Erin's here to answer your reader questions on how to brand yourself across genres, whether to send your own cover art in with submissions, and facing the fear of writing to a group younger than your age. Be sure to check out her newest release below!
If you have a question you'd like to have answered by an upcoming publishing professional, send it to AYAPLit AT gmail.com and put Ask a Pub Pro Question in the subject line.
Ask a Pub Pro with Erin Rhew
1) I've heard the advice that if you want to build a fan base, you need to brand yourself. But my ideas don't all lend themselves to one category or genre, though they all have some similar themes. I'm wondering if you can brand yourself writing across categories and genres but by always exploring a similar type of story question or theme. Or even a similar type of story?
That’s a great question! When branding yourself, it’s important to remember you’re branding YOU, not a specific book or genre. If you have a cause that’s important to you or a theme/message you’re trying to disseminate, you could certainly include information about that in your branding. For example, let’s say you want to bring attention to animal cruelty. As you blog, perhaps blog about that particular topic once a month or so. Highlight and promote charities you feel exemplify the work you’d like done for animals.
But at the same time, keep in mind that you’re an author and person. Your readers are also interested in you the person. So, talk about your life and your thoughts. Unless you only want other authors to read your blog, don’t spend too much time on writing tips or the writing process. Talk about books you like because all readers (authors or not) love to talk books with other readers.
When you Tweet or blog or interact in social media, you can mention your love for different genres. That way, when you produce books which span from middle grade to women’s fiction, your readers won’t be surprised. It’s hard to stick to one genre when your interests cross over into others. Lately, I’ve seen more and more authors starting to cross genres. Just yesterday, I read that Jessica Brody (YA author) just received a contract on a middle grade book. So, it’s doable.
Again, the most important thing about branding is to brand you the person. Good luck!
2) I'm a graphic artist and designed a cover for my novel to help me focus as I wrote it. Should I include that when I send out submissions? Or would that be off-putting as publishers want to do their own design?
I can only speak for our publishing house, BookFish Books, on this topic. When submitting, I would not recommend sending along the cover. However, if you get into the contract negotiation stage, it’s good to mention it. Make clear to the publisher that you’re willing to use their cover artist’s work, but you’d like your cover to be considered to help inspire the cover. At BookFish, we ask our authors what they’d like to see on their covers, so you would be able to offer input during the creation stage. We encourage our authors to give us examples of covers they like, so your cover would definitely play into the part of the process.
If nothing else, you could always use the cover when you blog about your inspiration for your book. Readers and other authors enjoy seeing how people constructed their worlds and created their stories.
3) I have a great idea for a YA story but am afraid as I'm an older adult that I might not have the voice for it. How can an experienced writer make sure they're writing in a voice that appeals to teens?
Authors often write outside of their age group, gender, and race and sound authentic. I think an important element is to read books of that genre and hang out with people in that age group. If you have children or relatives who are teens, you can always ask them if something sounds realistic or not.
Another option is to watch television programs which feature teens and that teens enjoy. Focus on how the characters speak and convey ideas. But a word of caution, don’t make the mistake of thinking teens are dumb. They aren’t, so be sure to treat them and their lives with the appropriate amount of respect.
About the Book:
Tortured and imprisoned, Nash accepts the reality of his fate and offers the First Ones the one thing he has left to give: his life. In a desperate attempt to save the people he loves most, he surrenders himself to the Outlander queen and a destiny darker than he could have ever dreamed possible.
Wil, tormented by the consequences of his actions, realizes he may never be able to uphold his end of the Prophecy. His mistake casts a deep, foreboding shadow over his kingdom and those he loves, while its ripples threaten to shatter both the Prophecy and everything he and his family have sworn to protect.
In this epic conclusion, lives are lost, kingdoms clash, friendships are tested, and love and fate collide in a life-altering showdown.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
About the Author:
The Fulfillment Series. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the "Grammar Police."
A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin now lives in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest with the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) writer Deek Rhew and their “overly fluffy,” patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. She and Deek enjoy reading aloud to one another, running, lifting, boxing, eating chocolate, and writing side-by-side.
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-- posted by Susan Sipal, @HP4Writers