Posts tagged ‘heyteenageroftheyear’

May 18th, 2010

The Biz

by Madeleine Rex

It’s common knowledge that a businessman/woman needs to know his/her market. Inside and out. Backwards and forwards. Better than the back of their hand.

In the case of publishing, that does not entail following current trends or stealing the voice of a (currently) popular author. That’s like plagiarism of ideas. We all know that 1) If you’re a writer, you’ve probably written pages upon pages in the past, and you’ve got your own voice. Don’t tape over it; and 2) that trends pass. They’re like seasons. Except there aren’t four. There are fifteen hundred million. Keeping up with them will be detrimental to your writing time.

However, you don’t want to be entirely oblivious. I’m not talking of the market, but of publishing in general. Rachelle Gardner recently tweeted something that caught my eye:

“Dear Agent, here is a link where you can see my manuscript.” That is not a query, sorry.

Yeah, no. Not a query. That example screams one of two things. Either the writer had absolutely no idea what he or she was doing or he/she has a terrible, sour sense of humor. I doubt agents are looking for either. Every inkling of information someone could ever dream of wanting to know regarding querying, agents, critiques, publishing, etc. can be found on the internet. It’s all here. There’s a fantastic array of publishing-related blogs and sites. If only one has the will to look.

Elana recently posted about communicating with non-writers. You know; those people who don’t stay up at night pondering how to write a single sentence or accurately describe the emotional aftereffects of murdering someone? These are the people who still believe that you can get your book published with sheer will. People ask me, “Are you going to get it published?” (It being my book.) I tell them it’s not that easy, but what I really want to say is, “Why don’t you try to get it published?!”

Really, this publishing thing? It’s murder. Which makes us all suicidal.

Knowledge, in this instance, is your weapon. Use it. Don’t make a fool out of yourself, and by golly make sure you know what a query is.

I’ve compiled a list of the major publishing blog/sites. Of course, many of you already have your weapon in hand and are ready to face the publishing world. However, if you find that you don’t recognize one of the names below, I’d check it out.

Nathan Bransford’s Blog (The literary agent celebrity.)

Rachelle Gardner’s Rants & Ramblings

Kristin Nelson’s Pub Rants

Eric’s Pimp my Novel

The Query Tracker Blog

Absolute Write Forums

Writer’s Digest Forums (By the way, you’re in idiot if you’re an aspiring author and have not yet subscribed to WD. I’m not going to tip-toe around your feelings here. Do it. Now. You will not regret it.)

Steph Bowe’s Hey! Teenager of the Year (Check out Steph’s blog particularly if your a teen writer.)

Naturally, I’m missing a lot. If you have any blogs/sites you would recommend, let me know. I’ll be adding a separate link column in my sidebar for such things soon.

So, don’t be naive. Don’t assume anything. Just do your research. Get to know your market and the world you intend to live in before you work and live in it.

You wouldn’t by a house without walking through it, would you?

May 17th, 2010

From Peer to post by Steph Bowe

by Madeleine Rex

Steph Bowe (of Hey! Teenager of the Year) recently wrote an article for The Age. I loved it, so I’m reposting it below. You can find the original here. She touches on the wonders of blogging, the lovely YA genre, and how important it is to respect YA (which we know I’m ardent about. You can read my guest post, “Dear Writers: Respect YA”, here).

From Peer to post

When I tell people that I write for teenagers, I get all sorts of interesting responses. There are the people who think that I’m doing a great service to society, and enriching the lives and imaginations of our youth. There are the people who think that books for teenagers aren’t really books at all, because apparently writing for kids is easy. Then there are the people who just ask me if I’ve read Twilight.

I don’t write young adult (YA) novels because I’m a good samaritan or because I can’t write for adults or because Twilight inspired me. I write for young people because it’s something I’ve been drawn to, and because the teenage experience is something I’m so familiar with. It comes easily to me because I’m going through it right now. I’m not in a position to patronise teenage readers, because I am a teenager, and, for me, my audience is also my peers.

As a writer, blogs are brilliant for connecting with your audience. While plenty of adults are computer literate, the internet is really the realm of the young person. We’re constantly told of the horrors of the internet, the kids revealing too much about themselves — but there’s an upside to it as well. The intelligent kids eager to learn, the ones who live for books, are able to contact their favourite authors in moments — something unheard of a couple of decades ago. This is fantastic for me, and for other authors, because we can connect with our audience instantaneously. I can write a blog post and within seconds have a response from someone on the other side of the world.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from blogging and being able to communicate with teens online, it’s that irrespective of where in the world they live, and their circumstances, there’s a common theme to their experiences, and the way they feel about themselves and the world around them is pretty much the same. I may never meet any of these kids, but I know their hunger for new experiences. I know their fear about the future.

Universally these teenagers rely on books. They make sense of their world through novels written for them. They can learn about things they haven’t experienced and lives they’ll never live. Books help them escape from their reality. Books move them and amaze them and inspire them and maybe help them become better people. Books for teenagers are real books because teenagers are real people. Writing for them is great, because everything is so new and big and scary — your teenage years are full of risks and first experiences and everything seems so profound.

I love writing YA. Blogging is a fantastic forum for bringing issues to light that couldn’t comfortably be brought up within normal conversations. There’s a veil of anonymity that allows people to be more honest online than they would be with people they knew well in the physical world. I’ve received so many wonderful responses to posts about difficult issues that youth need to talk about, but don’t get the opportunity to. When you want to connect with people online, you have to be honest, respectful and non-judgmental. You have to reveal some of yourself.

I know what it’s like to be a teenager today. I know what aggravates us, the things we worry about and angst over. I know that so many young people in so many different situations feel the exact same feelings I do about things. And because I’m a teenager — because I’m experiencing this all right now, because I don’t know anything apart from this uncertainty, this great unknown thing in front of me that’s going to be my life — I have compassion and respect for the youth I write for. And if you don’t respect your audience, there’s really no use writing at all.

Steph Bowe is a 16-year-old Young Adult author. Her debut novel, Girl Saves Boy, will be published by Text Publishing in September. Her blog for teenagers is called Hey! Teenager of the Year. As part of the Emerging Writers Festival, Bowe is part of a forum, A Short Note on Process, where four writers talk about their creative processes, 10am, May 30, at the Melbourne Town Hall. Bookings and information:

February 23rd, 2010

Steph Bowe's Ridiculously Awesome Contest!

by Madeleine Rex

Steph Bowe is hosting a wonderful contest on her blog, Hey! Teenager of the Year in celebration of making it to 700 followers via blogger.

Here’s a bit of her post:

International 700 follower competition! Up for grabs is:

  1. A blog or website design by me (a custom graphic header, buttons and a new background/layout)
  2. A query critique & a first five pages critique from me!
  3. ARCs of No and Me by Delphine De Vigan and The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

There will be three randomly selected winners! (If you’re a non-writer or non-blogger, just mention it in the name field next to your name. That way I’ll just enter you for the ARCs!) Entries will close March 5th, midnight, AEST.

This is an opportunity you can’t let wander by you, whistling. To grab its sleeve and pull it back, click!

I’m heading back to finish filling the entry form… I’ll be back tomorrow with a book review, hopefully. My math homework took a century today and I didn’t have time to write one.