Tag Archives: YA

Master Your Marketing w/ Christina Farley: Branding

I was pretty psyched to start Christina Farley’s Master Your Marketing course, hosted by Writer’s Atelier. Even though I consult on branding efforts myself, it’s always hard to be objective. I like to walk through someone else’s process and suggestions to identify where I don’t effectively see my brand.

Since I narrowed my focus to writing and outreach, it’s been difficult to express that in a way that also captures buzzwords people (and search engines) need to hear. So I call myself a Storyteller and Outreach Nerd, changing buzzwords depending on my audience.

Content and copywriting has always been part of the Outreach Nerd work, and recently I’ve separated them in efforts to write more and spend less time on social media. I still love that work and will continue, but I find freelance writing a better fit with my new-ish role as primary caretaker of two young boys, and also need to learn more about building a platform for writing fiction. I’ll soon start to query for my novel series The Blue Dragon Scribe Shoppe, and need all efforts at the ready.

Christina sent us a worksheet to prepare; just for ourselves. I worked on it and vowed to keep an open mind regarding my brand(s). I can’t go into great detail on what was involved – after all, teaching is part of Farley’s livelihood – but as someone who divides her personality into twitter accounts, the graphic representation of my interests juxtaposed with my brand truly helped focus my many ideas within each current opportunity.

Farley and Writer’s Atelier also offered incredibly easy viewing of the video course. I could wait until I had the time and focus to watch as well as return to segments that I wanted to review. She just uses an unlisted YouTube video with corresponding visual aids.

As someone with only a few hours a week devoted to her work plus any stolen time during my boys’ naps, knowing the topics to prioritize and how to use my strengths is one of the most valuable time management tools to master. Much of what I got from Farley’s first course has already helped me understand where to put my focus and what I want my brand to be.

Next up: Social Media!

Part of the Branding course was about our logo and tagline. Farley also curated examples from other authors.

Part of the Branding course was about our logo and tagline. Farley also curated examples from other authors.

Hard Fantasy vs Soft Fantasy for Children

Patrick Rothfuss profile

Patrick Rothfuss image was taken from this interview.

In Talks at Google with Patrick Rothfuss, he answers a question dear to my heart. I usually discuss it in relation to children’s theatre, but it holds. They’re smarter than you think.

Audience Question: How hard is it to make hard fantasy versus soft fantasy for children?

Rothfuss: There’s an unfortunate tendency among people in general to say, oh, I’ll just write a fantasy novel because you can just make stuff up. And that’s wrong, because that’s not – you can just do a bunch of stuff and magic will make it make sense. You can, but that’s not good writing, it’s not good storytelling, it’s not good craft.

In my opinion, similarly, people, sometimes, in the genre, are like, well, boy, I wish I could write YA because then kids don’t know what a plot hole is, they don’t care about consistent characterization, they’re not gonna call me on the million dragons ecology problem that I’ve created, this is not a sustainable eco-structure. But that, in my opinion, is a really egregious cop-out. Because in the same way that food that we feed our children should be actually held to a higher standard than the food you give to an adult, because an adult can say, blech, this is awful, or they can read the label and go, oh, this has terrible things in it and it’s going to make me sick and give me cancer. A kid can’t. 

And so you owe it to kids to actually put more work into this because it’s harder to write short. It’s harder to write simply [sic]. It’s harder to do a lot of these things, and it’s harder to write cohesive, coherent, internally coherent fantasy. And you shouldn’t go to YA thinking, oh, my, this will be way easier. I can just bang out 30,000 words and then go play World of Warcraft.

No.

I do not approve.

I know that it’s hard, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try for it. That’s my philosophy.”

Event: Master Your Marketing w/ Christina Farley

I discovered the Writer’s Atelier through NanOrlando, when they hosted a series of NaNoWriMo prep sessions. (I didn’t use NaNo for its strict purpose of writing this year, but as a motivator to continue with my Horatio edits.) I was struck with how useful and supportive their community is. Without knowing me, they welcomed my then 2 month-old into a write-in, and everyone there truly enjoyed his presence and helped me feel comfortable.

So of course I looked at their other activities, and the online class Master Your Marketing with Christina Farley caught my eye. Last fall, three of my editing/social media clients asked my advice on building a platform for their nonfiction works, and that raised new questions for me. Farley looks to address a lot of these questions along with some basics of social media.

I asked Farley the questions that my clients asked me, to see what I might learn from her course. Below are her master your marketing with Christina Farleyanswers.

CMJ: What does a writer’s brand mean to you?

CF: I like to think that a writer’s brand symbolizes who you are as a writer. It not only ties in with your books and writing style, but it draws from who you are as a person. Also a well-developed author brand is more than just the cover of the book or a Twitter header. It delves deeper into all the aspects of the persona of you as a writer. A true test of this is a reader/editor/agent/ should be able to in one glance at any aspect of your writer’s persona grasp a clear concept of who you are as a writer.

CMJ: What does “platform” mean to you? As in, when a publisher says they’ll read a proposal or manuscript if a writer builds their platform?

CF: An author’s platform is essentially like the ‘auditorium’ (if you will) where your voice as an author is heard. Imagine you standing on the stage (scary for some of us introverted writers!) and those sitting in the audience are all of the people excited and eager to hear what you have to say. What you are displaying on the stage and how many people sitting in your audience is what the publishers are interested. An author’s platform is a key component for the nonfiction writer, and though not as important for the fiction writer, it can still be a valuable resource if utilized effectively.

CMJ: How do you divide writing and marketing time?

CF: Writing must always come first. Every time. But there are hours in your day that your brain needs a creative reprieve. That’s when you can spend time on your marketing. The key is to prioritize what is most important and essential to your marketing needs. From there, you can break down a plan and schedule yourself so you aren’t overwhelmed and your writing doesn’t goes by the wayside.

C FarleyCHRISTINA FARLEY is the author of the bestselling Gilded series, a YA contemporary fantasy series set in Korea and upcoming middle grade, THE PRINCESS & THE PAGE, set in France. GILDED was nominated for Korea’s Morning Calm, Ohio’s Buckeye award, and the Tome’s It List. It also was hailed in Epic Read’s anticipated reads, PriceStyle’s recommended summer reads, Book Riot’s favorite myth inspired reads, and BuzzFeed’s 21 amazing series they’ll miss. She is a certified teacher holding a master’s degree in education and has taught writing workshops worldwide.

 

Christina’s Books:

Gilded-FarleyChristinaFarley-Silvern-high-resBRAZEN-coverpp-farley


I will always jump on learning a new way of social marketing, and will report back here on each of her courses*. You can register for the entire series or a’la carte, and also include one-on-one mentoring.

*DISCLOSURE: I arranged a discount to the courses in exchange for reporting on each one.

YA Book Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I’m happy to announce that I’m now reviewing books for Dwarf+Giant, A Blog of The Last Bookstore. My focus is on fairy tales, folk tales and mythology – classics and re-tellings. Follow my reading progress on Goodreads.

This review was originally published on October 14, 2016.

Dorothy Must Die isn’t so much a retelling of The Wizard of Oz as a continuation, an elaboration of Oz after Dorothy became a ruthless dictator and turned her companions into henchmen worthy of The Godfather. Amy is the protagonist, swept into a tornado after her alcoholic mother goes to a tornado drinking party and leaves her to fend for herself. Landing her trailer in Oz, she is assumed to be their saviour, her orders being simple: Dorothy Must Die.

I had a hard time getting into Amy, the protagonist. At first I thought it was because we had so little in common (trailer park vs upper middle class, alcoholic mother vs stable nuclear family); then I realized that I felt too close to her experiences being bullied at school. It hurt too much for me to bear with relating to her. In a lot of ways I wish I reacted to bullying more like Amy did.

Once we’re into the Oz part of the story, I flew through Amy’s journey. Struggling with who to believe and having a real stake in who is good vs who is evil is a pretty great hook. No icon of Oz is left standing here, and you get the feeling there is real danger. I didn’t read the summary to the second book, so to me, it was possible that Amy could have been killed before this book was done. That was a pretty great feeling to have as a reader, that anything was really possible and maybe this time, our heroine wouldn’t overcome her training and doubts.

I do wish there was a little more dimension to Dorothy, but I suppose that’s how the original villain (Wicked Witch of the West) is portrayed in the film…and maybe I’ll find the answer I seek in Paige’s prequels.

YA Fantasy Review: The Falling of the Moon

25884440Vampires, fairy tale balls, ghosts….every time I thought I had a handle on the world that Decker created, she took another twist. With Ascot as an unlikely heroine, the reader goes on a journey that uproots all convention. This story-line sort of reminds you of one fairy tale, this one another; then you realize there are layers upon layers of commentary and thwarting of fairy tales we think we know. Since it’s the first book in the Moonfall Mayhem series, sometimes knowledge is given for the long haul, and I’m glad I have an advance copy of the second book. (Since the second book in the series is not from Ascot, but from her companion Rags and Bones’ perspective, I have great hope that we will also see Decker’s world from the other characters’ points of view, or hear more of their origins.)

Because there are so many genres and tales woven into one, at times I felt the transition a bit jarring. Through it all, Decker’s lively and focused characters were able to take me through the plot twists just fine, and only got a little confused once we started to unravel motivations in the wine cellar.

When reading YA, I always stop to consider if my pre-teen or teenage self would have learned from this book and enjoyed it. I definitely wish I’d known Ascot earlier. She could have helped relieve some questions about fairy tale endings. At the time, I only had Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” musical to counter societal pressure and expectations. Having Ascot in my life would have absolutely pushed me towards figuring out my own happy ending instead of thinking I had to have a fairy tale one. She’d be a great addition to any teenager or pre-teen’s collection.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of the first book and advance review copy of book #2.

Find it Online:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Books-a-Million
Goodreads
Independent Bookstores
iTunes/Apple iBooks
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What I Care About This Week

*In case you need background on the Boko Haram attacks….

…that reportedly killed 2,000 civilans. I certainly did. Read on The Root.

*This gets to the point I try to hammer into clients….

….one person’s perspective or use of social media does not speak for their entire generation. Read An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media

 *NASA is a world leader in global warming research, but for how long?

*Trigger warning (rape and sexual harassment, stalking):

A YA author asked for sightly less than minimum wage…

…to write a sequel for her fans who wanted it, after the publisher passed on the book.
For daring to ask for money for her work (all $10 pledges received a copy of the book when finished) she received rape threats (which triggered memories of her own past rape) and was emailed photos of her home among other harassment.

Her response: “Jealousy rots and corrupts your creative soul and feeding your social media presence by hunting out controversy, feeding the flames, and then pretending you are simply fostering discussion is poisonous and empty. You create nothing but spite in a world that is already full of it and in desperate need of kindness.” Read her full response.

Dr. Jen Gunter

Wielding the lasso of truth

(not) Mixed (up)

A Biracial Swirl in a Black and White World

5amWritersClub

Sponsored by Caffeine.

Way-Word Writer

Heather Cashman

Orlando Convention Printing

Your One-Stop Orlando Printing Solution

TheWhizpops.com

Information about "The Whizpops!"

Whatever, I Eat What I Want

Surviving Cultural and Culinary Post-Modernity

Laura Grace Weldon

Free Range Learning, Creative Living, Gentle Encouragement, Big Questions, Poetry, Occasional Drollery

Cindy Marie Jenkins

Storyteller / Outreach Nerd

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