Advice on social media, trends in YA & New Website!

At long last, I have a newsletter subscription form. Yay! I'd love for you to subscribe to my free newsletter, which will have news of my sequel release, new fiction releases, classes, events, giveaways and swag. Click here to subscribe.

Take a look at my brand new website! Don't worry, I blog here (blogger love), and this blog will also feed into the site. On the page for teachers and book clubs, I've designed free, downloadable guides, and there's a special page for writers, which includes my guest posts on writing, other amazing posts, including two from our own Susan Kaye Quinn, and inspirational writing quotes. If you visit my bio page, let me know what you think of my weird great, great uncle Charles.

Left to right: Me, Nancy, Beth, Alison
Finally, I want to give you guys something too, so I'm posting my handout from the Push to Publish conference panel below. On the Writing for Kids and Teens panel with me was Alison DeLuca, an indie author who has a great blog called Fresh Pot of Tea. I will be featuring her new Crown Phoenix steampunk series very soon! Nancy Viau who writes picture books and middle grade fiction was another panelist. The moderator, Beth Kephart, is an award-winning author of books for teens. Visit Beth's blog here. And now, for my takeaway:

1. How important is social media to your promo plan? When should you implement it?

The best advice I got from an early mentor was to start a blog way before my next big book came out, not when it came out. I started Catherine Stine’s Idea City about two years before my latest novel was published, and by that time I had over 340 followers, who helped with my book blog tour, and other promo posts such as interviews, features and giveaways, as well as me guest posting on their blogs. I had no idea that the blogosphere would be so friendly and eager to help. Part of the fun is that it’s a mixed age-community, with everyone from savvy book reviewers, still in high school, to seasoned authors in their sixties. The key is to care about what others are posting! If you want good comments on your posts, you must return the favor. I’ve learned so much about publishing and writing from this vibrant community, and from indie authors as well as ones who are published with the Big Six. Other important social media to develop: a Goodreads author page, a Facebook author or book page, a Pinterest page and a twitter account. There are others, but this is a great place to start!
Topical online reads:
1. Publishers’ Weekly article on YA Marketing-Digital versus Physical here.
2. Basic Marketing Tips from YA author, Elana Johnson here.
3. What the heck is Pinterest, you ask? Check out a sampling of YA books for OCT on Pinterest!

2. What are the big differences between indie and traditionally published books/authors? Between ebooks and paper copies? How do you see these trending in the future?

I see a blending in the future of who's published traditionally to who's publishing on their own, or with small houses. It will be more about the quality of the fiction and the authors’ growing readership than how authors publish. I’ve published with big houses such as Random House and American Girl, and I’ve also published through my own Konjur Road Press. Many traditionally published authors are now publishing their own out-of-print-books and novels that their agents haven’t placed. As publishing houses become more gun-shy and picky (because of less physical bookstores to sell to!) and authors learn how much they can potentially earn on their own the quality of indie fiction will grow ever higher! There is also a trend toward POD printing—that means print on demand. For instance, if someone orders your POD book through Amazon, or B&N, their publishing arm will print as many paperback copies as are ordered and no more. This has an upside for a beleaguered industry: publishers will no longer have to deal with huge store returns, which lose money for the houses when they must refund that revenue. On the other hand, it means less variety on the physical bookshelves. As more and more readers get comfy with ereading devices, more ebooks will sell. In the Catskills, where I go on the weekends, I feel the burn of bookstore closings. There are no more within 40 or 50 miles! People won’t stop reading, they will always want stories; they'll simply buy more ebooks. A related online article:
1. A post by indie fantasy author, Lindsay Buroker here.

3. Trends in YA? Write to trends or to what I love?

It’s always a gamble to predict specific trends because they change from year to year. One should never write specifically to the trends. You should write that amazing novel only you can write! I tell my students to focus on a subject or theme that they are totally inspired by, because maintaining fuel for those entire 250 to 350 pages is something only fierce interest and passion can drive. That said, there do seem to be trends for 2013/14: realistic YA is making a comeback, after a paranormal and fantasy-saturated market. Vamps are trending out, but there will probably always be room for that unique, geeky or charismatic vamp! Historical fantasy is in with novels such as Revolution by J. Donnelly. Magical realism is growing, as is confidence in YA sci-fi like Black Hole Sun by Gill and space opera, such as A. Ryan’s Glow. Horror and unusual blends are growing in popularity as seen in novels like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by R. Riggs. There is also a trend toward sci-fi romance, as in novels like V. Rossi’s Under the Never Sky. And then, there are the trendbusters whose mind-bending novels start entirely new trends! Will you write one of these?