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Tag Archives: YA

Reflections On The Release Of Hidden Power

Well, I admit that I pushed myself a little bit harder than I probably should have, but I’ve managed to get Charlotte Powers 3: Hidden Power released before flitting away to Japan (and with, oh, at least two days to spare). I did consider skipping a proof in order to release it even earlier, but decided against it—I only picked up one actual error on that last round but it was a doozy (‘baseball leg’ instead of ‘baseball bat’, I would have been horribly embarrassed to let that one through), so I’m glad I gritted my teeth and just did it. Cover graphic and link? Yes, I think so:

After actually publishing something I usually feel a combination of satisfaction and emptiness, and this time is no exception. I really do put everything I have into my books, no corners cut however tempting it might be to do so—that final proof is a good example, how much did it improve the book, really? By one percent? Less? It’s the law of diminishing returns, the first edit might give a twenty percent improvement to the book, the next ten percent, then five, then three, then two, then one, but even that one percent improvement, catching another error, tightening up those final few sentences that are just a little loose, killing that ‘she said’ which isn’t really necessary, adding that single line of description that really sets the tone of a scene, all of these things really are just so important to me. Little details. Little details are important. After the last proof I did on the book my feeling was that doing another could possibly catch another error or two, would maybe turn up a few sentences that could be better, but in terms of story and polish, I was (and am) happy. I think part of being not just a writer but an author—and in a certain sense a publisher—is learning when to say ‘this is as good as I can reasonably expect to make it; it’s time to cut the cord’. That’s probably the single most important skill I’ve developed through this whole indie author adventure; learning to finish things, really finish them, not just outlining and writing a first draft that I come back to every so often mostly because I want to read that scene I’m particularly fond of, but focused crafting of not just a story but a book.

Anyway, I hope people like this one. The ending is even more difficult than Power Play’s (which was pretty bad, in that sense), but it’s all going somewhere. I’m not just throwing these things together, I have a definite end in mind and know just what has to happen to reach that end. So after Hidden Power there are going to be two more books, Rising Power and then Power Overwhelming, and that’ll be the end of Charlotte’s story. For better or worse. After that, I don’t know. I have other projects and other series but I don’t want to let go of Charlotte’s world just yet; there are stories still to tell.

Anyway, for now I’m happy with where I am. I was especially happy at the response to my pre-release announcements—that there was any response at all was amazing. It wasn’t so long ago that I was just writing entirely for myself, making these little stories for no grander reason than my own amusement, and now here I am, slowly but surely getting my books into the hands of people who actually want to read them—who look forward to the next in the series enough to say ‘yay!’ or ‘hurry up!’ when I announce it’s coming. These sorts of things might seem minor but they really do mean a lot to me, and I’m grateful to all my readers. The simple truth is that this wouldn’t be nearly as fun without you.

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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Of Writing

 

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Political (not really), The Being Nice To People Party (it’ll never catch on), Gratuitous Arya

I love this from a recent post by Neil Gaiman, about how he’s not very political:

“… if there was a party whose main platform was being nice to people, freedom of speech and supporting libraries I’d sign up for it …”

Me too, Neil! Me too. Actually I’d settle for just the libraries bit, they’re so important and they never get enough money.

Kind of a thing going on over here about ‘strong’ female characters in YA:

http://www.aimeelsalter.com/2011/05/ethics-in-ya-strength-vs-stupidity.html

I considered commenting then kind of thought, “I’ve never encountered this anywhere ever, and my characters certainly don’t act like that, so, well, yes.”

Speaking of strong female characters, yep, you guessed it, another totally gratuitous Arya pic!

Arya Is A Sword

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Of Writing

 

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Miya Black, Pirate Princess is a #1 Bestseller (technically)

Genre. It’s a word that’s been on my mind lately. I write in the genre of ‘Young Adult’. Sub-genres being low fantasy/adventure, superhero, whatever Resonance is–dark superhero fantasy possibly–zombies for Imogen Shroud (or possibly action-horror or something), but it’s all under that umbrella of Young Adult.

Or is it?

Because lately I’ve been wondering. Is what I write really YA fiction? I label it that because there’s nothing better–and don’t get me wrong, I love young adults, I think they’re great, so-called ‘juveniles’ too, babies, kids, teenagers, all fine by me. It’s grown-ups I have trouble with. But that’s not really the point, because kids and teenagers can and will read beyond what’s prescribed for them, I know I did. Back in MY day we didn’t even HAVE a ‘young adult’ section, and we had to walk twenty miles in the snow uphill both ways just to get a LOOK at the library.

Ahem.

So if it’s not YA then what is it? Let’s look at Miya Black. Recommended reading level (according to complexity of vocabulary, length, violence etc.) 9+. Classification? Juvenile – Adventure – Pirates. Yes, delightfully this is a real category. Also delightfully, and … well, completely surprisingly, actually, Miya Black is number one in the Kindle section on Amazon, in the Juve-Adv-Pirate category. It doesn’t have much competition but still, that’s kind of nice, don’t you think? It’s number five in the Juvenile – Adventure category too. If only people actually looked at these lists, I might be selling more. Maybe I could use that as a selling point, as ‘social proof’, “It’s number one!”.

Let’s get back on track. What genre could Miya Black be? Well, Pirate Adventure, naturally. Low fantasy, seeing as it’s not set on Earth but there’s no magic or elves or anything (there are some pretty awful sea-beasts but that’s about it). Or, well, just YA. Young Adult Adventure. I think that might be what needs to happen, YA can still be an umbrella-like classification but there needs to be more than that. Miya Black is nothing like the paranormal romances out there, or the gritty urban fantasies, it’s separate from them. Maybe something like a code could be good, P for pirates, A for adventure, Nm for No Magic, Ne for Not Earth, Nv for No Vampires.

Well, anyway. All of this is partly because I’ve looked around at some of the books I’m sharing this ‘genre’ with and I don’t entirely like what I see. YA has something of a reputation now, and having read a lot of YA samples recently, I have to agree with people when they say “YA as a genre is full of rubbish”. Because it is, well and truly, CROWDED with terrible writing, poor editing, the loosest of plots, the most ridiculous of excuse-characters … there’s good stuff out there. Truly, there is. But it’s becoming more and more difficult to find. And I’m starting to think that labelling myself as a YA author is hurting my chances of finding readers–because if you say “YA” to someone they get an idea in their head, and either they’re not even going to sample my books because they don’t like that idea, or they’re not going to like the samples of my books because they’re too different from that idea.

Which is a thorny problem.

Also, if I stop calling myself a YA author I wouldn’t be able to say “Kicking it OS on the YA!” any more. Granted, I never say that now, but I like that I could if I wanted to.

For now I think I have to keep the label. But I also think that in promotion I’m going to be downplaying that aspect of things, I think I will start referring to Miya Black as a pirate adventure story rather than YA adventure.

Aha, correction. #1 BESTSELLING Pirate Adventure story.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Of Writing

 

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