Novelist Colson Whitehead

Skip grad school and get all the writerly advice you need at Flavorwire, which has collected mantras for writers: Zadie Smith's grand, "Avoid cliques, gangs, groups," Jonathan Franzen's techie, "Never use the word 'then' as a ­conjunction," and Richard Ford's sage, "Don't write letters to the editor." That's good counsel from Ford, who is famous for spitting on Colson Whitehead, who panned Ford's A Multitude of Sins; why write a lowly letter when you can log a direct complaint?

The Awl's Maria Bustillos writes "Dave Eggers is the most detested man in American haute-literary circles," and explains why you shouldn't hate the guy.

At the Tools of Change conference, Arianna Huffington tried to calm fears about the end of publishing, but still expounded on the virtues of free content.

The 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction finalists have been announced. Much hasty Googling of "Lorraine Lopez" has ensued; her Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories, published by BkMk books, is an unlikely candidate against literary brand names like Sherman Alexie, Lorrie Moore, Barbara Kingsolver, and Colson Whitehead. And yeah, we're pulling for Whitehead (He's brushed off Ford's Pulitzer-winning spittle), deserving for his deft and funny novel and his endlessly diverting tweets.

The Ask Author Sam Lipsyte

To see how publishers are advertising in the digital age, subscribe to FSG's newsletter The LipSite, which promotes Sam Lipsyte's book The Ask (pub date: 3/2) by sending readers doses of the novel's acidic wit (and author interviews) "precisely at the most depressing point of your workweek." Perhaps it is better than those trailers that publishers use to promote books, which Salon's Laura Miller calls "silly," but if you're going to do a trailer, do it like this clever one for John Wray's Lowboy.

Polish up your love stories, readers: the editors at htmlgiant are holding a writing contest, to be judged by Rick Moody. The winner will receive a library's worth of books from the venerable Dalkey Archive Press.

Tony Judt's Ill Fares the Land, based on a lecture on social democracy he gave at NYU this fall, is being rushed to print on March 15.


Magnificent obsession: Flickr user John Bertram has collected more than one hundred Lolita covers.

Generation Geek: At a time when comic book culture has never been more mainstream—or more lucrative—where’s the line between wannabe and true believer?

The online journal Significant Objects collects junk, writes stories about it, then sells it on eBay—transformed into literary junk. Hear Objects co-founder Joshua Glenn explain. The latest post is by Padgett Powell on a Mickey Mouse patch. He's hoping to ignite a bidding war with a tale featuring the patch and a young Edgar Winter. Our Favorite? Sheila Heti's story about the Cape Cod Shoe.

Among the blurbs on David Shields's new book Reality Hunger is one by Patricia Hampl: "I've just finished (for the first of what I know will not be the only time) Reality Hunger." A glance through the endnotes reveals that Hampl is quoted in Hungry three times. So, in short, she's eager to reread a book that references her—but that's OK, we're all a little hungry for attention. Jonathan Raban, Ben Marcus, Philip Lopate, and Geoff Dyer all submitted rave quotes, and all are cited in the text.