#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!