Friday, June 11, 2010

Hot Topic

There's been a lot of buzz lately about angels being "the new vampire," the new wave of books that young adults are reaching for. This past April this article ("Host of books appear as angels become theme of new teenage reading cult") appeared in The Guardian, which discusses the trend and mentions a whole lot of upcoming angel titles. Then yesterday I read this article, ("Hot Wings: Notes On My New Best-Seller") in The New Yorker, which is a hilarious look at a writer attempting to cash in on the angel-market. I love her use of the word "mangel."

I thought the Guardian article was very interesting, and noticed with some relief that the angel books mentioned were very different than my own. And I had a good laugh at the New Yorker article. But to be honest, both articles left me a tad unsettled.

The reasons: First off, there's the idea that my book is part of a new craze sweeping the book world. I knew this. When my book was being considered by HarperCollins I knew that they were actively seeking an angel-related book, and I just hoped that my book fit the bill. And it did. Which rocked. It's good to have written something on a topic that people want to read about. My husband says that success in the publishing world is a lot like American Idol: most of the time it comes down to song choice. You need to choose something that's current and contemporary and showcases your talent in the best possible way. So I apparently chose a good song.

But here's the thing: in my case, it's completely accidental. I didn't write a book about angels because I thought that angels were going to be the new "it" thing. I wrote the book because Clara's story came to me so clearly and fiercely that I couldn't help myself; I had to write it. And it was a lot of fun to write!

Part of me kind of cringes every time I think about my book as part of a trend, because trends pass. Fads come and go. I want UNEARTHLY to be more than part of a trend. I don't want it to be dismissed as "just another angel book." But c'est la vie, I guess. Song choice. And I chose a song that everybody's singing.

The other thing that being part of a trend means is that there is pretty fierce competition. Or so I'm told. When I was first networking with other writers I came up with the idea of forming an angel brigade, a group for writers who wrote about angels, a kind of support system. I was informed early on (by other writers, not HC or my agent, mind you) that this wouldn't work because the other angel writers would be too competitive. Which makes sense. I think. But I myself don't really feel very competitive with my fellow angel writers. I think there's bound to be a few similarities between our books; just as vampire books usually have blood-drinking, avoidance of sunlight, fangs, superpowers, etc, so angel books will probably have wings, some element of bright light, maybe some ability with languages and a flaming sword or two--all part of the angel framework. But when I read the angel books, I usually just want a good story. Like any book. I don't feel particularly threatened by other angel novels because I feel like Clara's story is so entirely her own.

Okay, enough on the angel topic. I'm still working out how I feel about the whole thing.

Book news:
There's a lot of news, bear with me.
  •  This month I sold the audio rights to the book, which means it will become a book on tape. I got wildly excited, for some reason, about the idea of reading the book officially, of having it be my own voice on the tape, but then I was told that this probably won't happen. My own voice, that is.
  • I sold rights to Australia! Woohoo! Thanks Ginger, my agent for UK/Australia, for staying up late to make the deal.
  • I also sold rights to Germany! The book will come out in German next summer, and I am totally happy over it. I was in Jackson when I heard the news and coincidentally sat next to a German family at a restaurant, and I wanted to hug them all. I wonder how they will translate the title UNEARTHLY. . .
  • There is one other thing that is not official yet, so I shouldn't share, but there is one more big woohoo in order!
  • one of my students made an awesome book trailer. She loaded it to facebook here.  It was so exciting to see her take on the book.
  • Unearthly is available for pre-order on amazon! Still no cover image yet, but people can now order the book here.
  • I recently sent the opening chapters of Book 2 to my editor at HC. Commerce hard-core writing on Book 2.
  • Two of my fave YA writers agreed to read my book to see if they want to blurb it. Squee!
  • I booked my trip to NYC for later this month. I'm going to finally meet K in person and spend some time over at HarperCollins getting to know the team!
Other news:
  • I am home, finally. Just spent a month in Idaho/Wyoming/northern California, which was great, but I am glad to be home. And it's a new home; I moved in on a weekend and left on a Monday, leaving a lot of boxes to be unpacked. I've been totally occupied for the last few days, just finding places for things and discovering things about the new house. (I love the new house!)
  • I should wrap up this blog. More news later--and I'll tell you more about my trip to Jackson Hole.