Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What I Learned in My High School Library Club Today…

Quick Update: Awesome news, friends. I entered YATopia’s contest and just won my first query critique, by author/blogger/former literary agency employee Jodi Meadows. Woot! To keep up with the spirit, I included a link to her website with her name. Check her out. She’s badass.

Song Stuck In My Head: “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani. Orchestra class is learning songs from movie Fiddler in the Roof, including the original “If I Was a Rich Man”, so not too random. Maybe. :/

So, I went to my high school’s fourth Library Club meeting this week. There’s only four regular members and monthly, if even that, meetings. Our purpose: to provide input on which books get ordered. Rather neat power. For instance, I got one of my favorite bloggers Tahereh Mafi and her first novel, Shatter Me, on the top of the list. However, since today was our biggest turn-out, I made some keen observations for my fellow YA writers out there. Some common sense, some interesting. Check it:

1. Power of a Name

Series AND author brand names are still big. Most of our orders were sequels to books we already had, or popular authors like Cassandra Clare and Rick Riordan. While stand-alone novels are always good, most modern teen readers seem to enjoy riding a story beyond one book. As long as the concept is fresh, that is. (Translation: PUT THE VAMPIRE IDEA DOWN! STEP AWAY FROM THE WEREWOLF LOVE STORY!)

2. Get Out the Popcorn

Movie adaptations don’t have to be Harry-Potter size to have an effect. While The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s success led to us ordering its sequels, I Am Number Four and Beastly didn’t exactly blow up at the box office. Yet, not only is Beastly one of the most checked out books, but I Am Number Four’s sequels made our list. They also make books easier to recommend - I’m proud to say I successfully convinced a girl to at LAST check out the Hunger Games. Muhahaha. Only took how long before the movie? Pssht.

3. Not Too Feminine After All

The boy-girl ratio of YA readers isn’t too dramatic at my school. Out of our eight members this meeting, three were boys and five were girls. They were also mostly seniors, but I’m guessing that’s more because freshman and sophomores are afraid to join clubs than anything else. However, there is somewhat of a time period (around fourteen to seventeen) where a teen reader might slow their reading intake. That age is also usually when they start transitioning from young books to more adult material.

4. Find Your Niche Audience

Tastes vary here. A bunch. For instance, one girl admitted to being a fan of old, archaic and even foreign versions of stories. Then another girl is big on the author Tamora Pierce. And then there’s me, the weirdo who drifts back and forth between the random vampire series and music-themed indie novels. While bestsellers might attract both avid and fair-weather readers, don’t hold back from writing in an odd genre if that’s where you thrive. Your audience is out there somewhere.

5. Standing Out

Word of mouth is valuable. A lot of authors and book/series names were shared, and I know they’ll get checked out, even bought. So don’t be afraid to get yourself out there and make your name known. Today’s writers need more than just a kick-ass story to survive in this publishing world. You never know when or how your future fans will hear about you, so make everything count.

Okay, peeps, that’s all for now. But stick around later this week for a blog on CW’s version of the “Secret Circle”, as part of my series on TV shows. I had one last week on Napoleon Dynamite. Hopefully journalism class will die down enough that I can continue next week too.

And since my blog has been a tad bland as of late…time for LOLcatz apology! (Man, it seems every one of my posts has these now...)


1 comment:

  1. That's so cool that your school holds meetings with students to pick out new library books! I am very jealous. I don't know how my school picks out their library books, but it does not involve real, live students.