I want to talk a little about publication today, and I feel like I need to start with something particular, something that most writers with ambitions to publish still feel: traditional publication with an agent and a publishing house and all is better. There's still a touch of stigma, a scent of low-quality or "vanity publishing," with the idea of self-publishing. I get that. I feel that. I grew up in a time when self-publishing was vanity publishing. Shit, I even almost fell for the vanity publishing thing in college. (It was the company then named Publish America, now America Star Books, which is notorious across the Internet for being a scam. Fortunately for me, I found out about their bad reputation before signing anything with them.)
That was then, when Facebook was restricted to people with .edu emails, and I had a new cell phone that ohmigod you guys, takes pictures!
This is now.
Here's the cool thing about self-publishing and the ultimate reason I decided to go down its path: you don't need permission to put your words into the world. In traditional publishing, there's this funny catch-22 that you have to get an agent in order to be published, and in order to get an agent, you have to be published*. (I've found this little conundrum to be true about applying for jobs and renting apartments, too, by the way. It's very annoying and probably why first-time job/apartment seekers end up in shitty places.) But self-publishing doesn't trap you in that conundrum, and after years of dealing with that kind of vicious cycle in other aspects of my life, I didn't want to fight with it in my writing. I wanted to, as Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant's book says, Write. Publish. Repeat.
Things began to click in 2015. I bumped in to the books by Joanna Penn and the guys at Sterling & Stone (of the above-mentioned Write. Publish. Repeat.) Pronoun was a sponsor of NaNoWriMo that year, which is how I found out about it, and its user-friendly and completely free platform for creating and distributing ebooks continues to be the best thing since my discovery of Scrivener (which I also found because it was a NaNo sponsor. Hmm, I think I'm sensing a pattern...) Canva and Pixabay made designing graphics fun, and viola! I am now an indie author.
*Not always all the time, of course, or there'd be no such thing as traditional publishing. But you get it. I'm generalizing to make a point.
I love YA fiction. The genre has gained some serious (and often deserved) backlash for the piles of trite, boring nonsense it contains, but that doesn't stop me from loving it--because, if you're willing to wade through the nonsense, you can find some gems like Markus Zusak's The Book Thief (which I universally recommend to all people at all times), Gail Carson Levine's Ever (which is probably considered middle grade, but given the whole girl-being-sacrificed-to-her-god premise and some subtle-but-there references to sex could go either way, genre-wise), and Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern (which are the books that showed me it is possible to do strong female characters right).
But then there are the rest of them...
This rant is inspired by my getting Victoria Aveyard's The Red Queen on sale on Audible and discovering in the first few minutes of listening that it contains some of the things I love, and hate, most about YA fiction. So, after all that ado, here are
The Things I Love About YA Fiction:
The Things I Hate About YA Fiction:
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