To anyone that’s been paying attention to recent trends in young adult (YA) over the last four or five years, the line-up of books slated for 2019 is both timely and highly anticipated. With the push for diversity in literature and media still going as strong as ever (perhaps even stronger than ever), it seems that publishers have finally started to seriously answer the call. Young adult (and middle grade) lists are heavy with POC leads and the number of books about LGBTQ characters has doubled since the last few publishing seasons (and that’s just looking at books coming out—pun intended—between January and April! The list for May through June is even longer!). This is extra important when you consider that as recently as 2012, just over 1 percent of YA books had any LGBTQ content at all.
Now is a hectic but really rewarding time for our team, because so many of our efforts for the past months are finally coming to fruition and we are now able to hold our reward in our hands: a beautiful copy of The Gifts We Keep. As part of this, we hosted a launch party to celebrate our author Katie Grindeland, her wonderful book, the new partnership between Ooligan Press and the Multnomah County Library, and to see many of you holding a copy of the book in your hands.
Creating an original voice, going against the grain of convention, has little to do with the spark we are often told about. Rather, it is a conscious effort to know the rules and when to innovate.
I refuse to believe we can’t move past the paperback designs of the past with their jumble of chunky fonts, strange color palettes, and, dare I say, unappealing illustrations of aliens.
Personal branding, especially as a writer, is complicated, confusing, and—unfortunately—completely necessary. While your presence and brand online aren’t the only factors that contribute to your publishing dreams or successes, your personal brand does have a huge impact on how both readers and publishing professionals alike will see you. We’ll let you in on a little secret: you’re easy to find on the internet. And yes, we do check.
Book reviews are nothing new, and any author will receive the advice that they must accept the good with the bad. Some readers point out that a book with zero bad reviews feels fake to them, which makes a sprinkling of negative reviews actually a good thing. But not all bad reviews are created equal and there are limits to what any person should have to endure. First, there are obviously fraudulent negative reviews. All books deserve a chance, and a negative review before the book is out hinders its chance. Then there are some extremely malicious reviews to watch out for; no author should be told to give up writing and die. These so-called reviews rarely include anything specific about the book and are clearly a form of harassment that must be stopped.