Once Taboo, Gay Characters Are Taking Over YA Fiction
in Broadly. (Oct 30, 2016)
Gay characters remain a minority in television and film, but they have become a sensation in young adult fiction over the past seven years. Teenage readers have gobbled up books with titles like One Man Guy and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.
Queerness has always existed between the lines in novels about teenagers. Authors like Nancy Garden, Jacqueline Woodson, and Francesca Lia Block all highlighted gay undertones in their young heroes and heroines. In 2003, David Levithan—the author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and now the publisher and editorial director of Scholastic—ushered in a golden age of gay young adult (YA) fiction. His debut novel Boy Meets Boy told the classic boy-meets-girl love story, but with two boys. The book became a cult classic among both queer teens and adults, inspiring a new generation of YA authors. “It just showed me there was an openness to the YA LGBTQ world that was very flexible and cool,” says gay YA author Jeffrey Self. Novelist Simon Curtis agrees: “[Levithan’s] phenomenal. He’s kind of like the fairy godfather [of gay YA].”
Throughout the 2000s, publishers released more gay YA novels, but they remained controversial. “A book called Boy Meets Boy was easy to attack, since you didn’t have to read it to know what it was about,” Levithan says in an email. “And many people thought it would be easier to attack gay characters and gay books rather than gay people, thinking that books wouldn’t fight back.”
10 Self-Published Young Adult Novels That Need To Be On Your Radar
For most of the people in the world who love YA novels as much as I do, if you want a book, you head to the bookstore or boot up whatever online retailer you like to get your ebooks from. Thankfully, major publishing houses have got us covered in finding something to pique our interest, but the world of self-published young adult novels shouldn’t be counted out. When you hear of success stories like Fifty Shades of Grey going from fanfiction to self-published book to mainstream novel, no matter how much your opinion of that book might vary, you can’t deny that there are a lot of amazing, undiscovered books out there just waiting for someone to discover them. At least, that’s how I felt, and, luckily, I wasn’t proven wrong.
NaNoWriMo for publishing folk
by Bree Weber in BookMachine (November 1, 20016)
On November 1st, the publishing industry will get a little quieter, all thanks to a month-long “contest” steadily growing in participants and controversy. Writers outline and plan novels in preparation for November aka NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) when they commence writing 50K words towards a novel. And in December, many of them descend on literary agents and publishers with their first draft manuscript, thereby inducing the publishing community to silently close their submissions (or wish they had) until well into the new year.
There’s a plethora of tutorials, tips, and pep talks designed for writers to help them prep for, participate in and ideally pull off the incredible feat of 50,000 words in 30 days. But what about the rest of the book people? Authors are our creative collaborators, and around half a million of them are becoming super-writers for a month. It seems like it might be time for publishing folk to get in on this annual hoopla, because really, at the core of this writing project is simply the promotion of creativity, which sounds an awful lot like the intention of copyright law.
So here we go, a 3-step guide to #NaNoWriMo for publishing folk:
Read more here.
Why Most Amazon Reader Reviews are Worthless
A longtime agent dissects the Amazon reader review
By Peter Riva in PW (Oct 28, 2016)
I’ve been an agent for 40 years. Publishers may not like what I’m about to say, but my observation is that most Amazon and Barnes & Noble reader reviews are either fraudulent or, at best, useless in assessing the true merit of any given title. Debut authors are largely being shut out of a fair shake, and without them, publishing will follow the network-media misstep of avoiding/shunning the fresh voices that attract new audiences (which is why HBO, Netflix, Showtime, and, yes, Amazon Prime have surpassed the major networks in original content).
Two decades ago, I knew editors and publishers who, determined to see their authors climb the New York Times bestseller list, got the tacit okay from the major publishing houses to enlist their friends and colleagues to go to all of the 10 retail outlets that the Times secretly used to gauge reader interest—no Nielsen numbers, just 10 stores (most of us back then knew which stores those were)—and buy a copy of their books. Ten friends carrying out this directive could result in a second printing because the book would appear at #20 or better on the Times list. Some editors I knew had a whole campaign mapped out: five friends the first week, 10 the next, and 10 again the third. The result? You were bound to get a Times mention and the book was likely to be a winner. This was cheaper than co-op advertising.
The Amazon reader reviews are today’s equivalent of manipulating the numbers. How is the book a success? You would think blurbs or actual media and viral reviews would be the most important criteria for Amazon’s algorithm assessing positioning and promotion. Nope, those have no mathematical number to plug into a formula. So is it the public reviewers’ average rating? Not alone. What Amazon does is akin to the cheap tailor’s quip over the cost of a suit fabric: “Never mind the quality, feel the width!” One hundred reviews at three stars becomes more valuable commercially than 10 at five stars. Crudely speaking, 300 of anything is more valuable than 50.
Scribd Adds Magazines and News to Subscription Service
Scribd announced today that it has added magazines and news articles to its subscription service, which also offers users access to ebooks, audiobooks, comics, sheet music and documents.
The magazines Scribd is adding are as follows: archive and current issues from Time, Fortune, Money, People, Bloomberg Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Foreign Policy, New York Magazine, Newsweek and The Atlantic (coming soon).