YA SHAMING – why it’s so destructive

ya shaming blog

Alright.  There’s been something that’s been on my mind for a while now and I think now is the time to get it out.  That something is the concept of genre shaming.  To be more specific, I’m going to be talking about YA (young adult genre) shaming.

Now this might be solely from the fact that I’m growing older.  I’ve been reading young adult novels since I was eight and I’d never heard any comments about its value or place in literature.  But now that I’m almost in my twenties, I’m beginning to see the strange looks and comments thrown my way when I mention Divergent or The Hunger Games.  This year was my first year away at a university and being an English major I find myself constantly in the company of English professors and other English majors.  All those things combined leaves me in many situations where the YA genre is made fun of and looked down on.  I find myself in situations where I’m struggling to remember good classic books I’ve read to hold up as my “favorite book” when in reality those aren’t my favorites at all.  I love YA.  I love other things too, don’t get me wrong, but YA is what I love to read and therefore what I love to write.

Unfortunately, I see this genre attacked over and over again.  YA books are often discussed as complete trash and an utter waste of time.  Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent – these are all held up as the perfect example of what not to write.  In my English classes we are encouraged to become writers, to make a living, to do what we love, but God forbid we ever write something as trashy and horrific as The Twilight Saga.

I’ve put up with this for a little while now and to be honest, I’m starting to get sick and tired of it.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re all allowed our opinions and those are wonderful things, but this concept of genre shaming has gotten a little out of hand.

How is YA less than other literature?

First of all, how is YA less than other literature?  Seriously?  Sure we can hold up a copy of Gone With the Wind and compare it to Twilight chapter by chapter and come out at the end with the conclusion that Gone With the Wind may be the better piece of literature.  But by whose standards?  Honestly – and this may be blasphemous for me to say as an English major – I’m going to have a heck of a better time sitting down and reading about Bella’s romance with Edward than I’m going to have watching Scarlett screw up her life.

Stephanie Meyer wrote a novel that countless people have read and she made a fortune off of it.  She’s wealthy because of her books.  So how can someone call Twilight “bad literature?”  What are we basing this definition off of?

It comes down to opinion.  Sure there are books that have stood the test of time and continue to be read over and over again, but we’re not talking about specific books.  We’re talking about a genre.  A genre that is attacked again and again for being stupid, unrealistic, and trashy.  YA is one of the top selling genres in publishing today.  I don’t know about you, but if a genre of books is selling, I’ll bet you anything that it’s good.

What is this saying to the teenage girls who read YA?

Another destructive aspect of shaming young adult novels is the fact that we’re disregarding the audience these books are aimed at.  Young adult novels are written (mostly) for the teenage girl.  Now that’s a bit of a generalization.  I do realize there are many boys out there who read YA, but right now the statistics and the subject matter of the books tell us that teenage girls are the main consumers for this genre.

Now, let’s pretend for a minute that we all believe that YA novels are stupid, poorly written, and a waste of time.  What are we telling teenage girls by believing this statement?  What are we saying about the interests, wants, and imaginations of the girls who read YA novels?  We aren’t attacking a genre anymore.  We’re attacking those girls.

Young girls put up with enough from our media today.  Now are we going to start telling them that their taste in novels is stupid as well?

Live and let live.

I realize that most people out there who criticize YA are just stating their opinion.  I totally understand when a book or even a whole genre doesn’t sit well with you.  Believe me, I’ve had many of those myself.  The problem I see is that when we get too caught up in those opinions and start alienating an entire genre or group of writers, and all we accomplish is a division in the literary industry.

We all love books and we all love reading.  So why can’t we just leave it at that?  Sure there are genres we are going to like better than others.  But let’s respect those genres for what they are and respect the writers who put in years of their lives writing for it.

HOURGLASS Cover Reveal!

It’s been a long time coming, but the cover reveal (as well as release date information) is finally here!

So if you haven’t heard, I have a YA, science fiction retelling of Peter Pan coming out next month and the final release date is March 11th!  And here’s the twist: it’s told from the point of view of a female Captain Hook.  So there you go.

Below is the lovely, lovely cover as well as the synopsis and link to Amazon where it’s available for pre-order! Yay!

Jude Sprocket has been a pirate her whole life. Taken in by a man who found her alone on a distant planet at the age of seven, all she has to remember of her past life is the loss her hand – the vague memory of a race through the woods and a bloody aftermath.

Now, her father recently dead, seventeen-year old Jude has inherited his spaceship – Hourglass. Determined to get off Earth and continue her father’s legacy of piracy, she assembles a crew and takes to the stars.

But more than abandoned ships and hidden treasure await Jude in the vast void of space. She’s haunted by dreams of a distant land, children hiding in the shadows, and a little girl she somehow feels the need to find.

When Jude and her crew stumble across an uncharted planet, curiosity gets the better of them and they land, unaware of the dangers that wait. Suddenly, Jude’s worst nightmares are coming true. The monsters she feared in the dark, the children that haunt her mind, the little girl from her dreams – and the planet she was never meant to leave.

http://www.amazon.com/Hourglass-Pauline-C-Harris-ebook/dp/B00TTFBUW4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1424722043&sr=8-2&keywords=Pauline+C.+Harris

Hourglass

I Finished My Novel. Now What?

I finished my book now what

So you wrote a book.

First of all, congratulations!  Yay!  Confetti, chocolate, coffee, and dancing!

Now, the work begins.  I know, I know, you just wrote a book and that’s work enough.  Sadly, the work doesn’t stop there.  It’s kind of like you just hiked up half a mountain, but there still about a hundred miles to go.  But don’t fret.  At least the first part is done.

 

Editing

First off, you’re going to need to tackle some editing.  First drafts are never, ever, ever, ready for publication.  Take a week off, distance yourself from the book and then go back and read through it, just to see how the book feels.  You’re going to want to start with larger edits, such as plot and character issues, and eventually narrow down to things like typos and grammatical structures.  If you want to see some of my older posts on editing, links are below.

https://paulinecharris.wordpress.com/?s=editing

Beta Readers

Beta readers are the best things in the world.  In short, beta readers are simply people who are willing to read your early drafts of manuscripts and give you feedback.  Now, although family members and friends are easily accessible and there’s definitely nothing wrong with having them read it, you’re going to want some people who are likely to be a little more objective.  You want brutal honesty in this stage of editing.  I’ve asked people I’ve met through blogging and booktubing to read my manuscripts and that’s worked out well for me.

What kind of publishing do I want?

Once you’ve edited your book to perfection and have had multiple eyes glance through it, you’re going to want to figure out what your plans are for the book.  If publishing is your ultimate goal, you need to decide what kind of publishing.

There are many, many, many different kinds of publishing, including traditional publishing, indie publishing, self-publishing and vanity presses just to name a few.  You’ll need to pick which one is right for you.  I’ve done various posts on all these types, including why I chose to try the ones I did.  Links below.

https://paulinecharris.wordpress.com/?s=publishing

Research!

This goes along with what I just mentioned about the multiple types of publishing.  Research all of these and find pros and cons with each.  Publishing has changed so much within the last decade and might not be quite what you expect.

Once you decide the path you want to take, you’ll also need to research how to get there.  This might include things like query letters, finding literary agents, online marketing, etc.    The main point I’m trying to make is that research is the best way to start your publishing journey.

I also have posts on things like query letters and marketing – those links are below.

https://paulinecharris.wordpress.com/?s=query+letter

https://paulinecharris.wordpress.com/?s=marketing

Good luck with your publishing endeavors.  Thanks for reading and have an excellent day!

How to move past negative book reviews

negative book reviews

Yeah.  This sucks.  I’m not going to lie.  When you see that lonely little one star rating followed by some pretty hurtful words, it’s enough to bring any author to tears.  But I’m going to tell you something that if you’re published you already know and if you’re not you might as well find out now.

Everyone gets bad reviews.

Everyone.

Even the Harry Potter books have a few one star reviews scattered between the millions of five star ones.  I mean, seriously, how is that even possible?

What I’m trying to say is that when you get bad reviews (and you will!) don’t take it too hard.  This post is for those of you who have gotten some bad reviews and are in need of some serious emotional support, or those of you who are worried about getting those bad reviews when your book hits the shelves.

I recently gotten some pretty scathing reviews on my latest book that came out.  And by scathing I mean something along the lines of, “this book is awful and should never have been written.”  Now, that’s nothing any author ever wants to hear about something they’ve written.  But this type of thing is inevitable so here are some tips on surviving when those awful, nasty reviews start tumbling in.

Don’t take it too seriously

Now, I understand this is one of the most clichéd pieces of advice ever given, and it’s definitely easier said than done, but it’s true.  Remember, the reviewing isn’t taking a stab at you personally.  They’re not going, “this author is terrible, they suck, I hate them.”  No, they’re talking about your book.  And yes, you’re book is your baby, but remember that (most of the time) they are just being honest and not trying to hurt your feelings.

Ever read any books you hated?

I know you have.  We all have.  I’ve read books that everyone around me loved and yet I just didn’t see it.  Would you falsely give a book you didn’t like a better rating?  Or would you rather be honest and constructive in your feedback?  Remember, this is just the opinion of one person and we’re all entitled to our own opinions.

Since you’ve been on the receiving end of negative reviews, you have a chance to be a really constructive and helpful negative-review-writer when you come up against some books you just don’t click with.

Remember why you write. 

Take a step back and ask yourself one simple question: why do you write?  If the answer is just for glorification then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.  Writers write because they love to do it, not because they want loads of money and attention.  Sure, those things are nice, but they’re not the real driving force behind the tears, sweat, love, and frustration that goes into creating a novel.  Just remember that you write because you love it.  You love writing, you love your books, and you love putting them out there, even if there are some people who don’t appreciate it.

Revisit those good reviews

So you got some bad reviews. But you got some good ones stashed away in there too, right?  I remember getting my first one star review for my newest novel.  The one I mentioned up at the beginning, remember?  I’m going to be honest, this review nearly made me cry.  I shouldn’t have been so hurt, but I was.  And I spent at least a few days mulling over that review in my mind, wondering why on earth this person didn’t like my book and what I could do about it.  And finally I came to the conclusion that there really is absolutely nothing I could do about it.  So why worry?  Instead, I looked back on the really nice five star reviews that I’d gotten, some of them really touching and praiseworthy.  Those were the reviews that mattered to me because those were the people I’d been writing my book for.  They were the ones who mattered.

Stop reading negative reviews.

Remember how I mentioned I obsessed about that one star review for a few days?  Well, by obsessed, I mean that I read it more than once.  A few times, actually.

Don’t do that!

Now, I definitely encourage reading negative reviews that provide constructive criticism.  If they mention a character was flat or a story arc needed improvement, you can find ways to better your writing in the future.  But if the review is basically just a rant on how terrible your book is, don’t read it.  You can usually tell within the first sentence or two which type of negative review this is going to be, and if it’s the latter, stay clear.

Your worth is not summed up in that pesky one star review.

Your novel is a huge, wonderful accomplishment.  You labored over the writing, the editing, and not only did you write a novel, you published one.  There will be good days and bad days, so don’t let those negative reviews get you down.  Keep writing and keep publishing!

And remember – since there’s been a lot of hate going around, especially on Goodreads, between authors and reviewers and whatnot – we all love books and we all love to write them, read them, review them, and talk about them.  We’re not here to point fingers at authors or reviewers.  We’re here to share our love of books. We all have different opinions and it’s a wonderful, lovely thing.

Thanks for reading and have an absolutely marvelous day!

PUPPET RELEASE

Okay, so I know this is a day late… 😦 But because of internet/travel problems, here it is today.  So YESTERDAY was the release of my new book Puppet and I’m beyond excited to be sharing it!  In case you haven’t heard me talk about it before, the blurb, the cover, and the book trailer are all pasted below.  And be sure to check out my announcement video!

puppet cover

Penelope lives in a world of advanced technology but many claim society has yet to catch up. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.

When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.

As Jed shows off his scientific creation to the world, concerns arise surrounding Penelope’s abilities and what she’s capable of doing. Ordered to somehow lessen her abilities, Jed makes a desperate attempt to change Penelope to make her more human, more vulnerable. After Penelope lies to the officials about her past, Jed makes sure it’s the last one she’ll ever utter. The truth is now the only thing she is capable of telling.

As Penelope struggles with her past, her disturbingly new present, and her uncertain future, she is thrust into a magically twisted world of mayhem in search of the one thing she wants, but knows she can never have. The chance to be just a girl again. To be normal. To be real.

LINKS!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Puppet-Retelling-Pinocchio-Pauline-Harris-ebook/dp/B00ONDBB12/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414261207&sr=8-1&keywords=puppet+pauline+c+harris

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23015970-puppet

PUPPET BOOK TRAILER!

coming october 24th2

So PUPPET comes out one week from today (October 24th!) and in honor of this lovely fact, the book trailer has been released!  I’m super duper excited about this trailer, and obviously PUPPET’s upcoming release.  So have a look and please, please, please check out PUPPET next Friday when it comes out!  It will be on Amazon. 😉

In the meantime, here’s a Goodreads link so you can see the synopsis and add it to your list. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23015970-puppet

PUPPET excerpt!

puppet banner 3

Soooo, Puppet’s release is just a month away!  And to celebrate that fact, I thought I’d post a little excerpt from the book.  So here you go:

I hesitate for a moment, biting my lip before finally narrowing my eyes, saying, “Okay,” and walking toward the stage.  A wide grin stretches across the man’s face while he runs up to grab his remote control.  I hear James sigh behind me as he follows me up the stairs, watching the puppeteer suspiciously the whole time.

I sit down across from the marionette that hasn’t moved since our last arm wrestle.  Suddenly it comes to life, sitting up straight and placing its elbow on the table like last time.  I press my hand against the marionette’s synthetic one and on the count of three, we both begin.  I feel the machine shudder underneath my hand as I squeeze and press against it.  The puppet’s arm bends backward as I push it toward the table and I hear a small popping sound from within the metal arm.  I push harder and in a matter of seconds, the arm is placed firmly on the table, the marionette leaning toward it in an incredibly awkward and broken manner.  It was never designed to lose.  

Puppet comes out October 24th 2014, so don’t forget to check it out when it’s released, and in the meantime, add it on goodreads! 😉  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23015970-puppet

PUPPET COVER REVEAL!

So today is finally here. 🙂  It’s finally time to reveal the cover for PUPPET!

In case you don’t know, PUPPET is my new book coming out October 24th, 2014.  It’s a sci-fi retelling of Pinocchio told from the point of view of a female protagonist (synopsis pasted below).  So, without further ado, take a look at this gorgeous cover!
puppet cover

Penelope lives in a world of advanced technology but many claim society has yet to catch up. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.

When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.

As Jed shows off his scientific creation to the world, concerns arise surrounding Penelope’s abilities and what she’s capable of doing. Ordered to somehow lessen her abilities, Jed makes a desperate attempt to change Penelope to make her more human, more vulnerable. After Penelope lies to the officials about her past, Jed makes sure it’s the last one she’ll ever utter. The truth is now the only thing she is capable of telling.

As Penelope struggles with her past, her disturbingly new present, and her uncertain future, she is thrust into a magically twisted world of mayhem in search of the one thing she wants, but knows she can never have. The chance to be just a girl again. To be normal. To be real.

This cover was created by Erica Crouch over at Patchwork Press (insert link) and she’s also and author so you should go ahead and check her out.
So like I said before, it comes out October 24th so be sure to get it when it comes out. 😉 And don’t forget to add it to your to-read list on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23015970-puppet
And you can check out my video announcement as well.

I HAVE A NEW BOOK COMING OUT!

Guys!! This is kind of crazy but I have another book coming out!  This book is yet another fairytale retelling, called PUPPET, and it’s a science fiction, gender bender, retelling of Pinocchio.  Whew.  I’m so incredibly excited about this book because it means so much to me.  This book was my first NaNo novel, and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing a book.  The release date it set to be October 24th, 2014, so please, please, please read it when it comes out! 😀  Below is the synopsis and my video announcement.

Cover reveal coming soon!!

Penelope lives in a world of advanced technology but many claim society has yet to catch up. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.

When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.

As Jed shows off his scientific creation to the world, concerns arise surrounding Penelope’s abilities and what she’s capable of doing. Ordered to somehow lessen her abilities, Jed makes a desperate attempt to change Penelope to make her more human, more vulnerable. After Penelope lies to the officials about her past, Jed makes sure it’s the last one she’ll ever utter. The truth is now the only thing she is capable of telling.

As Penelope struggles with her past, her disturbingly new present, and her uncertain future, she is thrust into a magically twisted world of mayhem in search of the one thing she wants, but knows she can never have. The chance to be just a girl again. To be normal. To be real.

NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT!

hourglass announcement

Aaaaaaah!

So I have exciting news!  I have a new book coming out!  It’s finally official since I just signed the contract about a week or two ago so now I get to blast it from the rooftops.

The new book is called HOURGLASS and its a fairytale retelling (because those are just so insanely fun) of Peter Pan, told in a science fiction setting from the point of view of a female Captain Hook.  Phew.  What a mouthful.

Anywho, here’s the official synopsis:

Jude Sprocket has been a pirate her whole life. Taken in by a man who found her alone on a distant planet at the age of seven, all she has to remember of her past life is the loss her hand — the vague memory of a race through the woods and a bloody aftermath.
Now, her father recently dead, seventeen-year old Jude has inherited his spaceship — Hourglass. Determined to get off Earth and continue her father’s legacy of piracy, she assembles a crew and takes to the stars.
But more than abandoned ships and hidden treasure await Jude in the vast void of space. She’s haunted by dreams of a distant land, children hiding in the shadows, and a little girl she somehow feels the need to find.
When Jude and her crew stumble across an uncharted planet, curiosity gets the better of them and they land, unaware of the dangers that wait. Suddenly, Jude’s worst nightmares are coming true. The monsters she feared in the dark, the children that haunt her mind, the little girl from her dreams — and the planet she was never meant to leave.

 

Hourglass is going to be published by the same publisher who published my Mechanical Trilogy (Fire and Ice/Melange Books LLC) and we’re aiming at a February/March 2015 release date.

Also, I’m looking for advanced reviewers, so if you happen to be a blogger or booktuber or something and you want to receive an advanced copy (sorry, I only have advanced ereader copies, no physical) let me know!  Because I’d love to send you one!

Anyway, I’m super excited about this new book and can’t wait until it comes out next year!  If you want to see my video announcement, check below. 😉

Have a great day!