July 16, 2012 § 2 Comments
I was visiting my parents this weekend, and I saw this poll in my mom’s copy of Women’s Day:
Two of the four books they suggest are YA, but they’re not called out as such. It’s not a poll about what books moms are stealing from their teens’ bookshelves, or what YA women would like to try. They’re just listed as books. Granted, they’re not at the top of this poll, but I’m glad to see The Hunger Games and The Book Thief listed here without being labelled as an “other.”
June 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
On her blog, Shannon Hale shares some thoughts on traditional vs. self-publishing. Very much agree with her stance overall, especially:
“For those who are self-publishing because they’ve been rejected by professionals, I would ask, Why in such a hurry to be published? Someday you may wish you waited to put your very best work out there. And if this book is your very best work and it’s smokin’ awesome, then patience, it will find a home.
For those who prefer the control of self-publishing, I say, more power to you. It’s not the route for me, but I can see it would appeal to some.”
The control factor seems to be huge in self-publishing. If you want to be the #1 person behind your books in terms of content, marketing, and sales, go for it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s doable.
But if you’ve been rejected by lots of editors and agents already, maybe your book isn’t ready to meet its audience. There are a lot of stories I’ve worked on that haven’t come to fruition and I’m really glad they’re not out in the world for everyone to see. Does that mean writing them was a waste of time? Of course not.
Like Shannon says, this does not mean that there aren’t fantastic self-published books out there. Heck, I’ve read some pretty amazing fanfics in my day, which were certainly as well-written as any given trade fiction. But if you want to go down the self-publishing route, you need to think a lot more about how your audience will find your book and why this is the best way for you to connect with readers.
Side note: every time I type “self-publishing” I really want to type “elf-publishing,” mostly because I like the image of elves in curled-toe shoes and adorable hats making tiny books.
April 18, 2012 § 4 Comments
Love this post at the Hub about why YA novels deserve better book covers. Unlike much of adult fiction, there are a lot of strange model shots–pictures of girls that crop off their heads, pictures of just girls’ faces, lots of bright colors and big fonts. That doesn’t mean these kinds of covers can’t match a particular story or style. But much of the time, they don’t fully reflect the depth of the story inside. And perhaps even more than adult readers, teens can appreciate a cool design aesthetic. (Check out the stuff that’s posted on Tumblr.) Just because YA readers are younger doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate awesome cover art.
Capillya Uptergrove looks at some covers that work well, such as Winter Town by Steve Emond, which keeps things spare and lovely, or Insurgent by Veronica Roth, which can appeal to readers of any gender. A few other recent covers I’ve lived are The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr, Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, and Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. These tend toward the more minimal, which is my taste, but I think they’re good examples of how to design a cover without relying on a model shot.
Just like YA content has been expanding over the last few decades, I think we’re going to see more covers that push boundaries over the next several years. Again, teens are already very design-savvy. Why shouldn’t YA get more covers that reflect that?
April 10, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Myths. Monsters. Secrets. Serial Killers. If any of that sounds interesting to you, you should check out Sideshow Theatre Company’s Summer of Theater, in which they will produce two fantastic shows: The Gacy Play and Idomeneus. But it takes a lot to produce one show, let alone two. Enter the Sideshow Summer of Theater Kickstarter Campaign!
I can personally vouch for Sideshow’s awesomeness. They’ve been putting on compelling shows for the last five years and helping young artists find their voice in the Chicago area. By pledging, you’re helping a vibrant arts organization. Plus the literary manager is pretty cute.
And if you’re in the Chicago area (or planning to be) make sure to check out these shows once they’re up and running. Going to see indie theater makes you feel like one of the cool kids.