the book publishing industry beyond bestsellers and Big 5 PR, Jane is one of smartest people covering it, and one of the few with significant in-the-trenches business experience that ensures she’s always putting things in context.

I love bookstores but it’s always amazing the disproportionate amount of credit they get for breaking new voices versus libraries—which take far more bets on debuts and mid-list authors (in some cases justifying their minimal print runs), but when those titles don’t circulate because publishers didn’t market them, libraries can’t return them for credit. #cmonson


Guy LeCharles Gonzalez on Being Data-Informed | BookSmarts Podcast

“Data is only as useful as the context you’re pulling it into, and the other insights you bring to it.”

I’ve had “data-informed, never data-driven” as a professional tagline for several years now as “data-driven” has become a hollow buzzword. I was a guest on Joshua Tallent’s great new podcast, BookSmarts, to unpack it a bit, including some of the key differences between the book and magazine publishing worlds that I regularly have to remind myself about.

Give it a listen, and then check out his first episode that connects Moneyball to publishing.


Comics is a Medium, Not a Genre | John Shableski

Over at the day job, part of my role is to develop content that helps librarians and educators understand comics better so they can more effectively integrate them into their collections and curricula. One of my biggest industry pet peeves is people who refer to comics as a genre rather than a medium—one encompassing multiple formats and every genre imaginable—usually to dismiss them as either a) superhero fluff, or b) just for kids.

It was great working with my team to develop this resource establishing our take on it as part of our overall content marketing strategy, specifically a new series of Tutorials that answers some of the most common questions we get from our customers.

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