I have found the YA book community to be a wonderful sanctuary. I have made many friends (authors and bloggers alike) who have stuck with me since the beginning. However, I find that there is a huge lack of interest from the non-blogging YA readers. One does not have to be a blogger/author/etc to reap the benefits of the online society. It’s not a secret club. I’m going to list a few of the techniques I used at the beginning to get involved.
- Twitter. I cannot stress enough how interactive the YA community is on Twitter. This is a great way to start communicating with authors. In fact, I got to know two of my favorite authors (Susan Dennard and Leigh Bardugo) when they were first starting out on twitter. And now they are both NYT Bestsellers, and I still have a contact link with them. Pretty cool! Plus, if you do want to start a blog, Twitter will get you readership. Just tag the author you’re writing about, and they may give you a retweet. famous author retweets you – new readers.
- Fan mail – Do not be afraid to send your favorite author fan mail. Chances are, you’ll make their day. Fewer people than you’d expect send authors fanmail, so you have a good chance of a response. I cringe to look bad at some of the fangirly emails I wrote in my early days, but I did get to have conversations with some pretty cool people.
- Book conventions – This one is a little harder for some people to attain, but definitely worth it. Book conventions are where a bunch of amazing authors are all in one place for the day, and you typically get to interact with them on a really personal level. Typically book conventions are sponsored by a book store or library. My favorite conventions are TeenBookCon and TweenBookCon both sponsored by the amazing Blue Willow Bookstore in Houston, TX. Just last year I got to spend an entire day with Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) at TweenBookCon (Best day EVER).
- Independent Book Stores. Now, I could gush about independent bookstores (Again, Blue Willow Books is the BEST) all day but that can be an entirely different post. Just, go to your indie bookstores. It actually helps out the authors a lot more (as those are the sales that contribute to their NYT Bestselling ranks) and small businesses. Plus, they bring in authors a lot of signings, and are just generally cool people.
Overall, the YA Community is amazing, and easy to get involved in. I recommend checking it out, even if only a little, if you have any interest in reading. Which, if you’re reading this blog, you probably are. Feel free to contact me with any and all questions – I’d love be your first friend in the YA sphere.