May 20, 2013

Young Adult Fantasy is NOT What It Sounds Like

Years ago, back before publishing was even on my mind, I decided to take a risk. I was going to tell people about the book I was working on in my spare time. (This was an early version of The Fairy Tale Trap. The working title was Roses and Mirrors.)

I had told another writer in my town about my book. She was so excited for me, she said she would introduce me to her group of friends and then I could tell them about it. They were a slightly older demographic, but I was determined to connect with them and be brave and talk about my book, darn it!

So I sit down with this group and I'm nervous as anything. They welcome me and those polite, awkward phrases are exchanged. My friend brings up the fact that I'm a writer. I take a deep breath. Okay, so here it goes.

This lady to my left smiles like the polite southern woman she is. "Oh, what do you write, Emily?"

I know this! I can answer this question. "Young adult fantasy."

Silence falls.

This woman looks at me with both eyebrows raised. Her mouth is open slightly, like she's about to say something, but she can't quite put the words together. I wait.

"You mean, like... pornography?"

Um. No.

My friend and I try to explain (quickly) that it's more like The Chronicles of Narmia or The Hobbit or any other safe, wholesome literature.

After the woman was put at ease, I made my getaway as quickly as possible. Never again, I said.

Obviously, I gathered the courage to do it again, but guys? It's hard to talk about my books to other people. It's so much easier for me to rave about some other book I picked up at the bookstore or the library. Mine? Well, I can tell you it's not porn. You may like it. But, you know, it's not for everyone...

Sometimes I'm forced to talk about my books. I do the best I can in those situations, but after those conversations are over, I look back and cringe. Why did I talk about my own work like that? She said she actually liked it, so why would I put it down? What does she think now?

Because when it comes to my books, I'm a bumbling, socially awkward mess.

That's why I rely on you. Seriously, folks. When word gets back to me that someone liked my book and told a friend, sometimes I get teary-eyed. Every time a new review goes up on Amazon or Goodreads, there's this wave of gratitude. Even if the review isn't five stars, someone not only took the time to read my book, but they liked it enough to tell someone else about it. Because telling someone about a book the best compliment an author could hope for.

And trust me, you'll do a lot better job than I ever could.

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