Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Contemporary Books Just Make Me Happy

Tip of the Day: Check out how one book club held a "Fauxpresso Nite" when they read The Espressologist.

I'm pretty sure I've talked about my book club on here before. I love being in a book club because I end up reading a lot of books I normally wouldn't have picked up. Like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Based on the name and cover it probably wouldn't have made me pick it up in a store but based on word of mouth from friends we read it and it was AWESOME. I since passed it onto others who have also loved it. It's a newly released movie too (please come to my town!!).

This month's book is The Bake Off:

Now, to be completely honest, I wasn't even sure of what the book was about or if it was any good but I heard it was a light fun contemporary read so I rsvp-ed for book club and bought the book right away. Just because of the genre. Last month's book club? Well, it was pick your own classic to read and talk about. So I picked one. I won't name names here but I got about 75 pages in and peeked ahead to see I had like another 400 to go and I was already bored out of my mind. I gave up and missed the book club. I felt kind of guilty like a bad kid who couldn't do their homework. But I can see why some kids today don't like reading if they're always having to read literary classics and not what they're interested in. If it's a light contemporary book, for me anyway, I look so forward to it and can't wait for my "me" time to get back to reading it.

This week I read a draft of Jennifer Jabaley's (she wrote Lipstick Apology and Crush Control) newest book and WOW, it was so amazing! I completely loved it and was up late each night devouring it.

Contemporary books make me happy-- what kind of books make you happy?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Let There Be Light! (or Trends, They Are A-Changin')

Tip of the Day: Have YOU read a novel in verse yet? Embrace the different!

Remember my post from two weeks ago about the lack of dark/paranormal/grittiness in my YA novel on sub and how that was making it a "hard sell" in today's market? And how some of my teen volunteers said they wanted more realistic books and a lighter variety?

Looks like they are no longer the only ones!

OK, so we aren't out of the dark YA cave yet, but I read two things this past week:

1) On a YA listserv, a YA author with about 10 novels published said that her publisher told her they couldn't pub her new paranormal romance manuscript because there is a glut in the market.

2) On Twitter (I think! Gah! I wish I'd saved the link!), a YA publishing pro said that B&N stated that they don't have room for any more paranormal romance on their shelves.

So maybe the trend is starting to rock the other way!

Again, don't get me wrong: I love the wide variety of novels available to kids and teens. And I appreciate that many of the paranormal/sci-fi/dystopian/fantasy authors of today had been trying for years to break into the biz back when chick lit and realistic dramas were the It Girls. Yay HARRY POTTER and Edward Cullen for them! But I'm just ready for a new balance, for it not to be a "hard sell" for a realistic tale.

Let's see what happens in the next few months.

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who knew garbage could be so nice!

Tip of the Day: several people have mentioned lately that eReaders are nice for when you don't want people to see you are reading the latest Danielle Steele novel. To which I say...if you can't be proud of what you are reading...then why read it at all? And for all those people that hate on the Danielle Steele lovers out there...shame on you.

At a family outing this evening our conversation drifted towards books. During the discussion my cousin's nine year old daughter used one of the more interesting phrases I've heard to describe how she feels about books..."ooh...books are a piece of stinky garbage."

My aunt, who's a former librarian, cringed a bit at the saying, as well as the rest of the book lovers in the room.

But you know what I can't blame her for speaking her mind and at one point I probably felt the same way about books. (Wait, I still think my own books are stinky garbage some days.)

All of us immediately starting saying that probably means you haven't found the right book then and tried to get her to figure out what she might like to try reading (Harry Potter and Twilight were both out--which is good since there's tons of other great non-fantasy books out there).

At one point, I disliked books as well. I always felt there was something wrong with me for not enjoying the books they make you read in middle school and high school. Had I known there were such fun books out there that were just light and funny, I probably wouldn't have gone through my Book Hate Phase.

After discovering all these wonderful books, I'm now a true Book Lover. One that is not afraid to admit that she enjoys reading chick lit books, and would never touch your literary book club selection with a ten foot pole (unless I was dared too...then I'd do anything).

And that's what makes books so much fun...there's something for everyone!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Really, HOW Many Emails?

Tip of the Day: Turn off your e-reader when you put it down for a bit. I hate reading an exciting chapter and getting the Battery Low message.

I'm on vacation in North Carolina with my family. I always have great plans for writing on vacation. I spend hours downloading files to a stick drive. Then I get to the shore and I don't look at the computer for days.

OK, I've been here since Wednesday and it's Monday morning. Time to finally read my email, it should be quiet ... 256 messages!!! And suddenly I'm panicking. I have emails I need to respond to. I have a friend with good news in the writing world I want to congratulate. I have another friend looking for query help. I have people looking for freelance editing getting back to me, asking me what my rates are. I have library books to renew and bills to pay online. Is this what my life has become? Am I so attached to my online life that I can't take a few days off without falling hopelessly behind?

Meanwhile, my family is giving me dirty looks while I type this. They aren't attached to this online umbilical cord. Why am I typing instead of putting on my bathing suit? Don't I realize I'm on vacation?

I remember reading that when Thomas Edison died, someone in Congress proposed shutting off the electricity to New York City for one minute in memoriam. The proposal was refused; by the time Edison died, New York couldn't live without electricity for one minute. How close are we to the day when we can't live without the World Wide Web for a minute? Maybe we're already there.

How much time can you be away from the Internet without things falling apart?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fun Friday: Writing Prompts

Trying to think of something to write about? Check out this site for writing prompts. Hover over one of the numbers and they'll give you something to write about.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

When Do You Get Ideas?

Tip of the Day: I'm steadily getting more addicted to twitter. Follow me! @TinaSpringer

I got a new idea for a YA book this week and I'm so excited! It's one of those ideas where I'm examining my schedule and trying to decide what I can shuffle around so that I can start right away on this. That's the only hard part with a new great idea, having to wait. It's like a kid waiting for Christmas. I want to write it NOW! But I need to finish a critique, and two revisions. And I should start a different book I said I would start too. But I'm just going to have to fit this in somewhere. At least until I have a synopsis and a couple of chapters so that I don't forget any of my idea.

I noticed something too this week about when I get book ideas. I almost always get them in the shower or in spin class. Why the heck is that? I'm not sure. Is it the only time my mind is calm and not filled with the high-pitched screaming of 4 kids? Could be. And then I always get the ideas when I'm not near anything to write with! Take this week. I'm on the bike during class, the room is dark and the disco ball lights are swirling, Lady Gaga is blaring, and the instructor is yelling out moves. And I'm trying to figure out how I can reach my iphone to compose a new message to myself with the idea in it and send without looking obnoxious. Fun!

When do you guys get ideas?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wedding Weekend (or It's a Nice Day to Start Again*)

*With apologies to Billy Idol

Tip of the Day: Go to your local library for some air-conditioning this summer!

These past six days have been crazy busy, so I'll leave you with this:

I think I need to write some wedding shenanigans into a future book....

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Give an author a break?

Tip of the Day: ice cream is a must in this heat.

How willing are you to read one of your favorite author's books?

This weekend I finally got to reading Abandon by Meg Cabot. Now I love Meg's books, mostly because they are so fun. And despite usually liking realistic fiction, I tend to love her paranormal YA one's the most, merely because her main characters are strong willed and fiesty and the guys are...well...bad boys.

So hearing about Abandon as a retelling of the Persephone myth, I was super, super excited to read it.

But then I started it.

The beginning was a little confusing, since it kept switching time periods and skipping around a bit. Plus, there was alot of info dumping.

Any other book and I would have put it down and not looked back, but since it's Meg (yes I love her so much we are on a first name basis) I kept reading.

And after about 40 pages it started to kick in and you know turned out to be one of my favorite books by her. Despite taking longer to get to the good parts.

Now I'm excited for the sequel.

So what about you, do you give your favorite author more of a break and keep reading just because you know they will most likely deliver? Or do you put a book down no matter what?


Monday, July 18, 2011

This Is the Time to Get on Google Plus

Tip of the Day: Load up your beach bag! Towels, swim shoes, sunscreen, kids' goggles, a hat, and a paperback you're not afraid to lose. Mine's right by my front door.

I'm already half-addicted to Google Plus, Google's competitor to Facebook and Twitter. If you're wondering if there's a reason to be on Google Plus, I can only say try it out and see if you like it. Just ask someone you know already on Google Plus (like me) to send you an invite. If you're at all interested, I recommend getting on it now. Because right now, most of the conversation is about how we are going to use this new system, so there will never be an easier time to find your way around.

Google Plus has a few features Facebook and Twitter don't. The biggest draw is the ability to send status updates to just one group of people--say, YA Writers. Then you can have a string conversation like you can on Facebook. If you want to join a face-to-face meeting with any of your Google Plus friends, or hang out in the writers' hangout, you can do that, too.

So how to get started on Google Plus?
As you can see, Google Plus is more social than Twitter and more businesslike than Facebook. There are no games and contests here, but unlike Twitter, you can see a whole conversation string or start a chat. The "circles" that let you divide the people you follow into friends, family, and writerly peeps lets you switch channels from social to business. And we're all learning together now, so it's really fun starting a community! Come on down!

I'd be happy to answer any questions I can about Google Plus.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This is HUGE

Tip of the Day: Check out the informative interview social media master (and former agent now writer) Nathan Bransford did this week.

Something monumental happened. A big turning point for me really. I didn't think the day would ever come.

I got an awful, scathing review and I couldn't care less.

Really! Can you believe it? Crazy right? It came during the week (thanks google alerts) and I skimmed it (yeah, SKIMMED. I didn't even give it the time to fully read. Huge steps right?) and I could see that the reviewer was high or crazy because he or she went on for like 5 or 6 paragraphs about how just awful she thought my book was (this was The Espressologist by the way). So I closed the site and didn't give it another thought until just now when I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about this week. The me of two years ago would have gone hysterical, called her husband(or writing friends) complaining about the evil reviewer, and made a voo-doo doll of said reviewer (note: I should find old box of voo-doo dolls and discard them). But this time, nothing! I can't even recall the reviewer or her/his key points.

Why is that? Do I not care about people's opinions anymore? Well, no of course I do. I want people to love my books. Am I just emotionally dead inside now? Well gee, I hope not. You know what I think it is? I think I finally get that not every book is for every person. Is my book all those things that reviewer said? Um, OF COURSE NOT. If it was so god awful would a number of publishers fought over it at auction? No. If it was so terrible would I get e-mails from readers everyday telling me how much they love my books and wanting to know when the next one is coming out? Doubt it.

I think we have to recognize our books come somewhere in the middle. When people write and say your book is the best book ever written, it's the most profound, life-changing writing they've ever read etc., is it really? Puh-lease. I don't believe gushing reviews/e-mails either. So when they go to the extreme the other way and compare your book to algae on the rocks of their fish tank it's pretty silly. When I saw that bad review this week I think I even giggled at it.

Look at me, I do believe I've learned the art of the shrug off.

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Truth About My Book (or Not Trendy)

Tip of the Day: For a look at trends, check out YA author/agent Mandy Hubbard's "Epic Post on Trends" based on her meetings with kidlit editors in May.

One of the assignments my colleague and I are having our teen library volunteers do this summer is to read a new YA book (fic or non) and write up a 50 to 70-word review of it for a fall brochure. I asked two of the teens (a boy and a girl) what they were reading. The answer was "tough stuff" realistic fiction. And you know what else they said? They wished there was more upbeat, funny realistic fiction that was't quite so serious.


Don't get me wrong -- I love me some down-on-our-luck books. I was a HUGE fan of Lurlene McDaniel novels as a teen, as well as GO ASK ALICE. I understand the need for these books. And I love some current titles like this too.

But I just wish there was a bit more balance on the new YA book shelves.

My book on submission to editors, the one I would love for teens to be able to read and relate to (for those kids who blush and stammer and sweat when they have to give an oral report in school; for those who want something realistic with a lighter tone; and for those who love Project Runway and reality TV) is having trouble breaking through because of its lack of darkness and paranormal elements.

Yet I'm hopeful -- because trends cycle through, and because my teen volunteers are ready for something new -- that if not this summer then a summer soon my book will be ready to sell.I'm still sending my little YA novel good luck!

(Though anyone who wants it now, to be CUTTING EDGE when realistic stories hit big, don't hold back! :))

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pass me the cheese!

Tip of the Day: diving for a softball when you are over 30 = not a good idea.

After watching several contestants get slammed on America's Got Talent for being too cheesy has me thinking...what exactly is too cheesy?

Now I'm all for the cheese.

ABC Family movies anyone? Total fun to watch. Highly predictable, but still fun!

But when it gets a little tooooo's just...well...not funny and almost painful to watch.

The line of Acceptable Cheese has to be different for everyone, but I think these are my limits:

Acceptable: predictable plot (but still manages to throw in a few surprises)
Cheesy Overload: a plot that's so overdone that it was out of style 5 years ago

Acceptable: people that realize they are cheesy and play it up even more to poke fun at themselves or their story
Cheesy Overload: people that think they are setting trends and are cocky about it, but only deliver a subpar performance of something you've seen before

But as with everything: If you do cheese well, then anything goes!


Monday, July 11, 2011

As Long as There Are Queries and Deadlines ...

Tip of the Day: If you have an e-reader, check out the Baen free library at

St. Brigid of Ireland is my patron saint of writing. In the early sixth century, she founded a school of art specializing in illuminated manuscripts. She is the patron saint of poets, and just as when I lose something I ask St. Anthony to help me find it, sometimes when I'm writing or sending a query I ask St. Brigid for a little help.

Writing is hard on the self-confidence, as you've probably discovered. It's so easy to think "I can't do this. I'm not good enough." We put it all on ourselves: me, me, me. But when I am plagued with self-doubt, my faith reminds me that I am not alone. If I have something meaningful to say, God will help me say it. If this is what I am supposed to be doing, I shouldn't give up and I shouldn't let self-doubt ensnare me. There is not much I can do by myself if I believe in nothing but my poor powers of self-discipline. As long as there are queries and deadlines, I'll be praying for help as a writer.

Do you ever pray for help in your writing?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fun Friday: Follow Your Favorite Pubs!

We've seen the big lists of authors to follow on Twitter but what about the publishers? Publisher's Weekly just put out a list of Publishers and their twitter handles, check it out! Follow your faves! My publisher is @MacKidsBooks.

(and I'm @TinaSpringer.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ready, Set, Write!

Tip of the Day: It's July 7th, STOP blowing off fireworks yo! Ok, this is more so directed to my neighbors. :-)

Have you heard of writing sprints? Yeah, me neither until a few weeks ago and they are SO FUN! Basically you gather some writing friends (I've been doing them with Rhonda Stapleton, Michelle Zink, Jennifer Brown, and Danielle Joseph) and you meet online at a set time, someone says go, and everyone writes as fast as they can on their different writing projects. We do it for a half an hour at a time and then report back in with our word count. And we do two of these in a row each night. It's kind of like having a diet buddy, someone to cheer you on to write more words instead of lose lbs. It's awesome! I'm getting so much stuff done this way! Usually I get between 700-900 words done in a sprint so that's 1400-1800 words a day that I can't talk myself out of doing (or get distracted by facebook or Real Housewives).

Give them a try! And let me know what you think.

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Reading in Full Swing! (or Books & Bribes at the Library)

Tip of the Day: Read my review of the 100th book I read this year, THE DAY BEFORE by Lisa Schroeder!

Due to being swamped at the library, losing internet service at home, finishing wedding plans, and dealing with an injured family member -- plus writing my WIP and trying to get ready for a writing day with my CPs this Sat. -- I'm keeping today's post short and sweet.

You know what is awesome? Having a line of kids with their parents, siblings, or caregives at the Children's Reference Desk waiting patiently to sign up for summer reading. Is it because of the lovely prizes? Or because they love to read?

Based on our repeat customers year after year -- and the lack of books on our summer reading/new book shelves -- I'm guessing the latter.

And I love it!

Keep writing for kids and teens. They love books. They love reading. Help keep libraries stocked with good new stuff to entertain them for years to come!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Don't mind me...I'm a writer

Tip of the Day: Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July.

There were so many fireworks going off last night in our area that I thought I was under attack. As my husband and I stood out on our porch in the warm air the sounds and booms the fireworks were making were even more important if not more impactful than the colors and shapes of the fireworks themselves.

Which got me to thinking how important sound is in creating a scene. And I rarely remember to incorporate sound in my writing, apart from dialogue.

From now on every time I'm thinking about a scene, I'm going to imagine it with my eyes closed and try to think clearly about what the sounds might make. Maybe even recreating if possible.

So if I'm sitting next to you at Starbucks with my eyes closed biting on a pencil, randomly typing gibberish, or squeaking my shoes across the tile...

Don't mind me...I'm a writer

(I'm thinking of having the slogan put on a t-shirt if one doesn't exist already).


Friday, July 1, 2011

Fun Friday: Guest Post by Former A2Aer Lisa Schroeder

We've talked about book trailers before on Author2Author. Some of us think they help to sell books, some of us, we're not so sure. As an author, what's hard is that there really is no way to know if they affect sales. And they usually aren't cheap. Unless you do one yourself. And in that case, it still has to be good. Also, more and more, book trailers with just still photos are criticized as being boring. And some believe your trailer won't stand out if you use only still photos. But to hire someone to do a trailer with actors and actresses - you're talking a boat load of money the average mid-list author simply doesn't have to invest in one marketing tool.

I wanted a book trailer, but I didn't have want to spend the money. So, my husband and I headed to the beach for the day and we filmed some beautiful beach footage. I sent it to a friend who was kind enough to edit it for me. I love how the video turned out. Yes, it's quite simple, but in this case, I think simple works. The entire book takes place at the beach, so why not use the lure of the beach to pull people in? That's what I hope this trailer does.

Lisa Schroeder

[Click here to see Lisa's beautiful, intriguing trailer!]