I’m beginning to notice that my news skews toward the juvenile, which isn’t a bad thing considering how the juvenile market has been booming lately. In YA: Then vs. Now, Sarah La Polla breaks down what’s changed: “For being such an important part of the industry, YA is practically a baby. It’s a genre that keeps growing, not only in numbers (though that is true too), but in definition. Novels for teens used to be its own category, relegated to the back of the bookstore with a simple sign above it reading “Teen Literature.” Today, there are as many sub-genres in YA as there are in adult fiction.”
Speaking of sub-genres, Amy H. Sturgis lists the YA Dystopian novels that have cropped up since 1960, and the list is just going to keep on growing. She describes dystopian as, “those that imply a warning by describing a world gone wrong: utopias that took a bad turn, worst-case scenario post-apocalyptic societies, post-disaster tales that focus more on the undesirable communities that develop after the disasters than on the disasters themselves, etc. ”
If you’re still writing, agent Janet Reid wonders if you’ve set any summer goals this year, because “setting goals will get you farther than not setting goals– even if you don’t reach the actual goal itself.” Know what that means? Set some goals right now! And here’s Camp NaNoWriMo to help you accomplish those goals! But while you’re setting goals and working to reach them, be very careful that you don’t overdo the solitude that you’ll need for writing. As R.L. LaFevers says, there’s a big difference between solitude and isolation. “At first glance, these would appear to be non-issues for the introverted writer, who thrives in solitude. Yet introverts need human connection as well. We are not immune from loneliness; we are not invulnerable to solitude’s darker twin, isolation.”
When you’re done writing, you need to look for an agent. And here’s one that’s the best of the best. Andrew Wylie talks about not just literature, but the new rules in publishing as presented by ebooks. While his colleagues seem to be afraid, “Wylie remains a rare optimist in publishing circles, fueled perhaps by the healthy backlists and literary estates he represents. Information technology may be upending business models, but he believes the global interconnection these advancements permit provides immense opportunities for his authors.”
And after you’ve landed that dream agent, you might want to know what the submission process is. It’s different from the query process you used to find that agent, by the way. “Going on sub varies greatly based on your agent. In all likelihood, any certain approach is perfectly normal and acceptable. Some agents will have their authors write the cover letter that will be sent to editors with the manuscript. Some prefer to do that themselves. Some will call editors to pitch, others will email. Some will send out very few initial submissions, others might send out a little larger group.”
And if you’re looking for that magic formula that will propel your book into superstar status, this blog breaks down the possibilities. “To become a bestseller in the e-format I’d say it takes hard work, writing skill, and the development and maintenance of loyal fans, with a generous pinch of luck and good timing.”
Past the writing process and ready for a presentation? Here’s how to get rid of the jitters. I’m going to need that on Sunday at the BooksNJ 2011 event, where I’ll be presenting on two panels: non-fiction children’s books, and ebooks.
There was some talk over on LinkedIn last week about whether or not book trailers for novels was worth it, or a giant money suck. Results are inconclusive. You have to be a part of the Ebooks, Ebook Readers, Digital Books and Digital Content Group to see the conversation. I think.
In tech news, word on the street is that the new Nook kicks the Kindle’s ass. Hooah!
And finally, the Wall Street Journal article that’s causing a big stir among the YA crowd: Darkness Too Visible, in which YA is perceived as “a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is.” Of course, the YA authors who write this “dark, dark stuff” and those who don’t, and especially the ones who love those books, fired back. Laurie Halse Anderson said in a post, “I know how ridiculous and harmful the statements are. Books don’t turn kids into murderers, or rapists, or alcoholics. (Not even the Bible, which features all of these acts.) Books open hearts and minds, and help teenagers make sense of a dark and confusing world. YA literature saves lives. Every. Single. Day.” And on Jay Asher‘s Facebook page, he commented, “The Wall Street Journal should be ashamed for printing such a disgustingly one-sided piece of nonsensical crap.”
My two cents is: if you don’t like the literature you see, keep looking until you find something you do like, or better yet, write your own.