This past week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, WriteOnCon 2014 took place. As always, it was awesome! So today, I'm sharing my notes on my experience with this free online kid lit conference. If you couldn't attend this year, I super recommend it for next year!
From the Forums
From the Pitch Sessions
One of the earlier posts on this blog was about my thoughts on self-publishing, which were largely negative. To me, self-publishing was basically an easy way out that didn't give you any credibility, and I was annoyed by non-industry people who thought I should take that path. At the time, my stance was not unusual. But in the past couple of years, the market has shifted. The new truth is that self-publishing is a viable option that can't be ignored.
Nowadays, self-publishing is commonly referred to as "indie publishing," and it is usually done through small companies. Another option for a novel-writing career is "hybrid publishing," where you choose between indie and traditional publishing on a project-by-project basis.
Naturally, with me being as stubborn as I am, I've tried really really hard to ignore the increasing buzz about indie publishing. A big reason for this is because it really does annoy me when people ask why I don't just self-publish. But a few months ago, I went to a seminar given by Emily Tippets, a sci-fi and LDS romance writer who works under two pseudonyms. (Check out her sci-fi website here and her romance site here.) Emily is a long-time indie author. She gave a really intelligent talk about publishing of all kinds, with, of course, a focus on indie publishing. Through her seminar, I gained more respect for this career path.
A key factor Emily pointed out is how e-books have changed the industry. People can publish books for lower costs than ever before, and readers can access these books much more easily. This has opened the market to more successful indie publishing. Amazon bestseller lists now have a good percentage of indie titles as well as traditional ones.
One of the main attractions of traditional publishing is the chance to work with a team of professionals who know the market and who can manage other aspects of the process that authors are less familiar with so that authors can focus on writing. However, as traditional publishing companies turn more of the marketing responsibility over to their authors, that process becomes similar for us either way. There are also many gifted people who can be hired as part of a similar team for indie authors, including freelance editors, formatters, cover designers, marketers, and bloggers.
A while back, I showed you all my ModCloth wishlist. But a game my writing friends and I like to play is the Ugly ModCloth Game, where we find the absolute worst clothes on ModCloth and laugh about them. There's plenty of material for it. (Haha, clothing pun.) So today, I thought I'd give you a fun sample. Ready? Set? Go!
Today, I thought I'd give you all some recommendations of books that I really love and that I feel could use a bit more attention. Some of these I've mentioned before, but wanted to emphasize; others I haven't recommended and am happy to finally share now! Enjoy.
Neal Shusterman's Unwind Dystology
This four-book YA sci-fi series takes place in a dystopian future where, after a big war over abortion, a compromise is made where abortion is illegal, but teens can be sent to be "unwound", or taken apart as organ donors, if they're unwanted. The series is full of incredibly political and social commentary, and I find it brilliant, relevant, and engaging. It really makes you think, and it's full of action too! Seriously, it's so good! (5-star average)
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
In this YA thriller, Jazz Dent, the son of a notorious serial killer, tries to stop a new serial killer in his hometown. It's one of the most brilliant and effective psychological thrillers I have ever read. Seeing Jazz utilize the horrible things his dad taught him for good and watching him navigate human relationships while dealing with all the stuff that's in his head is incredible. This book says a lot about how our parents shape us, but also about making our own choices. If you can handle some disturbing content, absolutely read it. (5 stars, later downgraded to 4.5 stars)
Today, I give you a look into the life of my new emotional support kitten, Spartacus! Because cat videos are cool, yo. I've definitely done better on this video than the last two! Also, as you can see, I recently revamped the design for this website. I'd love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments!
Ever since it came out, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series has inspired a lot of love and a lot of hate. There's plenty of discussion out there about it.
In terms of love, Twilight speaks to a lot of women lacking in confidence who are yearning for a special, old-fashioned romance all their own. I adored the series when I was in middle school, which is when I was both struggling and yearning the most. (Yay middle school!) It was a beautiful escape for me that included one of my favorite tropes: sharing a bed nonsexually. Even today, I have a lot of appreciation for the clear voice with which the story is written. It also, as many YA writers will tell you, did a lot for the world of teen literature, just as Harry Potter did for children's literature.
In terms of hate, Twilight does have a lot of problematic content. For example, Bella and Edward's relationship sets off a lot of red flags for domestic abuse. (It surprised me when I learned about that--abuse is a topic of interest that I've definitely educated myself about, and yet I missed it here!) I've also seen a lot of girls, including one of my closest friends in middle school, become so enthralled by the story that they subsume their whole identity to it. As much as I love fangirling, it's important to remain true to yourself. Don't try to become Bella, please! Then there's been a lot of that hate that often occurs around things beloved by teen girls, because we as a society devalue anything associated with femininity, especially teen femininity. Just to be clear, that is not a valid reason to hate Twilight.
In all this discussion, one topic that I haven't seen examined is the deeper meaning of Twilight. A lot of people see it as a shallow paranormal romance with basic entertainment value. (As Stephen King once said, Twilight is all about how important it is to get a boyfriend.) However, when taken in the context of Mormon theology, there's a lot more to be discovered here. Stephenie Meyer and I both are LDS (which is the actual official term for Mormons), and for me, reading this series felt like a delightful treasure hunt full of references that I was uniquely situated to understand. So in this post, I'd like to talk about how the Twilight series connects to LDS theology so that you can understand them too.
Hey all, and welcome to both August and our humor post! For those of you wondering, I did manage to win Camp NaNo. I accomplished my editing/writing goal plus an additional 5000 words that I added to the goal halfway through. I haven't finished #AfterworldStory3 yet, but I'm sure I'll get back to it soon!
Thanks for checking in, and please enjoy!
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