YA Dystopian Book Survey 2018 – Reader opinions matter

YA Dystopian book survey – Your opinions matter

Most of you will know me as a YA paranormal author. However, I’ve recently been expanding my genre interests and am now in the process of putting together a YA Dystopian novel. I love reading books set in dystopian worlds; the first book I picked up was Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Disturbing and brilliant, it hooked me with its injustice, and surprised me with its bleak yet believable new world.

Later, I picked up on YA dystopia. I read The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins; emotional and evocative, this book made an impression on our generation as it was made into a massive Hollywood movie series and the books are still talked about today. We’ve since had lots more books that are as rich in political subtext and teen angst, all taking different views of how wrong our future could be.

As an author I seek out and devour reader reviews, they give me guidance as to whether I’m hitting the mark with my audience if I’m writing something that excites and entertains while highlighting an underlying positive message. With this in mind, I’m looking for YA Dystopia readers to spend a few minutes of their time to fill out a short questionnaire about what they like to read. There’s no personal data collection; I do not want your name, age or even email address, just your opinions. Your opinions as a reader matter, that’s why book reviews are so critical.

If you have a few moments, please click here to be taken to the Google Form and share your honest opinions on the YA Dystopia you would want to read. Also feel free to post more specific comments below.

Thank you.

Nicky Peacock

Advertisements

The five Ts of being a writer

Being a writer is a claim that many make, but few put the time and effort into. I know this is very skeptical of me, and even a little sad, but it’s true. I’ve met a lot of people in my time who have said they are writers and they want to write a book, but I’ve known very few who have done it.

In my time as a writer, and a leader of a writers’ group, I’ve discovered there are five distinct traits that successful writers (those that evolve into published authors) tend to have. So, in no particular order, here they are…

Talent
Yes, you need the talent to write. Not so much for the technical side, that can learnt, and we will discuss that in a moment, but you really need to have the imagination and mind of a real writer. You can have the best grammar and writing skills in the world, but if your story is lacklustre, your theme is non-existent, and the concept of the story is cliche and stale, well, no one is going to want to read it. There are ways of igniting that creativity in you. However, I genuinely believe you need at least a seed of it to begin with. This is a skill that can not be taught, but can be nurtured with the right mind-set.

Technical skills
Grammar, spelling and the basics of writing a decent sentence is a must for anyone looking to publish their work and have it read by others. But, my advice is, don’t get too hung up on it until you start drafting. I’m a firm believer in learning while you do and if you try to write your first draft while learning the basics of English language, you’ll find it jerky and frustrating – it’s the quickest way to destroy creativity and turn a budding author off the career altogether. Yes, technical skills are incredibly necessary, need I remind you of ‘Let’s eat Grandma‘ but make sure you bring them in at the right time of the process, to me that’s in the drafting and editing stages.

I also want to point out here, you have to know the rules before you break the rules. Many new writers think that their work will stand out if they consider themselves above the rules of the English language, they are not, and yes their work will stand out, but for all the wrong reasons.

Tenacity
You have to keep writing and submitting. It can be devastating to have your hard work denied time and again by publishers, but if it were easy, then everyone would do it. You can’t give it. The only difference between a writer and a published author is that the author didn’t give up. Yes, there are those once in a blue moon stories of the lucky who get a massive publishing deal straight off the bat, but these are rare and often don’t do the writer justice as it can foster complacency with their success. Earn your stripes, keep writing, keep submitting, work hard and never lose faith that you can get where you want to be if you put the time and effort into it.

I am published. I have two YA book series with a publisher and also have had over 40 short stories published in anthologies all over the world, but I’m still rejected by publishers and still can’t earn enough to live as a full-time author – this is most authors’ stories, but that can change with just one book and the right publisher; but, if you stop writing you’ll never get that deal, and that’s why I won’t stop writing and submitting my work. I want to write full time which brings me on to…

True Love
You have to love writing. It has to be your ambition and mistress. It takes an inordinate amount of time to write a book, then to edit, draft and then to submit. So you need to go into it with your eyes open. You will need to sacrifice things in your life to accommodate this. We all get 24 hours a day; you need to look at what you do, who you spend time with and decide what you need to give up to make enough time for your writing. I’m not saying that you need to become some crazy hermit in a log cabin with a laptop and broadband, but you do need hermit style sessions to get the job done. Take a long hard look at your life and trim away the things and people who are not supporting you and your dreams. This sounds harsh, but it’s the only way to ensure you not still writing that first novel twenty years after you started it.

Timing
Makinbg sure you hit deadlines is crucial when you’re a writer. I’ve spent my whole career in sales and marketing so hitting deadlines and targets are ingrained in me, but most people don’t have this discipline. My advice? Take baby steps and be realistic about what you can do. Having lofty goals is great, but if you set the bar too high you’ll never reach it, and so you’ll be more likely to quit. Decide what you are writing and roughly how long you want it to be, then set word counts each day. Smaller ones to begin with, and then build up. Make your time count and make sure you get your work into publishers by their deadline.

Being a writer/ author is one of the few dreams that does not ask you to be a certain age, race or gender. It doesn’t care if you have a disability and what your sexual orientation is. Anyone can set themselves on this path; just remember the 5 Ts and you’ll soon be on your way.

The writer’s New Year resolutions

I can’t believe that another new year is on our doorsteps again. It doesn’t seem that long ago when I was sat in front of my computer and listing all the things I wanted to achieve in 2017. Did I achieve them? Yes, I think I did get my grubby mits on some, but not as much as I would have liked. Are you thinking the same thing? If you are, I’ve come up with a few ideas that might help you finish that novel, get published or even merely feel just in calling yourself a writer.

1) Just write something – I’ve said it time, and again, if you want to call yourself a writer, you need to start writing. You’d be shocked at how many people out there will tell you that they want to write a book, but then never sit down and string a sentence together. Let me be blunt…you will never write the perfect sentence straight off the bat, you just won’t. First drafts are just that, first drafts. No writer anywhere has had a first draft published. We all write the first draft and then edit till we’re blue in the face and sick to death of our own words. This is how excellent prose is made. So just write, anything, everything whatever you like, just start doing something. You need a draft to edit, and elves don’t hack your computer at night and write them for you! Although, it’d be cool if they did!

2) Make a space for your writing – I mean this both physically and mentally. Create a physical space for yourself to write in, This might be a shed by your house (like Roald Dahl), or it could be a desk in your study or somewhere else entirely. Have laptop, will travel. Pick a nice pub or coffee shop and just burrow down with a great drink and some tasty grub and get on with it. I always find the first 10 minutes hard work, but once I pass this marker, I love every minute of it. Top tip, turn your internet connection off. As well-meaning as it might be to have access to online research, believe me when I say that it’s a temptation that just isn’t worth it.

3) Treat your writing like a best friend – you want to spend time with your best friend, right? We all have them, and we all love chilling and gossiping with them. So treat your writing like a friend. Plan to spend time with it. Put it in your diary that you are meeting. You’ll find your attitude to it will change. You don’t want to let your friends down do you? So you’ll turn up for your writing. Call it a name if you need to, Bob, Mr Write, Lady Cornerwinkle, it doesn’t matter. If your writing is important to you, make an effort to spend serious time with it.

4) Keeping it safe – cybersecurity has never been so important, so ensure that you have backed-up your work. Losing something you’ve spent months or even years on is not an option. You’re advised to change your passwords at least every couple of months or so, so do it. Take it one step further and use your book title as your password, every time you punch it in it’ll reinforce what you should be writing on, and before you all try to access my accounts, I also use random numbers in my passwords too!

5) Read – read often, read well and read some more. Books are a writer’s bread and butter. If you don’t know what’s already out there, then that 100,000 word novel about a sexy S&M addicted businessman and an unfortunately annoying virgin girlfriend might prove a massive waste of your time. Read books in your genre, and out of it. If you’re a writer, then odds on you’ll love reading too anyway, but not make an effort to check out Goodreads and Amazon once in a while and buy something to entice and tickle your imagination and more…

So there you have it, 5 top tips for writing in the New Year, because you know what? A year from now, you’ll wish you’d have started writing your novel today.

Now, I’m off to the pub with Lady Cornerwinkle.

 

The Ghosts of Christmas

I love a good ghost story. The UK has such profound and dark historical roots that tales of the paranormal are everywhere. From the headless horseman that rides out on Halloween, to the White Lady that appears whenever disaster is near, their stories are spine chilling and engrossing. You might be forgiven for thinking that Halloween is the best time for such supernatural frights, but in the UK there is a strong tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas.

Author, M R James would write a different story every year to be read out at his Christmas Eve party. In my imagination, it was between eggnog and charades (but I’m only guessing!) and of course, let’s not forget the classic Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol that boasted four ghosts all going above and beyond to teach Scrooge a valuable lesson.

So, why don’t you indulge a little ghostly Christmas chills and either read or watch something a little less festive, but with a bit more spirit:

Read a little of Susan Hill. This author has scared me silly in the past. Her story The Little Hand still makes me shudder!

Joe Hill’s (wait, I’m sensing a pattern…) Heart Shaped Box is another tale that will have you blowing out the atmospheric candles and running for the light switch.

Graham Masterton’s collection of stories, Figures of Fear will make you lock all the doors and not open them to a single carol singer.

Watch the new Annabelle Creation movie. Dolls are pretty scary on their own but are so much worse when they’re inhabited by a demon.

My personal favourite, The League of Gentleman’s Christmas Special, aired in 2000, many stories all dripping in dark humour and a dash of festive frights.

So, forget the turkey and the presents, curl up on the couch and get yourself a dash ghostly goodness to see you through the Christmas period.

But,  I will leave you with my favourite (clean) Christmas joke:

How did Scrooge win the football game?
The ghost of Christmas passed.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good write!

Casting your Book.

nimbusOkay, so its every author’s dream to have their book made into a movie, and yeah sometimes it can end up a nightmare! But I truly believe that casting the characters that run amok in your head, whilst scribbling down your manuscript, can really help to round them out and keep them straighter in your mind’s eye.

Pinterest is the best tool for this. Just about every actor on the planet is on there and you can create a private board to cast your book (if you feel the need, you can open the board to the public as an extra promotional tool when your book comes out) I found, by doing this, you can create a wonderful linear visual for yourself whilst writing about your characters.

There is, however, a slight pitfall – try not to type cast! Yes, although these guys are purely in your head (for now) type casting a certain actor/ actress into a role can leave your characters as diluted versions of other more famous ones. For example, casting Jennifer Lawrence as a serious, yet plucky arrow slinging hero could land you in a Hunger Games homage – however the same character cast as Lucy Lui could open up a whole new world.

Also, don’t be swayed by actors who tend to play the same characters over and over again. Not mentioning any names, but there are those that are basically themselves just in various outfits – unless you are basing the character on the actor in question, try to stay clear. The actor you choose is purely as a visual, the traits and personality of your character are theirs alone and only serve your story and plot – not the other way round.

If you have a lot of characters in your book, it can help to either define them or boil them down to a concentrated few. If you find that your have a character that does very little to move the plot forward, could their role be simply added to someone else’s? By casting your characters this can be almost instantly identified, if your famous leading lady is merely a wall flower in the book, maybe she needs to be plucked out?Vil2

You’ll also find that the ‘who would you cast as your leads’ is a stock question in most interviews – I know I use it! So it’s good to be able to answer this pretty quickly without spending weeks on trying to fit a character to a particular actor.

Great characters are part of the foundation of a great book. But amazing characters can make a series. If your readers are hungry to know what happens to them after the book ends, well that’s the sign that, as an author, you’ve down something right. So cast away fellow writers!

 

Book Spotlight: Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina L. Brooks

9781402293528-PR

Synopsis:

CHAPTER 1
FIVE RULES FOR ENGAGING READERS OF YOUNG ADULT FICTION
Before you even start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), there are some issues that need to be addressed. A lot of writers out there think writing YA fiction is easy. It’s not. Some mistakes you might make will condemn your book to languish on the slush pile forever. So before we even talk about the nitty–gritty of how to shape your book—-character, plot, setting, point of view—-we need to talk about the five key elements that can make or break you as a YA writer.
THE HOLDEN CAULFIELD RULE—-DON’T BE A PHONY!
Imagine traveling to a planet where your survival depends on hiding out among the inhabitants, where being recognized as a phony would mean instant annihilation. In that situation, you’d want to study the locals until you knew just how to look and sound and respond like them. It is the same in YA fiction. In this case, sudden death occurs when the reader, stumbling upon a false image, loses interest. The book closes with the splintering sound of a fatal bullet.
It’s no exaggeration.
Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, was always railing against the phoniness of other people, partic-ularly adults. The enduring popularity of Catcher in the Rye demon-strates that teens today are the same way—-they despise fakes.
YA FICTION RULE #1: THE LIFE OF THE STORY DEPENDS ON THE WRITER’S ABILITY TO CONVINCE READERS THAT THE PROTAGONIST IS ONE OF THEM.
The key to writing a successful YA novel means knowing kids well enough to channel their voices, thoughts, and emotions. (“Kids” is used as an operative word here. The official YA audience encom-passes twelve– to eighteen–year–olds, but it is expanding as chil-dren’s book publishers work to attract readers as young as ten and eleven, and adult publishers reach to capitalize on the growing mar-ket.) While some of your readers may be a little younger than the twelve–to–eighteen target—-children aged ten to twelve tend to read above their age—-and some may be a little older, keep in mind that you have to convince all segments of your audience that you know what it feels like to be a young person today. If you can’t con-vince your audience that you know how they feel about the world today and express yourself the same way, you will never reach them.
AVOID THE PREACH ‘N’ TEACH
Whether YA readers attend elementary or secondary school isn’t an issue when it comes to the importance of YA Fiction Rule #2.
YA FICTION RULE #2: DON’T BE CONDESCENDING TO YOUR READERS.
Young people won’t abide stories that suggest that their turmoil or idealism will pass when they “grow up.” Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club, says, “I’m a big believer that kids are smarter than we think they are.…I think kids can handle complexity and nuances, and the advantage to writing that way is that the book appeals to both teenagers and adults.”
Many adults read fiction as an escape—-teens are no different. Im-agine spending a long day in school, learning boring lessons ’cause you’re supposed to, having everyone from parents to teachers to em-ployers telling you what to do, how to think, what to wear, then pick-ing up a novel—-and having someone else trying to shove another lesson down your throat! I can’t imagine a bigger letdown.
Don’t deal with young people by trying to push them in one direc-tion or another. Deal with them where they’re at now.
SOAK IT UP!
A word of caution: don’t emulate your favorite authors, but learn from them. You’ll want to create work that is truly your own. In the resource guide at the back of this book, along with details such as schools that offer writing degrees with a YA focus, you’ll find listings for websites that recommend great YA fiction.
YA FICTION RULE #3: READ, READ, READ TODAY’S
YA FICTION.
The benefits to reading what’s already on the market are phenom-enal. It will familiarize you with what’s selling, how kids today talk, what they wear, what issues concern them, and so on. If you don’t have easy access to a teen, reading books meant for teens is probably the next best thing to having a teen personally tell you what he or she would like to read.
IDEALS FIRST, MEALS LATER
Writing a successful book that aims to attract the widest possible audience should be every writer’s goal, shouldn’t it? The answer is yes and no. It helps to have a general audience age in mind, but you don’t want to be consumed with thoughts about how and whether you’ll sell your work.
YA FICTION RULE #4: SILENCE YOUR WORRIES ABOUT COMMERCIAL CONSIDERATIONS.
This allows you to concentrate on your primary objective, which is to tell your story. If a nagging inner voice surfaces or someone dis-courages you, rather than pulling on earphones and listening to music as a teenager might, transform the voices through the power of your imagination into “white noise.” This is the all–frequency sound emit-ted from machines that imparts a feeling of privacy, calming you and allowing you to focus on that world you’re creating. Keep your artis-tic integrity—-your ideals—-ahead of how commercially success-ful—-your meals—-you want your book to be. If you focus on writ-ing the best possible book, commercial success will follow later.
As your manuscript develops while you work through the guide-lines provided in the ensuing chapters, your audience will become as clear to you as if you were speaking on a stage and looking into an auditorium full of people. If you subsequently work with an agent, the two of you can determine whether the manuscript should be pitched to editors specializing in YA, adult fiction, or both. But the fate of your manuscript will still be up in the air. Editors, who are in-vested with the power to buy or decline a manuscript, will ultimately determine to whom the book will be marketed.
The significant rise in the success of YA novels has opened the way for a multiplicity of categories, and just to give you an idea, I’ve listed some alphabetically: adventure, chick lit, comical, fantasy, fantasy epics, futuristic, gay–themed, historical, multicultural, mystery, reli-gious, romantic, science fiction, sports, and urban. If your story idea doesn’t fit into any of these categories, you may have to invent one. Consider it an opportunity.
THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY
From this point on, let your creative spirit be guided by YA Rule #5.
YA RULE #5: IN YOUR NEW WORLD OF YA FICTION, ERECT NO CONCRETE BARRIERS, WIRE FENCES, OR ONE–WAY SIGNS. INSTEAD, FORGE NEW PATHS.
The YA field welcomes innovators. Encapsulating the newness of the time, YA novels are being published in nontraditional formats. Three YA authors banded together to compose a novel. Another entry is an interactive book with websites that combines reading with the world of Internet gaming. What will your contribution be? Think fresh.
Remember that young people are trendsetters—-they’re always looking to differentiate themselves from others. It’s how teens forge their own identities. Don’t be afraid to push the boat out as well. Coming up with a fresh idea will set you apart from the pack and might be the thing that sparks an editor’s interest in your work.
Okay, consider yourself warned. Now that you know what not to do, it’s time to learn how to craft the next YA bestseller. Step by step, this book will walk you through the mechanics of what makes a great YA novel.
Chapter 2 is about generating an idea, your story. It will talk about different ways to uncover stories that YA readers will want to read about. It will also help you discover new possibilities for stories with-in yourself that you may not have known you had.
Chapter 3 will discuss characters—-the heart of any manuscript. How to breathe life into interesting characters your reader will con-nect with is the main lesson of this chapter, but we’ll also discuss how to find the best characters for the story you want to tell.
Chapter 4 is all about plot, story, and how to tell the difference. Plot is like a machine that propels your manuscript forward, while story is the overall impression you want the plot to create in the reader’s mind.
Chapter 5 is about how to put together a believable plot. It’s all about action—-establishing the main conflict of your manuscript and putting it in motion. Of special concern will be integrating the events of the manuscript with the characters’ personalities, making sure that the characters react to events in believable ways.
Chapter 6 is about setting and timeline. Setting is the background of your story—-the when and where. This chapter is about understand-ing the atmosphere of your story and effectively manipulating the details of that atmosphere to influence your manuscript’s tone.
Chapter 7 is about point of view—-the perspective from which you tell your story. Point of view can be an extremely effective tool for connecting with character and clarifying or confusing the reader about events—-provided you use it correctly.
Chapter 8 is about the meat of your manuscript—-dialogue. Dia-logue provides an opportunity for your characters to interact and opens up another way to build your characters.
Chapter 9 is about the theme of your manuscript. Theme is the overall impression you want your readers to take away. It’s a subtle but effective way for the author to express himself through the story.
Chapter 10 is about wrapping it all up, bringing your plot to a suc-cessful resolution. Endings can be very tricky, so there will be de-tailed discussion about what sorts of conclusions to avoid.
Chapter 11 is about how to find constructive feedback and incor-porate it into your revisions. All authors need to edit and revise their manuscript, and this chapter will explain why the editing process is so necessary.regina image
Chapter 12 is about getting published—what agents and editors do and how to get your work into their hands. This is the business chap-ter-—the one that details exactly how the publishing industry works.
Chapter 13 is about YA nonfiction and the emerging genre of New Adult. The YA market is constantly in flux, and this chapter will ex-pose you to two recent developments in the market.
I hope all of these tools will be helpful to you as you begin the pro-cess of writing the next YA bestseller. Let’s begin exploring that magi-cal new world.

About the Author: 

Regina L. Brooks is the founder of Serendipity Literary Agency and has been developing award-winning authors and books for over a decade. She has been highlighted in several national and international magazines and periodicals, including Poets and Writers, Essence, Writer’s Digest, and Sister2Sister, Forbes, Media Bistro, Ebony, and Jet. She lives in New York City.

 Connect with Regina:

@serendipitylit

facebook.com/serendipitylit

serendipitylit.com 

A Writer’s 10 New Year’s Commandments.

file0001372488933These started off as resolutions for writers but ended up with a kind of biblical theme – so (as per point 10)  I’ve changed it to ‘Commandments’ and just gone with it! So here are your New Year’s writer’s resolutions – if you have any more you’d like included, feel free to include them at the bottom.

1)      Thou salt not procrastinate. Writing shall come before: TV, housework, and random/ impromptu pub visits.

2)      I am a writer – this shall be repeated at least 10 times a day to both reinvigorate your desire for the written word and reinforce your chosen career path.

3)      Thou shalt not make a rod for your own back. Too many publishing deadlines lead to a dangerously high consumption rate of caffeine and general panic. Thou shall say ‘no’ when you’ve reached your optimum level of manuscripts.

4)      Remember social media and use it wisely. No more posts of cute animals and evidence of Bigfoot.

5)      You shall help to get the word out for fellow authors, mostly in hopes that they will do the same for you – but also because it’s nice.

6)      Do not take your editors’ names in vain – they are just trying to help!

7)      Thou shalt not kill or give away any psychopathy tendencies (no wait, this one is just for me!)

8)      Honor your publishers and readers with free bonus materials and stories.

9)      You shall not covet the same ol’ genre troupes – thou shalt spread your literary wings.

10)   Thou shalt roll with the punches and just go with it. Evolution can happen on small scales.

Although I hope there’s some good advice above, I’d like to leave you with a serious, yet playful, piece of life advice that I wish someone had told me sooner.

file0001596998499

One of my favourite books is ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and there’s an exchange between The Cheshire Cat and Alice that perfectly demonstrates the point:

“Excuse me sir,” Alice enquires, “could you tell me which road to take?”

Wisely the cat asks, “Where are you going?”

Somewhat dismayed, Alice responds, “Oh, I don’t know where I’m going sir.”

“Well,” replied the cat, “if you don’t know where you are going, it really doesn’t matter which road you take.”

Know where you are going! People that say that it’s ‘the journey not the destination’ are the kind of people you see in the supermarket with their trolley proudly holding a stick of garlic butter, a jar of olives and a three for two offer on doughnuts! Make a list, people – know where you are going!

Virtual Book Tours: To tour, or not to tour?

book

Well, if you’ve been reading my blog (if you haven’t – where have you been?) you’ll have noticed that I do a lot of book reviews and author interviews. The interviews are mainly because I’m an incredibly nosy person, but the reviews tend to be either Netgalley related (If you haven’t joined yet and you love reading – what are you waiting for?) or for virtual book tour companies. I started looking at these sites when I got the release date for my own book and decided to join a few to see how they worked and which of the many companies offering this service provide the best value for money.

I must admit, I’m having quite a bit of fun doing these tours. I’ve met some truly lovely people and been introduced to some awesome authors and books – ones I’d have never found on my own. The whole thing appeals to my organised ‘anal’ side, and it doesn’t hurt to have related content almost every day for this blog.

Now, I’m not reviewing the companies who do this, but from my sidebar you can see the ones I tend to favour and I’d encourage you all to have a click through and perhaps join as a tour host or invest in a tour for your own book. And let me know your thoughts as comments on this post.

I see a number of the same authors out there who are dedicated to using these services and repeat business must hopefully mean they’re seeing fairly decent results in the interest levels in their books. The basic equation here is that bloggers have followers, and followers might buy your book.

Most tour companies will offer a service that includes: reviews, interviews, spotlights, and guest posts. You can pick and choose from this menu, but I’d advise you to go ‘tapas style’ on it and try a bit of each to see what you like the most. Reviews can be the scariest of all, what happens if a blogger hates your book? To be honest, this is a natural part of being an author anyway – not everyone will like your work – accept that, move on, suck it up… Do you like everything you read? No. I certainly don’t. But did bad reviews hurt ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’? No, it unfortunately did not!

With more and more books being released it can be hard to get yours to the front of the reading pile. And this isn’t all down to your publishers either; as a modern author part of the job is keeping social and having a decent online presence. Whether you like it or not, we are living in an increasingly digital world and blanking it is not just rude but utterly career stunting. Authors need to get their work out there, and yes this can be time consuming – so virtual book tour companies could be a clever solution for you to do just that whilst keeping your precious time on the thing you actually want to do – going down the pub, oh wait I mean write!

10 Benefits of an eBook

DSCF1043

10 Benefits of an eBook.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good list – so let’s look at the benefits of eBooks from both a writer, and a readers’ perspective.

For Readers:

1)      Font: you can alter most readers to make the font easier to read – this is perfect for people with vision problems and children who read better in larger fonts. New readers now also come with adjustable back lights too, so you can read anywhere, any time.

2)      You’re desperate to read that book, all your friends are talking about it – well with an eBook version you can download it instantly. No waiting for the post to come, or searching through library and bookshop shelves. You want it, by heck – you can have it right now! You can download an eBook any time you want – if you’re hankering for a zombies vs vampires undead-appaloosa at one in the morning – you could even download my novel Bad Blood!

3)      They’re usually cheaper that print versions – so you can save quite a sum of money in the long run to spend on, you guessed it, more books! Some of the classics are even available for free, along with other taster books and promotional short stories.

4)      Lighter to carry round than a book. Have eBook reader, will travel. Slip it in your bag and never again have a bored moment: waiting for a bus, for your friend to finish her make-up, or if you’re alone and enjoying a nice frothy fresh cup of coffee in an over-stuffed fake leather sofa in your local coffee joint; just remember to regularly charge your e-Reader!

5)      No more crammed bookcases. I don’t know about you, but my book shelves are dangerously piled high – like some bizarre literature Cirque-de-Soleil act. I love reading books, but I also love buying them and buying them takes less time! With eBooks, you can electronically store as many books as you like, without endangering your safety with a possible book avalanche.

For Writers:

1)      Royalties are higher on eBooks, as production costs are lower. Although, there is still that satisfying rush involved with seeing your work in print, the bottom line is that you’ll earn more from eBook sales.

2)      Production time is less, which means you can produce more work in the year than if you were printing – thus starting the royalty gravy train rolling sooner, rather than later.

3)      You’ll never be out of print. eBooks are always available and not tied to being printed in batches – if your work doesn’t date too much, it’ll be in circulation much longer.

4)      New e-Readers such as the Kindle Fire also include the front cover along with the text, this keeps your wonderfully designed book cover along with your work and is much more aesthetically pleasing to your reader and easily identifiable for you and your publishers branding.

5)      You can add in bonus content for your readers – maybe the playlist you listened to whilst writing, extra character information links, instant access to your website or Amazon author page so they can buy more of your splendid works. The possibilities are fantastically endless and will be consistently evolving.

Now, I’m not an ‘eBooks are the only way’ kind of girl, I’m still in love with paperbacks and hardbacks too – its a hard habit to break, but I must admit that eBooks are becoming pretty attractive. In my humble opinion, can’t they exist side by side, helping one another? To me, the written word is magical – no matter what format it takes.

What is ‘New Adult’ ?

shutterstock_61385206

Okay guys, so what is ‘New Adult’? Well to be honest with you, I only heard the term myself  a few months ago. Looking online it would seem that the NA and YA debate has been going on for quite some time, and as I describe myself as someone who writes both adult and YA fiction, I thought it was about time I got to grips with this new genre… NA.

I Googled around a bit to answer this question, and it would seem that everyone has their own thoughts on it – just like they did on YA when it became popular all those years ago. Here’s the sum of my findings; you might not agree with me, you may have your own ideas – and if you do, please feel free to add to this post by leaving a comment below.

Age:

In YA, readers like reading about characters who are just a little above their own age – so the maximum age here is around 19. NA is there to bridge the gap between young readers/ teenagers to, well New Adults – so characters should be in their twenties and therefore have scope to deal with more adult situations. 

Sex:

To me, the biggest ‘no,no’ in YA is sex. You don’t have sex scenes in them, you can elude ever so slightly to them, but you can’t glamorize sex in any way – same goes for drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – no wait, rock ‘n’ roll is fine! LOL

Within the NA genre there is room for sex, as characters are older and it would be quite frankly unrealistic to not include at least a mention , just don’t go too over the top. Personally I’d stick to kissing, and leave the reader at the bedroom door.

Content:

In YA the themes and character arcs are very much all about growing up and turning from child into adult. Responsibility and changing for the better are common traits in YA books. When you hit your twenties you should have already gone through these personality changes, so you really need to think back to the main issues you had at that age. To me, its very much that you suddenly have all these new adult responsibilities, yet still have some childhood restrictions on you. Parents of twenty somethings will know all about this – they’re still a child in your eyes, but in the eyes of the world they’re an adult.

Character:

With NA, you have more room to move on your character’s lives and what they do. In their twenties they could still be at university, or be working. They could even be married, or have a child. To me, NA seems to lend itself more to the supernatural and paranormal genre. Themes and content that were off limits in YA are suddenly back on the menu with NA. And although I’ve never censored either action or bad language in my YA stories, you can really go for the gusto in NA.

As always, check out publisher guidelines before submitting. Most major publishing houses have started splitting off NA into its own imprint and will all have different views of what NA means to them.