#ReadProud Week 1

Thanks to the outpouring of support for #ReadProud, I'm starting a different blog post for each week to keep things a little bit more organised. You can read about the overall structure of the event here. You can also find out about the prizes there! 

Remember, each week there are two categories. Participating in one category and reading one book per week makes you eligible for the Silver Prize Draw. Participating in both categories and reading two books (or more!) per week makes you eligible for Gold Prize Draw!

For your book to count towards the draw, you have to leave a review on GoodReads and at least one retailer website. If you're not comfortable posting reviews, you can still participate, but unfortunately you won't be eligible for a prize draw. Leave links to your reviews in the comments for the Week!

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 23.50.12

Week 1: 

 

Category A: TRANS YA ** Fiction or Non-Fiction

I'm reading: BEING JAZZ  by Jazz Jennings

Other Suggested Titles: 

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo

FREAKBOY by Kirstin Elizabeth Clark (lyric)

BEING EMILY by Rachel Gold

THE ART OF BEING NORMAL by Lisa Williamson 

BEYOND MAGENTA by Susan Kuklin (non-fiction) 

(you may read any other book of your choice that falls into this category)

 

Category B: Gay Contemporary, NA or Adult

I'm reading: FOR REAL by Alexis Hall

FIRST AND FIRST by Santino Hassell 

Other Suggested Titles: 

SUTPHIN BOULEVARD by Santino Hassell
FOXES by Suki Fleet

INTO THIS RIVER I DROWN by TJ Klune

CUT AND RUN by Abigail Roux 

 

COMPLETED BOOKS: 

1) Some Go Hungry … Mia Seigert 

2) Being Jazz … Julia Ember

3) The Art of Being Normal … Bhavya

4) Spy Stuff … Laura

5) Divide and Conquer … Bhavya

6) Cut and Run … Laura

7) The Unintentional Time Traveller … Chasia

8) Five Dates … Chasia

9) The Centre of the World … Becky

10) A Hundred Thousand Words … Silvana 

11) For Real … Julia Ember

12) Freakboy … Serena

13) If I Was Your Girl … Nina Rossing

14) I Know Very Well How I Got My Name … Becky

15) Beauty Queens … Mia Siegert 

16) His First Time … Jamie

17) The UnIntentional Time Traveller … Meredith Katz

18) Glitterland … Meredith Katz

19) Beyond Magenta … Rebecca

20) The Great American Whatever … Rebecca

21) Hell and High Water … Bhavya 

22) If I Was Your Girl … Michelle

23) Being Jazz … Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

24) If I was Your Girl … Nicole 

25) If I was Your Girl … Chase 

26) The UnIntentional Time Traveler … Kara

27) Coin Tricks … Kara

28) The UnIntentional Time Traveler … Bhavya 

29) If I was Your Girl … Rachel 

30) The Luckiest … Rachel

31) Cut and Run … Serena 

32) All is Well … Bogi

33) Beginning with the Mirror … Bogi

34) Transgender Lives … Crystal 

35) If I was Your Girl … Amber

36) The Foxhole Court … Amber

37) TruNorth … Shira

38) When the Moon Was Ours … Jamie 

39) Off Campus … Jamie

 

Update us on your progress in the comments! 

#ReadProud Reading Challenge

June is #PrideMonth and to celebrate, I decided that I would spend the month working through my Queer TBR pile … and I'm encouraging you all to join me! I hope lots of readers will join in to read LGBTQ books from all different genres and discover some new great reads. 

This is a 4-week challenge. Each week will have 2 categories. You can participate on two levels:

(1) GOLD:  Read two books per week, one from each category, totalling 8. 

(2) SILVER: Read one book from one category a week, totalling 4. 

Successful completers of the challenge will be entered in a prize draw: 

GOLD: $100 Amazon Gift Card (or B&N/Waterstones if preferred!) 

SILVER: $50 Amazon Gift Card (or B&N/Waterstones if preferred!)

 

Rules: 

1) You must read in the weekly categories to be eligible. However, you do not have to read the suggested books. You may find your own reads in the relevant categories. 

2) You must post your reviews on GoodReads and at least one retailer website. You shoud link these in the comments on the relevant week's post (on this blog). These reviews can be negative or positive. 

3) These reads must be new reviews. This means you can't recycle old reviews or old Arc reviews. You need to post the review in the relevant week. 

4) Post in the comments to introduce yourself and your blog/twitter handle! 

Here is a badge to put on your blogs if you plan to blog the event! 

readproud

 

WEEK 1 — May 29-June 5 < — Week 1 is live! Click to record your reads!

 

Category A:  TRANS YA  ** fiction or non-fictional 

What I'll Be Reading:   

BEING JAZZ: MY LIFE AS A TRANSGENDER TEEN by Jazz Jennings (non-fiction)

Suggested Titles: 

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo

FREAKBOY by Kirstin Elizabeth Clark (lyric)

BEING EMILY by Rachel Gold

THE ART OF BEING NORMAL by Lisa Williamson 

BEYOND MAGENTA by Susan Kuklin (non-fiction) 

 

CATEGORY B: GAY CONTEMPORARY, NA or ADULT.

What I'll be Reading: 

FOR REAL by Alexis Hall (over 18s!)

Suggested Titles: 

SUTPHIN BOULEVARD by Santino Hassell (over 18s!)

FOXES by Suki Fleet 

INTO THIS RIVER I DROWN by TJ Klune

CUT AND RUN by Abigail Roux 

 

WEEK 2 — June 5-12 — LINK POSTED FOR READS!

 

Category A:  LESBIAN SPECULATIVE

What I'll be Reading: 

THE BETTER TO KISS YOU WITH by Michelle Osgood

Suggested Titles: 

UNICORN TRACKS by Julia Ember (meeee!)

THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US by Emily Skrutskie

DISSENTION by Stacey Berg

THE RAVEN AND THE REINDEER by T. Kingfisher

THE RENEGADE by Amy Dunne 

THE SECOND MANGO by Shira Glassman

 

Category B:  LGBTQ Middle Grade or Younger

What I'll be Reading: 

GEORGE by Alex Gino

Suggested Titles: 

RED: A CRAYON'S STORY by Michael Hall

AND TANGO MAKES THREE by Justin Richardson 

HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES by Leslea Newman

ONE MAN GUY by Michael Barakiva 

 

WEEK 3 — June 12-19 — Post Reads Here!

 

Category A:  AUTHORS OF COLOUR

What I'll Be Reading: ASH BY MALINDA LO 

Suggested Titles: 

IF YOU COULD BE MINE by Sara Farizan 

SEVEN TEARS AT HIGH TIDE by CB LEE

THE SUMMER PRINCE by Alaya Dawn Johnson

THE BATTLE FOR JERICHO by Gene Gant

TREASURE by Rebekah Weatherspoon 

 

Category B:  LESBIAN CONTEMPORARY 

What I'll Be Reading: OUT ON GOOD BEHAVIOR by Dahlia Adler 

Suggested Titles: 

ANNIE ON MY MIND by Nancy Garden

LIES WE TELL OURSELVES by Robin Talley

AT HER FEET by Rebekah Weatherspoon (over 18s!) 

CAREFULLY EVERYWHERE DESCENDING by LD Bedford

EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU by Nina LaCour

 

WEEK 4 — June 19-26

 

Category A:  GAY YA

What I'll Be Reading: We Are the Ants by Shawn David Hutchinson

Suggested Titles: 

JERKBAIT by Mia Seigert 

SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli 

DAGGER by Steven dos Santos

BOY MEETS BOY by David Levithan

FJORD BLUE by Nina Rossing

 

Category B: WILDCARD 

Surprise me. Surprise us all. As long as it's LGBTQIA. I'd LOVE people to bring forward some terrific Asexual, Bisexual and Non-binary books. 

 

I’ve Debuted: A Tale of Excitement, Fear, Happiness and Rejection.

On Thursday, Unicorn Tracks will be one month old. It seems surreal. After more than a year of waiting, editing, blurbing, talking to my editors,  bloggers … the fact that it’s actually out doesn’t quite register with me. My mind can’t quite process that my book is in the wild, has been in the wild, for thirty days. At the same time, I’m cherishing the reader photographs and comments, documenting my baby’s first month in pictures like a proud mother.

Last week, I attended BEA/Bookcon and had my first signing. The publisher brought fifty copies of Unicorn Tracks, and we ran out within twenty-five minutes. That was incredible. But perhaps the most incredible and enduring part, for me as an author, was having every single one of those eager readers sign my copy of the book. Each of those signatures represents a copy. A real, physical copy, that has found an eager pair of hands. That signed book is an anchor to reality. My book has debuted. I have debuted. We are out there.

13177140_10156873230005285_5376030899384802289_n

13087916_10156873231675285_7393982487927110683_n

 

Amazing Things About Being a Debut

1)      Everyone will listen to you talk about your book. People you barely know will ask about your book. From what I’ve heard from other writers, this newness, this interest from everyone you meet, definitely wears out the longer you’re a writer. Of course, by that point, you hopefully have real fans who ask because they like your work rather than asking because they like the idea of knowing an author. But at the same time, there is something really nice about being asked. Maybe I’m especially sensitive to this. I come from an academic background where no one understood or cared what obscure topic I was working on for my dissertation.

2)      You get to meet lots and lots of authors. Debut authors are excited, terrified and like to stick to each other like Velcro. This is because the experience of being a new author with a book on the horizon, is like no other time in a writer’s career. No one really knows what to expect or how things will go. As a result, debuts bond together and talk to each other. It’s an extended support network and I made so many new friends this year. My #protip on this is to be equally nice to everyone you meet. Don’t be mercantile in your friending. A lot of people will see through it in a heartbeat.

3)      Debut Events! So many blogs and websites host events for Debut Authors. It makes you feel a little bit like a celebrity even though you have no book out yet and nobody knows who you are. There will also be physical firsts. Your first signing, for example. Your first fan encounter. Those firsts are magical!

4)      You learn so much about how the publishing process works with your first book. You learn how editing rounds will go, what it’s like to work through an edit letter and a whole manuscript full of in-text comments from a professional who is not your CP. You learn to negotiate with design teams and how to read royalty statements.

 

CiXAv_CVAAAVdn5.jpg-large13076989_10208936796357891_3383463932940309994_n

 

Things I'll Do Differently Next Time

1)      Have some rhyme and reason in the timing of things like cover reveals, teasers, blog tours etc. I think with this book I did my cover reveal waaaaaay too early because I was too excited to share UT’s cover with the world. But I think a lot of the people who got buzzy about the cover in October had forgotten the buzz by April at release. I’ll be doing this tighter for my next book.

 

2)      Spend way less time on GoodReads on the days after release. While I confess to being one of those authors who reads their reviews (and this probably isn’t going to change. I’m realistic about myself and my obsessive nature), reading reviews or following status updates in the days when you’re supposed to be riding the release party high is not a good idea.

 

3)      Make sure that reviewers have their ARCs much further in advance. Some beautiful bloggers managed to complete pre-reviews at a very pushy timescale.

 

4)      Be more clear with my publisher / publicist about the timing of publicity efforts. I think that I didn’t communicate very effectively about what I was doing, which led to a lot of concentration in some areas of the marketing plan, and possibly not enough in others. Like most debuts, I was really really nervous about being perceived as a diva, but going forward, I’ll be more businesslike in working out this timetable/plan.

 

5)      Spend more time really enjoying the editorial process: pouring over my edit letter, dissecting my comments and laughing/crying with them. This time around, I was really panicky about the deadlines. I’ve never missed a deadline on any project. I need to learn to relax and enjoy the ride.

 

Crash and Imposter Syndrome

 

A writer friend of mine and amazing author of The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig, has talked a lot about the crash after the buzz. Publishing is a business of waiting, hope, anticipation and rejection. You query and you wait. You sign a contract and you wait. You get edits, send them back, and wait some more. All the while, the sense of immediacy builds inside you until you’re ready to explode when release day comes. That, and I’m sorry to say, but rejection doesn’t end with the book deal. As a newbie author, you’ll probably worry constantly about rejection – possibly even more constantly than you did while querying or on submission. When you’ve debuted and the anticipation fades, it can leave a vacuum. Knowing where to direct that energy is hard. It’s hard to focus immediately on the next book. It’s hard to focus on going to the gym or hanging out with friends. Really, it’s hard to focus on anything but the void of nervous excitement. There’s something missing inside me where that was and it’s hard not to feel a little bit sad.

I struggle with my mental health. This is something I’m open and honest about. In the weeks after my debut and especially now that BEA is over, managing that void is something I’m still coming to terms with. But knowing that it’s something lots of other debut authors have experienced and overcome

I wrote an extensive blog post about the realities of Imposter Syndrome for Ava Jae’s blog. As a new author – especially an author published by a smaller house without an agent – I definitely felt like I didn’t belong a lot of the time. Sometimes, this had nothing to do with what others said or even how they reacted. It was mostly in my head. I was self-rejecting out of fear of being “not good enough” or being an “imposter author” in the writing community. Yes, there are people who are negative, who look down on other writers, but frankly, the good people so vastly outnumber these bad eggs. It can be too easy to focus on the people who don’t accept you or your books and get depressed about it. It took me a while to find a core group of authors to talk to and interact with. As I said in the article I wrote for Ava, even NYT bestselling author sometimes experience Imposter Syndrome.