Conference Report: BookExpo & BookCon!

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

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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

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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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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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Vlogging!

Prepare yourselves! I’ve infiltrated ANOTHER social media platform. This time it’s youtube/vlogging/authortube. It came about as most of my social media obsessions do, a random conversation with my cousin and my sister. As I said in my last post, I’m going to go to a few conferences and to Seoul, so I decided a great way to share those trips would be via vlog.

Here’s my first (kind of shaky, kind of rambling) video!

Here’s my second vlog (which is my actual formal introduction vlog). I discuss some of my favorite writer/reader/fan things.

Hope you guys enjoyed it. And subscribe to my Youtube for more of my adventures. I am also going to try to make some videos where I talk about my writing and give some tips from what I’ve learned so far!

Finding Hope & Inspiration through Community

Sometimes, when you’re writing you lose sight of things. And sometimes, it’s easy to forget what you’re writing for. I know that I write for myself, for my story, for my heart. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I write so others can read my stories and find something to love too.

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This is when community helps me find my perspective. I love seeing people get excited about stories and books. It’s great to see people that I’ve always respected and cheered for getting book deals and debuting. This year alone, I have multiple friends and CP’s debuting and I am so excited I can barely contain it at times. I think it’s alright to find your happiness where you can. And taking some time away from your own work to be happy for others is not only nice, but I think it’s key to keeping your perspective on the publishing world. If we can’t find like-minded people and form these connections, writing and publishing will feel like a very lonely place. Especially since the writing itself is a solitary activity.

I live for the moments that my CPs share pieces of their work, or an aesthetic collage, or an initial outline of a new idea. These are the times when I can sit back and be in awe of the people I’m lucky  enough to call friends. And I can be inspired by the talent around me. I’ve heard a lot of advice that says when you form a critique group you should find people who are more talented than you, and I’m pretty smug about the fact that I’ve accomplished that.

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My Critique Group is as cool as f(x). Well, I think so at least…

It helps to give us moments of hope when we feel like all we’ve been doing is drafting and revising, drafting and revising. It’s wonderful to see a story that we used to read as CPs go from draft to final MS to sold to book. The thrill of that journey is enough to inspire us to keep going with our own work so one day we can see a book cover made from scratch for the stories we’ve created.

I also think it’s important to still be a fan. Everyone I talk to about their writing journey usually says something along the lines of “I’ve always loved stories and reading.” And I think that’s so key! Being a fan means that we can appreciate the craft and creativity that goes into the field we’ve chosen. We can still be in awe of the beauty and talent that goes into crafting a story. We can have hero authors that (if we’re lucky) we might meet one day (and maybe cry on. NO YOU CRIED ON LAINI TAYLOR).

And, I also believe that writing is not ONLY about the writing. It’s about living a life worth inspiring a story. It’s about reading other stories to get motivation and inspiration. And it’s about knowing what books are out there right now being devoured and loved by the very audiences we’re writing for.

I have this analogy I make about my creativity where I call it a bank. I have a certain amount of words saved up that I’ve collected as I read or watch other stories. And when I write too long without reading I spend all of my words. There are legit moments where I feel so burned out that I cannot form coherent sentences anymore and it feels like I’ve used up all the words in my word bank and I need to fill it again. I hate when these moments happen, but at least I know that I can just go to my TBR and I can be inspired from the very first sentence I read.

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I find joy in almost every part of publishing (reading, writing, revising, meeting other writers). Seeing a CP or friend find success helps because it shows us that good stories can find a home and that talent is appreciated. Taking a moment to bask in the glory of your talented friends can warm some of the cold nights spent revising your MS for the umpteenth time. And it also helps to live vicariously through them as their stories find their audiences. I believe these communities are key to creating a sustainability in this industry so we don’t burn out or lose sight of why we’re doing this all in the first place.