Cynsational News

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Embrace the Struggles of Writing by Elisa Ludwig from Adventures in YA Writing. Peek: “No one is ever going to come to me and say, ‘Awesome. You did it. You can go home now.’ Which means that as long as I stay with this, I’m going to have to wrestle with doubts.”

Writing Humor by Yahong Chi from Project Mayhem. Peek: “Because the characters’ experience is, to a certain extent, removed from the reader’s experience, you’ll often find that readers are laughing when characters aren’t.” See also “Star Wars” Writing Lesson: Adding Humor to Life or Death Situations from Project Mayhem.

Why Are Booksellers Afraid of Children’s Poetry? by Mandy Coe from The Guardian. Peek: “No one doubts that a market for children’s poetry exists. Children relish it, parents appreciate its accessibility and infinite re-readability, and teachers who’ve unlocked its potential in the classroom swear by it.” See also On Language–Energy by Naomi Shihab Nye from E. Kristin Anderson at Write All the Words!

Dare I Tell an Agent to Hold That Offer? by Deborah Halverson from Peek: “Authors are emotionally invested in their work and can lose sight of representation being a business partnership.”

10 Tips About Process by Brunonia Barry from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “As I work, I usually find that this initial, situational question leads to a deeper, more philosophical one, which becomes the theme of the novel. I don’t try to answer that deeper question.”

What We Talk About When We Talk About Diversity in YA by Zoraida Córdova from Latin@s in Kidlit. Peek: “Let’s be friends. Reach out to someone who has a different experience as you. Read. I to this date have yet to read a YA about a teenage Ecuadorian girl. Not even a slice of life story about a girl who falls in love and there’s a nice cover of them at the beach, or lying down on a lawn. See
also White with Envy by Celeste Lim from CBC Diversity and Diverse Poetry Novels from Rich in Color. Note: scroll for summaries.

What Do Agents Like to See When They Google Writers? from Carly Waters, Literary Agent. Peek: “Blog posts that aren’t discussing the submission process in too much detail.”

Talent & Skills Entry: Archery by Angela Ackerman from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: “focus, perfectionism, self-controlled, studious, disciplined, patience, resourceful, observant, tenacious…”

National Poetry Month Kidlitosphere Events by Jama Rattigan from Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup.See also Introducing Students to NCTE’s Notable Poetry Titles.

Yes, Book Editors Edit by Barry Harbaugh from The New Yorker. Peek: “In a business as reliant on hope and potential as book publishing is—a business, in other words, reliant on the development of talent—the accumulation of exceptional anecdotes of perfect manuscripts does not tell the whole story.”

A Shameless Plea for More Gender Diversity on Middle Grade Author Panels by Caroline Carlson from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “I’ve been fortunate to appear on several panels with other middle grade authors, and I have often been the only woman on the panel.”

My Take on John Green, the YA World and the New York Times Bestselling List from Laurie Halse Anderson. Peek: “He is not responsible for the sudden dudification of the NYT Bestseller list, nor is it his responsibility to somehow magically fix it. The social problems and pressures that have created this mess are much older and deeper than any one person can repair. However – we…”

Presenting to School Students: Top Tips by Juliet Marillier from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “I let students know in advance that I’d be giving away copies of my books to those who asked the most interesting questions.”

Spelling Tip: there is no apostrophe in Publishers Weekly.

Looking for a Publishing Job? Lee & Low is hiring a marketing/publicity assistant, educational sales associate and a marketing/publicity intern for summer 2014.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Revisions of Feral Pride (Book 3 in the Feral series) still continue! But at least we’ve shifted from re-envision mode to polish mode! That’s progress, right? Right?

More about the TLA Conference!

Next week will you be at the Texas Library Association Conference in San Antonio or the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at the University of Southern California? If so, please come see me! Details are below under Cynsational Events.

The post lingering on my mid this week is Laurie Halse Anderson‘s on John Green, YA Books and Bestsellers. I appreciate the shout out (thanks, Laurie!), but what I loved most about it was the call to action. Also, in case I haven’t mentioned it, I want to be Laurie when I grow up.

On a related note, I’m pondering Keeping It Real by Soho Press editor Dan Ehrenhaft from CBC Diversity. Peek: “Yes! It’s true. Overseas, The Market welcomes realistic YA fiction, as well. There is one caveat: As long as that reality is pretty much confined to white people.” Note: As someone who writes both realism and fantasy, I’m happy to see realism getting more love, but the fact that it’s for certain heroes only does concern me.

What else? I was thrilled this week when Donna Gephart informed me that I’m the author of the all-time highest traffic post at her blog, Wild About Words. See Promote Your Book Like a Pro — Cynthia Leitich Smith — Top 6 1/2 List!

Likewise, I’m thinking about Joe McGee‘s Heroes Needed: No Cape Required and Paul Greci‘s From Concept to Contract.

I’m also honored to have been quoted in “Stories in Art: Picture Books and Graphic Novels” by Katherine Swarts, which appears in Writers Guide to 2014. See cover above.

E-volt is having a sale on Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick) for $1.99 and Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith, $2.99–discount prices will hold through April! Listen to an audio sample of Feral Nights and read a sample of Eternal. Check out what I didn’t plan about the Feral series from YA Series Insider.

Reminder to Central Texans! Liz Garton Scanlon will sign The Good-Pie Party, illustrated by Kady McDonald Denton (Arthur A. Levine Books) at 2 p.m. April 5 at BookPeople.

Congratulations to Austin cakelustrator Akiko White on signing with Rising Bear Literary Agency!

Congratulations to fellow Austin author K.A. Holt on the sale of “Red Moon Rising” to Karen Wojtyla at McElderry (by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency)!

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Meet Cynthia Leitich Smith in the author signing area from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. April 9 at the Texas Library Association conference in San Antonio. Greg Leitich Smith will be signing at that same time and date in Booth 1443 (Book Festivals of Texas). See the complete author signing listings. See also conference signings by Texas authors.

Join Cynthia Leitich Smith, along with Soman Chainani, Margaret Stohl, Laini Taylor, and moderator John Corey Whaley for “Young Adult Fantasy: The Real & the Unreal” (conversation 1095) in the Norris Theater at 4:30 p.m. (signing to follow) April 12 at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at the University of Southern California.

Join Varian Johnson, Greg Leitich Smith and Jennifer Ziegler in celebrating their new middle grade novels at 2 p.m. June 24 at BookPeople in Austin.

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers will be held June 16 to June 21 at the Waterford School in Sandy, Utah. Keynote speaker: James Dashner; faculty includes Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith. Learn about the WIFYR Fellowship Award. See also Alison L. Randall on Choosing a Writing Conference.

Get Ready to Rock the Drop on Teen Literature Day (April 17) with readergirlz.