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Field Trip Friday: May 25, 2012


A researcher at Brigham Young University says there's lots of cussing in YA books so we need a rating system. The ALA says "ha ha ha ha no." Kiersten White, known for avoiding profanity in her books, says the issue is more complicated than just counting up cuss words; the delightfully blunt Gayle Forman says she's tired of "these stupid, knee-jerk, simplistic roundups about dark YA that are neither accurate or even a proper gauge of what they’re supposed to measure," and Jezebel says, "Let's just be happy that kids are reading at all and not get our panties all twisted up."

But the most revealing post comes from Andrew Karre, who points out all the damn ads you have to navigate to read that click bait in the first place.

Self-Publishing vs The World:
A self-published author's public meltdown prompted Chuck Wendig to revisit the fevered egos of self-publishing, which prompted agent Sarah LaPolla to lament the "us vs. them" mentality, which got Nathan Bransford talking about self-publishing and having a chip on one's shoulder, as well as pointing out that traditional vs. self-publishing is a false dichotomy.

The Guardian reported that half of self-published authors make less than $500 per year, and The Bookseller said that less than 10% make enough to live off their earnings. Meanwhile Mette Harrison's "33 Self-Publishing Myths" ruffled some feathers, and she followed up with a shorter "When To Self-Publish," the reaction to which remains to be seen.


- My favorite posts of the week:

- "Readers need a sense of closure." Agent Kate Testerman on cliffhangers and Community.

- Pam Bachorz offers great resources in her post about using "springboard settings."

- The CBC Diversity Committee hosted a series called "It's Complicated!" this week. I found Cheryl Klein's "Writing Outside Your Perspective" and Cynthia Leitich Smith's "Prayer To The Silent" particularly thought-provoking.

- "YA Stuff To Avoid From Now On," courtesy of Adam Selzer.

- Chuck Wendig has 25 reasons you should stop writing.

- Sarah Nichols gets the scoop on Ascendio, a Harry Potter conference with programming for writers that will include appearances by our own Veronica Roth and her agent, Joanna Volpe.

- "Your Space Travel Might Be Terrible If..." Sean Wills helps you avoid sci fi mistakes.

- "The Most Comma Mistakes," from the NYT.

- Courtney Milan tells you how to pick a lawyer.


- Tiana Smith takes a look at the female protagonists of 50 YA bestsellers and breaks them down by physical description.

- Laura Miller at Salon makes a case in favor of whitewashing. On a related note, Steph Su points out some big time whitewashing on Julie Kagawa's newest book.

- When is the future? io9 charts historical trends in science fiction.

- Want to read excerpts from BEA's top titles? They appear to be all adult (not that there's anything wrong with that...), but you can download a free e-book here.

- Esquire is starting a "Fiction For Men" series. I could not possibly top the levels of snark that Jezebel is bringing on the subject.

- The Pendragon series saved a 13-year-old boy's life near Seattle last weekend. SEE? YA SAVES. (via Liesa Abrams)

- The Bankstreet Children's Book of the Year List 2012 includes our own Kirsten Hubbard's Like Mandarin and Veronica Roth's Divergent!

- Related: Forever Young Adult has a *highly* scientific entertaining analysis of Google image search results for Four from Divergent.

St. Andrews University hosts Britain's first academic conference on Harry Potter, and I'm not linking to the articles that talked trash about it because I don't have to so there ptthhth.


- The real agency behind Slush Pile Hell outed itself this week.

- Agent Jennifer Laughran explains how to establish a line of credit with agents.

- "When life throws you rotten eggs..." Agent Sarah Davies on making the best of a bad situation

- Houghton Mifflin files for bankruptcy, reports Publishers Weekly.

- If you're a Field Trip fan and want more links, go see Kelly on Saturdays


- The ladies at Rookie share some straight talk on street harassment

- Ashley Perez has a short post about the ways Jim Crow affected Mexican-Americans in Texas-- a good reminder that discrimination and its effects suck in lots of different ways.

Are you going to ALA in Anaheim this summer?
Don't miss The Great YA Blogger Meetup, hosted by Stacked Books and YA Highway!


- Debra Driza is one of my most favorite people ever and she is giving away TWO copies of Starters!

- Win an ARC of Alyson Noel's Fated from Ashley Loves Books!


This may only be funny to web design types, but I don't care: Bacon Ipsum. (via my BFF) 

What speed do you read? (eat my dust, college students.)

The lucky graduating class at University of the Arts got to hear Neil Gaiman give an inspirational commencement speech.

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 featuring my giveaway! Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

  2. The links in these two sentences are the same, just fyi:

    Jezebel says, "Let's just be happy that kids are reading at all and not get our panties all twisted up."

    But the most revealing post comes from Andrew Karre, who points out all the damn ads you have to navigate to read that click bait in the first place.

    1. Oh hell. Thanks for the heads up - should be fixed now!

  3. Personally, I don't see a problem with the idea of a rating system for books. It's a great tool for parents who want to watch what their kids are taking in, as well as for people who just don't want to read a book with excessive violence/sex/profanity because it's not their taste. And people who don't care about any of that can simply ignore the ratings. I guess I can see how people would be worried that parents will see a book deemed inappropriate and automatically write it off as bad. But hopefully most parents will take Kiersten White's advice and read with their kids. My parents never monitored what I read anyway, so I didn't have that problem. :P

    1. Well, the problem is kind of like with that documentary, "Bully." It was rated R for language, so the kids who most needed to see it wouldn't be able to-- both the kids being victimized by that language as well as the kids using it.

      You also have kids who are gay or abused or otherwise suffering b/c of a secret from their families. Maybe those parents see a warning for LBGTQ content or violence and withhold access as punishment or out of self-preservation.

      Basically, teens need to be able to self-select books. There are lots of other examples of why, but those are the two I can halfway express (it's early :) ).

  4. The jump from Harry Potter to something like Westerfeld's Peeps or Catcher in the Rye just feels like too big a leap. I don't know what kind of division would end up being appropriate, but I wish there wasn't such a large lumping of YA as 12-18.

    1. They do break YA into 12+, 14+, etc. It's on the back of most books. (I'd also argue the jump from HP1 to HP7 is pretty darn big, but that series purposely progresses from MG to YA, b/c JKR is a genius.)

  5. Another fantastic round up! Thanks for all these wonderful links and I hope your Memorial Day weekend is great!


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Item Reviewed: Field Trip Friday: May 25, 2012 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kate Hart