|Tracey Adams, Beth Revis, Snow Wildsmith, Lois Moss, Carrie Ryan|
Hosted by the newly formed chapter of the Women's National Book Association, last week's YA Literature panel packed in a lively group of young adult and middle grade writers. The panel was ably moderated by Snow Wildsmith, former teen librarian, writer, and book reviewer; her questions about writing and the business of writing kept the panelists busy. Here are some highlights of the evening:
- How important are social networking sites? Panelists agreed that there are pro's and con's of maintaining a web presence. Tracey Adams of Adams Literary commented that when a new author contacts her, she is interested in seeing who they are friends with on Facebook. But ultimately, "All that matters is having a good book," she said. Carrie Ryan, author of the trilogy, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead Tossed Waves, and The Dark and Hollow Places acknowledged that there were occasions when she spent too much time on social networking sites. "The best thing to do is to write your next book," she advised writers. But, the panelists agreed that teens enjoy connecting with their favorite authors and getting to know them through their blogs and websites.
- What are agents and publishers looking for? Although historical fiction (my favorite genre!) was not at the top of the Teens Top 10 Trends in 2010, I was encouraged to hear that "a good book finds its home--no matter what." Dystopian fiction, which secured the number one spot in 2010, apparently is now declining on publishers' wish lists.
- Why do you write for kids? Carrie Ryan eloquently answered this with, "Someone out there is now a reader because he liked my book."
- What is the best book jacket idea to hit area bookstores? Beth Revis's publisher (Penguin) had the ingenious idea of making Across the Universe's book jacket reversible. One side appeals to girls (you have one guess to figure out what was depicted) and one to boys.
- Must a book be polished before you submit it to an agent? Tracey Adams said, "Agents are looking for more polished manuscripts than they used to but don't make a change to your manuscript unless it rings true."
- What are kids in North Carolina reading? Check out the NC School Library Media Association YA Book Award which is selected by middle and high school students.
While I was waiting for the panelists to gather for a group shot, photographer and book blogger, Lois Moss, was busy clicking away at candid shots. Check out her blog for great examples of her photography and a book review of Exposed by Kimberly Marcus which Tracey recommended reading.
- What did you learn, Carol? Writing trumps blogging. And future blogs will be directed to my future audience-- young readers looking for compelling historical fiction. And maybe I'll convince a publisher that Half-Truths needs a reversible book jacket. Hey, it's worth a try.