Thursday: Readers’ Roundup – Amanda Hocking, Sweet Valley redux, & an upcoming event!

March 31, 2011

Bookish goings-on and such.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*If you’ve been following the legendary self-publishing success of Amanda Hocking, you probably won’t be surprised to read about her monster book deal with St. Martin’s of last week. Details here. (WARNING: You might not want to read this unless you’re feeling REALLY confident about your own earning potential as a writer….)

Chasing Ray’s Colleen Mondoor has a thoughtful post up raising what are sure to be the bigger questions about Hocking’s deal, and what this does (or doesn’t) mean for the self-published author in the digital age. Though I can see quite clearly that e-book deals can (and will) be lucrative for a certain type of author – namely, those who write very commercial fiction, most likely serialized, who develop passionate, rabid fan bases – I don’t know that Hocking’s model is applicable to any old writer out there. I don’t begrudge Hocking her mondo-deal because, hey, live the dream, sister!, but I do see Mondoor’s point that a ridonk advance to one author means fewer smaller advances to other, more unproven (aka less-hyped) writers.

That’s a problem, no?

Fact is, to me, anything (including any book deal) that indicates that readers are jazzed about books is a-ok by me. But I do find myself frustrated by these ever-more-jaw-dropping mega deals being reported that essentially tell me what I’m going to LOVE in the upcoming season. Big books have always existed, and likewise, so has buzz. But buzz is different than hype, in that buzz is usually generated by legitimate enthusiasm, whereas hype is fanfare. By throwing wads and wads of cash at a book, a publisher is telling me, YOU WILL CARE ABOUT THIS. I mean, maybe I will. But being dared to, to the tune of zillions of dollars, makes me feel all itchy and twitchy inside.

How could any book possibly live up to that claim?

Give me a good sleeper hit, one that takes a few months to build a fiercely loyal following, and I’m there. I don’t want to get psyched about something just because someone in a corner office told me to.

(*Side note: Colleen also wonders if Hocking’s e-book fans are going to be willing to pay full price for her books rather than the reduced e-book rate they’ve grown to expect. We’ll see!)

*Oh! But there are other writers out there, too – including moi! I’m going to be presenting a workshop to a group of major-talented high school writers as part of this Long Island English Scholars Program on Friday! That’s tomorrow! We’re talking about breaking rules in our narrative form. Though I’ve been teaching grown-ups about young adult writing for almost three years now (there’s still room to sign up for the April session, by the way!), I have very little experience with working with actual, honest-to-goodness young adults. I can’t decide if I’m more nervous, or more excited. Bit of both, it would seem.

 

*Double Oh! Tonight is the release party for Sweet Valley Confidential. I. CANNOT. WAIT. Were you Team Elizabeth, or Team Jessica?

*Last but not least, the Children’s Choice Book Awards finalists were announced last week. Congrats, finalists!


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2 Responses to “Thursday: Readers’ Roundup – Amanda Hocking, Sweet Valley redux, & an upcoming event!”

  1. Rebecca Snyder Says:

    I found your blog and website through Google, of course. You seem to be in the thick of things, so I’d love your opinion if you have a second to help a poor internet soul.

    Young Adult Fiction— First Person Present or Third Person Past?

    Is it true agents want FP pov? Or is it true they ignore all FP pov??
    I’ve heard both!

    • micolostow Says:

      Welcome, Rebecca! I’m sorry to hear that there are such wild rumors out there about what agents definitely DO or DON’T want! Despite the fact that certain trends cycle in and out of the zeitgeist, I don’t think there’s any agent out there that has such a strict set of parameters about writing style beyond, “awesome, fantastic, best-of-the-best.” The only real advice anyone can give, is to write the story that *you’re* meant to write, to the very best of your ability.

      If you’re looking for more concrete advice, I’d check out the agents’ and editors’ blogs out there that cater more specifically to writers’ questions.
      Good luck!

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