Saturday, March 31, 2012
Please do NOT go to my main webpage--bethrevis.com--as it appears to have been hacked. It redirects to unsavory sites or has a scam pop-up.
I'm working on this and will let you know as soon as the site itself is fixed.
Edit: This doesn't seem to affect any page but the main one (bethrevis.com)--i.e., not this blog, not the other pages in the website. But if you do have any trouble, please let me know ASAP.
Monday, March 19, 2012
As many of you know, I'm a member of the debut novelist group The Elevensies. But we're no longer in the year 2011...and we're no longer debuts. Surely we've learned something in that time. I recently asked the group to list out the top three things they've learned in their debut years. If you're currently a debut--or if you want to be a debut one day--I hope these mini-lists of advice help you out!
First, my advice:
1. It's not the kind of swag you get, but how you use it.
2. New goal: never do another event by myself (more authors = more fun & less stress!)
3. Sometimes it's easier to rewrite the book than revise it.
Here's what the rest of the Elevensies had to say:
1. Don't be stressed, you're doing this because you love to write.
2. A good editor is worth their weight in gold.
3. Keep writing the stories you want to tell.
1. The revisions you do before the sale are only the beginning.
2. Promoting is just another phase of the writing process - embrace it!
3. Always write the book that challenges you.
THE BLOOD KEEPER
1. The Internet is not God.
2. I can't control what people say about my book, what marketing it does or doesn't get, or gravity, but I CAN control my reactions to everything.
3. Save all your receipts. ALL OF THEM.
Sara Bennett Wealer
1. Dedicate a BIG chunk of your advance for promo (more than you think you'll need).
2. There will be disappointments--sometimes big ones; have tissues and a shoulder to cry on handy.
3. Always be working on something new!
THE FORGETTING CURVE
1. Invest in a good office chair. You'll be spending a lot of time in it.
2. Don't get caught up in marketing. No one really knows what works.
3. Always be writing.
CHARLIE JOE JACKSON
1. Editors are slow but wonderful.
2. Try not to obsess over things beyond your control.
3. When you do obsess over things beyond your control, have chocolate handy.
1. Patience! The waiting. Never. Ends.
2. Write your next book while you're waiting.
3. Did I mention the waiting?
1. Thou shalt not stress about things over which you have no control, be it cover art, marketing, sales numbers, promo, the migration of editors and agents, or other mysteries of the publishing universe.
2. Meet lots of people, online and in-person, and keep in touch! These wonderful human beings are your lifelines to sanity.
3. Write the next book that inspires you.
1. A book is never really "done" until the editor pries it from your hot little hands
2. Writing an 80K word book is easier than writing a 5 page synopsis
3. Worrying about all the stuff you *can't* control will drive you nuts. Instead, focus on what you *can* control--writing a really good book!
1. There is nothing more valuable than a honest critique partner who gets your writing.
2. Don't stress about the stuff that's out of your control. (Like covers.)
3. Find some awesome writerly friends who will hug you when you need it.
ALIENS ON VACATION
1. Librarians, teachers and children's booksellers--in addition to being the best people in the world--are largely responsible for getting your book into the hands of kids. Treat them accordingly.
2. Learn to enjoy the public speaking that goes along with book promotion.
3. Your (possibly lifelong) goal of being a published author has been accomplished. Congrats! Now it's time to set new writing goals.
1. It's never too early to start the next book, series or no series.
2. Spend more time writing than promoting.
3. Learn to say no.
Friday, March 9, 2012
So I was talking recently with my friend Elana Johnson (her book, btw, is totally on sale now, you should buy it) about how writing can be an art. I say "can be" because I'm not sure it's always an art--although that's a debate for a different day.
I happen to be a huge fan of painting--specifically Pre-Raphaelite paintings. (I blogged about this before, but it's been a few years. Still, if you'd like to see my original thoughts on the subject, as well as my favorite piece of art, click here.)
I suppose you could look at artistic movements like genres of written works. My favorite genre is YA, my favorite artistic movement is Pre-Raphaelite. I don't really appreciate adult literary titles, but then again, Dadaism is lost on me. While I can look at a piece of Dadaist art and recognize that (a) it is art and (b) it has value, it has no emotional resonance within me.
That said, I don't think it's really as simple as that. Because even within my own beloved YA genre, there are different styles. And so I think it comes down to this: we are each of us an artist, and our art is reflective of the things we like within art, not necessarily the artistic style.
- Beautiful execution. The paintings are vivid and realistic and beautiful to look at. Some art is meant to disturb; this art is meant to be beautiful (although there is disturbing themes--the painting of Ophelia to the left is supposed to show her at the moment of her death).
- Fantastic subjects. I mean fantastic in the literal sense--the settings and subjects of the paintings are often derived from mythology or Shakespearean lore.
- Attention to detail. In the painting of Ophelia, even the selection of flowers held in her hands hold symbolic meaning. I cannot name a single Pre-Raphaelite painting that doesn't include significant symbolism in the images.
- Beautiful execution. I say this all the time, but Carrie Ryan's THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH changed the way I looked at YA books specifically because they were so beautifully written. Yes, they're about zombies. But they're beautiful.
- Fantastic subjects. I like my books to have fantasy or sci fi in them. I want the impossible to happen. I don't need to hold onto realism--I want magic and stars.
- Attention to detail. One of my very favorite literary devices is foreshadow. I want a complicated story, yes, but I want the end to surprise me. Foreshadow is the key to this. Show me all the clues in the story, and then show me how they solve the plot. Think of JK Rowling--you see polyjuice potion in Book 2, but then the plot of Book 4 hinges on it. That is brilliant. That is the detail that wins the books.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
And then I came to THE LITTLE PRINCE. I actually quite love this title--it's a beautiful book, with beautiful illustrations (and readers of A MILLION SUNS will know that I like this book so much that I made it a part of that book, too). But it's not one of the books I bought. Despite the fact that it was $5, I just did not care to own it in audiobook format.
This got me thinking: I actually have some big preferences on how I consume books. This has only happened recently--about a year after owning an ereader and subscribing to audible. I've developed a hierarchy of what format I want books in.
If it's a book with a particularly beautiful cover, a book that I know I will want to read over and over again, a book by a friend, or a book I could get signed, I want the hardback.
If it's a very long book (GAME OF THRONES, I'm looking at you), a book that I consider a "throw-away" read (such as a trashy romance novel), or a book that I already love and know I want to read again easily (i.e. on the road), I will buy an ebook. In some cases, I will buy an ebook of a book I already own, just for the portability. In my house, we have all of George RR Martin's books in both formats--my husband likes the paperbacks, my hand doesn't want to break under the weight and prefers the ebook. I also have signed hardbacks I don't want to damage, so I have the ebook, too.
If it's a book I'm only so-so excited about, but feel I should read anyway, I will get it in audiobook. There are a few titles that it feels as if EVERYONE has read, but I just can't get through--so I get it in audiobook. I listen to audiobooks while on a long road trip or while cleaning the house, which means that I somehow get over the issues that I have trouble with in the print books. These are books that seem to have a slow start, or perhaps a premise that I'm not over the moon about. I've found so many new books this way--audiobooks somehow make me get over my presumption of books that I have trouble with.
I also like audiobooks when there's a great narrator--I read Harry Potter in Jim Dale's voice now, and Wil Wheaton is definitely the voice for READY PLAYER ONE. And sometimes it's just nice to put on a well-loved story and listen away.
In short, my point is this: there's a lot of debate over ebooks or no ebooks, and formatting and everything else. But for me, there's no argument. I like all the formats for different books, and I'm just happy that I get to live in a world where they're all available.
What about you? What formats do you prefer...and why?
This universe, this world, this life: it's all pretty astounding. There is, quite literally, a star within you. Let it shine.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
There are a few things happening online right now (or soon!) and I want to make sure everyone knows about them. Forgive me if this is a repeat from Facebook or Twitter :)
- There's an online campaign to make Kony famous. The video is amazing and is definitely worth a watch.
- And speaking of important things: you should read this post by Ello about beauty, and what it is (and isn't) and how we need to change the face of books (literally).
- THIS THURSDAY: Don't miss a chat online with me hosted by the wonderful Mundie Moms! We'll be talking about A MILLION SUNS, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, writing, and more, so please drop by and chat! Spoilers ahoy!
- Coming in April--the YA Scavenger Hunt! Now with a shiny new website! But we need you help--please vote for how you'd like to see the hunt develop.
- Thanks to Jennifer White for letting me know about this website that allows you to make your own (beautiful) nebula!
- Seriously, have you heard this song yet?! Blown. Away.
- Anthology news!
- AFTER, an anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, is now up on GoodReads. My story is about the Eldest System, and one Elder's decision to continue it or not. It's a very open-ended story...the Elder could be Orion, or it could be the Eldest you meet in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.
- DEFY THE DARK, an anthology edited by Saundra Mitchell, has it's own website online here. If you're a writer, you definitely want to keep an eye out on this website--there will soon be a contest for one unpublished writer to win the last spot in the anthology. My story in this anthology is about Kayleigh and Harley, and tells a secret that's only hinted at in A MILLION SUNS. You can read the first few lines here.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Monday, March 5, 2012
Who's the winner of all seven books on the Breathless Reads tour? Plus a signed poster? Plus a badge from the tour? Who's the winner who gets all this awesome?