Trends in YA Book Covers

Trends in YA Book Covers

Recently I stumbled across this article on Jillian Audrey’s blog on recent trends in YA covers and decided I wanted to share all of these with you.

I would post all the pictures of the current trends right here, but I want you guys to click on the links and look at the covers yourself just so I can spend this blog post explaining each one and either giving my approval or disapproval to several of these trends.

  • The Beheaded: I hate covers with beheaded characters. Why are they all beheaded? Is there some types of social commentary these covers are trying to make? They’re all beheaded women, too. Are these covers just trying to reduce women to just their parts, instead of showing the whole person behind the cover? This one bothers me because it reduces women to just their parts. I don’t know what the marketing department/cover designer is thinking of when they choose to behead the characters on the covers. What say you, Stars?
  • The Big Head: Yes, I know that When Stars Die falls into this trend. But, in my defense, my publisher and I originally wanted Amelia holding her little brother as the original cover, but that didn’t seem like it was able to be done, so we went the big head trend anyway. And you know what? I love my cover to bits, and many of the ‘big head’ covers in the trend’s list are beautiful anyway, such as Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. At least they’re showing the faces of these characters, too, and especially their eyes, which can convey a lot. I like my cover because it really puts Amelia out there, and you can see her innocence, which points to the fact that she isn’t a very worldly person.
  • Baby’s Got Back: This trend doesn’t bother me too much, but, again, it makes no sense. Sure, some of the covers are beautiful, but, admittedly, if you see enough of these, you begin to wonder why the marketing department/cover designers are choosing to take their models and show their backsides. Maybe these covers are trying to portray that these characters are going somewhere super important. I don’t really know.
  • The Mope: This trend doesn’t bother me at all because at least it’s showing the entire model and not just her parts, and at least ‘the mope’ is conveying the darkness of the book. Plus, some of these gorgeous covers just suck me in and make me want to read these books.
  • The Dead Girl: This one doesn’t bother me so much either because at least the characters are varied in how the cover designers chose to portray the deadness of the models. Plus, I read one of those books among the ‘dead girl’ trend, and I can tell you these types of books point to the overall theme of death, and that these ‘dead models’ point to the fact that death is going to be an enormous part of the book, that the main character is just going to be surrounded by it.
  • What Big Eyes You Have: This is another trend that I don’t like. While the eyes are pretty, they don’t really tell much about the story. I especially hate the big eye trend on opaque faces. It’s very tacky. There was this one middle grade book at the school where I do my observation that is called Escaping the Giant Wave, and this cover has a beautiful tidal wave, but there are freaking opaque eyes above it, and I think it’s stupid and cheesy and ruins the whole cover of the book. The eyes also look like they belong to a girl, and the main character is a boy. The cover would have been beautiful without the eyes, and those eyes serve absolutely serve no purpose at all–unless it’s trying to explain that the kid is going to have to escape this tsunami himself, with no adults present to help him. Otherwise, it’s a crap cover.
  • What Big Lips You Have: This is a trend I really hate, especially in YA covers. It’s oversexualizing the model, who is supposed to represent a teenager. Are there erotica books in the YA genre now, because those big lips definitely signify something pornographic going inside of the book.
  • What Big Hands You Have: This one doesn’t really bother me at all, especially the cover of Anna and the French Kiss. I mean, I suppose it’s arguably bothersome because it makes the book seem like it’s all about the hands, but, otherwise, I have no problem with this trend.
  • Kissy Face: Yeah…I don’t like this trend at all, but I’m probably being biased because I don’t like pure romance novels. Plus, some of these covers show the characters about to kiss, or they show the characters barely kissing. Too Nicholas Sparks for me.

So what are some other trends you’ve noticed in YA books lately?

Interview With Writers AMuse Me Publishing by Mariah Wilson

Interview With Writers AMuse Me Publishing by Mariah Wilson

Writers AMuse Me Publishing has been around for some time, so Mariah Wilson has decided to do an interview because they are now including plays.
Your publishing house recently opened its submission box to include Plays. What prompted this decision?
Unlike authors, who have a growing list of options for publishing their books, playwrights don’t have that. There are a handful of big houses, and that’s about it. One of the reasons for this is because publishing plays is a bit more labor-intensive, but the other part of the equation is that you don’t really ‘sell’ the play; it’s more like you rent it out for others to use.
That said, there ARE sales for perusal copies and performing copies of the play. From the current roster of publishing houses that deal in plays, there is not one penny from the sale of those copies of the scripts that goes to the playwright. Let me say that again… the playwright sees no royalty from the sale of their scripts. If your play has ten characters, there are ten ‘book’ sales, plus directors, lighting, etc, who also need copies of the play, so it’s now 15 copies, plus the perusal copies that were bought before the play was even started. It’s wrong that the playwright sees none of that money. The only royalties they get are based on the actual performance rights.
I know a number of excellent playwrights. It’s wrong that they don’t get paid for their written word. Perhaps this is tilting at windmills, but the industry standard is horribly unfair. A writer  – any writer – should be paid for his words when they are sold.
Also, there are some ways that plays can be made more affordable to the small groups that want some options for their production clubs and companies. We want to give them more options, and more availability for plays.
Can you explain the difference in how a novelist is paid as opposed to how a playwright is paid?
When a play is ‘sold’, the purchaser – usually a production company, community theater, school or drama club – signs a contract that specifies the dates they will be doing the play, the number of performances and the number of seats in the theater that could potentially be sold. The contract is reviewed to make sure there are no other performances of that play at the same time within a specific radius, then the materials are shipped to the purchaser for them to use for those specified performances only. There is a trust factor involved, to be sure, but with internet now, it’s a lot easier to make sure the play isn’t being performed illegally. The playwright receives a small percentage of the performance rights only. A novelist gets a percentage of each book sold.
How are you looking to change this? 
We’re looking at a number of changes. Obviously the first change is to make sure the playwright gets a royalty based on the sales of his scripts. We’re also going to offer the scripts digitally. Yes, we know that some will argue that to do so opens the play up to being illegally copied or shared. Yes, it does, but in a day and age when we all have scanners, printers and photocopiers sitting on our desks, that is possible with just about anything. We watch for those illegal activities the same way every other play publisher does. Having bundled digital versions makes for an affordable, quick, green way to do the plays.
We’re also looking at, when we open to musicals, changing things up there as well. The industry standard is that musical scores, etc, are ‘rented’ to the production group. That means the publisher packs up boxes full of binders, ships them to the group, then waits for them to come back. When they are returned in proper condition, the group gets a refund of some of their money, but the rental costs and shipping costs are huge. This was done to prevent, again, illegal copying. I again say that with all of us having instant access to copy machines, if they want to copy, they will copy, so why not just streamline the system and sell them the music? It makes doing a musical more affordable for the production company, and a whole lot easier for everyone.
Our contracts ALL allow for video rights for the production company. We know it happens. You cannot stop people from copying a performance on their phones or cameras when again, everyone has that capability right in their pocket. What we do is sell the rights to allow for the production company to film the performance, then make and distribute up to 100 copies. It gives the production company the opportunity to help out with their financial bottom line, it gets the plays seen by more people, and it gives the playwright some money for what we know will happen anyway. There are, of course, limitations on what the production company can do and where they can use the video, but we think that this is a valuable piece of the puzzle.
We also are changing how artwork and posters are handled. They are typically sold optionally with the play, and in most cases, they are not purchased because they are cost-prohibitive. For any small production organization to have to pay the extra for this is a lot to ask, but it is a missed opportunity for the publisher and the playwright to get what is essentially brand name recognition. You see anything with a white face mask and you know it’s the Phantom. In order to make the artwork affordable for the end user, instead of having artists on contract to do the art on our behalf (giving the artist a one-time payment for their work, no matter how many times it gets used), our artists are not on staff, and they provide the artwork on a royalty basis, meaning that for each time the poster or playbill is purchased for a production, the artist gets paid a royalty. This makes it more affordable for the production group, which in turn helps to create that recognition with the end product.
Why do you think these are important changes to make? 
Up to now, the lion’s share of the money generated by a play lands in the publisher’s pocket, to the detriment of the playwright. That’s wrong. The playwright should be given a royalty on the sale of each copy of their work, and plays should be more accessible to everyone. They are a vital part of any community structure. We need to work to maintain that.
Do you think this will catch on at other publishing houses? 
We can hope so, but I doubt the traditional long-standing publishing houses will change their position. They are used to the money going to them – from the video rights, the copy sales, the rentals for music and scores, for artwork. Hopefully there will be a few more options for playwrights, but it won’t be easy. We know that, but we’re a pretty determined bunch. We have some excellent editors and consultants with decades of experience in the theater in many capacities. If we can bring about some change that makes sure the playwrights get what they should be getting, then that’s all the better.
What kind of plays are you looking for? 
Right now we are open to full length plays and to one-act plays. Down the road, we will also open up to musicals. We will not be considering ten-minute plays. They simply don’t work with this business model.
Any final thoughts on the subject? 
We live in a time where money is a bit harder to come by. We are seeing schools and colleges cut back on many programs, and unfortunately art programs seem to be the first thing on the chopping block. We need to make some changes so that we don’t lose access to something so vital to our society as a play production. The value of entertainment is always under rated in these discussions, but we need it. We need to be able to see ourselves as we are, we need to see society as it is, and we need to have that release. Plays have existed almost for as long as society has – longer than television, longer than movies – and I think there is a reason that performers who appear on screen often find their way back to the stage. We can’t lose that. Plays need to be accessible to all ages, to all income levels, and with the current structure for publishing them, it becomes more of a challenge for groups to be able to perform them. There also is NO reason why a playwright is not paid for his written words. To me, that’s inexcusable.
Tomorrow’s post will be about NaNoWriMo and why I can’t participate, along with fans’ responses to how they participate in NaNoWriMo–including a funny one from my publisher that has nothing to do with NaNo.
Some Things I Don’t Get About the Literary World

Some Things I Don’t Get About the Literary World

  1. Erotica: It isn’t erotica itself as a genre that I don’t get. It’s popular, I can totally see why people read it. What I don’t get about erotica is why people are trying to defend it as something more than literary porn. It has a story? Okay. So does a lot of visual porn, like hentai, for one thing. Can we just get rid of this idea that erotica somehow has a higher status than porn simply because it’s the written word? There is no shame in reading erotica, but trying to elevate it above visual porn is something that I don’t get. I don’t read erotica, but I’ve seen enough bad blurbs (and god-awful covers) to know that it’s not something I want to read, and that it’s just sex, sex, story, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, story is in here somewhere, and more sex. Maybe I just don’t get it because I don’t read it. But I have no interest in reading it because I’m the type of reader that wants to take something meaningful away from a book. I don’t read purely for entertainment, which there is nothing wrong with doing.
  2. New Adult: Okay, so I get its existence because college-aged kids don’t have any books for them. But I feel like all the genre is right now is sexed-up YA, which is what it’s currently being described as. Isn’t the genre something more, or is it really just all sexed-up YA romance books? Because that’s all I’m seeing in the genre so far. I see no one really trying to push the boundaries of NA and make it into something more meaningful. I suppose I could be that writer, but I’m not interested in writing college stories. They don’t appeal to me.
  3. Writing males and females: Why do we worry so much about how to write male and female characters? Why don’t we just write people? Not all boys fit into the stereotypical boy box, just as not all girls fit into the stereotypical girl box. In my current book, the main character is a boy, but I am not worrying about how to write him as a boy. I am worrying about writing him as a person because he is an individual with his own personality. Like I don’t get it when people write reviews about boys that read like girls. What do girls even read like? For that matter, what do boys read like? The best writers tend to not differentiate, I think.
  4. Brand: There is this obsession with branding authors so that authors inevitably force themselves into a box. There is nothing wrong with wanting to write only one genre, but it becomes problematic for someone like me who goes from paranormal romance to contemporary fantasy to someone who really does want to write just a contemporary book but is afraid to confuse her readers because people who stand by branding claim writing outside of genres will screw you over. Libba Bray did it. Why can’t I?
  5. Literary fiction: I seriously don’t get what makes a book literary and what makes a book commercial. John Green is apparently a literary author but has commercial appeal. I’ll admit I want to make my current book have more literary elements, but the more I think about it, the more I don’t quite know what I mean. I have heard that literary books have more meaning than commercial, but I have read commercial books with just as much depth. So I really don’t get it.

 

Is there anything you don’t get? Anything you can help me get?

 

 

Gendered Covers for Young Adult Novels

Gendered Covers for Young Adult Novels

2013-05-23-CoverFlip2 If you’ve been paying attention to the world of publishing lately, then you’ll know there’s been a lot of complaints regarding the book covers of young adult books. They’re too gendered, appealing to one gender over another, instead of trying to appeal to both. Here is a good article on the subject. The article basically states that due to the nature of the covers, pink covers, or “girly” covers, will turn away boys and suggest that they don’t need to concern themselves with the female experience. It is acknowledged that girls will read almost anything but boys won’t, so to gender neutralize covers will draw in both. At the same time, the article also acknowledges that this isn’t full-proof because then it’s just feeding into sexism, whereby masculinity is seen as the norm, seen as gender neutral, and femininity is not.

I don’t think covers need to be gender neutralized. I don’t think that’s where the problem lies. I think the problem lies in the misrepresentation of the book, and the article does acknowledge this–briefly. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar received a rather, *ahem*, jarring cover makeover that is actually rather insulting. This cover makes the story of The Bell Jar seem frivolous. It’s not that it’s “girly”, because there is certainly nothing wrong with that. It’s that it’s completely misrepresenting what The Bell Jar is about!

images (3) I don’t even like the term “girly.” We grow up thinking pink is for girls and blue is for boys, but pink was once for boys and blue for girls. Funny how marketing changed all that.

There isn’t anything wrong with a pink cover, as long as it’s not misrepresenting what the book is about. I frankly enjoy the color pink–a light pink though, much like the satin on pointe shoes. But I rather hate the thought that boys are turned off by pink covers. We’ve made it such  a threatening color to the point where pink covers on books scare boys away. That needs to change–not the book covers, unless they’re misrepresenting the book.

I think pink is sassy, outgoing, and bold. So, pink wouldn’t fit with any of my books because my characters aren’t sassy, outgoing, or bold. But I don’t see it as inherently girly. Wanting to get rid of pink covers or anything “girly” is just feeding into sexism, and that doesn’t need to happen.

When I do my book covers, I don’t even think of the gender of my readers. When I do a book a cover, I think of an object, something symbolic, that would relay the overall theme of my novel. Then I think of a background color that would best emphasize the object and portray the book. The cover for When Stars Die has not yet been approved, but I chose a certain object that symbolizes the freedom all witches seek, but yet they’re tightly bound by the rules of their mortal world. I then painted a dark blue, snowy backdrop since the book takes place in the freezing winter, and dark blue hints at the darkness present in the book.

Of course, if this cover is not approved, I did mention what kind of cover I wanted, and it’s a cover that will emphasize the darkness in the book. It’s a paranormal romance, more heavy on the paranormal/darkness aspect than on the romance. The romance is important, but the book isn’t just about that, so to have a cover that tries to convey the romance in my book would be total misrepresentation.

Overall, what I think needs to happen with book covers is that the stories need to start being properly represented, without publishers worrying about what gender to market to. An attractive cover is an attractive cover, and I think both boys and girls can agree on this, whether or not that cover is trying to market to one gender or another. The Bell Jar, for one thing, could use a total cover overhaul. It’s completely disrespecting both Sylvia Plath and her story.

The Increasing Popularity of Young Adult Literature Among Adults

The Increasing Popularity of Young Adult Literature Among Adults

Screenshot (8) This post has been taken out of context, so if you’re curious about the full article, just type the headline into Google.

Young adult literature is popular, as evidenced by the above post. What caught me most about this specific passage though was the mention that it is embarrassing that so many adults read young adult novels, the implication being that you’re hooked on to your teenage years. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wear any rose-colored glasses about my teenage years. I suppose the older one gets though, the more tempting it is to put on rose-colored glasses about one’s childhood, forgetting all the messy emotions you feel as you’re growing up, the total lack of freedom, having to be 100% dependent on people to care for you, and all sorts of other things that actually make me grateful that I am not a child anymore. I suppose one can wish to return to one’s childhood with the wisdom one has now, but no one is going to treat you as any less of a child just because you know arguing with your parents is senseless.

In any case, I find it offensive that young adult novels are still being held below adult novels and literary classics. Sure, there are some classics among young adult novels, but they’re classics for children, not classics overall. No one considers it embarrassing that there are kids who read adult books or that teens are forced to read classics they likely don’t relate to. But we’re still belittling young adult novels as less than other genres, even children’s literature, for reasons I can’t comprehend.

I suppose popularity breeds resentment, but books are popular for a reason. The public isn’t concerned about the nuances of writing so much as writers themselves, so they’re not as picky about artful writing as we are, which is probably why a book like Twilight was so popular among average readers but so scorned among the writing community.

I don’t think young adult fiction is popular among adults because we want to re-claim our teen years. I think young adult fiction is popular among adults because we want to remind ourselves how messy the teen years actually are. And they are. They’re rife with muddled emotions, hormones that screw with every decision you make, relationships that can turn potentially disastrous; forced to act like an adult but treated as a child; and so many other things that make the young adult genre as popular as it is.

I love the young adult genre because I love dramatic character change and emotional stories. Teens are chockfull of the potential to develop dramatically, thus creating emotion-centered characters that are very much about themselves.

While Suzanne Collins may not have the best prose available, she sure the heck knows how to craft an ingenious story, and story should take precedence over whether or not you can create artful prose that rivals the prose of the classics (I shoot for both, but at the end of the day, I want readers to love my story more than my writing).

I think it’s fantastic that teen fiction is popular among adults. This popularity has brought more notice and awareness to the young adult genre as a whole, and I find that amazing. While some people still scoff, you can’t deny how popular young adult literature has become within the last ten years.

Stupid Writing Advice

Stupid Writing Advice

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There are a few rules on this list to the right that have me seething out of my writerly mind. Some of them are good, but some of them are outright ridiculous, whether or not you have the experience to know when to break them. I’m going to pick at the ones from this list that I find extremely stupid.

1. Write what you know.

I hate this one because it’s impossible to write what you know. And really, I should only break this rule in an emergency? You’re not going to know every facet of your book, hence why many a published book was written with research in mind. If you write what you know, your story is likely to not be that interesting. I had no idea about the workings of a convent when I wrote When Stars Die. I did research on the Salem Witch Trials. The point is, I had to do research, and you likely will too. I suppose if you took this rule literally, write what you know includes writing what you know from research, but in this list, this list that says to only break these rules in emergencies, write what you know likely doesn’t include the research aspect.

2. Kids and animals can’t die.

Just what? I get killing off a kid or an animal can be a cheap way to arouse sympathy, but this also suggests that the lives of animals and kids are too valuable, and that the lives of adults don’t hold enough value, so it’s okay to kill off adults, but, by god, you kill off a kid or animal and you’re stepping on sacred ground. I’ll kill off kids or animals if I want to, especially if it’s relevant to my plot. They’re not immune to death.

3. No multiple points of view.

How are you going to learn to use multiple points of view unless you start writing from multiple points of view? If you find it’s pointless later, that’s why you can edit it out. But you’re never going to understand how to use them unless you actually try to write with them. So break this rule. Kill it, if you’re interested in experimenting with multiple POVs. Shannon’s Minutes Before Sunset uses two POVs, and I think she does a marvelous job, and it’s only her second book. I can tell she didn’t care about this “rule.”

4. Happy endings are required for commercial fiction.

No they’re not. Have you been reading commercial fiction lately? A lot of the endings are bittersweet. I don’t consider bittersweet endings happy endings because the MC is often left with some sort of trauma that is going to have to be sorted out. And trauma is painful. It’s not happy.The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray has a bittersweet ending. Mockingjay has a bittersweet ending. I don’t know what commercial books you’ve been reading lately, but I haven’t been reading any with happy endings.

Write whatever ending you want to write. Even if you’re writing commercial fiction. The only books that require happy endings are Harlequin romance novels.

5. If you want to sell, write to current trends.

Just what? Okay, When Stars Die is a paranormal romance, but I didn’t do it to jump on the paranormal bandwagon. It’s dangerous to force yourself to write to current trends because what you write can turn to crap. Also, I’ve seen plenty of books selling that aren’t along current trends. Write whatever the heck you want. Moving on.

6. Write 1000 words a day.

No. Try to write every day, however many words you can get in. Don’t tell me what to do, especially because you don’t know my life.

End rant.

My Book Needs Reviewers (ARCs Included)

My Book Needs Reviewers (ARCs Included)

Leave a comment if interested in receiving a free paranormal romance ARC of my soon-to-be-pubbed novel by AEC Stellar Publishing.

This book is looking for reviewers to do, well, reviews and possible quotes for the book before it is released. I am already creating an e-mail list of potential reviewers to give to my contract manager and would love to include anyone interested in reading a paranormal romance. Here is some more information on When Stars Die:

Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being…

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Advice to Aspiring Writers

Advice to Aspiring Writers

For one, being Edgar Allen Poe is a must.
I’ve been seeing this post circulating around WordPress. I assume it’s a prompt, but I have no idea where to link it back to, so I’m not even going to worry about that. In any case, I don’t want to spout off the same things everyone else has, like keep writing, or keep reading. Those should be no brainers, even for newbie writers. My advice is going to be given with the assumption that these aspiring writers, whoever this group is, want to be published.

1. Don’t just start sending out your manuscript once you’re done with it. You need to research the publishing industry right down to the period. There are scams out there, and people will take advantage of you. You need to know what an agent is, what traditional publishing is, independent publishing, and self-publishing. You need to know all the nuances of these before you start submitting. Know your query letters, book synopses, and book proposals. There is a girl in my dance class falling in the trap of hysterically searching for a company because she desperately wants people to read her work. She knows nothing about publishing and claims a company already called her. I don’t know if she’s lying or not, but I fear if she isn’t, she’s landing herself in a nasty trap, especially because she has only just written this book. I did my best to arm her with information, but the publishing bug is tempting, especially for a young teen.

2. As a newbie writer, don’t expect your first manuscript to be the one you’ll start subbing. You’re still developing your craft, and both your writing and storytelling skills are likely going to improve from book to book–as in very noticeable improvements. It’s rare for the first book to be it, but it does happen. When Stars Die is my fourth book, and it took me about 1,000,000 words later to have my writing of publishable quality. Now you’re going to keep improving even after, but the point is is that you want to bring everything to publishable standards. The only way you’re going to know this is through beta readers, possibly having experts look at it through webinars and book conferences, or getting a freelance editor. You’ll also develop a gut instinct as a writer that will signal to you when something is still severely wrong.

3. Don’t expect to make bank. Most authors are mid-listers in the traditional field, and they’re increasingly drowning because the current model is no longer designed to help them but those that are potential bestsellers. Your advance will not be that great compared to the blood, sweat, and tears you poured into it, but keep trying. You can also go the independent house route, where your money is based of royalties alone, or self-publishing, where you’ll have to spend money to make money.

4. Expect rejection. Rejection slips can average about 50-100 before you get an acceptance. I know someone who received 500 rejection slips, and it wasn’t that her book wasn’t good because it was. They just didn’t think it was marketable. I know another who received 100 before finally getting an agent. So don’t get discouraged on the 10th rejection because, on average, it will happen. I got lucky and got an acceptance on my first try to the only publisher I sent my manuscript to (it was on a total whim). But my short stories are a different story.

5. Last, write for yourself first, then edit for your readers. The story comes from you and so when drafting, let it flow from only you and no one else. Then once you get revising, you have to start doing it with readers in mind because who will be reading it? Readers of course. They’re why publishing even exists. When you do your final read through, you’ve got to do it from a reader’s perspective: is this sentence too long winded, is this character melodramatic, are there any noticeable plot holes that would confuse readers on a quick read through?

There is a lot more advice that I’d give, but I don’t like to do really long posts, so I think this is a good enough list.

My Defense of Self-Publishing

My Defense of Self-Publishing

I’m going to come out as a hardcore proponent of self-publishing, so steel yourself for possible bias. You can read my post on my decision to self-publish here.

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I’m going to admit I have never sent out a single query letter or manuscript. I have subbed short stories, and most magazines I never heard back from. I expect that, but I vow that my literary magazine never does that, no matter how many submissions we receive.

In any case, why am I going the self-publishing route when I’ve never given traditional a chance? Because I don’t need the validation of an agent or publisher. I really don’t. I don’t care how much experience they have. The books I write aren’t for them. They are for the readers who are interested in the type of material I write. As I’ve mentioned before, readers are the best gatekeepers of them all. Even in the traditional world they determine whether or not a book is worth keeping around.

I used to be so enamored with the traditional route before, so in awe of those who were honorable enough to have literary agents and contracts. I wanted to be among them. I wanted the prestige that came with professional validation. But then something changed. I saw my friends being shot down left and right by agents who enjoyed their work but didn’t think it’d sale. I understand all businesses take a risk and what will sell is just guesswork, but to query for a few years, only to be shot down again and again when you know your book has what it takes, I decided I no longer wanted any part of that world. I didn’t even want to try. Life is short. I want to take control of making my own dream come true because, honestly, I need to. I felt dispassionate about writing for some time because I knew publication was a distant dream. I’m depressed, I suffer with suicidal ideation, there is no reason to stick around when publication could take years.

I knew I needed to change something in my life to make me hang on.

By my nature I am a control freak to a certain extent. I am more than happy to accept criticism on my writing, especially if it makes it better, but I don’t want to have to argue with an editor to keep certain parts of my book alive. I don’t want to have to edit my book to make it fit purely for marketing or try to fit it within a specific word count. I’ll get rid of needless words and needless things, but I refuse to mold my story so that it fits within a word count they think won’t scare teen readers off.

I also want control of my own book covers. I frankly am appalled by many YA book covers, which mostly feature people who look too sultry and sexy and are obviously in mid-adult.

Sure, I’ll have to spend money, but if I were given an advance, I’d probably have to spend it anyway on marketing, so what’s the difference? With self-publishing, I’ll make 70% for each book. Even if I don’t make more than what I spent, I can always write another book and another and another. The good thing about e-publishing is Amazon isn’t going to penalize me if my book doesn’t sell a certain amount in a certain time. Just because it won’t sell now doesn’t mean it won’t sell later.

I also like that I get to create my own brand, that I can be independent, that I can stand on my own two feet. It’s marvelous knowing I’m taking control of this dream instead of working my ass off and waiting for someone else to choose when and where it happens.

I once held disdain for self-publishing. Self-publishing was for the fearful, the ones who couldn’t make it. Once you told me you were self-published, you lost credibility as a writer in my eyes. No more. I primarily read self-published now because these books are satiating the tastes traditional is not satisfying. I am so impressed that writers are taking control of their own dreams and knowing they need to produce quality work to make it. This opens up self-publishing as a viable option to anyone who has ever dreamt of getting published. This adds more prestige to this option too.

Do I wonder why some people still want to be traditionally published? A little bit, but then some people really need that validation. Some people are intimidated by marketing and may need a little bit of help, if the publisher offers at least that much. Some want to see their books in bookstores and not just online. Some prefer physical books over e-books. And there is nothing wrong with any of these things.

But I’m a huge proponent of self-publishing now, so this blog will barely touch on traditional publication as a means to get one’s book out there.