Showing posts with label yat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yat. Show all posts

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Refusing to Review Indie + Self Published Books? | YA Talk



If you have a blog I'm sure you've gotten pitches by self-published authors to review their books before.

The first people who reached out to me were mostly small presses and indie authors back when I started blogging. Since then the amount of pitches I get has raised exponentially - so the demand is definitely there.

There are a lot people who look for reviewers.

But what I've noticed is that many bloggers already state in their review policies that they don't review indie and self-published books at all. 



Why do reviewers prefer traditionally published books over self-published/indie books?

I always wondered why - I do get that there is a certain desire to always be on top of new popular releases in this community, but flat out refusing to read books that weren't published by the big five is a little harsh, is it?

I've asked around on my tumblr and received a couple quite interesting answers.


Generally the reasons people have given me were a mixture of:
  • Indie books are low quality
  • Indie authors are disrespectful
  • Indie books aren't interesting enough
  • Readers aren't interested in indie reviews

Even if that were true for the majority of books, is that a reason to doom all indie books?

I do love to review indie and self-published books because I feel like I owe it to the community of writers out there. There are definitely gems out there that I would have never discovered had I refused to read self-published books. 
Many now very popular authors like Kiera Cass and Jennifer L. Armentrout and Amanda Hocking started out as self-published authors. It would be an imposition to try to say that all indie authors are worse writers than traditionally published authors.

Of course you'll have to wade through the mud and read a couple of bad books before you discover something you truly enjoy, but isn't that the case for traditionally published books as well? I've read traditionally published books that were low quality, full of typos, boring, and got me very little views on my reviews before. 

I think it's definitely wrong and a little shameful to just refuse reading books that aren't traditionally published. I haven't heard a single reason that I actually consider valid, to be honest. Give indie authors a chance, guys. 

Do you review indie books? Why/why not?


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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mean Horror Book Reviews and Learning to Review Properly | YA Talk

I've been recently diving more into YA horror and noticed a pattern - no matter who wrote it, you'll see that ALL horror books have very low ratings and the most upvoted reviews are exclusively negative. 

If you're active over there you might also know that books usually have 4+ star ratings unless they're exceptionally horrendous or offensive (well, not always...). 


So I'm asking - why do we hate horror?

Seriously. I think this might be a reason why YA horror isn't taking off as a genre. I'm seeing reviewers give books one star ratings because they didn't scare them shitless, give books extremely negative ratings simply because they play into a cliche - you'll find the most unnecessary reasons over there. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion, entitled to writing a scalding review, but it's fairly obvious that reviewers and bloggers are extra mean when it comes to horror. 

I get it, horror is an extremely subjective genre. Of course not everything will scare you, of course not everything will work out for you - but I feel like a huge part of learning how to review is to learn to appreciate craft and calm down a little about your own preferences. Just because a book didn't work for you you don't have to rate it one star. That's a rookie mistake. You have so much impact on authors' careers and doing that is almost always a bad idea. 

The problem with this behavior is that this is probably one of the leading reasons why there is so little horror on the market in the first place. Bad reviews, no recommendations, scalding comments from reviewers - all that leads to less sales, less buzz, and people being less interested in reading those books in the first place. I constantly hear people say they want more YA horror, I see bloggers and reviewers alike complain about the lack of horror - but then turn around to give every single horror book they read a scalding review because it wasn't the right kind for them. Again, I'm not saying you can't review horror books negatively. But this systematic pattern of being mean about horror books is such a frustrating thing to see for anyone who truly enjoys YA horror.

Keep in mind that the world doesn't revolve around you.

I've rated books I personally disliked and could hardly finish five stars before because they are extremely important books by marginalized writers about marginalized teens that have no representation on the market. It's incredibly important that you review with the thought in mind whether SOME of your readers might enjoy the book. That's just an example - I can't wrap my head around this that it seems like everyone is being extra harsh about all horror books on the market. And don't get me started on diverse horror books. Their ratings are even worse! You can't tell me that this is a coincidence.

I don't know, you guys. This just makes me sad. 

Contrary to popular belief, reviewing is a very difficult thing that demands a lot of responsibility and maturity. Seeing horror author after horror author have their book tanked because it didn't work for some people personally is just disheartening to see. I want more YA horror. I'm happy to read as many horror books as I can. But I don't know if we'll even get any more if this behavior continues.



Do you like YA Horror? What's your favorite read? Let's talk YA.



More on reviewing: 

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Do You Watch Movie Adaptations of Books You Didn't Like? | YA Talk

So this has happened quite a lot lately. I've seen many books that I've read and not necessarily liked get movie deals. 

While I'm super happy for the authors, I always end up with the question: Do I watch the movie?

See, I really love seeing fictional characters come to life. It's one of the most fantastic things that can happen to a reader, to see the people you imagined on the big screen. I love that, even if it's with characters that I didn't like or books that I didn't Granted this hypothetical movie adaptation I'm talking about isn't a problematic adaptation of an also non-problematic book, should I go watch it just for that effect alone? Or should I support movies and adaptations of books I know I'm much more inclined to enjoy instead?

That One Time It Worked Out

I actually have an example for you guys where doing just that lead to something wonderful. If you've been on my blog for a while you know that I've been trying to work my way through the The Mortal Instruments series and the entire Shadowhunters universe by Cassandra Clare quite reluctantly. Yes, before you mention it, I'm aware of all the drama and schebang surrounding her. If you aren't - google.

I did watch the first movie adaptation long before I read the books and found it quite intriguing, but when I actually read them? Yikes. I hated them. Like, really deeply found them problematic and unenjoyable. But then the TV adaptation came along. Shadowhunters, race-bending (if you can even call it that) major characters into people of color, giving more love and attention to the single gay couple in the series that the author ever did in their books. Also very attractive actors. 

And boy, I grew obsessed with that series. It's mediocre at best but the diversity really hooked me because TV shows are just -so white- these days. It's also a plus that I've heard rumors that the author receives minimal profit from the series because of some rights issues.

If It's Diverse I'm In

In that case it worked out great. I found something super worth my time and great to support by giving books I really dislike another chance. I'm not sure if I would do this again, it really would probably depend on the book series and if there is anything in them that I deeply dislike or not. But what I'm trying to say is - it really depends on who's adapting it. There are so many failed book adaptations out there, and there are so many ridiculously white adaptations out there, and just as many that do their damn best to white-wash anything and everything in the books even if there was great representation in the first place. 

If I see a diverse adaptation of a book I didn't like, I'm definitely more inclined to supporting it. See, I didn't care much for THE DARKEST MINDS by Alexandra Bracken but when I heard that they cast a black girl as the lead role for a character that's white in the books (or, not specified, which usually means white in our world), I made a mental note to go watch these books. Because representation matters. 


Is this a one in a million thing? Has this happened to you before? 


Let's talk YA.


More:
Should We Separate Authors from Their Problematic Work? On False Representation and Whether Authors Deserve Call-Outs
Do We Owe it to Authors to Call Out Problematic Books Nicely?
What is POC rep to you? "Olive Skin", On the Page, and Non-#Ownvoices Authors 
Once You Go Diverse... Diverse Books are Better Than Non-Diverse Books


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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Always the Same Love Interests? | YA Talk





If you read a lot of YA, you've probably also noticed that there's a trend in characters.

Meet Love Interest 1:
He's characterized through being
  • the epitome of the nice guy
  • probably has been friends with the heroine forever/ they're maybe even neighbors/ definitely know each other longer than love interest 2 and the heroine
  • always there for the heroine
  • they might have been in love at some point and/or are dating
  • either will mess up eventually or just flat out get ignored when the second love interest comes along
EXAMPLES:
Adam Kent from SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi
Simon Lewis from CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare
Mathias from ZODIAC by Romina Russell


Meet Love Interest 2:
He's characterized through being
  • the new guy!
  • suddenly comes into the heroines life 
  • smirks a lot
  • is sarcastic and ridiculously good-looking
  • not ashamed to hit on her 24/7
  • morally grey ... redeems himself at the end of the trilogy
  • almost always "gets the girl"
EXAMPLES:
Aaron Warner from from SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi
Jace Wayland from CITY OF BONES by Cassandra Clare
Hysan from ZODIAC by Romina Russell

Why I think it's unnecessary

  • You always know who's going to get the girl. SPOILER: It's always the bad guy after the redemption ARC
  • It's lazy: Seriously, at this point it's almost a stock character kinda situation. If you have to write a love triangle, please try to make it at least a little original. Like this it just seems like I'm reading fan fictions of the same characters over and over again.
  • It's boring and predictable
  • It's so easy to fix: Just throw in a little variation, kill one of them, make one of them unredeemable, honestly, at this point I'm so desperate for decent love triangles that I'd take anything that's even a little different.

What do you think of love triangles with the same characters over and over again?




Check back for more posts about YA!
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Friday, March 25, 2016

Tropes I Dis/Like In YA Romance Novels | YA Talk


Especially YA romance is a genre full of cliche tropes that keep getting repeated over and over again until only the mention of said tropes makes you want to rip out pages and eat them. 

Not that I've contemplated doing that. Or have I

Then there are tropes that make you want to get legally married to a book. Not that I've contemplated doing that either


Here are some from both categories.






ALL THE LIKE 

5. Having The Talk With Your Boyfriend Instead of Your Parents
I don't think I've ever read about a guy and a girl discussing protection before they get it on. This right here is the cause of teenage pregnancy, my friends.

4. No Love Poems!
Teenage guys don't read love poems ... actually, I can't think of a single teenager that reads love poems. Or anyone for that matter ... also I don't understand how that makes a dude more attractive, but ok.

3. Realistic Portrayals In Terms of Looks
19-year-old boys aren't super muscly or manly. Most 16-year-old girls don't even have fully developed breasts. And most importantly, no 19-year-old would go for a 15-year-old like it's so common in YA novels. That 19-year-old who does decide to settle for the slightly younger girlfriend is most likely not insanely attractive and caring and loveable but also deep and bruding. Come on.

2. No, or late love confessions
Love is a complicated thing and especially when I'm reading about teenagers falling in love I don't want them to confess their undying everlasting love for each other after one novel. If so, it has to be written over a long period told-time. One way to make me instantly like your novel more is to just leave out the I love you.

1. Breaking Up
Yes, you read that right. Not all romantic relationships work. It's a fact. Why do people always have to end up together in a romance novel? That's not how life works. 

DISLIKE, ABSOLUTELY DISLIKE 

5. Super Celibacy
Let's face it, the one thing teenage boys want the most is to get laid. We've all been teenagers, let's not even try to protest against this. Guys who act oh so super mature and understanding when the girl isn't ready yet, are rare. Especially among 15-21 year olds. Show me that one teenage guy who'll wait for you until marriage and I'll show you my pet unicorn.

4. Stalker Boyfriends
It's not cute to have the guy wait at your door every evening. It's not cute to have him even break into your house and wait in your bedroom because he wanted to see you. It's not cute if he goes completely bonkers whenever another dude does as much as look at you. It's creepy. This guy belongs in jail.

3. Neglecting Your Friends 
The second the hot guy/girl comes around the corner, the friends are passé. Who cares about your best friend of 10 years when you've got a hot guy waiting for you at home? 

2. Ridiculous Eye Colours
"His eyes were so green, that kind of green that you only find in flowers blooming deep down at the bottom of the sea."
"His eyes were so blue, not sky-blue, but the blue the sky turns after a storm."
Don't. Brown's a fine eye colour, too, yet I can't recall ever having read a novel with a super hot love interest that didn't have a stupidly exaggerated eye colour. Stop.

1. Instant Love
Yes, I do understand that it's the easiest way to get the side romance plot out of the way and get on with other oh-so-dramatic things that are about to happen in your novel, young debut author. But come on, do you really want to read a novel about two people that instantly fall in love without knowing each other? This doesn't only portray a completely distorted image of Love, but also gives young readers the wrong idea of what to look for in a partner - looks.


What tropes would you like to banish from or welcome into this world?

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

On Trends and Why You Should Stop Mocking Them | YA Talk

When I tell people that I love to read books about vampires, I still get a bunch of weird looks. 
"Vampires are so 2007", "Vampires aren't in anymore"
"Vampires are sooo boring", "Omg did you like Twilight??!" - 

I can't even recall all the things people have said to me, because at some point, I just stopped listening.


Yeah, vampires may have been a trend in 2007, but that doesn't mean I still can't like them, right?

There actually is a crowd of people in the book blogging community that is all about the same stuff. You tend to find the same books on ten different blogs. Especially with YA, people play favorites. You can't run a YA book blog without even just having heard of Marissa Meyer, Stephanie Perkins, Tahereh Mafi, and Sarah J. Maas.

Whether it's the same five authors all over everyones' blogs or the same topics, sometimes posts tend to get repetitive. I see the same genre stuff on countless blogs all the time.

Is it a bad thing to like popular stuff?

Of course not. You can like whatever you want, and if you want to post about it, you do you. What bugs me isn't that people tend to go for the same genre/author books all the time, but seeing people pretend to like them just for the sake of belonging to the IT crowd. If you obsess about something for quite some time, you'll start to romanticize it. Same goes for books.

Why is it that you can't like what you like and not be afraid to show it?

What's in today, might be out tomorrow. I'm not a high schooler anymore, I don't care what people think is cool. My reading habits are maybe influenced by what's popular right now due to hypes, but I decide on my own whether I actually like it or not. You should, too.

Swimming with the stream in terms of reading preferences can get pretty exhausting and is not worth it. I used to try to keep up with the recent trends and at least read the books everyone is going on about. I don't anymore, because I don't want to have to keep up with anyone's expectations but my own. I like to read what I read and if it isn't what's cool right now, so be it.

Guilty pleasures don't exist

You may be mocking the trends of the early 2000s right now, but do you really think that dystopian fiction, those New Adult novels, or your paranormal romance books will still be cool in 2020? I don't think so.

I hate that we have to label everything a guilty pleasure that other people don't approve of. There should be no such thing as guilty pleasures. Whatever you enjoy should be what you're proud of reading. Even if it's smutty mom porn. I mean, these days that kind of stuff even makes it to the big screen ;).

No one should be ashamed of what they're reading, especially not on the internet.

Who the heck cares about trends anyways.

What is your stance on trends? 
Do you check out the popular stuff or do your own thing entirely?

More YA Talks:

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Impossible Goodreads TBRs - Do You Even Try? | YA Talk



"I'm adding this to my TBR" has become an ancient proverb to me. I say it so often that it probably lost all its meaning.

The times where I did actually go to my TBR to determine which books to read next are long gone. 






Let's Do Some Math

I actually started laughing when I took a look at my Goodreads TBR and saw this:

  • The average book is 80,000 words long
  • The average reading speed per minute is 200 words. 
  • An average-speed reader needs 400 minutes to read an average-length book, that's 6.6 hours.

I have 2239 books on my TBR. Pretending these are all average-length books and I'm an average-speed reader, I'll need 14,777.4 hours to read all these. That's 615.7 days. That's 20.5 months. That's 1.7 years worth of consistent reading. Doesn't seem that high, am I right?

Sadly, in reality I read about 50-100 books a year. The span is that high because I'm super inconsistent. If we pretend I read an average of 70 average-length books for the next few years, it'll take me 37.98 years to get through this TBR. Let's hope there's a lot of DNFs hidden in there.

How Books End Up There

Do I intend to actually read the majority of these? Probably not. I put books on my TBR too easily. 
  • I think I'll like the book, so it's going on my TBR. 
  • Great synopsis! On my TBR.
  • Ooh, my favorite author has a new book? On my TBR.
  • Hey my friend said it's a good book. On my TBR.
  • Wow I like the cover. TBR.
  • Wow I like that review. Gotta check out the book. TBR.
  • Great list of topics I like, better add every single book on it to my TBR.

Do you handle your TBR as carelessly as I do? Or am I just a mess?

Does Anyone Actually Work on Their GR TBR?

Because I don't. I used to, but right now I've got the book blogging community and an immediate TBR stored in my head. I know exactly which books I'm about to buy when my physical TBR shrunk a little. Who needs Goodreads if you have a surprisingly long list of recommendations?

I know that my TBR is nothing compared to the pile of books some of you guys have. I've seen TBRs in the six digits. 
The question is, is it really important what I put there? There are so many books on my list that I probably won't ever read and only added for some long-forgotten reason.

Should I have been more selective with what I add? Probably. Should I actually use it like it was intended - to keep track of what I actually read? Who does that?! I don't know. I just know that I have a lot of reading to do now. About 37 years of it.

How high is your GR TBR? 

Are you actively working on getting rid of it?

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Instant Love and Why it Ruins Everything | YA Talk






Either you don't care or you hate it. At this point, instant love has become a common trope in YA and honestly - it makes me want to cry.

There's no better way to ruin a reading experience for me.

What is instant love?


When two characters barely know each other, yet very quickly proclaim their undying love to each other.

You should think that instant love is only a plot device in novels that aren't really about romance.
In reality though, I've come across way too many instant love relationships in novels exclusively about romance and it's shocking.

You'd think that in a novel that has no other plot than the blossoming of a love between two people, the author would actually make an effort to make it seem realistic. I've encountered more instant love relationships in romance novels than I'd like to admit.


Authors, Why?

You'd think that the journey is the best way about traveling. I guess this doesn't apply to 40% of YA romance writers. Why make the protagonists fall in love instantly? What story do you want to tell if they already fell in love? Why, why, why? Yeah, it's easy and convenient, especially if the romance is only a side plot. I have news for you:




IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE TIME TO PUT EFFORT IN DEVELOPING A ROMANCE PLOT DON'T ADD A ROMANCE PLOT 2k15

Why I'm so angry

  1. Because it ruins my day every time
  2. Because it makes every other aspect about the book irrelevant, if I think about that book in retrospective all I see is the terrible romance subplot the author was too lazy to develop
  3. Because sometimes there is so much lost potential
  4. Because I didn't sign up for this

When I want to read about romance, I want it all and from the start. I want to know to be able to pinpoint the second the characters fall in love and I want to be able totell exactly what makes them special to the other. The most fun thing about romance novels to me is especially the lead-up to it. I won't care about a relationship unless the beginning is strong and the characters got me hooked individually.
Logically, if that is missing, why would I care? Why would I care about two people that I don't even know? Character building is essential for characer-driven novels, especially for romance.

And yeah, if we're talking about a novel that isn't only about the romance, get out. There is NO justification for a poor instant-love romance side plot in a novel that isn't about that.

What are your thoughts on instant-love in books?

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Friday, May 29, 2015

5 Common Misconceptions About Young Adult Literature | YA Talk


YA has become an increasingly more popular genre in the last few years.
Whenever I tell somebody that I read YA, the first thing they say is: "Wait, isn't that only for kids?"

There are so many misconceptions about YA that I decided to smash them together and destroy them in a post.
 
1. Only kids read YA

In a 2012 study Bowker Market Research determined that "fully 55% of buyers of works that publishers designate for kids aged 12 to 17 [...] are 18 or older, with the largest segment aged 30 to 44". In around 78% of the cases, the adults aren't even buying those books for their children, friends or relatives, but for themselves.
(Source: Bowker)

2. But YA stands for Young Adult Fiction - It's only for teenagers!

Actually, YA is a genre. It refers to protagonists aged around 12-18 that are all going through similar stages while growing up. You wouldn't say that crime fiction is only for serial killers and criminals, would you?

3. YA writing is worse than the writing in Adult writing

Why would you think that? Do publishers and literary agents suddenly put on blindfolds when handling YA manuscripts? It would be quite unsettling if YA writing was characterized by being poor quality writing. You'd think that if this genre was only for teenagers, it would be made sure that they get the highest quality educational material available, right? 

I've noticed that it's way easier to find well-written and even popular YA lit about controversial topics like LGBTQIA issues, social stigmata and feminism than adult fiction. There are great and not so great books in every genre, why would it be different for YA literature? But yeah, if you think James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks are the whole grail of literature compared to YA written by Laini Taylor or Julie Anne Peters, I don't think this conversation is worth having.

4. YA readers read YA because they can't handle regular adult fiction

Why? I read both. I tend to go back to YA more often because I rather identify with protagonists of similar age to mine. I've gone through similar things than those characters, and even people twice my age might think the same way. 

5. YA topics are immature

Dystopian fiction has become a risingly popular branch of YA. I'm sure you've all seen The Hunger Games and Divergent - these were originally YA books by Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth. 

Dystopian fiction is characterized by dealing with a dystopian view in the future, mostly involving an uprising of the people towards the end. The concept of The Hunger Games is literally putting a bunch of children in a fighting area and letting them fight to the death. Pretty light reading, right? I mean, it's not like there are other YA books that aren't dealing with crushes and high school. 

- Popular YA about violence and abuse: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Dreamland by Sarah Dessen, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen ...
- Popular YA about death: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, Before I Die by Jenny Downham ...


In Conclusion

It doesn't make a difference whether you prefer adult of YA fiction. Maybe you even read both! At the end of the day books are here to entertain us. Nothings speaks against reading solely the one or the other or even both! In terms of quality YA is just the same as adult fiction. There are good quality books and there are bad quality books. 
In general it shouldn't matter to you what the target audience is, since marketing predictions only work in theory anyway. If you don't like YA, don't read it.



What are things that you've heard people say

 when you tell them you read 

YA? 


More YA Talk:

I Hate Love Triangles 
15-year-old Protagonists Confuse Me 
Mary Sues and Why We Need More of Them 
Instant Love and Why It Ruins Everything 
Hey Authors, Why Is LGBTQ Representation So Hard? 
I Fall For Problematic Love Interests 
Are Diverse Characters and Representation Unnecessary?
See All YA Talk Posts
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