Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Reading Trends Part II: Adult Fiction

So, now moving on to the latest trends in adult fiction ... What is the number one publisher which has seen the most growth and sales?  Harlequin. Gotta love that romance. Yet, as most of you know, Harlequin combines romance with a lot of other genres -- mystery/suspense, paranormal, historical. So, as long as you want the romance involved, there is something for everybody.
Genres that seem to have a growing audience are -- thrillers, Americana, literary, paranormal with an erotic touch, Christian fiction, and horror stories which are still making a ripple. Of course, anything offered in e-book format has a great chance of being read, especially romance novels. Such is the craze of the eReaders. What's most consistently popular, as readers have found in the past, will probably be such in the future. And that is anything by those authors at the top of the food chain -- James Patterson, Dan Brown, Nora Roberts, and the list goes on. What has changed is the path ones like James Patterson have taken. Several times he has linked up with a coauthor, and probably because of the growing interest in young adult books, he has ventured into that genre with novels like Maximum Ride. One more group to mention comes from the famous people who decide to write, maybe their memoirs or sometimes fictional works, and their books seem to sell, so publishers will keep on publishing them.

In my opinion, as a writer you may follow the trends, hoping to catch a ride on that rollercoaster while it's still flying high, but you need to be passionate about what you write. No matter what. Who knows? Maybe if you think of something entirely unrelated to the trends of vampires and werewolves or those other popular themes, maybe you'll be the one to start the next trend. Now, wouldn't that be something!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reading Trends - Part I: Young Adult

As both a reader and a writer, I find learning about the latest trends in reading to be both interesting and useful. So, I'm going to cover this in at least a couple postings and start with Young Adult readers. This year continues the hot topic of fantasy/paranormal, mainly vampires and werewolves. However, the fantasy realm includes mythological themes such as the Goddess Girls. Multimedia series are also grabbing young readers where they connect online and in video. Two that fall into that category are 39 Clues and Skeleton Creek. Diary and Journal formats are popular as in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which by the way leads to the books where the main characters have special needs, such as Mockingbird and Rules. Graphic novels and Manga continue to hold their place in the top favorites, probably because of the timeless captivation of such stars as Superman and X-Men. And it should be mentioned that though these are Young Adult books, adults are reading them, too. In fact, this trend is on the rise, which I imagine pleases both author and publisher alike.

One more category I'd like to mention is books for reluctant readers. Teaching in this area has given me firsthand experience in the challenges of getting kids to read. I agree with those who say that reluctant readers are ones who just haven't found the type of book that interests them yet. Anyway, here is a list of the top ten picks:

  • Amason, Jessica and Richard Blakeley. This is Why You’re Fat: Where Dreams
         Become Heart Attacks.

  • Brereton, Catherine, Philip Steele, and Hannah Wilson. Warriors Versus Warriors:
         Ten Fighters, Five Battles, ONE WINNER.

  • Elkeles, Simone. Rules of Attraction: A Perfect Chemistry Novel.

  • Hasler, Nikol. Sex: A Book for Teens: An Uncensored Guide to Your Body, Sex and

  • Keplinger, Kody. The D.U.F.F.(Designated Ugly Fat Friend).

  • Neri, G. and Randy DuBurke. Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty.

  • Rainfield, Cheryl. Scars.

  • Summers, Courtney. Some Girls Are.

  • Volponi, Paul. Rikers High.

  • Von D, Kat with Sandra Bark. The Tattoo Chronicles.

  • I will end this post with a little anecdote. It addresses the reason why it's important to a hopeful writer wanting to sell his/her work. When I spoke with someone who owns a business and after complaining how difficult it is to find a publisher to accept my work, she asked me, "Well, have you asked them what they are looking for?" Such a simple question, but with not so simple an answer. It's very hard to find the right place at the right time, but knowing what the reader wants to read is what publishers want to publish is ultimately what the author should write ... at least is he/she wants to sell :-)

    For more information about Young Adult Readers, check out YALSA .

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Writing Tip of the Day

    Tip to Note: When writing your story, please keep a timeline of events. I've been finding that if I don't -- time that's passed is too much or too little when I reference it later, or when I have events that follow, they do not seem logical or they are out-of-sync. In other words, it just plain ole messes the story up! Timelines -- so simple and so very helpful :-)

    Sorry folks. Because of a temporary glitch with blogspot, the comments made previously here on this post have disappeared :( As always, I appreciate all those who take an interest and submit their ideas/thoughts. Hopefully, it won't happen again. And who knows? They might miraculously reappear!

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Stylish Blogger Award

    It's the little things ... I received a blogsite award from a new-found friend and blogger -- Krista and The Jelly Beans of Writing So, I am honored and now will talk a bit about me :-) How hard can that be?! (sweating profusely now). Before I start, here are the rules of the game. And best of luck to those five I pass the award along to!

    Ok, here are the rules for this award:
    1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
    2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
    3. Pass the award along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.
    4. Contact the winners to congratulate them

    R.F #1: I used to be a closet Victorian Romance reader! You name it and I read it. From Victoria Holt to Barbara Cartland, I had no boundaries to my ravenous appetite. But then I got married, had romance of my own, and didn't find as much interest in that genre. I switched to Stephen King and Dean Koontz horror for a while. It took a heavy dose of gruesome to get me to change camps once again. And it's been mysteries and suspense ever since! (Although, I admit, once in awhile I will venture back into a syrupy sweet romance and feel joy!)

    R.F.#2: I am like an only child, but am not an only child ... No, it's not a riddle. My youngest brother is 16 years my senior. I have a sister, the oldest, who is 23 years older than I. And I have 9 nieces and nephews who range anywhere from 3 years to 8 years younger than I. Those were and are like my brothers and sisters. It's crazy during family reunions. I recall when I was a kid, I used to tell them, "If you ever call me Aunt Kathy, I will deck you!" It must have had the impact I wanted because when one of them had a bridal shower years later she asked if it was okay now to introduce me as her aunt!

    R.F. #3: I wrote my first song when I was 12. It was actually just lyrics which I put to the tune from a movie, "The Moon Spinners" (Haley Mills was my idol then. And Cary Grant. I loved his old movies.) Anyway, I remember going out into the backyard, swigging on the tree swing and singing my song. It doesn't get more cheesy than that, folks!

    R.F. #4: I've been writing stories since I was 7, belonged to my high school writers' club, and even took a class or two on creative writing. But it was when I approached my 50th birthday that I remembered the promise I'd made to myself: If I didn't write a full novel by then, and try to get it published, then I would give up on writing. Rather harsh, don't you think? Anyway, I finished Oklahoma's Gold that year. It felt good :-) And I was encouraged to write even more.

    R.F #5: I actually decided to dabble in the self-publishing arena, but I didn't want to publicly say it was me :-). So, I published a young adult novel under a pen name. It's actually a fusion of my children's names into one. It's here, somewhere. I will let you all do the detective work to figure it out!

    R.F. #6: I love bodies of water ... oceans especially, but I can't swim! I often say that when I retire, I would like to live in a beach house and watch the ocean waves move, smell the salt air, and just relax on my deck. To me that is Utopia!

    R.F. #7: I talk to myself. Not that it's so unusual. I know lots of people who admit to that. But I do it to act out scenes I'm writing about in whatever WIP I'm working on. It helps ... I think ... yeah, it does. Or at least that's what I tell myself ... out loud ... when I'm carrying on a conversation with no one else in the room. Oh, boy ...

    That actually wasn't too hard. I guess like most of us, I enjoy writing about myself. It's almost cathartic. Okay, so here below are my five "victims". Enjoy!

    Allison Simon

    Sue Maynard

    Elena Solodow

    Katherine Crawford

    Danielle Raver 

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Pointing in the Right Direction ... Book Country

    So, what's the buzz? Tell me what's a happening ... Okay, not really trying to quote lyrics from rock opera, Jesus Christ, Superstar, but I couldn't resist :-) Just wanted to give a bit of flare to introducing yet another online forum for peer reviews. What makes Book Country somewhat unique is the "author" of the forum, Penguin Books. I will paraphrase the About Us page they've created to give you idea what to expect.

    The obvious? You, the reader, can read original works. You don't have to be an author yourself, but it's a nice way to view new and immerging authors' creations. And you authors can place some of your work on the site, after you have reviewed at least 3 other works. I guess that seems fair, trying to balance both sides. You leave comments--constructive criticism, of course--and share thoughts, tips, and learn about the publishing industry through inciteful articles. It's refreshing to see that it's free. That's very unlike Fan Story, which is tainted with price-driven motives, IMHO.

    Book Country and it's creator, Penguin, plan to offer a publishing service under the Book Country logo. There will be a cost, but they claim it is a "convenient and affordable way to self-publish eBooks and print books". This (and variety of services they provide) is yet another way for new authors to skirt around the traditional methods of finding a publisher and/or agent.

    It will be interesting to see where this leads and how much it fits into the trend of things in publishing, especially in competing with self-publishing giant, Amazon and its Create Space and Kindle. At the very least, the free reviewing available is something to check out.

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Guest Blogger - Michael Murphy -- Three Tips for Obtaining Media Coverage for Your Novel.

    Well folks, I promised you a visit from Michael Murphy, author of the just released mystery, Scorpion Bay. He offered to write about his experience with campaigning and how to get the word out about his book. I hope you enjoy this and please feel free to post your questions and comments. Now, please give a warm welcome to my guest!

    With the release of my new mystery/suspense novel, Scorpion Bay, I reached out to the media and was able to obtain an article in the local weekly, Peoria Times, the Arizona Republic, and an in studio interview on the highest rated morning news program in the state, Good Morning Arizona. Here’s a few tips I learned. Hope they’re helpful in your campaign.

    1. Don’t make the pitch for the story to be about your book. Assume the media isn’t interested in an author having a new book released. Come up with and provide an angle on a unique story on the release. With my novel, I planned a Scorpion Bay launch party at the real Scorpion Bay in Lake Pleasant Arizona. Both newspapers played up that angle when I mentioned that several scenes took place at the Scorpion Bay Marina. The story then became about the marina, not about an author seeking publicity.

    2. Product Placement. Placing a product in a movie is common these days. Obtaining the enthusiastic approval of the owner of Dillons Restaurant at Scorpion Bay to mention the restaurant (it was integral to the story), helped secure the location of the launch party which resulted in the newspaper interest.

    3. Find a hook. With the television media, I approached the station more than two years ago to seek their help in researching the media aspects of Scorpion Bay. When the book was about to be released, I reached out to them and the hook was mentioned in the interview; “Good Morning Arizona often brings you stories of interest, but today ‘we are the story’. That was the hook that resulted in their interest in interviewing me.

    At the launch party, I made a point to ask people who came to the table what brought them there and more than half mentioned the newspaper or television appearance. I sold forty-three books and concluded that 23 or more resulted from the media campaign.

    Obtaining media coverage, however, isn’t just about selling a particular book; it’s more about establishing you as a credible author. A final tip, don’t be intimidated by the media, reach out to them and find a way to help them write the story.

    Scorpion Bay by Michael Murphy

    Also, visit Michael's website for more information:   Michael Murphy