Wednesday, January 18, 2012

FaerieCon West

Exciting announcement:

This year, I'm going to FaerieCon! FaeryCon West, in Seattle, February 10-12 to be exact. Its my first FaeryCon, and I'm uber excited! There will be faery music, faery food, faery authors, faery demonstrations, and of course, faery costumes galore. There will even be a Faery ball, one for "good faeries," and one for "bad faeries." Hmm, wonder which one I'm going to? (Evil snicker)

Its sure to be a fabulous time. I'll be there signing books and speaking on panels with fellow author D.C Grace--who also writes awesome faery books--as well as rubbing elbows with authors like Lisa Mantchev and Charles de Lint. If you come up and talk to me, I'd be thrilled.


If you come talk to me dressed up as either Puck, Meghan Chase, or Ash (the way they are described in the series), I will give you a signed Iron Fey book. (Up to the first 10.)

No joke.

I'll probably also take your picture and squee a bit. ;)

Details for the con are here. If you do come to FaeryCon West, attend the ball, and run into a short Asian in a kimono with fox ears, that will be me. (Kudos if you know what I'll be going as.)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Authors and Negative Reviews, re-posted

I wrote this post awhile back, when the same kind of drama was going around the blogging world. It has been suggested that I re-post it again, not to point fingers or condemn or call anyone out, but just as a quiet reminder to anyone who has gotten negative reviews. What is the best way to deal with them? In my humble opinion, well, read on...

Authors and Negative Reviews

It seems there has been a lot of drama going around the blogging world lately.

Normally, I don't post about heated topics. I'm highly allergic to drama and angst (Except in stories, of course), and I learned long ago that you really can't change people's minds about anything, so why point that spotlight on yourself? But, in light of the recent author/blogger drama on twitter and facebook, I felt compelled to add my two cents to the mix. So, this is my own opinion, garnered from the years I've spent as a writing professional, on Authors and Negative Reviews. Future authors and writers, this is especially for you, not to scare or scold or threaten, but just as a gentle caution of what to expect.

NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOUR BOOK. This is a certainty. No matter how compelling, no matter how innovative or brilliant or well-written, no book can please everyone one hundred percent. If you don't believe me, find your favorite book or author and check them out on Goodreads. They will have 1 and 2 star reviews, just like everyone else. Some people will adore your book, some people will just think its okay, and some people will loathe it and want to burn it and scour your name from the face of the earth for writing such garbage. And it's okay for them to think that. They are entitled to their opinion. Really, that's all a review IS: an opinion. Which brings us to the heart of this matter...

YOU ARE GOING TO GET NEGATIVE REVIEWS. If you are an author, and you put your book out there for the world to read, you are going to get bad reviews. Sometimes, the review will be thoughtful and well-done, with the reviewer citing what they liked and didn't like about the story. That's the best kind of negative review, but it doesn't always happen that way. Sometimes the review will be snide and hateful, as if the reader despises you personally and says all kinds of ugly, unkind things about the story you've put your heart and soul into. Its amazing the things people will say on the internet that they wouldn't dare say in real life, but it happens. This is why many authors I've spoken to stay far, far away from Goodreads. Because Goodreads is brutal on authors, and some of us would rather not know. So, now that you can expect at least one negative critique of your book, how does one respond to such a review? What should an author do in the face of such bad press?


Let me say that again. NOTHING.

At the very, very least, you can email or post a comment thanking that reviewer for their time in reading and reviewing your book. Then you go and rant to your best friend, or your hubby, or your dog. You do not take out your hurt and frustration on the reviewer. You do not leave a comment on their blog, defending yourself and your book. You do not tell them how wrong they are, and that they must have misunderstood your writing, and that everyone before them has given your book steller reviews. Because it doesn't matter. You aren't going to change their opinion--again with that word OPINION--and you are only hurting yourself and your career by acting in such an unprofessional manner.

Yes, I know. Negative reviews hurt. They downright suck. Believe me, I've gotten more then my share, and its not fun reading "Julie Kagawa, you give fairies a bad name." (Actual review.) I know your book is your greatest achievement, and that you've come far and struggled so hard to get it published, and you should be very proud of that. I know its hard when you wrote the best story you could, went through all the heartache and uncertainty of getting it published, only to have a virtual stranger put it down like its nothing, like we don't have feelings and it doesn't tear us apart every time someone is cruel. I know its unfair that we can't defend ourselves.

But that's the world of authors and reviewers, and the only classy way to respond to bad reviews is graciously or not at all.

Thankfully, there are many out there who will love your book and your stories, and those reviews will be wonderful and glowing and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But, if you are to swim these treacherous waters of authordom, you must also be prepared to lose a little blood, as well. This is just fair warning, take it from someone who knows, and start working on that thick skin. And a sense of humor can help tremendously.

So that's my two cents on authors and negative reviews. Comments and discussions are welcome. However, any mean, ugly, or hateful comments will be eaten by the gremlins.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Dystopian vs. Post-apocalyptic

So, 2011 has come and gone, and we welcome in 2012 with hopes and dreams and the excitement of all the cool books coming out this year. The blogging world has been awash with these lists of "must-have" books of 2012, making me realize two things.

1. There are a LOT of dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels coming out this year.

2. There are a LOT of people who think they are one and the same.

And, since I myself have a post-apocalyptic vampire novel coming out in 2012, I thought I would try to clear things up. Post-apocalyptic and dystopian are not the same. They are two different beasts; though they have similar qualities, it is wrong to lump them together. Here are my thoughts on why:


Dystopian has been the popular term of late, the catch-phrase for all novels that feature a futuristic society, a world-ending event, survivors fighting against horrific conditions, etc. However, a dystopian novel is about a SOCIETY where something has gone terribly wrong. Many times, the society's evil and corruption is portrayed as normal, as in the Hunger Games where Tribute Day was a day of celebration. Other times, the evil is hidden, though there are always hints just below the perfectly groomed facade. Dystopian is the opposite of Utopian, where society IS perfect and everyone is happy, except the utopian society almost always turns out to be dystopian, because a perfect society would make for a very boring book.

Dystopian and post-apocalyptic can be easily confused, because a dystopian society usually rises from the ashes of a post-apocalyptic event. However, a dystopian novel's focus is on the society, and everything wrong with it, rather then the event itself.

Examples of Dystopian novels: The Hunger Games, 1984, Matched, Uglies


A post-apocalyptic novel, on the other hand, is about a world-changing, cataclysmic event: floods, zombies, the super flu, earthquakes, solar flares, the moon falling out of alignment, etc. The event could have already happened, or is in the process of happening, but post-apocalyptic novels are about the survivors and how they deal with this new, deadly world. It could even have hints of dystopian in it, as new societies emerge from the remains of civilization. But a Post-apocalyptic novel is about the survivors, and everything they face after the world ends.

Examples of Post-apocalyptic novels: The Road, Life as we Knew it, The Stand, Ashes Ashes.

Is it possible for a novel to be both? Yes, absolutely. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan comes to mind. Clearly, the world has fallen to the zombie apocalypse, but the novel is also about the village and the society surrounded by the forest. So there are crossovers. But I wanted to point out the differences between dystopian and post-apocalyptic, because they are not the same. So when you do get that book you've been dying to read, you'll know what to call it. ;)

Note that this is just one person's opinion on the matter. Feel free to discuss or argue the point in the comments, though please keep it clean. I am in no way an authority on all things dystopian/post-apocalyptic; this is just my understanding of the differences between them.