Sunday, August 26, 2012

Quick Update

So I have some ideas for blog posts, but...I started a new job last week, AND I got a big editing project at the same time! (Editing for someone else, not my own work--I'm a freelance editor.)  So I'm a little overwhelmed, and I apologize for the even-less-frequent-than-usual blog posts!  My job is only part time, so hopefully once I get used to it everything will calm down.

In the meantime, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has added Defy the Stars on goodreads, bought it, read it, reviewed it, retweeted, entered giveaways, etc.  My new job is working with kindergartners and first graders, so by the time I get home I'm exhausted, but when I turn on the Net and see all the support and enthusiasm online, I'M the one acting like a preschooler--i.e.,

So thanks so much, everyone!

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Thoughts on the Author/Reviewer Controversy in the Book Blogosphere


So I know the last thing the book blogging community needs right now is yet *another* discussion of this topic, but, well, I need to write a blog post and it’s what’s on my mind right now, mainly because of Archer’s great post yesterday on Cuddlebuggery, which you can read here.

Archer’s post is mainly about how we all need to calm down, get over the drama, and get back to reading/reviewing/writing/whatever it is we do, because book blogging is supposed to be something people do for FUN.  I totally agree with what Archer’s saying, and I was very surprised to see on twitter that there was apparently some anger/backlash/controversy about Archer’s post, when the post itself was all about how we should stop focusing on the controversies!  I didn’t read all the blog post comments, so I’m not entirely clear on what people were so upset about, but, well…the whole thing is just a bit ironic.  It really made me want to share my own opinions on the reviewer/author relationship, so that’s what I’m going to do here.  This is NOT a direct response to Archer’s article—I’m just using it as a jumping-off point.

I’m always happy when people want to get over the drama and get back to the books—the books are what’s really interesting, after all!  The one part of Archer’s article that did make me sad was his mentioning that he (and the rest of Cuddlebuggery) no longer review indie authors they don’t have a prior relationship with.  Many other book bloggers are doing the same.  While I have an agent and am pursuing traditional publication for my next book, I’m an indie author right now, and of course I’m disappointed that certain blogs aren’t considering my work.  However, I COMPLETELY understand why these bloggers made the decision they did.  Blogging is a hobby, not a job, and a blogger has the absolute right to choose what they read and review and what they say about it.  Bloggers can decide not to read a book for any damn reason they want—could be b/c the cover’s pink, and they hate pink, for instance.   Even if a blogger receives a review copy from the author or publisher, I still believe they have no obligation to read or review the book.   In addition, there are so many books being published today, both by indies and traditional pubs, that bloggers couldn’t read everything even if they wanted to!  There are hundreds of indie and traditional books I’ve owned for years and still haven’t had time to read—and I’m not even a blogger.  So if a blogger chooses to limit the books they consider for review, that makes perfect sense to me.

Moving on to the review themselves, since authors getting upset about reviews is what started this whole thing…

My book hasn’t been out long, but so far the best part of the experience by far has been the reviews—including the mixed ones (I haven’t received a completely negative one yet, but I’m sure I will soon!).  As a writer, I’ve been receiving feedback, including plenty of negative comments, for years from agents, editors, and students and teachers in writing programs.  Hearing directly from readers is different, though.  People in writing programs are often coming from a very literary perspective, which isn’t always useful to a more commercial writer, and students are often trying to look smart/impress the teacher as much as help make your work better (sorry, but it’s true!).  As for agents and editors, while their comments are invaluable, they’re focused on whether they can sell the work and whether it can appeal to a large number of readers.  Reader reviews, on the other hand, don’t have an agenda beyond describing how the reviewer personally felt about, understood and experienced the book, whether they enjoyed it, and perhaps whether or not they think others will enjoy it.  This is AMAZING stuff for a writer to read about his or her own work, and every time I read a review I enter this super happy/mind-blowing state.   It’s like getting to see my book through someone else’s head, and it’s making me a much better writer—ESPECIALLY the critical comments. So I say, bring it on!

In addition, I have to add that I don’t expect or even want everyone to like my book.  If everyone was giving 5-star reviews, that would mean either there’s some scary Stepford thing going on, or people are being nice to avoid hurting feelings.  And, obviously, neither of those is what I want!
So, that’s my two cents, for those of you who made it this far…now I’m going to go stalk my book’s goodreads page again!  Kidding!!!...sort of…not really…I should probably stop while I’m ahead, huh?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Top Ten List and Giveaway

Mickey from I'm a Book Shark was kind enough to host a top ten list by me and giveaway on her amazing blog!  For my top ten list, I chose the Top Ten Amazing YA Novels You Might Not Have Heard Of, and I tried to get a good variety in there--there are books published in the 80s, 90s and more recently, books by American, British and Australian authors, books written in verse or vignettes and books in more traditional forms.  So check it out, and you might just find something to add to your to-read list! (Like any of us really need that, huh?!)

There's also a giveaway where you can win a copy of Defy the Stars and a five dollar amazon card, so go take a look here.

Also, Defy the Stars is now on sale for 1.99 at amazon, and it won't stay that way for long...in fact, the sale will most likely be over by the end of this giveaway.  So go grab it now for less than the cost of a Frappucino!

Again, thanks to Mickey for hosting and to all my readers!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

NEW COVERS!!!

So, after weeks of unsuccessful cover artist searching, I finally found two amazingly fast, talented cover artists...at the same time!  So I now have two gorgeous, shiny new covers to unveil!  Of course this creates the new quandary of which one to use, but I actually think I may alternate between the two.  I'm starting with Julie's (the purple one) because it's the most different from the one I'm currently using and thus might get some new attention, but I love Fena's as well.  So if you're looking for a cover artist, I highly recommend Julie Fain and Fena Lee.  So without further ado...two covers:
Julie Fain's:
...and Fena Lee's:
If you're a reviewer who already received a copy of Defy the Stars, and you'd like a copy with the new cover, please don't hesitate to contact me through email or by leaving a comment below!  Thanks so much!

Stephanie

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Forgetfulness!

I always thought it was kind of silly when authors worried about forgetting someone in their acknowledgments....  I mean, are you going to forget your agent or editor?  Your parents or significant other?  So I wasn't too worried when I wrote my acknowledgments page, although I did check it over a few times.  Now, I'm sure you know where this is going....

First, let me say that self-publishing a book kind of feels like
 You have to worry about formatting (which is especially hard for a verse novel, let me tell you!), cover, contacting reviewers, websites and goodreads, etc. etc...

Yeah, yeah.  So I'm sure you're all wondering...who did I forget?  Was it my long-dead great-great-great grandparents, without whom I would never have been born?  Was it that lady who paid for my coffee at Starbucks that one time?  No.  It was...

MY CRITIQUE PARTNER.

The first person outside of my family who read my manuscript, the one who gave me invaluable advice on how to clarify my protagonist's character development.  My family members had (INCORRECTLY) conflated my heroine with me a little bit, so they weren't able to tell me that some aspects of her character were still unclear and needed to be developed further!

But guess what?  There is one really cool thing about self-publishing an ebook: you can change it and upload an updated version of your manuscript at any time, and it will be live within a day or so.  So Sara, if you're reading this...wait about 24 hours before downloading the kindle sample, okay?

And, to all the other people who've contributed to my writing over the years, the ones I haven't realized I've forgotten yet...


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Another Interview!

Henrietta of Leisure Reads was kind enough to interview me on her great blog, so please go check it out!  While you're there, make sure to stay, take a look around, and follow her!

Henrietta is a music lover, and one of my favorite questions she asked was what music inspired my novel.  I mentioned one song in particular, and she was cool enough to find the music video for that song and post it along with the interview!  This is especially cool because I'm not always a huge fan of music videos, but I LOVE this one.  So what song is it?  Well, you'll just have to go here to find out!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Interview, Excerpt, and Review

Maria Stanica of Princess of Pages was awesome enough to interview me, post an excerpt, AND read and review my book on her blog.  She asked some great questions, so if you want to know more about me, DEFY THE STARS, and why I wrote it, hop over here.  And as for her review, well, if no one else ever reads/likes/reviews my book again, it was worth it just for this one!  It kind of made me feel like...
...except, you know, not as pretty or famous.  But just as happy-sad!  Maria's blog is awesome, so please go check it out and follow her!