What notes have you taken from the publishing industry recently in hopes of reaching a broader audience and/or increasing your longevity as an author?
"Social media, all the time. I don’t enjoy it, but there is simply no way around having a robust social media presence." - Bill Konigsberg, author of Openly Straight.
"It's the advice that everyone told me when I first started out, that I smiled and nodded at, and then disregarded. And that is to focus on my next book. That's really all I can do. Publicity, marketing, that's in the hands of my publishers. What I can do--what I have total control over--is writing my next book. And that's what I have learned to focus on." - Aprilynne Pike, author of Life After Theft and Earthbound.
"Given the crossover appeal of YA these days, it seems that readers are more accepting of an author bouncing from children’s literature to adult and back again. I’d like to do that." - Lex Hrabe , co-author of Quarantine: The Loners.
"It's all about marketing. I read everything I can on it. An author’s job is 50% brand management, and every day publishers are putting more of that job into our hands. It’s not glamorous, but it is what it is." - Victoria Scott, author of The Collector.
"I listen to my editors and everyone who has something to say about my books, their titles, the covers. I figure they are all trying to sell books and doing their best to make that happen. If they want to change something whether its about the plot or the jacket cover, I listen. I don’t think I’ve ever stood my ground on anything. I try to be easy to work with and hope people continue wanting to work with me." - Nora Raleigh Baskin, author of Surfacing.
"Honestly? I don’t take notes from anybody in the publishing industry. Actually I don’t think I understand the expression ‘take notes’ – is this American? :quickly checks Urban Dictionary:I’d probably say if anything it is other author friends’ advice and experience that is most useful. I’m a member of the SCBWI – Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators – and this group has been invaluable. And of course my amazing agent, Caroline Sheldon. What she doesn’t know about the industry isn’t worth knowing." - Teri Terry, author of Slated.
"I wish I had an answer. Even 12 years into this, I have no idea. It honestly seems to come down to luck whether you break out; you can’t force the public at large to connect with a book no matter how much social media marketing you do. As far as longevity, I think you need to just keep writing and be willing to make sacrifices—lower advances, pen names—and hope one day you are the one who gets lucky." - Jeff Sampson, author of Ravage.
"Publishing industry news makes me tense, so I try to tune it out. Right now I'm writing a new novel, and am trying to dig deeply into the heart and soul of my characters and write the most honest book that I can. Writing comes first, and then, in terms of audience, yes, I'm working on a trailer for my first novel which will be out this coming Sept. I enjoy scheduled twitter chats and school visits. But in terms of longevity as an author, my focus is more on honing the craft than on the audience." - A.B. Westrick, author of Brotherhood.
"I haven't really taken notes from the industry regarding these things. I feel like we can't all do something that would increase our longevity as an author, we can only write as long as we have stories to share…and as for the broader audience, I feel like if I were to do something like this, it would be me writing for other people, not writing for me. I'm not searching for a particular audience or trying to broaden it (not saying I wouldn't love it) just saying that as writers, we need to write for us and what's interesting to us…we can't write with the focus on our audience or we lose ourselves in trying to make everyone happy." - Molly McAdams, author of Taking Chances.
"Writing is always going to be a balance between business and art. So, I think it's important to be aware of what's going on in the publishing industry and adapt as needed. But I feel my primary responsibility is always just to write the best story I can." - Stacey Kade, author of The Ghost & the Goth and The Rules.
"The professional gatekeepers in the industry (agents and publishers) continue to insist that it is all about the STORY. Gimmicks and trends and social networking only get you so far. Your real challenge is to continue writing compelling and memorable stories that people want to read and recommend." - Liz Coley, author of Pretty Girl-13.
"Be flexible. Market hard. Stay away from reviews and instead get back to writing. Write, write, write. There's truth to not chasing trends, but there's also truth to paying attention and selecting projects that fit into the current climate of publishing. But the real, actual one thing that will create a broader audience and longevity? Write well. Never stop improving. We are never at the top of our game." - Kristin Halbrook, author of Nobody But Us.
"I’m terrible at taking notes. I mostly copy off other, more successful authors and hope the teacher doesn’t catch me looking at their papers. Oh, and I really like Instagram." - Robyn Schneider, author of The Begining of Everything.
Come back Thursday for the final installment of this round of Author Insight!