Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Other Secret News!!!

No--it's not another book deal, I promise. :)

And speaking of which--thank you all SO MUCH for all the comments, tweets, FB sharing, and general well-wishing and congratulating yesterday. You made what started out as ... kind of a stressful day (PW was 12 hours late posting the deal and I was like AHHHH WHAT'S GOING ON--DID I MESS UP THE ANNOUNCEMENT??????) into seriously one of the most overwhelmingly awesome days ever. Even more so than when I announced KEEPER, because I know a lot of you probably never expected me to write YA (me either, honestly) so to have such a warm welcome and enthusiasm for my secret series ... well ... it means a LOT.

(and for those of you going, "Huh? Did I miss something?" Yes, yes you did. Go HERE) :)

Also, a couple of quick housekeeping things you may want to know about:

LET THE SKY FALL is on already on Goodreads. If you want, you can add it HERE
I've also added a longer description for the plot to my BOOKS PAGE
And book bloggers/reviewers can request an ARC HERE

But right--the secret news!

Another thing I did on the DL these last few months was join a group blog I'm VERY excited about, not just because it's a group of incredibly sweet and talented 2013 YA Authors, but because it is SUCH a fun idea.

(Yep--I was  the "Mystery Author to be revealed"--though we have more to come!)

Not sure if you've seen me tweet about it--or if you've already discovered its awesomeness--but the basic concept of the blog is this: every Friday one of us tackles a Truth or Dare submitted by our followers. Natalie Whipple and April Tucholke have already gone--along with a hilarious guest post by Kiersten White--and we have many more crazy-awesome things to come.

And since I'm *technically* the newbie, they've decided I get to take an EXTRA TURN RIGHT AWAY. So that means next week I will be tackling a likely terrifying and humiliating TRUTH or DARE. And the best part for you guys is that there's still time for one of you to be the one to dare me!

Any Truths or Dares submitted go into a pool and can be selected by anyone any time (and there are some evil and awesome ones already in there). But I haven't picked one yet, so if you go submit one there's a good chance I might pick yours--which means YAY YOU GET TO TORTURE SHANNON!
(And if that's not enough incentive for you, I'll also be offering a special prize to whoever I select. Trust me when I say its one you WANT to win)

So yeah, if you're smart--and slightly evil--go HERE and fill out the form with as many Truths or Dares as you want (there's no limit to how many you can submit). I'll be picking by Friday so I have a few days to tackle my assignment before it goes live next week. (*MEEP*) Maybe it will be one of you!

*is afraid to see what you guys come up with*

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Announcement you probably never saw coming...

So... remember that time I kept a BIG secret from you guys for five months???


I *kinda* did it again...

Messenger’s YA Novels Get Six Figures at S&S
Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary Agency sold North American rights for Shannon Messenger’s debut young adult novel, Let the Sky Fall, and a sequel. The six-figure deal went to Liesa Abrams, executive editor at Simon & Schuster for the Simon Pulse imprint. Let the Sky Fall, slated for March 2013 publication, is about a 17-year-old boy who has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. Though his memory has been erased, he is haunted by dreams of a beautiful, dark-haired girl. Now, years later, he finds out the girl is real: she’s his guardian sylph, an air elemental, who harnesses the power of the wind.

(You can see the complete article HERE)

And from Publisher's Marketplace:
Children's: Young Adult
Shannon Messenger's debut young adult novel LET THE SKY FALL, about a teen who survives a deadly tornado but loses his memory, only to discover that the beautiful girl who haunts his dreams is both real and the key to the mysteries of his past, to Liesa Abrams at Simon Pulse, in a good deal, for two books, in a pre-empt, for publication beginning in spring 2013, by Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (NA).

And I know a lot of you are probably re-reading those and  thinking... wait--YA? 

Did it say YA???????????

Yes, yes it does--THAT IS NOT A MISTAKE!

Believe it or not, I, Shannon Messenger, am now officially a middle-grade AND a YA Author.


I know--it's totally unexpected. Believe me, I was just as surprised as you. In fact, I'm probably the most accidental YA author EVER. But ... it's really happening. The book is already written and edited--and I promise I will tell you more about how that all played out in another post, when my head isn't spinning so much.

It's funny. I thought announcing the news would be less emotional this time, since I just did this a few months ago for my middle grade series. But that actually makes it MORE overwhelming.

I am so humbled and stunned that I get to share both of my series with the world--and that I get to work with my incredible editor on both of them. In fact, I get a little teary every time I really let myself think about how amazing that is--and believe me, no one is more grateful, or shocked, than me.

My sincerest thanks go to Laura Rennert for always believing in me and working tirelessly to help get me to this point. HUGE thanks also must go to Liesa Abrams--and Simon & Schuster--for trusting me enough to buy so many of my books. And of course I also have to thank all of you, for your unfailing support and enthusiasm. I'm so honored to have you all along with me for this crazy publishing ride. (Strap yourselves in--the next year is going to be CRAZY!)

And... I'm starting to sound like a lame award show acceptance speech (and I'm getting a bit choked up, typing this) so I'm going to stop here for today. But I'm SO glad the news is FINALLY out there. I've been stuck sitting on the secret since July. (yes, JULY!!!!)

So *phew*--I don't have to keep quiet anymore. Once again I made it through the endless waiting without leaking anything important. It was torture, you guys. TORTURE.

But I did it!



Sunday, January 29, 2012

Winners and MMGM Linktasticness (yes--it's a day early!)

Hey guys! I'm still in Arizona--having a BLAST with all the awesome authors and teachers and librarians and book sellers--but I have three winners to announce before Kiersten and I start our long drive home this afternoon.

The winner of CINDER (plus a Cinder swag mirror) is...

The winner of THE BILLIONAIRE'S CURSE, by Richard Newsome is:

The winner of my ARC of DEAD TO YOU by Lisa McMann is:

Tosses confetti!

If that's you, please email me at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com with your mailing address and I will ship off your prize!

ALSO, I know it's still Sunday, but I have something important (and EXCITING) I have to use my blog for tomorrow--once all the ducks are in a row (not sure what time that will  be yet)--so I won't be hosting MMGM this week. But there are some awesome bloggers who will be spreading the middle grade love for me and I wanted to help you find them. So here's a preview of what's coming up, and make sure you check them all out tomorrow when their posts go live. (and I know a lot of you email me your links tonight--you can still do that. Let me know what you're featuring and I will add you!)
- The Mundie Moms are now part of the MMGM fun (eee!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week! 
- Joanne Fritz revels in THE CABINET OF EARTHS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Andrea Mack is sweet for ON THIN ICING (part of the Cupcake Diaries). Click HERE to learn all about it. 
- Gabrielle Prendergast reminds us about Rumor Godden's DOLL STORIES. Click HERE to see why she loves it. 
- Sheri Larsen returns to MMGM with a discussion about what middle grade is really all about. Click HERE to join in.  
- Pam Torres is gushing about BUTTERFLY CLUES. Click HERE to see what she thinks
- Akossiwa Ketoglo is giving a shout out to ABOVE WORLD. Click HERE to for her review. 
- Karen Yingling has a feature on CRIME SCENE PROCRASTINATOR. Click HERE to learn more about it. 
- Brennan and Meyrick Murphy--two actual middle grade bloggers (how awesome is that???) join MMGM with a feature on LEVIATHAN. Click HERE to welcome them to the group and see what they think! 
- Michael Gettel Gilmarten is digging STONES FOR MY FATHER. Click HERE to see why. 
- Deb Marshall is raving about SKY FALL. Click HERE to read why she thinks you'll love it too. 
- Danica Dinsmore has some recommendations for tweens and advanced middle grade readers. Click HERE to see what they are.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog. It's easier if you email me before Monday, that way your link will be included in the post from the moment it goes live. But if you decide to spontaneously join the fun, I do update the post at several points throughout the Monday. Just email me a link and I'll add you when I do!

**Note: Thanks to a boatload of spam--and my missing a bunch of important emails because of it--I'm now using a new email address. So make sure you update your records because I'm slowly phasing the other address out. New email is: SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. Hopefully now I won't miss some of your MMGMs, like I have been.**

Friday, January 27, 2012


One car... 

                Two authors hopped up on soda and candy....

                                                                                           ENDLESS possibilities for shenanigans!!!

Yes, that's right--if you need me, I'm not here. 

I'm in the middle of the Arizona desert, driving to Changing Hands Bookstore with specially chosen playlists of music, massive quantities of sugar, and Kiersten White clinging white-knuckled to her seatbelt and wondering why she chose to put her life in the hands of a sugar-crazed blonde.

Yes, it is going to be EPIC!

Kiersten is going because she is one of the awesome authors at Changing Hands' YAllapalooza this weekend.

*I* am going to hang with the authors and hope they don't realize I've snuck my way into the cool people club through plotting and scheming. Oh, and to see my ever-awesome friend Faith (aka the Book Babe) and soak up whatever wisdom about surviving my debut year she's willing to offer. 

Plus manicures.

So yeah, it's looking to be a VERY exciting weekend.  Especially since Kiersten and I are rooming together. Poor thing has NO idea what she's in for.

But I'll be back Sunday to pick contest winners, and back Monday for a VERY exciting week. So stay tuned everyone. And have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bookanista Review: Dead to You, by Lisa McMann--AND AN ARC GIVEAWAY!!!!

For this week's Bookanista Review, I'm featuring a book I was absolutely desperate to get my hands on--and it was just as awesome as I expected it to be. DEAD TO YOU, by the fabulous Lisa McMann.

Here's how the publisher describes the story:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the WAKE trilogy comes a page-turning novel with a mind-blowing ending...

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...

Some of you may be noticing that the description sounds a bit like a book I featured a couple of weeks ago, DOUBLE, by Jenny Valentine (you can find the review HERE). And you're right--there are some similarities. Both are male POV (LOVE, btw--there isn't enough of it in YA), both about boys returning home to families they didn't know (apparently I've been on a lost boy kick...) and both have incredibly strong voices. But trust me, they are very different books. Both AWESOME. But definitely each their own.

I loved many, MANY things about DEAD TO YOU, but I think my favorite was how clean the writing was. Every word was exactly where and what it needed to be. The voice felt 100% teen boy--specifically screwed-up teen boy--and was genuine: his language, the things he did--and didn't--think about or remember. It all felt real. Like I'd really crawled inside his head and lived the story with him.


I don't want to ruin anything so I'm just going to say: WHOA! 

Seriously, I loved this book, and whether you're a Lisa McMann fan (which you should be!) or not, it's DEFINITELY worth giving a chance. If for no other reason than to find out what everyone is talking about, because trust me, people will talk.

Which is why I've also decided to share my ARC with one of you. To enter, make sure you follow my blog (so you'll know when I post the winner) and leave a comment on this post by 11:59pm PST on Saturday, January 28th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, January 29th (fast contest this time--so make sure you enter quick!) International entries are welcome.

I do also *hope* that whoever wins will end up posting a review for the book somewhere--or blogging/tweeting/FB-ing about it--to help spread the love and get some more mileage out of the prize. I can't require that for entry. But I'm hoping the winner will feel inspired to. :) 



For more fabulous book recommendations, check out what my fellow Bookanistas are talking about:

Christine Fonseca  brings you a special Guestanista review of SPRINKLES AND SECRETS
Beth Revis interviews TEMPEST author Julie Cross – with giveaway
Jessi Kirby takes a shine to the SURRENDER and new POSSESSSION covers
Stasia Ward Kehoe adores IN HONOR
Jen Hayley gushes over THE GIRL WHO LOVED A CITY
Veronica Rossi  is crazy for INCARNATE
Nikki Katz marvels at A MILLION SUNS
Gennifer Albin   is on fire over CINDER
Tracy Banghart  is all about THE OTHER LIFE
Jessica Love wonders at THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Hilary Wagner mourns over THE DEATH OF YORIK MORTWELL -- with giveaway

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In which I really have nothing useful to say...

If you opened this post hoping the title was sarcastic and that really I have a post filled with all kinds of useful things, boy are you about to be disappointed.

Really...  I have stared and stared and stared at this empty post and ...

(Yes, there is officially a lolcat for EVERYTHING!)

The problem is, I have an AWESOME review and ARC giveaway for you tomorrow and an EPIC roadtrip/author weekend I'll be telling you about on Friday and some HUGE EXCITING THINGS happening next week. 

But alas, all that leaves me with right now is a post that feels woefully inadequate compared to all that awesome. So... I've decided to say nothing! 

(though it's rather fascinating how long I can ramble about nothing, isn't it?) 

I know I'm being boring and lame and useless today--but I will be back tomorrow with a VENGEANCE and bring the awesome all the way through next week. Just... bear with me in the meantime.

And if you have any interesting tidbits or anecdotes feel free to fill my comments section with them. (hey, just because I didn't entertain you doesn't mean you can't entertain me!) :) Or maybe we should see what other boring, pointless statements there are lolcats for...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Musings from the Murky Middle

Every author has their "problem area" when they're drafting. Maybe it's the beginning, struggling to figure out where exactly the story starts. Maybe its the end, trying to bring all those threads together in a satisfying conclusion.

Or if you're like me, it's the treacherous murky middle. That point where I've been working long enough that I'm getting a bit weary of drafting and want to revise--but still have a LONG way to go to get to the end. The point where all the things I've planted in the beginning need to start paying off and I realize, uh oh, I didn't plant them right. The point where I become convinced that I'm not doing enough with the story--and yet equally afraid that I'm doing too much and won't be able to fit it all in. The point where my word count simultaneously makes me think, really, that's ALL I have??? and oh no, I'm running long, I need to go back and cut!!!! 

It's the point in the draft where if I were slightly less determined I might just throw in the towel and think, well... I tried.

It's the point I'm battling right now.

Fortunately I AM determined--and *kinda* contractually obligated to write this thing--so I'm slogging through. But it's HARD. Hard like I have to force myself to open my draft every morning, hard. Hard like I'm choosing things like doing my taxes and reorganizing my loft and cleaning out my refrigerator over writing, hard.

And I wanted to share that with you guys, not because I'm whining (okay, maybe I'm whining a little...) but because I think sometimes we forget that writing really is work. Sure, it's also fun and rewarding in ways that someone who doesn't know what it's like to watch a story unravel will never fully understand. But some scenes are also harder than others and some sections take longer to come together and sometimes you have to just slog through--and that's okay. That's normal. And honestly, it's what makes reaching "The End" or finishing a revision that much more rewarding.

So I'm pushing through the murky middle muck, partially because I have to (again, the whole "contractually obligated" thing takes this to a whole new level of real) but mostly because I know it's just part of the process. The home stretch--my favorite part of writing, where I'm so close to the end I almost can't type the words as fast as they come to me--is somewhere out there on the horizon. I'll get there sooner or later. One word at a time.

What about you guys--what's your biggest drafting challenge?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday--The Billionaire's Curse, by Richard Newsome (and a Giveaway!!!)

For this week's MMGM I'm doing things a little bit differently. I'm so ridiculously slammed with deadlines and whatnot that I'm way behind on my reading once again--but I didn't want to let too many weeks slip by without featuring any awesome middle grade. So I turned to the extra awesome Deb Marshall, a blogger friend and fellow MMGM-er with IMPECCABLE reading taste, and asked her to introduce me to a book I've never heard of before. And boy did she pick one an incredible one: THE BILLIONAIRE'S CURSE, by Richard Newsome.

Gerald Wilkins never considered himself a particularly exceptional thirteen-year-old. But that was before he inherited twenty billion pounds, a Caribbean island, a yacht, and three estates from a mysterious relative he never knew.

But that's not all—because, as we discover, Gerald's great aunt was murdered. And now it's up to Gerald to find out who did it.

And I'm going to let Deb explain for herself why all of us need to read this one. Take it away Deb!

Suppose you were a kid who inherited 20 billion dollars. And you inherited a murder mystery and hints of ancient magic and Arthurian Lore to go with it? And suppose you had to go live in England, on an estate in the countryside with two new best friends? Well, I can tell you now the inner twelve year old in me would be pumped! That’s why I loved this book so much, I’m sure.

Gerald, the hero in Richard Newsome’s THE BILLIONAIRE’S CURSE isn’t what I would call excited about the news of going to England to attend the funeral of an aunt he’s never met, but as everything begins to unfold (the inheritance, the mystery, the friends, a wildly cool housekeeper) he finds himself caught up in the adventure of a lifetime. Sure, there’s some pretty serious danger in that someone wants Gerald and his friends dead, but that just adds to this rip roaring good read that I’d highly recommend you give to fans of The 39 Clues, Anthony Horowitz and Rick Riordin, to name a few. The author is a master of writing fast paced, page turning scenes that will keep you guessing and at times holding your breath. The descriptions of the estate, the British Museum and a myriad of other locations including the coolest bookstore on the planet, will leave you feeling you are right there with Gerald, Ruby and Sam, seeing what they are seeing. Definitely a favorite 2012 read for me.

In other words go to your nearest bookstore or library and when you are there why not grab book two, THE EMERARLD CASKET. Book three is on it’s way this spring and I’ve got it on good authority that it is the author's best so far!

Don’t forget to check out Richard Newsombe’s Website

Thanks to Shannon for letting me share this fantabulous book!
No--THANK YOU DEB, for introducing me to this awesome middle grade series. I'll definitely be ordering myself a copy.

And I want one of you to have the chance to discover it too. So I'm giving away a copy of THE BILLIONAIRES CURSE to one lucky winner. To enter, make sure you leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm PST on Saturday, January 28st. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, January 29th. International entries welcome.

For more awesome middle-grade recommendations, check out the other MMGM's floating around the blogosphere today:

- The Mundie Mom's join the MMGM fun (eee!) with 3 awesome recommendations. Click HERE to see what they are. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE now!

- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!

- Deb Marshall (yes, she has her OWN MMGM as well) is raving about POPULAR CLONE. Click HERE to read why she thinks you'll love it too.

- Jennifer Rumberger discusses the ins and outs of critiquing middle grade. Click HERE to see what she has to say.

- Akossiwa Ketoglo is swept up with EMILY WINDSNAP AND THE MONSTER FROM THE DEEP. Click HERE to for her review.

- Karen Yingling has more CUPCAKE DIARIES reviews, plus a list of books about cooking  Click HERE for all the sweet fun.

- Joanne Fritz is spotlighting A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT. Click HERE to see her review.

- Barbara Watson is more than just okay for OKAY FOR NOW. Click HERE to see why.

- Pam Torres is exploring THE SIXTY EIGHT ROOMS. Click HERE to see what she thinks.

- Myrna Foster is struck by DARTH PAPER STRIKES BACK. Click HERE to learn more about it.

- Gina Carey is wild for ZORA AND ME. Click HERE to see why she loves it.

-Jemi Fraser returns to the MMGM crew with a feature on THE NAME OF THIS BOOK IS SECRET. Click HERE to see what it's all about.

- Natalie Aguirre is featuring WILDWOOD--with a GIVEAWAY! Click HERE for all the details.

- Danica Dinsmore discusses the orphan/missing parent problem in middle grade literature. Click HERE to see her thoughts.

- Gabrielle Prendergast reminds us why HATCHET is a classic. Click HERE to learn more about it.

And if you want to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog. It's easier if you email me before Monday, that way your link will be included in the post from the moment it goes live. But if you decide to spontaneously join the fun, I do update the post at several points throughout the Monday. Just email me a link and I'll add you when I do!

**Note: Thanks to a boatload of spam--and my missing a bunch of important emails because of it--I'm now using a new email address. So make sure you update your records because I'm slowly phasing the other address out. New email is: SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. Hopefully now I won't miss some of your MMGMs, like I have been.**

Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Yikes--where has the day gone?

Sorry to be posting these a bit late. Been a busy writing weekend!

Anyway, I have two winners to announce.

The winner of DOUBLE, by Jenny Valentine is...

And the winner of THE APOTHECARY, by Malie Meloy is...


*tosses confetti*

If that's you, please email me at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com  with your mailing address and I will ship off your prize. 

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cinder Blog Tour Stop #19: Techniques for Cinder--AND A GIVEAWAY!

Yay--you found us! Welcome to the 19th stop of the official CINDER blog tour--only one more exciting day to go after this (I know, are you as sad as I am?????)

And yes--as the title claims I DO have an awesome giveaway for you guys--but first I have an exciting guest vlog from the lovely author herself--the amazing Marissa Meyer. Take it away, Marissa!


Thank you so much, Shannon, for being a part of the Cinder Blog Tour! Today I come bearing a vlog, in which I:

- eat good food
- crawl under a car
- demonstrate that tomboyish Cinder is way cooler than I am



Hee--it takes true dedication to crawl under a car on a cold snowy day! *shivers* (Though I think my favorite part might be the catfight)

I've already gushed about my serious love for CINDER here, but if you need more proof of its awesomeness--or are just dying to get your hands on a copy--I'm giving away a hardcover to one lucky commenter on this post. AND THAT'S NOT ALL! The winner also gets a super cool CINDER mirror. (trust me guys, its an extra awesome piece of swag).

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by11:59 pm PST on Saturday, January 28th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday January 29th. And since I'm not taking care of the shipping this time, I have to limit this it US only. 

And if you want to hit the last stop of the tour, make sure you check out www.novelnovice.com tomorrow!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Welcome new Bookanistas!!!!

Sorry guys--didn't have time for a Bookanista Review (will be back next week with an AWESOME one, I promise)--but that doesn't mean I don't have some exciting Bookanista news to share!!!!!!

Everyone--put your hands together (hee, I love when I get to sound like an MC) for our SUPER-FAB new Bookanistas:

                                         Gennifer Albin                           Jessica Love

                                         Tracy Banghart                                  Hilary Wagner


*tosses confetti*

Welcome to the madness, ladies!

(Also, I SO did not give a proper shout out to the other three lovely ladies who joined us a few months back--SORRY Nikki, Debra, and Katy! You guys are just as awesome--if not more so. I'm just lame!)

As you can tell, we've had a few shifts around here in Bookanista land. Some of us are taking short hiatuses (I may need to do the same in a couple months--we'll see.) A few have even had to leave--and while it's SO sad to see them go, it's also exciting to have some new members. Yay for getting to know more writers!

Also, have to take a second and give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to the lovely and talented Megan Miranda (fellow Bookanista extraordinaire) whose novel FRACTURE just hit stores this week:

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine

-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

Trust me guys--you do NOT want to miss out on this one! Get thee to the book store!

And that's all for today. But for more fabulous book recommendations, check out what my fellow Bookanistas are talking about:

Gennifer Albin joins the Bookanistas with a great giveaway
Christine Fonseca  is wild about WOLFSBANE
LiLa Roecker  adores AUSTENTATIOUS
Stasia Ward Kehoe gives cover love to GETTING SOMEWHERE
Nikki Katz takes a shine to UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Katy Upperman is dazzled by A MILLION SUNS
Tracy Banghart is wowed by ON FORTUNE’S WHEEL

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Online Marketing advice from Author and Marketing Expert Shelli Johannes-Wells

Now that I'm in my debut year as an author, marketing is DEFINITELY on my mind. And while I'm lucky enough to have the support of a publisher behind me, I am also aware that much of it will also be my responsibility as the author. Luckily, I happen to have some friends who are marketing experts, and they let me pester them with emails filled with (probably lame) Shannon marketing questions.

But I realized that many of you don't that advantage. And since I'm all about paying it forward, I decided to ask one of my marketing friends to put together a guest post for me, so I could share some of what I'm learning with you guys.

So I give you, Shelli Johanness-Wells, who's here to explain how the various age groups in children's literature are different--and how that should shape various marketing strategies:

Shelli's Official Bio (i.e.: Why you should pay attention to this woman):

S.R. Johannes is the author of Untraceable, a teen wilderness thriller. She lives in Atlanta Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. She runs the Market My Words blog a go-to site for author marketing and is the founder of The Indelibles, a group for independent authors. You can follow her Author page, her blog, or Twitter.

Her new tween book, On The Bright Side releases Jan 31st  On the Bright Side is about a humorous take on guardian angeldom and death. Gabby is a tween angel (Bright) assigned to protect her middle school nemesis, who is now dating her school crush. Instead of protecting her frenemy, Gabby pranks her, accidentally unleashing a dark side. Soon, she learns what can happen if you hate someone to death.

Take it away, Shelli!


Marketing books to different markets

I have a tween book coming out and the marketing is a challenge.

Marketing is hard for any author. No one likes to do it and it’s hard and awkward. But to figure out the different markets and different ways to reach them is tough. Especially for authors who don’t have big houses behind them.

Teens (Self Influence/Peer Influence/Direct Buying Power)
Let’s first look at the buying characteristics of young adults. These are usually in high school. 15 (10th grade) and up to 17/18 (graduating). Anything after 18 (college) is considered New Adult
  •  Teens are driving and therefore usually have a job 
  •  They tend to make some of their own money 
  •  They are more in charge of their own purchases up to a certain $ amount (especially things like books and music) 
  • They are online, social networking and have ereaders  
  • They don’t look to adults for advice (this includes cool aunts, librarians they’ve known at story time since they were four, and especially not parents.)
  •  They listen to the opinions of friends. 
  •  Very into trends and fads 
  •  When it comes to books, they like good books but also like what is popular

The best way to reach this age group is online and through word of mouth. Especially with Facebook.

Therefore, you target building word of mouth. Which is also called PR. They don’t tend to respond to advertising like adults do. And target popular sites with teens.

Middle Graders (Adult Influence/Adult Buying Power)
Let’s check out middle graders. This market is misleading because these are not middle schoolers really. They tend to span elementary school and are usually ages 8 (2nd grade) to 11 or 12 (7th grade).
  •  They are a little more impressionable. Especially the younger ones 8-11 
  •  They have no purchasing power 
  •  They tend to listen to teachers, coaches, and parents more than friends. But they are just starting to be impressionable with trends and fads 
  •  They don’t read as much 
  •  They don’t tend to have ereaders 
  •  They are not online 
  •  Even picture book authors should use this route to market picture books
The best way to reach these readers are through gatekeepers. Librarians, booksellers, schools, teachers, coaches and even parents.

So target awareness of the gatekeepers.

Tweens (Self/Peer Influence/Adult Buying Power)
Ugh. This is a whole other ball game. Tweens are tough to reach in any way.
  •  They are not fully online yet and not allowed in many social networking sites. 
  • They like more interactive stuff. 
  •  Their social sites are usually closed to adults. 
  • Yet they are not very impressionable with adults. 
  • They tend to want to impress friends and go with popular opinion more than teens because this is an awkward stage. 
  • They don’t have their own money or transportation but are responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in consumer spending. 

They are not a lot of tween books – especially in the age range of 13 and 14. Most books are aged up to 15 or aged down to 12.
  • They don’t want to read middle grade, but their parents don’t really want them to read a lot of YA (especially unscreened)
Why? Because bookstores don’t have separate shelves for these. Take B&N. They shelve MG in the kid’s area but YA is now in the adult area.

I think this area is up and coming. I think this age group will start to look for books that are in their age group yet appeal to their mature reading. Without all the violence and sex and issue driven books. Appealing to the interactive area will reach them more. Virtual books, choose your own adventure. Also – multi-media tends to reach this audience. Interactive sites like like AllyKatzz and Beacon Street.

This group is a challenge in itself and is an area still being tested.

A few tween resources
The Tween Marketing Machine book by Sigel
Tween magazines – American Girl, Girl’s Life.
Tween sites – Beacon Street, AllyKatzz


*phew* I don't know about you guys--but my head is all explodey now--in a good way. Hope you found this information helpful! Thanks so much Shelli!