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Field Trip Friday: October 28, 2011


scary stories picture looks like poker face - What makes a book scary? Author Mike Mullin has some insight. 

- It's okay to wallow in editorial criticism, as long as you get back to earning the cookies, says author Lilith St. Crow.

- Author Johnny Dale presents "It's Not A Sprint," which he describes as a "Couch to 5K for writers."

- NaNoWriMo starts soon, but you can also join PiBoldMo (Picture Book Idea Month) with Tara Lazar!

- Insta!love and the Unconvinced Readers, from author Veronica Roth.

- What's the best time of day (or night) to write? The Guardian looks at the writing habits of the greats.

- Awesome prefab writing retreats, via Rebecca Behrens.

- Author Christa Desir has advice for building an awesome critique group.

- Natalie Zutler at Tor has your formula for a kick-ass YA heroine. Authors John M. McCusick and Laura Goode talk YA gender politics, and Zoe Marriott follows up her great post "You Can Stuff Your Mary Sue Where The Sun Don't Shine" with "What Would Mary Sue Do?"
"I don't believe all reviewers want to see women characters over-sexualised and treated as nothing more than unthreatening eye candy. But what I do believe is that this bombardment of EmptySexyHotObject images has made it hard for us to see women AS ANYTHING ELSE. Which is why when female writers produce female characters with depth and agency, they get accused of wish fulfillment."


- "Keep On Shining": Author Jo Knowles has a beautiful response to an anonymous commenter who wants to know why The Chocolate War is a better recommendation than the Book of Esther. 

- What do you do with ARCs after the book's release date? One option is ARCs Float On (via Kate Testerman).  

- What's wrong with a readable book? Bert Archer at The Star (via @CornwellE)

- Adult fans of YA are here to stay, and the ABA has a report on YA book clubs for adults.

- Scholastic creates 12 perfect literary couples-- for example, Haymitch and Professor McGonagall?

- Writer Tracey Neithercott is working on a magazine article about people over the age of 50 who read YA. She’s looking to interview someone between the ages of 50 and 60 as well as someone age 70 or older for the article. If you fit the description and want to talk about why you read YA (or if you know someone who does) you can email her at tracey.neithercott(at)gmail(dot)com. She’s hoping to conduct interviews next week.


audience fail - Novelists need to focus on audience, not brand, says agent Rachelle Gardner. Meanwhile, Jane Dystel at DGLM says "book promotion sure ain't what it used to be," and says that starting your social media outreach when the book launches is too late. 

- Great post from author Saundra Mitchell, promising debut authors that "eventually, you'll care less (and that's a good thing!)" 

- Agent Sarah Davies reports on what editors are looking for.

- How do taxes work for authors? A quick rundown from agent Jessica Faust. 

- Want to propose a guest blog post? James Dabbagian gives you some pointers.

- Agent Suzie Townsend gives some tips on the art of pitching.

- Jason Boog at GalleyCat has 4 underrated ways to find new readers

- An older post from Shrinking Violets, but a good one: Agent Erin Murphy on how success is like a snowflake.


ugly book - Lots of conversation about covers this week, starting with Elizabeth Bluemle's advice to publishers on improving sales through better cover design. Agent Kristin Nelson is no design expert but she knows ugly when she sees it; That Cover Girl has examples of eye-catching alternatives to SGiPDs (sad girls in pretty dresses), and author Meredith McCardle leads a conversation about the harm of only featuring skinny girls on covers

- If the literary scene were a high school cafeteria, from A. K. Mayhew at Specter. 

- Snooki visits Simon and Schuster: the video..... words fail me, but luckily they don't fail Sarah at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

- The Intern is home from India and brings us "Don't shoot the acquisitions editor: a traveler's guide to rejection."

- Curtis Brown UK sold 520 books in one deal, which raises some questions, according to David Gaughran.

- Agent Janet Reid is not paying $9.99 for a book.


- Generation X? Y? Millenials? No, says Doree Shafir at Slate: GENERATION CATALANO, BITCHES. (I may have added the bitches part.)

- Is your Halloween costume racist? (Hint: If you have to ask, pick something else, but you can also read Gawker. Or better yet, read Adrienne K.'s open letter to the PocaHotties and Indian Warriors this Halloween. Some of the comments illustrate horribly how using your voice makes you a target, and prompted Adrienne to post a follow up full of examples. Meanwhile, the "We're A Culture, Not A Costume" campaign immediately became meme fodder.)

- And on a related note: How society shapes children's view of race and color, from author Anne Sibley O'Brien.

- Google Reader is getting an overhaul and all its social features are changing. (via Kelly Jensen)

- After a big debut, Google+ hits the skids, and The Atlantic wonders if it's too late for changes to help.

- Even President Obama has a Tumblr now, y'all. Obviously this is also meme fodder.


anna pumpkin - Don't forget to enter our pumpkin carving contest! If you need help, I created free templates that you can download here; Novel Novice has Twilight-specific patterns here, and if you go with a Hunger Games theme, be sure to enter's contest too!

- Elizabeth Briggs is hosting a spooktacular writing contest judged by agent Natalie Lakosil!

- Rachel Bateman has a Halloween treat for you: a full manuscript proofread!

- Jessi Kirby is giving away an ARC of In Honor when her page gets 500 likes!

-  Amparo Ortiz is giving away a pre-order of Catching Jordan!

- General Suzie Townsend has changed agencies, and she's hosting a query contest to celebrate!


ferris bueller board game
halloween or williamsburg halloween or williamsburg

haunted dollhouse

Planking is so last week. Now we're Tebowing (via Kate McKean).
tebowing tebowing

Have a happy Halloween weekend!

Kate Hart

Kate is the author of After the Fall, coming January 24, 2017 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. A former teacher and grant writer, she now owns a treehouse-building business in the Ozarks and hosts the Badass Ladies You Should Know interview series.

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  1. Thanks for doing this great round up, as always. Hunger Games posters...squee!


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Item Reviewed: Field Trip Friday: October 28, 2011 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart