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- Guest Post: Stephanie Parent (Precious Things)
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Friday, August 30, 2013
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
When Justin suggested I write a guest post about how Precious Things differs from my previous books, I was struck by what a perfect topic he chose, because Precious Things is different from my other books in pretty much every way possible! So here are a few of the most important (and, hopefully, at least kinda interesting!) differences that will also tell you more about me and my writing…
Precious Things is my first book not written with children or YAs in mind. I first fell in love with reading at a very young age, nearly all of my all-time favorite books are children’s or YA novels, and I continued to read mainly middle-grade and YA books even after graduating college. So really, I never saw myself writing an adult novel at all! Now Precious Things is new adult, and the MC is only 18, so it’s not too far outside the YA range. However, I found that I enjoyed writing about slightly older characters—especially the, uh, steamier bits!—so I’m now planning to write more adult books. The growing popularity of self-published new adult and adult romance novels has opened up a whole new world of books for me, and I’m having a lot of fun with it!
Precious Things is the first book I’ve written without an agent’s input in over two years. Before I signed with my first agent, I used to think the typical pattern to publishing your first book was: author writes book, finds agent, agent sells book to publisher. Since then, I’ve discovered that while there are many paths to publication, one of the most common is actually: author writes book, finds agent. Agent can’t sell book. Agent gives shiny new idea—or two, or three—to author. Author writes new book—or two, or three—and one of these books is the one to actually sell. In other words: publishing is hard to break into, and sometimes it takes more than just writing a good book—it takes writing about the right subject at the right time, often with the help of an agent’s inside view…
…or at least that’s the way it used to be. But with the Internet, self-publishing, Amazon and ebooks, things are now changing faster than anyone can keep up with. Agents can no longer predict what publishers will want, because publishers are no longer as sure of what they want. In fact, publishers aren’t signing as many untested authors, period, because they can now cherry-pick the most successful new authors from the indie market instead. In addition, publishers are no longer driving trends as much as they used to: now more than ever, readers are driving trends directly, thanks largely to the influence of the Internet.
So what does this have to do with Precious Things? After two years of trying, unsuccessfully, to break into traditional publishing based on ideas given to me by other (very well-meaning) people, I realized that just wasn’t working for me. So I looked at the trends, at what was selling, but more than that, at what people on GR and blogs were looking for and not getting in their current reads. And out of that I developed Precious Things, a book that satisfies the recent demand for new adult romance while also putting a new spin on some of the genre’s clichés. I put some of my own college experiences into the novel, added references to poetry and music I care about, and hoped people would respond to it. And that leads me to my third difference…
Precious Things is, so far, my best-selling title by far. No, it’s definitely not a bestseller, but based on the reader response to this book, I feel like I’m moving in the right direction. Two years ago, I would never have seen myself writing a book like Precious Things, or selling as many copies of it as I have—and I think that’s just a sign of how much and how fast the book industry is changing. Right now, I don’t think anyone’s quite certain how things will turn out, and I’m personally not sure where exactly my writing career will go…but one thing I can say for sure: it’s an incredibly exciting time to be a writer and a reader!
Stephanie's Blog: http://stephanieparent.blogspot.com/
Stephanie's Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookCrazySteph
Add Precious Things on GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17182158-precious-things
Buy Precious Things: http://www.amazon.com/Precious-Things-ebook/dp/B00D6X6IP4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377912112&sr=8-1&keywords=Precious+Things