Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Meet Me in Chicago!

I am on the train to ChiCon (or getting ready to get on the train... or already in Chicago). Either way, it's ChiCon and I'll be there. If you'll be there too, find me...

Saturday 10:30-noon (in Wrigley): Why I Love My Editor panel
Saturday 7-7:30 (in Addams): Reading (definitely my adult urban fantasty Kiss of Death, possibly a bit of something else if there's time and dependent on the age of the audience, I might do Pretty Souls)
Sunday 5-6:30 (in Toronto): Literary Beers with Seleste deLaney (where I'll talk magic, urban fantasy, corsets, steampunk, sex, and romance--and there will be beer--since there's beer, I'm assuming this is a 21 and over event)

Otherwise, I'll be bopping around like my normal half-awake-half-crazy self. Feel free to stop me to say hi :) 

Friday, August 24, 2012

How Many of Me Do We Really Need?

Adult-me is on a blog tour this week and next for a book coming out on Tuesday, so I'm a little frazzled and completely forgot which day it was. Anyway, apologies for the tardiness of my post here.

Most of my readers are well aware that I write adult fiction (paranormal romance, urban fantasy, etc) under another name. When I first started in the business, I had these plans of keeping the two personae totally separate. That lasted about a day on Twitter before I accidentally tweeted something about my first adult release on my YA account. Then I said "Screw it" and removed the very thin veil of secrecy. My thought was that my names were different enough there wouldn't be any mistaking one for the other, so it was no big deal.

Considering the PRT books are on hold temporarily and my other YA projects are in various stages of submission, I haven't had a lot to talk about here or on Twitter. And I'm starting to wonder if separating my worlds so much was really my best plan. Don't get me wrong, I like having the two names to keep things very clearly separated, but I'm starting to think two Twitter accounts is... less than useful. I've had similar thoughts about two websites (though I think that is less likely to change in the long run) and two blogs in addition to group blogs (which may just mean I decrease my individual blogs to every other week).

I think I'm going to spend some time talking to my editors who work with both adult and YA and discuss the possibility of "merging" my accounts. (Essentially putting both author names on the account but a screen name that works for both.) I'm still not sure it's a good idea, but I feel like I'm neglecting people by not talking on the other account. Long story short, it's making me sad. I don't need more sad in my life.

Like many things I don't think this will be a quickly made decision, so bear with me while I ponder things. And in the meantime, if you wouldn't mind keeping your fingers crossed regarding some of those other projects, I'd be incredibly grateful.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

YA and Digital Publishing

There have been studies on teens and their book buying habits. A lot of them. And recent ones have shown both that teens are reluctant to get on the ereader train and that digital sales of YA fiction are skyrocketing. They cite sales of Twilight and Hunger Games and the like. The problem is that those books are selling no matter what format they're in.

Not unlike erotica and erotic romance, a lot of adult women are embarrassed to read YA in public. There is an "I shouldn't read this" attitude that makes reading on digital devices "safer." So, the best sellers are showing an uptick.

A key difference between the erotica/erotic romance digital sales and the YA digital sales is that the YA sales aren't shifting to digital first/digital only publishers. At least not in the same droves. The problem is YA sales are dependent on actual teen readers. They are the ones who give books the push they need to succeed--they're the ones who make a book popular enough that those adult readers hear the buzz.

What that means is those YA digital first/digital only publishers have a daunting task ahead of them. They're trying to sell books to people who don't shop in the same way as their adult readers. Teens don't go hunting for new stores to buy books from. Which means unless the publisher puts a lot of money and effort into promotion, they won't reach that target audience.

What's interesting to note is that there are the occasional self-pubbed YA titles that take off. Whether that's because the author really knows how to target their promotional efforts or they hit with the right book at the right time or they sold their soul... (This is not to say any of those success stories are undeserving, merely to point out that there seems to be a gap in knowledge from those successes to publishers being able to mimic them.)

So, what's the trick? How does one prod teens to go in search of books that aren't hitting the shelves of their local bookstore? Books that aren't the ones all their friends have already read?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Remembering When

One of the things that I think can make or break a YA author is how well they remember and connect with their own teenage years. It's one of the reasons a lot of people right out of college do really well with YA--their teen years aren't that far behind them and a lot of the adult stuff is either new or hasn't happened yet.

I did a rather angry post yesterday at the Evil League of Evil Writers about life experiences and how they affect authors. One point I made is that everyone's life is different; even when we experience the same things, we likely will change in different ways in the aftermath. "Adult" experiences ("real job," marriage, children, divorce, etc) tend to pull people further and further away from that connection to their youth--unless they actively fight against it.

The book I was reading last week is by an author I've read for years. Over the last few books, I've really started to question her "YA brain." She had her female characters doing things and behaving in such ways that it made them (for me) stupid and rather unlikeable. Everything from the way a breakup was handled to weight issues to not understanding how someone could be hurt by betrayal.

Here's the thing... I remember being a teenager pretty well. Everything is bigger then. The highs are higher, the lows lower, and someone's world is going to end pretty much every week. At least this was my high school experience.

But all of us "got it." There was no "you two broke up three months ago, you should be over it." There might be a nudge toward the cute guy behind door number three, but not "get over it" attitude. When someone (male or female) dumped their girlfriend/boyfriend in a horrible way... people reacted. Sure, their friends might've stood by them. (And even there, sometimes there's irritation and anger. For example, I broke up with a guy--after a couple days--because kissing him felt like kissing a relative. My friends who were friendly with him as well weren't exactly happy with me.) But the jiltee's friends? No. They would want the jilter's head on a platter with a side of fries, thank you very much.

And, the level of this anger is in direct correlation to how long the couple dated, how long one wanted to date the other. Those things matter, and most teenagers (especially most teenage girls) wouldn't brush them aside.

Adults do that.

And the minute teen characters (no matter how responsible they might be) start to act like adults in those instances, they lose credibility for me. And so does the author.

I know YA fiction is hot right now, and a lot of agents and editors are dying for some quality middle grade novels, but... if an author can't deeply connect with that part of their past, it shows. It's been showing with this particular author for the last three books... maybe even four. The result is that I'm torn with continuing to buy the books. I'm emotionally invested in one character, but I'm not sure my wallet cares enough to find out what happens to him in a world where teenagers seem to have forgotten how to be teenagers.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Apologies for the lack of blogging. I was away last week, and this week... I'm reading a YA that is making me really angry. I'm trying to give it the benefit of the doubt, but last time I did that with this author, I was horribly disappointed.

At the moment I'm debating a post about the book (without naming the book) to discuss the issue that's plaguing me. Honestly, it's the only thing YA-related that's on my mind at the moment, so there's no post this week either until I get my thoughts in line on the matter.