Yearly Archives: 2012

The Rise of “New Adult” Fiction

It’s everywhere you look — media about young people in their 20s, trying to figure things out. It’s on HBO, it’s in film, it’s definitely in the blogosphere (it’s also the writer of this blog post, obviously).

Image by: Pete Ashton

Millenials,” as they’re known, have become a hot commodity in the media landscape, as this tech-savvy generation learns to deal with a recession and a prolonged adolescence that includes internships, grad school, and making a million different decisions about what they want to do with their lives.

So, it makes sense that a new genre of literature might emerge about this set. And, of course, it has emerged from authors who use multi-platform publishing. Cora Carmack, who self-published her book, Losing It, saw her book rise to number 18 in the New York Times bestseller list without it even having a print edition. She was then offered a contract from HarperCollins to write more books, as well as a re-release of Losing It.

The term itself – New Adult (NA) – was coined by St. Martin’s Press as a midway between adult literary fiction and young adult books. It didn’t really take off until this year, however, as scores of independent writers began writing novels that talked about these “Millenials” in an engaging, experimental and exciting way. A new website, call NA Alley, reviews a number of “NA” titles that are popping up from independent authors.

That a new genre would explode from the ranks of self-published authors makes total sense. Publishing through an open platform allows writers to experiment as well as publish books that might not already fit into a niche market. By finding readers, they are creating their own markets, and big publishers are beginning to notice. Publishers now follow the independent authors, not the other way around. 

As readers continue to look for new books that they can relate to, novels have to change with the tastes of each generation. Unfortunately, large publishing is slow. Independent writers, always keeping their ears to the ground, can identify new genres, know what they want to read themselves, and publish it without having to wait for the market to catch up with them.

Best Presents for Writers

Raise your hand if you’ve been gifted a journal in the past.

I bet you have one arm up — maybe two.

For writers, a fancy pen or notebook is a thoughtful gift, but you may not be the first or the only one with this idea for the writer in your life, so here are some alternative ideas:

For the peripatetic: A laptop case. “It’s been very helpful in preventing damage (and the need for repairs) and keeping the heat of the laptop off me and my stuff when I’m commuting. Also, if you get a classy one, it just makes you feel sexier and more professional,” says Lucas Klauss, author of Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse. He recommends Blackbox to really keep your device safe.

For the networker: Business cards. Jennifer Englert, of the blog Well Read Fish, points out, “In the past couple months, I’ve been asked for my card as a writer and I just sat there twirling my thumbs. ‘Yeah, uh… I don’t have business cards.’ But now I do, and they’re great to get your name out there.”

For the procrastinator: The Write or Die app & a wireless iPad keyboard. Lauren Morrill, author of the young adult novel Meant to Be, can’t say enough about her iPad mini, which she uses all the time to write — hence the need for a keyboard to help her thoughts flow. As she notes, “With its super-long battery life, it’s the perfect writing tool, and Write Or Die is the perfect kick-in-the-pants for any procrastinating writer. Meet your goals or the app starts deleting your work!”

For the knowledge hungry: A subscription to Poets & Writers. Jennifer Englert recommends the publication not only for its excellent articles on improving one’s craft, but also for its “comprehensive lists of contests and magazines taking submissions.”

For the avid reader: A gift card to a local independent store as well as a case for one’s device of choice are all good options. Alternatively, if you know the writer in your life’s favorite author, look into getting him or her a signed book via Abe Books or eBay.

For the next best seller: Many self-published authors have incredible talent for writing, but don’t necessarily have a knack for graphic design or eBook formatting. Let them focus their energy at what they’re best at (writing) by providing them with professional services to handle the rest.

At the end of the day, there’s one thing all writers (and non-writers) want, which freelance writer Gabrielle Balkan so bluntly put as, “More hours in the day!” Failing that, hopefully the above are helpful, and if you have your own suggestions for great writerly gifts, please add them below.

 

Lulu’s 13 Days of Writing Song – Day 7 Video

On the seventh day of writing my true love gave to me…

Add some joy (and discounts) to your day with our silly short video. Happy Holidays! To check out Lulu’s 13 days of deals, visit the landing page here: Thirteen Days of Deals

Lulu’s 13 Days of Writing Song – Day 6 Video

On the sixth day of writing my true love gave to me…

Add some joy (and discounts) to your day with our silly short video. Happy Holidays! To check out Lulu’s 13 days of deals, visit the landing page here: Thirteen Days of Deals

Creative ways to ‘gift’ an eBook (since you can’t put it in wrapping paper)

When we think of the holidays, we think of children ripping off wrapping paper in a near-psychotic frenzy, holding up their gifts, and then profusely thanking their parents (or sometimes not — sweaters from aunts just don’t get treated with that much excitement). Adults tend to be more restrained when receiving gifts, but still look forward to the mystery of gift-giving, be it in a large plastic bag or cardboard box (I still prefer ripping off the gift-wrapping).

But how does one give an eBook? I mean, it’s obvious why someone would want to do it, but it lacks the physicality of, say, a new personal electronic, or that beloved Lego set. So how do you capture that magic in something that will be electronically delivered?

By getting creative.

Slate has a wonderful roundup of ways to give an eBook. They point out the great idea of matching an eBook with beloved reading accouterments like blankets or coffee mugs. I would throw in a “Snuggie” for good measure. While Slate‘s piece is a little tongue-in-cheek, pointing out how difficult it is for an eBook to replace the physical nature of some other presents, The Chicago Tribune points out that most readers and online shops allow you an option to buy an eBook as a gift, which will automatically download eBooks to your loved one’s reader.

While it doesn’t quite match the wrapping paper frenzy, it will pack quite a wallop when all of a sudden someone’s e-reader is now packed with new titles.

Personally, I’m still a little attached to gift wrapping. By pairing an eBook with something that will enhance the reading experience, like an e-reader holder or a bean-bag chair (those still exist, right?), you make your gift larger than just an eBook — you make it a whole experience.

So how do you give eBooks? How have you surprised your loved ones, and how are you planning to do so this year?

Lulu’s 13 Days of Writing Song – Day 5 Video

On the fifth day of writing my true love gave to me…

Add some joy (and discounts) to your day with our silly short video. Happy Holidays! To check out Lulu’s 13 days of deals, visit the landing page here: Thirteen Days of Deals

Making a Difference

Each month during our company meetings we take time to highlight customer success stories: authors who, after multiple years, have completed their dream or have realized an unforeseen sales increase. For December I wanted to depart a bit from that topic and instead look at a more timely and relevant theme. As we enter into the holiday season, let’s each consider how we make a difference on a daily basis. In the meeting I asked, “When’s the last time you made a difference?” Some of the replies we got were one employee who purchased a cup of coffee for someone that morning who didn’t have the money for it and another employee who showed his 3-year-old son how to hold his new born. Some of you may have recently donated blood, given your time coaching a youth recreation team, or helped your child last night with homework. In each instance, you made a difference.

Now, let’s focus on our creators who make a difference. The following Lulu creators are making a difference…for the Environment, for Animal Rescue, for Quality of Life, for Children’s Health, for Wildlife, and for Families.

Society for Wilderness Stewardship:

Help celebrate the importance of the National Wilderness Preservation System with your purchase.