I'm doing a little experiment today (hence the Wal-Mart title). I'm not actually going to talk about Wal-Mart today (and perhaps I never will again!). However, on Wednesday when Wal-Mart was in my title and labels, I had a STAGGERING number of hits on my blog. I'm pretty sure it's related but not positive, so today's little experiment is this: will I have another crazy number of hits if I put Wal-Mart in my title and label. So I'll let you know. The whole idea kind of nauseates me, if you want to know the truth, but I'm kind of intrigued, too.
Now I'd like to give a few more notes from the SCBWI Conference. One of the most interesting talks I've ever heard was from Ben Shrank the Publisher/President of Razorbill. He's the author of several teen novels, teaches in an MFA program, and at the helm of Razorbill, who spins out some of the best YA books out there. He told some fascinating stories about book deals from the perspective of the publishing company, and told of two hot new YA books that came out yesterday. THE NAUGHTY LIST and A MATCH MADE IN HIGH SCHOOL. Sorry, I didn't catch the authors, but I'm going to check them out and give you more info soon, and probably blog about them.
For those of you who are writing for the YA market, he offered a list of common mistakes. So be mindful of the following things:
1. Don't write for the market (you can't possibly predict how long vampires, for example, will be hot)
2. Don't try to sound too much like a teen--find a true voice that resonates, and it will work
3. Don't introduce your characters (Hi, I'm gretchen and....). He sees (and tosses) a lot of those ms.
4. Don't tell the same story the same way it's already been told. Know your ms's peers.
5. Litmus test--Will your book work as logic in the cafeteria? then take that emotional exchange into another environment. If it doesn't work in a universal way (ie school cafeteria), then it's not going to work.
He went on to talk about being nice as a writer, not demanding or diva-like. That's a new phenomenon, these superstar writers, and it interferes with their ability to promote your book. I coined it Trickle Down Bitchonomics. Don't you like that? Remember, you heard it here first.
Other books to look for: APRIL MAY JUNE, AUDREY WAIT, AND THE REPLACEMENT.
Now I'm going to tell you something gross. A member of my family got SCABIES this week. Do you know anything about that? It's a kind of mite that burrows under your skin. The rash looks like scratches but it's actually their little burrows. Nice, eh? We had to wash everything in the house in hot water and then every member of the family had to apply the lotion (kind of like lice). It's only a one time treatment and then it goes away. The spot was small and isolated (back of his hands, and mostly on one hand)and got better immediately (so fast it reminded us that we'd just killed little creatures living under his skin--oooooooooh) Apparently scabies has been scarcely seen for years but there's been a rash of it (pun intended) this winter. Thousands of cases in this area of NC alone. SO if your kid gets a little rash (often starts between fingers although this one was on back of hand) that looks like a couple of cat scratches, it's probably SCABIES. Again, remember you heard it here first.
And now, a Scabies poem for you.
Teacher says I have something freaky on my hand
Nurse predicts I’ll soon spread it through the land
Mom comes to get me, and says that it’s okay
We get cream from the doctor to make it go away
And just as quickly as it came, my old skin returns
No more something freaky, no more itches and burns
And just in case you think my rash is kind of cool.
No point in trying to catch it, I went right back to school.
Damn, now I've got all this information in the blog and I won't actually know if it's Wal_Mart or scabies poetry bringing up hits. Of course, if I get a small number, I'll know it's neither. And traditionally, you guys don't read as much on Fridays (did you know that about yourself?). Oh, well, Let's see how this plays out. Watch out for Scabies. And start writing that YA novel. Somebody's got to write the next Twilight-like hit. Might as well be you.
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.