Monday, October 31, 2011

Finally Joined the Masses...

...and Twitter-fied my blog. I was very skeptical of Twitter for a long time (mostly because the majority of it is a breeding ground of status spit wads), but have found that it can be a good way to connect with writers, agents, and publishers. The trick is filtering out all that other stuff. So, if you want to follow me there, I'm @WriterLibrarian.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stage fright.

I thought I was over stage fright. Really. In college, I took a public speaking class. This, combined with a dunk in the deep end of elementary education taught me how to get up in front of a crowd without sweating, stuttering, or fidgeting. Years later, as a librarian, I've grown accustomed to presenting to students. I've been doing it for so long that I don't really think about it anymore--I just engage with the students, and we have fun.

So when I agreed to do a live reading of one of my short stories, I thought "ain't no thing." But as I watched the man in the cowboy hat before me read his poem, my palms started to clam up and my hands started shaking. When I finally got up to read, I hid behind my piece of paper and mumbled, stumbling over various words and phrases. The people up front liked my story, they said--but the ones in back probably couldn't hear a thing.

Even though it was a bit humiliating, I'm glad I did it--part of being a published author (if I get there someday) is standing up in front of people and reading what you've written. Sometimes, this means baring your soul. And that can be petrifying. But if you practice, practice, practice--as I plan to--then--ain't no thing.

What to do with old books, and more ebook surprises

So in keeping with the "librarian" theme of The Writer Librarian, I think it's high time for a library related story. This one by NPR blogger Linda Holmes provides an interesting angle. What should libraries do with old books? We're talking about the ones that not even people want to buy for a penny at the annual library book sale. As the article specifies, some libraries have such limited space (and budgets) that they have no choice but to throw them out. Libraries--'gasp'--throwing out books? Unheard of!

But with ebooks becoming more of the norm, libraries may not have a choice, unless companies like Amazon sell ebooks for cheaper. According to this blog entry, Amazon's pricing for may be a bit steep--They're offering ebooks at a price alternative to hardbacks instead of paperbacks. But what about consumers who prefer a $7.99 paperback over a $10.99 ebook? Or those who--'gasp'--get the hardcover in a library for free? It will be interesting to see when (if?) Amazon takes this into consideration.

So, the book wars continue. Ultimately, consumers will decide which trends will win out. And librarians, publishers, and corporations will need to adapt accordingly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Literary Rambles does it again, and other musings

...5 Things I've Learned from forthcoming YA author Ryan Graudin is necessary reading for aspiring writers. Literary Rambles does it yet again. If you don't yet follow their blog, I highly suggest you do. Soon.

One of the most useful pieces of advice from "5 Things I've Learned" is about how to conduct queries. Graudin recommends spacing out query letters in fives--and waiting a good amount of time between each wave. This way, a writer doesn't blow through an entire agent list right off the bat. (Another good piece of info I've heard is to not query the same agency at the same time). As I'm going to start querying next year, this was very timely insight.

Graudin also talks about the importance of networking with other writers. When trying to navigate the vast oceans of how to get your work noticed, it helps to confer with someone who's been through the process.

And speaking of process, here's another gem from Janice Hardy about tightening narrative voice. I wish I'd seen this when I was getting the first draft of my novel on paper. She provides a nice step-by-step method to make narrative more readable.

Another thing I've learned recently (that no one ever told me) is that sometimes there will be significant deadline crunches, particularly when working with publishers. It's good to balance time when you can, but sometimes cramming is inevitable. More on this in a future post.

-The Writer Librarian

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Great Blog for Aspiring YA/MG Fantasy/Sci-fi Writers

This past week I found an interview with published author Janice Hardy on Literary Rambles. It's worth sharing with anyone aspiring to write Young Adult/Middle Grade Fantasy trilogies.

For those unfamiliar with Janice Hardy's work, she wrote the Healing Wars trilogy. The newest book in the series, Darkfall, was released Oct. 4.

Here's a summary from Goodreads:

"War has come.

Nya’s the one who brought it. And the people love her for it.

With Baseer in shambles and Geveg now an impenetrable military stronghold, Nya and the Underground have fled to a safer location—without Tali. Nya is guilt-ridden over leaving her sister behind and vows to find her, but with the rebellion in full swing and refugees flooding the Three Territories, she fears she never will.

The Duke, desperate to reclaim the throne as his own, has rallied his powerful army. And they are on the move, destroying anyone who gets in the way.

To save her sister, her family, and her people, Nya needs to stay ahead of the Duke’s army and find a way to build one of her own. Past hurts must be healed, past wrongs must be righted, and Nya must decide: Is she merely a pawn in the rebellion, a symbol of hope—or is she ready to be a hero?"

The interview on Literary Rambles led me to Janice Hardy's blog, The Other Side of the Story. Be sure to check out the left sidebar, in which she provides a useful step-by-step methodology for writing fantasy and gives useful tips on the submission process. (She even has a post this week about query letters!).

-The Writer Librarian