#YAlaunch: 10 Authors Talking Writing, Debuts, & Publishing

I’ve meant to blog about Yalaunch for months, but… my first book released in November, I moved to a new job acquiring fiction for Entangled Publishing, I went to the East Coast for two weeks, and then I went to ALA in Chicago. But I am home now, and catching up on everything, and YAlaunch was JUST TOO GOOD to not tell you about. Honestly, it was one of the most wonderful, fulfilling experiences of my life.

Nikki Urang, my critique partner, and I both had our first novels release November 11, and in the wildly stressful and exciting process of figuring out how to actually celebrate the launch of our books, I decided I wanted a writing retreat with my fellow authors. 4 days in an awesome Omaha hotel writing, drinking, sharing work, eating great food, and staying up far too late– ending with a 3-hour livestream where we played games with the audience on Twitter and Facebook, talked about our books, answered audience questions, and gave away over 100 books. Almost 400 people visited the livestream over the course of the night, and it was such fun to hear the brilliant minds of my fellow authors at work. It was half party, half mini-conference, and ridiculously fun. Here’s a recap, and at the end, I’m including the video, so you can watch the whole thing:

What was it, and who was there?

List of the 100 books we gave away

Once everyone arrived, we (after lots of talking/eating) got to work at the hotel:

Authors  Writing

And that weekend, THIS happened:

It was such a wonderful experience to sit down with 10 other authors (shout-out to author Tonya Kuper, who joined us for an evening, too!) and write. Word sprints, plot hole discussions, brainstorming sessions, and “do you think this works?” and “does this make sense?” happened ’round the clock, and I’m thrilled to report we actually got a lot of real work done.

And then it was Monday, and the #YAlaunch livestream happened! Basically, it was my launch party. Check out the #YAlaunch hashtag on Twitter to see all the awesome crazy, but here are the highlights.

 

And viewers seemed excited, too!

 

We had viewers from Mexico, Australia, Canada, the U.S., the Dominican Republic, and several more wonderful places. Book lovers reach around the world. 🙂

set 1 set 2

Use the times listed in the descriptions below to jump to sections of the video you find interesting, or watch the whole thing!

We kicked off the livestream with a panel discussion on our favorite genres to write, and whether we read genres we don’t write, and questions from the audience covered what New Adult is, how we all feel about fanfiction, solving writer’s block, and what we do for day jobs in addition to writing, if we have another occupation. (first 29 minutes of the video.)

At 29:19 on the time stamp, I interviewed with Alex Yuschik and Blair Thornburgh about gravity racing, the importance of passion in their work, obsessive characters, and writing retellings.

To end the interview, we played an awesome word scramble game of scrambled book titles. You’re all much better at word scrambles than I am!

At 51:48, Nikki Urang interviews Kelly Youngblood and Delia Moran about historical fiction, Kelly’s collection of 1000 books and her transition from writing nonfiction to fiction, traditional vs. self publishing, plotting and “pantsing,” and played a game guessing which books a collection of first lines came from.

At 1:07:33, after a round-table introduction of what we all write, I hosted a panel discussion on writing a series, trilogies, companion novels, and stand-alones. We discussed how that affects our process and changes our work, how we know when a story needs more than one book, and when to best leave the story so that we don’t drain the concept and not wear out the readers. We also discussed writing in a male POV, avoiding leaning on cultural stereotypes for a “male” sound, and how parents who write balance kids and the author life.

At 1:31:18, Nikki Urang interviews Kiersi Burkhart and Bethany Robison about drafting vs revising, their writing process, and the difference between writing for MG and YA. We tried to play a “name that cover” but of course we were owed some kind of technical difficulty, and that’s when it happened.

1:52:00 Eventually we got the game to work, and went back to the main table for a roundtable discussion on when reader reactions differ widely, why we think YA is so popular and what’s drawing people to the category and how Harry Potter changed YA. We also gained a giant platter of unbelievably wonderful cupcakes, and Kiersi performed an impressive cross-table lunge for them.

At 2:04:00, we discussed using social media and multimedia in our books, as well as writing multiple points of view and what we think of the value of formal writing education. We also discussed how to find critique partners, using humor and acting experience to inform writing, and the community and collaboration so often involved in great books. Blair got very wise about first and third person and writing from opposite genders, too. We were also under strict orders to pass around the cupcakes.

At 2:26:00, I got to interview New York Times bestselling authors Nicole Baart and Tosca Lee. We talked about their hobbies, upmarket women’s fiction, historical biblical fiction, Nicole’s upcoming April release THE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS from Atria, how the industry has changed during their 8-book publication journey, and their advice for new authors. I particularly loved what Tosca had to say about being brave and continuing to write fearlessly as your audience grows, and how Nicole has seen readers change in the last ten years and balancing writing with interacting with readers. They also discussed their paths to publication, and what it’s been like to see 8 novels each published traditionally.

At 2:55:15 we went back to the big table for a game of ABC books, and you definitely want to see 10 authors competing to shout out alphabetical book titles. It got crazy. For authors, we had a surprisingly difficult time with the alphabet.

At 3:01:00, we began a panel discussion on book-to-film adaptations. What makes a good one, if any of our own work has ever been adapted to screen, and screenplays written by the author or involved in the adaptation as in Gone Girl, The Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones.

https://twitter.com/meggie_spoes/status/532009222184005633

And then all 8 authors interviewed Nikki Urang and me about our debuts. Title changes, our involvement in our book covers, how the experience of being a debut author has gone for us, how being an editor helps/hinders me as an author, what next for both of us as authors, and what we hope readers take away from our books.

Basically, over the course of four hours, debut, nonfiction, fiction, and multipublished authors talked through everything from fan fiction and using social media to writing dual POV and writing as an art. I learned so much from these incredibly talented ladies on set with me, and I was so humbled and thrilled that they all came to help us celebrate the release of HOW WE FALL and THE HIT LIST.

Here’s the full video:


If you still haven’t gotten your copies, you can get HOW WE FALL here and THE HIT LIST here!

Book Giveaway for #YALAUNCH

We’re very excited to be giving away 100 books during my launch party with Nikki Urang! #YALAUNCH is November 10, 2014, and we’d love to see you there! (You can attend virtually–join the Facebook event!).  There will be a variety of hardcover, softcover, ARCs, and e-books given away, so check the caption under each book to see the format. (View #YAlaunch details)

Adult Romance Prize Pack 1

Always On My Mind (Lucky Harbor, #8)          East of Ecstasy (Hearts of the Anemoi, #4)

Honor Reclaimed (HORNET, #2)          Boomerang Bride

 

Family Prize Pack 1

13586749          Zach's Lie (Zach's Lie, #1)          0451529197.01.LZZZZZZZ

(Signed)

 

Suspense Prize Pack

Ten          91oOqhNzFnL._SL1500_          PaperTowns2009_6A

 

Adult Romance Prize Pack 2

Fight or Flight          Fire Inside (Chaos, #2)          Secrets of a Viscount (Gentlemen of Honor #1)

Serving Love At Carnival (International Men of Sports, #6)          Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles, #1)

 

College Prize Pack

Finding It (Losing It, #3)          Stuff Every College Student Should Know          21468419

(Signed)

Family Prize Pack 2

51Gd8btclsL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_          156884

9780812481518_p0_v1_s260x420          Screaming Divas FINAL.indd

YA Fantasy/Sci-fi Prize Pack 1

The Selection (The Selection, #1)          Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1)

The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy, #1)

 

Nicole Baart Prize Pack 1

2          n312037          11

(Signed)                                  (Signed)

 

Nicole Baart Prize Pack 2

6          8          10

 

Hit Sequels Prize Pack

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)          Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

 

Adult Literary Fiction Prize Pack

Jonathan-franzen-freedom          41Bn22qtn6L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

ShipFever-cropped          tumblr_lgetmnFw721qeli0f

 

YA Contemporary Prize Pack

Open Road Summer          Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel          Butter

                                                       (ARC)

17290266          Looking for Alaska

 

Merit Prize Pack 1

Who R U Really?          The Girl in the Wall         Exposure: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Macbeth (Twisted Lit, #2)

Tempestuous: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's The Tempest (Twisted Lit, #1)          Anyone But You: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (Twisted Lit #3)          Escape from Eden

Louder Than Words          The Namesake

 

Nicole Baart Prize Pack 3

6          8

(Signed)                                       (Signed)

 

Merit Prize Pack 2

Big Fat Disaster          Twigs          Deceived

Poor Little Dead Girls          No Surrender Soldier          Providence

The Screaming Divas          Wanted: Dead or in Love          Madame Tussaud's Apprentice

 

Tosca Lee Prize Pack 1

ShebaREV-677x1024          9781433668791_Havah_cvr_web          Forbidden

 

Young Adult Prize Pack 1

Adobe Photoshop PDF          17925536

51E1GH+srML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_          Big Fat Disaster

 

Nicole Baart Prize Pack 4

6          8

(Signed)                                       (Signed)

 

YA Fantasy/Sci-fi Prize Pack 2

DSB_final_6_1 (1)          6087756       Defiance (Defiance #1)

 

Non-Fiction Prize Pack

Stuff Every College Student Should Know          836264

Bird-by-Bird-image1          200px-Onwriting

 

Tosca Lee Prize Pack 2

ShebaREV-677x1024          9781433668791_Havah_cvr_web          Forbidden

 

Young Adult Prize Pack 2

17925536          TilDeath cover 1600px

18248364          Big Fat Disaster

 

Alex Yuschik Prize Pack

19089172          theimmortalrules

Of-Scars-and-Stardust          FallsTheShadow_CVRfinal3

 

Anomaly Prize Pack

91CZXfRFhrL

Includes Anomaly swag! Pen, bookmarks, tattoos, etc .

 

Young Adult Prize Pack 3

Screaming Divas FINAL.indd          17638282

Stuff Every College Student Should Know

 

Adult Romance Prize Pack 3

13564330          13586316    17254466

(ebook)

 

Join us online November 10 for #YAlaunch to win these books and hear great authors speak on their lives and writing, and to celebrate the release of HOW WE FALL and THE HIT LIST!

 

You’re Invited to #YAlaunch! 10 authors+100 books=Giant Book Party

All book lovers are invited to attend the launch party for How We Fall by Kate Brauning and The Hit List by Nikki Urang on Monday, November 10th, from 6-9pm central time. It’s being broadcast live over video, so you’ll be able to see, hear, and interact with us. 10 YA and adult authors, including Nikki and myself, will be discussing everything from writing a series to movie adaptations. We’ll also be playing games with the audience, taking questions, and giving away 100 books, swag, and even t-shirts! It will be a fun and interactive evening for anyone who loves books and wants to spend some time with great authors.

What: #YAlaunch is a giant book party, with author  panel discussions, games, & book  giveaways

Why: To celebrate the launch of two new YA novels, and to promote reading, literacy, and other great authors

When: Monday November 10, 6-9pm

Who: Anyone who enjoys books. The party is family-friendly.

Where: Online, live-streamed over video.  Click here for the link to the live-stream. To receive updates and to be entered for door prizes, please RSVP here at the Facebook event. Chat on Twitter about the party on the hashtag #YAlaunch.

Authors You’ll Hear Speaking:

Kate Brauning,  Entangled Publishing editor and YA author of How We Fall

Nikki Urang, YA author of The Hit List

Nicole Baart, New York Times bestselling author of The Beautiful Daughters (Atria 2015), Sleeping in Eden, & more

Blair Thornburgh, Quirk Books editor and author

Kiersi Burkhart, MG and YA author of the Second Chance Ranch series

Alex Yuschik, YA author multipublished in poetry/literary journals

Kelly Youngblood, faith writer and blogger

Delia Moran, YA author

Bethany Robison, YA author, Month9Books editor, and sports writer

Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Legend of Sheba, the Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker, and more).

We would love to see you at #YAlaunch! We want this to be as much a giant book party as a launch party, so come meet awesome authors, win amazing books, and see behind the scenes of writing and publishing. We’d love to celebrate with you!

Please do tell your friends, share this post, and invite others to come! The event is open to the public and we’d love your help supporting awesome authors, fantastic books, and the writing community.

See you soon!

Much love,

Kate Brauning and Nikki Urang

Click to tweet: Are you coming to #YAlaunch? It’s a giant book party!

Click to tweet: Attend @KateBrauning & @NikkiUrang’s live-streamed launch party! #YAlaunch 

#YALaunch- Get Ready, and Save the Date!

Dear friends,

I’m so happy to be writing this post, and I’m even happier to be inviting you to my launch party. It’s a bit unusual, and a lot wonderful, and comes from a pretty awesome chain of events.

Back in 2012, Nikki Urang and I were both querying our first manuscripts and had shared work, and decided to become critique partners. We didn’t have agents, didn’t have any publishing credentials, and were terrified that no agent was going to want us and not entirely sure we could do this publishing thing. We queried, and revised, and

Welcome to The Hit List: a game of sexual conquest. We won't judge you, but your girlfriend might.  Spencer Hill Press, Nov. 11 2014

Welcome to The Hit List: a game of sexual conquest. We won’t judge you, but your girlfriend might.

shared chapters of a new book we were each writing, and kept at it. We both shelved the manuscripts we were querying, and finished the books we were working on. We drew up lists of questions to ask agents if “the call” ever happened. We analyzed feedback in those coveted personal responses to queries. In March of 2013, a few months into me querying my new novel, Nikki signed with her agent, Nicole Resciniti. I was thrilled for her, because she’d worked hard and THE HIT LIST was awesome. We celebrated, and Nikki encouraged me to keep going. I kept querying, got a bunch of requests from agents, and started working on an R&R through the summer. Nikki’s book deal with Spencer Hill Press for THE HIT LIST was announced, and I signed with my agent, Carlie Webber.

This whole time, we went back and forth with panic attacks, worries, and all the nerves. All of them. But it was crazy fun, too, working through all this with someone who was going through it, too. I went on submission with my agent in January, and Nikki whipped me back into shape during several melt-downs. Nikki got her release date, and we celebrated again, because a fall release date is a wonderful thing. In March of 2014, my agent told me I had an offer. I panicked. Nikki helped me research, weigh the pros and cons, and supported me when I decided Merit Press was exactly what I wanted. The deal was announced, I was told it would be a fall release date, and we celebrated again. I dove right into edits since it would be a fast timeline, and then I was told my firm release date.

Both THE HIT LIST and HOW WE FALL are releasing on the same day. November 11, Nikki and I become published authors, and we are thrilled to have been able to go through all the rejections and questions and celebrations of querying and our debut year together. She’s been a huge support and encouragement for me, and I’ve tried my best for her. Our first signings were even on the same day, May 30 in New York City, at Book Expo America.

Because of all this, we’ve decided we want to have our launch parties together, and you are invited! There’s nothing quite like the writer friendships you make along the way to publication, and we want you there. Watching our families and friends all over the U.S. and even all over the world come through for us with support and

He kissed her on a dare.  She told him to do it again. Their secret could tear their family apart.

He kissed her on a dare.
She told him to do it again.
Their secret might tear the family apart.

encouragement and pre-orders and all those things every one of you has done has meant the world to us, and so we want you, there, too. We know many of you can’t travel to the Midwest for our launch party, but since this day is important to us, and you being there is important to us, we have created the most wickedly awesome launch party.

November 8-11, our critique partners and closest writing friends are getting together for a writing retreat in Omaha. Writers write, right? We’re taking a break from the hectic before-release-day demands and writing all weekend with wine, chocolate, and friends. You’ll see us tweeting about it, doing word sprints online, and having fun on the #YAlaunch hashtag, and updating the event’s Facebook page with fun news. The last night of the retreat is our launch party.

Jesse, my husband and a professional videographer, is going to film and live-stream the event. All you’ll have to do is click a link to join the party. We have games to play (Book Title Scramble, Name That Cover, a make-a-bad title/bad cover competition, and more) with you on Facebook and Twitter, Q&As, and through all of it we’ll be interacting with you live. Of course, launch parties have wine and chocolate, and we’re giving that away, too!

We’re also giving away over 100 books. Yes. 100. One hundred. You’ll want to come even if you’ve never heard of us just to win awesome books! We’re giving away prize packs of our critique partners’ books, books written by our agency/publishing house friends, books that inspired our writing, and books we would just love you to read. We’re going to be releasing a list of the books we’re giving away, so keep checking in to see!

If that wasn’t enough to convince you, we’re also going to be introducing you to the awesome authors who will be on the retreat with us, and you can ask them questions and get to hear about their work! Aside from Nikki and myself, we’re thrilled to be welcoming:

Critically acclaimed Atria author Nicole Baart (THE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS, SLEEPING IN EDEN, & more)

Quirk Books editor and author Blair Thornburgh

YA author multipublished in poetry/literary journals, Alex Yuschik

Faith writer and blogger Kelly Youngblood

YA author Delia Moran,

Entangled author Tonya Kuper (ANOMALY),

MG and YA author Kiersi Burkhart,

YA author, Month9Books editor, and sports writer Bethany Robison,

and

New York Times bestseller, Tosca Lee (THE LEGEND OF SHEBA & more from Howard Books, & the Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker).

We’re so thrilled to have such a wonderful group of authors with us for the launch party, and we’re so grateful to all of them for their support and time and effort in coming to help us celebrate. You’ll definitely want to hear them talk about their work and get the chance to interact and have a great evening with them.

So when and how do you attend?

When: Monday, November 10, from 6-10pm central time.

Why: books, wine, chocolate, celebrating with Kate and Nikki

Where: Join the Facebook event here and watch the Twitter hashtag #YAlaunch to interact, and watch the live-stream (link to be announced).

Nikki and I would love to see you there! Our friends, families, and fellow writers have kept us going, and we would be thrilled to celebrate with you. We want this to be as much a giant book party as our launch party, so even if you don’t know us, please feel free to come and meet awesome authors and win amazing books.

Please do tell your friends, share this post, and invite others to come! The event is open to the public and we’d love your help supporting awesome authors, fantastic books, and the writing community.

See you soon!

Much love,

Kate Brauning and Nikki Urang

Tweet: Want to win 100 books? Join @KateBrauning and @NikkiUrang’s #YAlaunch party! http://ctt.ec/d3p9a+

Tweet: Want to hang out with YA authors, win books, wine, & chocolate? Join @KateBrauning & @NikkiUrang’s #YAlaunch party! http://ctt.ec/91XNf+

Tweet: Excited for YA contemps HOW WE FALL & THE HIT LIST? Join @KateBrauning & @NikkiUrang’s #YAlaunch party! http://ctt.ec/RJd9n+

Amazon: Not Cheaper or Faster For Buying Books?

Popular myth can be a beast. I’ve been hearing from my social circles a lot lately that Amazon is faster, cheaper, more convenient: “I love Barnes and Noble, but you know. Amazon has everything and it’s cheaper.” I thought that, too, if I stopped long enough to process it. But I haven’t bought books from Amazon for a while, so with chasing down buy links for my novel releasing this year, and stalking my critique partners’ books online, I started to notice something.

So, I tracked down all three of our upcoming releases to compare purchase price, shipping cost, and shipping times. Take a look:

From Powell’s

(same price for Joseph-Beth Booksellers and Books Inc. for all 3 titles.)

The Hit List: $9.95, paperback.Hit List

Anomaly: $9.99, paperback.

How We Fall: $17.99, hardcover.

Shipping is $3.99 for economy mail, no matter how many books you buy. $50 order total or more, and shipping is free. Arrives in 4-9 business days for economy mail or 2-7 for standard mail.

From Barnes and Noble:

The Hit List: $8.25, paperback.

Anomaly: $9.99, paperback.Anomaly

How We Fall: $13.31, hardcover.

Free shipping on orders over $25 for qualifying items (most new books). Arrives in 2-6 business days. Great membership program that’s free for 2 months, then $25 a year after that. Free shipping and arrivals in 1-3 business days, 40% off hardcover bestsellers.

Books-A-Million:

The Hit List: $8.25, paperback.

Anomaly: $9.99, paperback.HowWeFallCover

How We Fall: $13.31, hardcover.

Arrives in 3-7 business days. Free shipping for club members ($25 a year), or $3.00 plus $0.99 per item for non-members.

Book Depository:

The Hit List: $12.78, paperback.

Anomaly: $8.93, paperback.

How We Fall: $16.09, hardcover.

Free shipping worldwide, customer responsible for local shipping and taxes. Delivery times vary depending on country.

Amazon:

The Hit List: $8.42, paperback.

Anomaly: $8.99, paperback.

How We Fall: $13.31, hardcover.

Shipping is $4-5 for one book for non-members. Free shipping on orders over $35. Arrives in 4-5 days. Amazon Prime allows free 2-day shipping for eligible items, $99 a year.

Things to note:

THE HIT LIST is more expensive from Amazon than from B&N and BAM, and only about $1.50 more expensive from most indies. Varying shipping costs and a member program can easily make up that difference and even save you money, especially since Amazon’s prime membership is so much more expensive than B&N’s.

ANOMALY’s price varies by $1 no matter where you buy it. Amazon’s list price is $1 cheaper, but shipping is $4-5 if you aren’t a member. The cheapest option would be to have a B&N or BAM membership, or even cheaper, to bulk-order your books from Powell’s for 0 shipping costs and 0 membership costs.

HOW WE FALL’s price is more expensive from most indies, but B&N, BAM, and Amazon all have it for exactly the same price. Without memberships, the cheapest option is to buy it and another book or two in a $25 purchase from B&N. With memberships, the cheapest option is B&N. As a single-purchase item with no memberships, the cheapest option is Books-A-Million.

Amazon isn’t the cheapest option anymore. It isn’t the cheapest way to buy any of these books, once you count in shipping.

Amazon isn’t the fastest option, either, depending on your location. Barnes & Noble ships to nonmembers in 2-6 business days. Amazon’s nonmember shipping gets to me in 4-5 business days.

Amazon isn’t necessarily the most convenient, either. All these stores have fully functional websites and stock just about every book I could think to search. Amazon may not even have the book you want, given the issue with Hachette, and given that “shares are down sharply this year and analysts are cutting earnings forecasts” (see New York Times article linked before quote).

Even Amazon’s membership isn’t the best membership deal. B&N has a much cheaper per-year cost and greater discounts on books for members. Even for nonmembers, B&N’s “free shipping on $25” is a great deal. I almost never order one book and ship it by itself, so this is convenient, cheap, and quick for me. Powell’s offers a similar deal for $50 order total (just place bigger orders less frequently; same cost.) with similar shipping times. Amazon’s shipping times and “free shipping on $35” isn’t necessarily cheaper, faster, or more convenient.

No matter how you add it up, Amazon is operating within slim margins more or less expensive than any of these booksellers.

I didn’t calculate ebook costs, as ebooks for these 3 aren’t up yet at all of these locations and I don’t typically buy ebooks if it’s a book I really want to own.  Not having shipping and being able to click and have the ebook at a no-shipping price is great, and might tip the scales one way or the other, especially depending on what e-reader you have. (Though ANOMALY’s ebook is $5.99 at both B&N and Amazon.) And true, this is only based on three books.

I should also note that while you can buy writing/craft materials, games, books, music, and movies at many bookstores, especially the large ones, many more categories of products are available at Amazon. The wide variety available at Amazon does make their $99-a-year membership program more valuable overall, if you tend to order a lot of non-craft/media items online. I don’t. Clothes, food, furniture, gifts– I pick those out by hand. Even Christmas shopping, I tend to do in physical stores, because I make it a date with my husband and we get drinks and spend time discussing family members and what special item we could find for them while we browse. I wouldn’t give that up to buy most of my gifts online. So for me, Amazon’s membership is not cheaper, even given the variety of items available.

Basically, this boils down to Amazon not being a landslide better value. It just isn’t. The difference is small when it is a better value, and often it isn’t. And even when it does inch ahead in cost effectiveness, I’m going to vote with my dollars.

I have accounts at BAM, B&N, Books of Wonder, and Powells. I’m going to use them.