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Field Trip Friday: March 23, 2012


There's a lot of it.

Publishing was buzzing (pun totally intended) about the news that police had intercepted a massive shipment of marijuana, destined for St. Martin's Press. The #potlit hashtag (also fantastic pun) immediately appeared; SMP good-naturedly played along.

The situation in Arizona got some national ink after author Matt de la Peña visited a Tucson high school where his book has been banned. A NYT reporter accompanied him on the trip; the LA Times covered the arrival of the librotraficante, and Salon examined the political firestorm surrounding critical race theory. I thought this article on "insurgent education" was tangentially interesting (via Adrienne K.).

Much of children's publishing spent the week at Bologna Book Fair, "the number one event in the children's book business" according to agent Julia Churchill. Kristin Nelson listed the trends; Publishers Weekly has a photo gallery, and Cynthia Leitich Smith is presenting the SCBWI Bologna 2012 interview series.

Hunger Games v Twilight
credit: Figment
But all else fades in comparison to the release of the Hunger Games movie. In this week's lead up, John Scalzi explained how YA dystopian came to rule fantasy and sci films; Laura Miller at Salon examined the word-of-mouth marketing that pushed The Hunger Games to the top. Goodreads put together a cool infographic showing trends in dystopian literature, which in the past peaked during WW2 and the Cold War, while Figment put together some infographics that are just awesome.

Lenore Appelhans described her experience "fangirling and evangelizing" the series, and Rachel Stark said it's not just the bow and beating up boys that makes Katniss a feminist character. The National Post wondered what will take its place; the NYT covered the activism of YA fandoms, and Slate looked at "the Mockingjay problem," wondering how in the world they're going to handle that one on the big screen. Meanwhile Elyse at Geekquality wants you to remember that whitewashing really does hurt.

hunger games book covers
Can't make it to the midnight showing? Well, you could always download Sarah, Tracey, and Erin's latest round of awesome book covers, this time with a Hunger Games theme. You could also train like a tribute at a New York gym, check out this massive HG news feed sent to us by Athena Franco, do a little of Cleolinda Jones's Panem mandatory viewing, or catch up on all of Forever Young Adult's HG coverage-- and maybe bookmark their Hunger Games drinking game for when you make it to the theater.


- File under "marketing I'm not willing to do": author embarks on six-day stint in bookstore window.

- Writers are told they need a thick skin, but agent Rachelle Gardner says you'll survive regardless.

- "If there needs to be drinking and swearing, leave it in there. If it seems gratuitous, take it out." Agent Jessica Faust on cussing and drinking in YA.

- Author Erin Bowman has a tutorial on character worksheets and freeform corkboard in Scrivener.

- Where do you put the page numbers? Agent Janet Reid says I'm doing it wrong.

- Agent Jessica Papin gives an overview of a video about the myth of brainstorming.

- Is the science part of your sci fi terrible? Use author Sean Wills's handy checklist.

- Editor Molly O'Neill presents her favorite quotations from her new favorite writing advice series.

- Pushing Social has good suggestions for climbing out of your blogging slump (via Elizabeth Craig).

- Writer Unboxed has an interesting interview with author Justine Musk, in part about creating a more nuanced sense of masculinity.


non-white face covers
Proving Steph's point: I had to go back
several years to find all these covers.
- Highwayer Stephanie Kuehn has an important post about the murder of Trayvon Martin and the importance of diverse faces on YA covers.

- Neuroscience reveals the brain treats interactions among fictional characters as if they were the real thing. Maybe this explain the Ann Arbor man who was punched in the head during a literary argument this week.

- Agent Betsy Lerner on judging people by their bookshelves.

- The NYT reports on Jodi Picoult's #1 bestseller spot by... talking about Franzen.


ya deals - Does paranormal YA get the biggest deals? What's the biggest trend? I put together a bunch of pie charts on my personal blog, showing YA trends of the past 12 months.

- Jaws dropped as NPR's This American Life retracted their major feature on Apple factories (via Sarah Weinman).

- covers publishers' growing strategies to curtail e-book piracy (via Michele Wells).

- Author Kami Garcia shares the ways she deals with hate mail.

- Did you know you can upload a sample of your book to Goodreads? Get the details on that great marketing tip and more from author Elana Johnson.

- Agent Jill Corcoran has concerns about start-up publishers-- there's also interesting conversation in the comments.

- Protect your pitch from the "duh" factor with help from agent Vickie Motter.

- Book bloggers are planning an alternative to BEA's blogger conference, citing concerns about being treated as commodities rather than colleagues.

- "Paying your dues" doesn't mean you're owed anything, says agent Scott Eagan.

- You have an agent? Great! But can she sell you? Not all agents are equal, says the Behler blog (via Janice Hardy).


- "Overcoming the Noble Savage and the Sexy Squaw": how Monique Poirier avoids stereotypes when she adds Native elements to her steampunk costumes (via Stacy Whitman).

- YouTube has no channel for literature, so Miracle Jones created one on Reddit.

- It's not your imagination: your Facebook friends really are narcissistic jerks.

- The YA community in Asheville, NC, got a nice feature in their local paper.

- The trailer for "The Host" was released, though it seems a little lost in Hunger Games mania.

- "It is hard to call someone who thinks he is complimenting you a racist." How the Rules of Racism are Different for Asian Americans, at The Rumpus. Also an interesting read regarding racism, privilege, and "making a difference": "The White Savior Industrial Complex."

- Jamie Waylett ("Crabbe" from the Harry Potter movies) will serve two years in jail for his role in London's riots last summer. [Insert favorite HP joke here: Once a Slytherin, always a Slytherin. He didn't even use fiendfyre!]


- Elizabeth Briggs has a "Good News Giveaway" with books and query crits up for grabs!


I will simply repeat my comment from Twitter: They CHANGED their NAME to CULLEN.

breaking dawn themed wedding

Very cool project: The Real Fauxtographer is doing a series of YA-inspired shots, including Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and this one of Tris from Divergent! (via We Heart YA, who gave my chart series a sweet mention-- thanks guys!)


I could not possibly love these comic book pose pictures any more.

maxi and april maxi and april

And of course, I have to include the "Bitches In Bookstores" spoof video that made the rounds this week.

Have a great 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 the mention, Kate! We always look forward to Fridays to read your updates.

  2. Field Trip Fridays are the best! I think the Rumpus article was the best read I've had in a long while. Thanks so much, Kate :)

  3. Um, WOW, that spoof video is amazing. I wasn't expecting so much effort in the lyrics! Read so hard libraries try to find me!

  4. I love the author who spends six days in a storefront. I'm all about building my platform.... but come on. Really? Gotta give the girl props though. :)


  5. Thanks for posting my contest! A great roundup of news this week.


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Item Reviewed: Field Trip Friday: March 23, 2012 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart