Conference Report: BookExpo & BookCon!

My conference report of my time at BookExpo & BookCon this year!

Writer's Block Party

Last weekend I was lucky enough to go to the amazing BookExpo and BookCon events in the New York City Javits Center with a few other WBP contributors: Melody, Foody, Meg, Ashley, and Christine!

IMG_20170602_161450.jpgBookExpo is the largest industry publishing event of the year. There are select tickets for bloggers, but it’s mainly for publishers, agents, authors, and industry professionals. 

Following BookExpo is BookCon, an event that’s open to the public and catered more towards the fans. (This is the first year it was two days!). 

The best thing about both BookExpo and BookCon is that it combines business, community, fangirling, and events (both during the day and after hours) in a giant mixing pot. Add some superstar authors and celebrities, their biggest fans, and stir!

IMG_20170603_123400 The epicness that is Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo

I’d been to BookCon last year, so I thought I was prepared for what…

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My Podcast Debut! (88 Cups of Tea)

Hey guys, I am so excited to share the first ever podcast interview I’ve ever done! It was with 88 Cups of Tea one of my ABSOLUTE FAVES! And I am still pinching myself because I can’t believe I had this amazing experience. It was for their celebratory 88th episode (congratulations Yin and Moonlyn!) and I was one of the lucky listeners picked to interview. Previous episodes of 88 Cups of Tea included interviews with greats like Leigh Bardugo, Jenny Han, Alexandra Bracken, Renee Ahdieh, and V.E. Schwab! So I am so star-struck by this podcast and Yin (the amazing host!)

I’d say definitely check out all the episodes and listen to all 8 amazing listener interviews on this super fun episode (I’m around the 1:37:40 point)

 

And visit their website for the show notes and their archive of all the episodes: HERE

#KatInKorea: Vlogging my way thru Korea

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Hey guys! The time has come for my vlog’s purpose to be truly realized! I’m vlogging my way through Korea with my cousins. So you can go to MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL to check it out. Here’s the playlist that I’ll update with the newest videos when they’re posted!

Also, look for some easter eggs of Rebel Seoul giveaway previews throughout the vlog!

UPDATE: My Korea trip has ended 😭 so all of my vlogs have been posted. I’ve gotten some interest in haul videos so stay tuned for those! 💸

Online Contest Pitching: Querying and Pitching in the Public Arena

Writer's Block Party

Most of you are probably familiar with the concept of online pitch contests. But for those who aren’t, in recent years, events have sprung up around the internet with the goal of helping writers connect with agents and editors who may be interested in their work. Kat Cho and Christine Herman, two of our Writer’s Block Party contributors, have both participated successfully in several online contests. (That’s us! It’s weird to write about yourselves in the third person, but we’re doing it).

Kat signed with Beth Phelan of the Bent Agency after last year’s inaugural #DVPit in April 2016 and will be a Pitch Wars mentor in 2017, while Christine was a Pitch Wars 2016 mentee who signed with Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency after they initially connected through a #PitMad tweet. Since a spring and summer full of pitch contests is just around the corner, we’ve…

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The Diversity Conversation pt2: Resources and Links

Since there was more interest in my Diversity Conversation post than I expected (and because I do not consider myself an expert on this topic), I thought it might be helpful to provide a more comprehensive list of outside resources. I’ve compiled links to resources for anyone who would like to further their personal education on diversity and the diversity conversation!

I will be updating this with more links as they come to my attention.

***My request to you if you’ve come here to learn more about the diversity conversation in kidlit (especially if you are not part of one, many, or any of these marginalized communities). Please keep an open mind and be ready to be wrong. It’s important to overcome any internal biases that might have been picked up along your life (whether consciously or subconsciously). One of the reasons systemic racism and harmful stereotypes have permeated our world is because we can’t overcome these internal biases because we don’t see how insidious they can really be.***

Also, if you’re here, it’s probably because you want to learn. The BEST way to do that is to follow all the people who wrote these resources in the first place. And to support the authors who are creating diverse content. Buy their books! (Link to my diverse Goodreads books list: HERE)

Basics/Textbook definitions:

systemic/institutional racism

systemic misogyny

internalized sexism,

systemic ableism

how cis/het/straight is presented as the “norm” in our society.

defacto treatment of marginalized

microaggressions that happen daily

Here are resources to learn from about diversity in kidlit:

We Need Diverse Books

Writing in the Margins

American Indians in Children’s Literature

Disability in kidlit

Gay YA

Reading While White

Writing With Color

Minorities in Publishing

Diversity in YA

CBC Diversity

Rich in Color

Malinda Lo’s Guide to LGBT YA

Latinxs in Kidlit

Twitter list of Diverse writers

(it is in NO way comprehensive, but feel free to follow any and all of them!)

Diverse Writers

Okay let’s go more in-depth shall we?

Writing With Color provides Blogs – Recs – Resources

They also provide Writing With Color – Featured Research Guides

Some Marginalized Authors are nice enough to storify conversations and threads:

Violence Against Black Women in Publishing: The Harm Women of Color, Particularly Black Women, Face When Pushing For Diversity (compiled L.L. McKinney)

Justina Ireland on Worldbuilding & Appropriation (by Justina Ireland)

YA: “The Total Experience” Diversity in YA With Beth Revis, C.J. Omolulu, Lydia Kang & Malinda Lo. (compiled by Ava Jae)

How about some videos too?

 

Author Spotlight: 2017 Debut Karuna Riazi

It was so much fun interviewing Karuna for WBP! Everyone should check out her book THE GAUNTLET. I cannot rave enough about her and her writing!

Writer's Block Party

Hey everyone, I’m so excited to interview 2017 debut author, Karuna Riazi. She is an amazing talent and we’re so lucky to be able to feature her this week on Writer’s Block Party.
Karuna discusses her debut book, her experience writing and championing diverse books, and working with Cake Literary! She is debuting with a diverse Middle Grade fantasy, The Gauntlet (out in less than two weeks on March 28th. Check below the interview for your chance to win a pre-order of The Gauntlet!). It is also one of the first books to come out with the new Simon & Schuster imprint, Salaam Reads.
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1. First tell us about your upcoming book, The Gauntlet!

Pretty much, it’s an inverted Jumanji with Middle Eastern flair. I think the jacket copy is the best thing since sliced bread, since it gets in all the key elements so perfectly:

“A trio of…

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Writer Mentor Programs: What are they & are they for me?

In honor of Author Mentor Match, I made ANOTHER vlog. I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Kat, can you calm down on these vlogs?” And my answer is “NEVER!” Haha, Just kidding.

Anyway, I wanted to make a video about Mentorship Programs before AMM opens to applications in April. And I tapped into my friends and CPs to give you all some insight!

~Full Quotes Below!~

“I think for me mentorship is also a way of growing and tending to the community. The idea that now that I’m part of the community and I want to be involved in reaching out to others who maybe feel more outside of it and pulling them in with me is a huge part of it. it’s not really just about the writing.” – Katy Rose Pool

 

“The world of publishing can be overwhelming, and so much information can only be gleaned from being in the community for years and pushing through many of the steps it takes to get published. We’re all helped along the way by someone, receiving key advice or support from fellow authors/publishing professionals. Through mentorship, more experienced authors can pay it forward, helping someone newer to our world navigate it with more ease. Mentees are a part of our community, and I want them to feel more welcome, and initiate them into the fold.” – Alexa Donne

 

“It feels a bit strange for me to offer to mentor another writer, when I still feel like a clueless newbie myself. Five years into my “writing career,” I have just a smidgen of experience in publishing, and I’m happy to share what advice I can, because this can be a confusing and heart wrenching industry. But I think the writing community, especially the YA online community, is so great about creating opportunities to help each other learn and grow. And it’s important to me to try to give back to the community that helped me get to where I am now.” – Heather Kaczynski

“Mentoring has been one of the most rewarding things that I’m so proud, and feel so lucky, to do as a writer. Many times, authors say they write the books that the younger versions of themselves would loved to have read. On that same note with mentoring, I’ve always hoped for the chance to provide the support and motivation to other aspiring writers that I know would’ve helped the younger writer I once was, still lost and hardcore struggling on my journey to publication. It’s an amazing experience to give back that way, to be able to help someone find their way on the journey, and to editorially guide the mentee and their manuscript you already love into the best shape it can be. Best of all, in mentoring, you gain a great friend in the process—one who you’ll always be there for in whatever highs and lows comes their way, and one who will support you just as much on your own path.” – Janella Angeles

 

“Nobody makes it in the publishing world without A LOT of support. I’ve always been fortunate to have people willing to share expertise and willing to read projects that were, shall we say…less than great. I love doing anything I can do to pass on my knowledge. Mentoring is particularly great because you get to be like the fun aunt but also the stern parent! You get to pick a project you love and cheerlead it and fangirl when it succeeds. But you also get to lay down some of your hard-earned wisdom and beat up the manuscript you love for its own good. It’s also given me A WHOLE TON of renewed appreciation for how hard it is to write and revise a book!” – Mara Fitzgerald

“We’re Janice Ian and Damien from Mean Girls. Come sit with us and we will explain how all this chaos works.” – Mara Fitzgerald

“it like…sort of feels like being in a writer sorority…except your big does things like highlight entire paragraphs and go “this is technically good but i know you can make it better” – Christine Herman

“Having a mentor prepared me really well for having an agent — it taught me how to implement intense, detailed feedback, how to work under deadline, and how to truly get my book to the next level. but because I didn’t have to impose professional boundaries on my mentor, I also got a great friend out of it — & a CP I can shove my books at until the end of time.” – Christine Herman

“Mentoring is an excellent way to remind yourself that you have no idea how to write a novel.” – Amanda Foody