When you're doing any kind of entertainment-related work, you have to be aware of who your audience is, what they're thinking, and how to best play off of that. This is partly an issue of craft, but it also has a lot to do with the business side of art. You have to know who your customers are!
I think most writers are aware of their audience even from the start. Many probably aren't actively thinking about it while writing, but we tend to fit ourselves into a genre and category. Then, once we've finished writing and are moving forward into prepping for publication, the intended audience becomes a very important thing to consider. Genre and category really are the first and foremost things to be aware of, because those are the qualifications around which your book will be marketed and pitched. They impact the entire business part of your career.
Many big professionals in the field, however, recommend that you think in even more detail about your intended audience. You should create a profile for your reader: not just age and genre preference, but also gender, ethnicity, hometown, hobbies, lifestyle. Obviously, the great majority of your readers are not going to fit this exact profile, but it will help you focus in on what elements in your story you need to emphasize in order to optimize the read for that specific intended reader.
I never really thought much about this until one day in American Foundations last semester. We were discussing the American Revolution, and the professor explained how we have this bias against England because we're taught about the Revolution from childhood, as like a big deal with us gaining our freedom. In fact, England was one of the freest places in the world even as America separated.
So I got this idea on Facebook: you put your iPod on shuffle and make a poem out of the first lines of each song that plays. So we're going to write a little music poem here. Extra points if you can guess some of the songs without looking at the credits below. Enjoy!
I used to rule the world
Like a moth into a flame--
One day more,
Prison gates won't open up for me.
Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry,
High dive into frozen waves where the past comes back to life.
Now wait for the trap, he is set,
I can't get these memories out of my mind.
Look around, there's no one but you and me.
Lately I been losing sleep,
See, I can't wake up.
I can't take your hand and lead you to the water,
We have come up to the land of our people.
Literary agents are a really big deal. They're the gatekeepers to the industry, unless you choose to self-publish, which is also a fair option. But if you're going traditional, agents are the ones who can guide your career, improve your writing, and collaborate with other people in the industry best. I recommend you get one.
B: Beta Readers
You need people, besides your mom and your agent, to look over your work. These will be your beta readers, critique partners, etc. They help you edit, give you real reader reactions, and encourage you on your way. As tempting as it may be, if you want to be a serious writer, you can't hide your work from other people. So be brave!
If you don't have a very good character, it's hard to have a good story! There are three basic aspects you want to focus on as you create a character: relatability, likability, and interest. When the character starts running the story themselves, then you've got it. Read some more about this in this post from the POV of one of my own characters.
Though it's important to follow the rules in writing, you also need to have a little daring. Try something new and different in your work! If you pull it off right, you'll have something amazing to give to the world. If you don't, you've still learned something. More thoughts on challenging yourself here.
All artists have to put some of themselves in their work, and this comes not just through experiences, but though emotion. You have to feel your work and put that feeling through in a way so that the readers will feel too. Emotion matters. You can't let yourself get blocked by an inability to face up to yourself. In fact, writing is a great way to better understand the issues you face in real life.
I can't seem to stop entering book giveaways. Seriously.
During my first semester at BYU-I, in the midst of trying to figure out how to do a giveaway on this blog myself, I kind of realized that I like winning free books, so I tracked down a bunch of blogs that do giveaways and followed them, and I rejoined Goodreads to enter their giveaways too. At this point I'm entering at least a couple giveaways every single day hoping for a new addition to my collection.
So far, I have won thirty books through giveaways, not a bad collection. I also currently have four pages worth of giveaways I've entered on Goodreads that are still open, which is a lot, though not as much as usual for me. Heh. You can look at my list of books I've won in giveaways here, if you'd like. It's a hit or miss kind of thing usually. I like about half of the ones I win.
I may be a bit addicted, but the thing is, I'm pretty sure you can never have too many books. So I thought I'd infect you a little bit. Muahaha! Here are a few places where you'll find somewhat regular giveaways of cool YA books:
Goodreads First Reads
Adventures in YA Publishing
Cuddlebuggery Book Blog
Don't forget to subscribe to my email list using the thingy on the sidebar to get a roundup every week of giveaways I recommend, plus blog and website content updates and a quote of the week! It's worth it, I promise.
Thanks for reading and come back next time for a post on my home state. *Post removed*
Hello, and welcome back to What's On Pinterest, where, in order to balance the influx of humor posts, I show you what besides humor I've been pinning! Click on the captioned photos to go to the source and see the image full size. If you'd like more, follow me on Pinterest here. Thanks for checking in, and I'll see you next time for a post on book giveaways!
All right, today I'm going on a little rant about feminism and other social justice issues, as related to a class I've been having some trouble with personally.
*Contains mentions of LDS religion*
In the past couple of years, I've really come to consider myself a social justice advocate. I'm not really sure how it happened. I've always been an idealist, but I never really thought that much about feminism, racism, or ableism until recently.
I do know a lot of hard experiences I had with sexism, along with the constant ongoing issue of disability and mental illness in my life, have affected my beliefs. I also have a feeling that Twitter might have really done something for me. I particularly remember #YesAllWomen, when it trended, as just a punch to the gut, in a good way, if that makes sense. For the first time, I saw other people freely expressing thoughts about things that had always bothered me and saying other things I hadn't ever thought of but that were so true. After that, I started looking more into these issues, which is about the time when I discovered the term "ableism" on this blog by an autistic college student. After having had so much experience with disability and mental illness, I was so relieved to find there was a word for that.
Today I thought I'd do a short post on book clubs and related stuff. Seeing how voracious of a reader I am, it seems kind of funny that, up until this year, I'd never been in a book club. However, I have spent some time at reader/writer-related activities, and I did recently have some adventures in book clubness. Book clubs and related booky things are actually really fun, and I do support it, so, here we go!
Like many young readers, I participated in summer reading challenges basically every summer, as well as related activities during school. Elementary school libraries are super cool, and book fair is even cooler. Anyway, I excelled at these events, being, as previous stated, a voracious reader since I was in the womb (only a minor exaggeration). I liked getting the prizes associated with the challenges, but mostly I just really wanted to beat everyone at being the most awesome reader. Which didn't actually happen, but I still was pretty impressive, eh? It's great how much they encourage reading in elementary school, and I'm lucky to have come from a family that also supports that and live in an area where academics are admired.
As a young girl I also went to library events like the American Girl camps, where you'd learn how to waltz and cook and drink tea properly, or whatever. Ignoring the part where no one talked to me, I really liked those. I was just like that back then. (Not to mention, my good imagination meant I could totally pretend my doll was real and we would be friends instead.)
I'm an unpublished novelist, primarily of YA fantasy, and a freelance editor. I love psychology, cats, social justice, and love! I'm also a huge fangirl. More than anything, stories are my life.
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