Tag Archives: blog

YA Female Protagonists in STEM

7 Aug

We need more female protagonists in STEM fields, especially in YA. For those of you who don’t know, STEM covers science, technology, engineering, and math. The reason STEM needs to be explored more in YA fiction is to encourage young women to explore those fields in real life more.

Hold the eye rolls.

I get it. I know that there are real-life role models to look up to in those fields already. But a lot of younger people—myself included—enjoy looking up to fictional role models, too. When I was a kid, fictional characters strangely felt more attainable, more inspirational, more…like me.

Sometimes, it’s easier for a fourteen-year-old to look up to a fourteen-year-old scientist rather than Marie Curie. (And more fun.) This is why I’m advocating for a bigger emphasis on STEM in YA fiction, but there’s another, more personal reason as well.

Oh, hey there, science.

Here’s the deal. I hated science in school. Loathed it. Biology was the hardest course for me in high school and college. I hated biology…but I loved chemistry. I also love math. I also love technology and engineering. But as a young girl, I hit a couple roadblocks while studying it.

In school, for instance, I signed up for Tech 101 instead of Home Ec. I was immediately approached by an office clerk who thought I made a mistake. On top of that, one of my teachers actually had to the gall to “make sure” I wanted to take Tech 101 instead of Home Ec since I didn’t have a mother at home. If that wasn’t discouraging enough, I came second place in a bridge building competition later that semester…only for the teacher to pull me aside and tell me I should’ve won. (The winner, it turned out, had cheated. But did the school correct it? No. I just got a secret pat on my back.) If I could tell you what it felt like to then see that boy congratulated, to hear my fellow classmates say “You almost lost to a girl, dude” like that was the worst thing ever, I would. But I still don’t have words for it.

STEM didn’t exactly welcome me.

I recall these moments in my life where I loved science, technology, engineering, and math—and I was good at it, too—but numerous adults in my life discouraged it anyway. Granted, I’m not saying I would’ve chased an engineering degree if these things hadn’t happened. In fact, I’m pretty sure I would’ve chased English no matter what. Why? Because my university asked me to become a math major after I scored 100% on one of their harder exams…and I still turned it down.

Now I’m an author…and authors are engineers of stories. So, I set out to write a book where my protagonist is involved with science.

Kalina came to me that night. She’s sixteen, a botanist, and she invents machines that help water her plants when she’s too busy studying them. Botany takes on a huge role in my book. So much so that one of my critique partners asked an interesting question: How are you going to get readers to sympathize with plants instead of people?

Well…I’m not.

I’m not asking readers to sympathize with plants over people. I’m asking readers to see how interesting plants can be. To see an awesome, smart, and talented young woman studying her scientific passion. To open their minds to science.

Kalina opened my mind, and I love everything she taught me. Granted, I still can’t grow a flower to save my life (especially with cats in the house), but I have a deeper appreciation for botany. Above all, I have a deeper appreciation for science.

YA readers deserve more of that, too.

~SAT

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I Am Back! (With Changes & Celebration!)

1 Nov

I’m back! (As promised.) And below, you can read about new changes coming to www.ShannonAThompson.com.

I will post articles only on Mondays. These articles will be brand-new writing tips and publishing advice across various spectrums. I am discontinuing my Website Wonders and Ketchup series, and I’m officially stepping away from Coffee & Cats, my YouTube channel. I know how many of you love YouTube and want me on it—and I promise to try to make a video every now and then—but YouTube is extremely time-consuming for me, and I think that time would best be served in finishing my next books…which brings me to this.

I am cutting back on social media, but I hope you all understand. 😀

Between my day job and writing, I don’t see many weekends…or even step outside my house that often. And I think living life helps writing just as much as continuing to write helps writing. I need more time to do both. By cutting back on social media and blogging, I will be able to finish books faster, schedule more signings, read more books, and cuddle with my three gremlins. I mean, my cats.

I look forward to these changes and to the new, upcoming year.

See you around the blogosphere.

~SAT

WAIT!

Did I mention Bad Bloods is on sale during November?

Get the entire Bad Bloods series for only $2.99 today!

I  mean, really, what better time to read books set in November than in November?

novemberfbcover

Bad Bloods: November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods: November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bye Bye Blogging (For Now)

1 Oct

Don’t be afraid! Don’t be!

Every year I do this, but I know many of you are new, so here’s a little explanation.

I am taking a month off of blogging and social media in general. While November was last year’s doom and gloom month, this year I have chosen October.

But what do I mean by “taking time off”?

I’ll still be writing, editing, and poking my head in on my social media accounts every now and then, but I won’t be around as much. Why?

I take one month off of regular blogging and social media every year for many reasons.

  1. It allows me to reevaluate my schedule, goals, and how to correlate them for the next year.
  2. It gives me a break!
Little Shannon reading her first book to her elementary class. (I bet I reevaluated myself back then, too.)

Little Shannon reading her first book to her elementary class. (I bet I reevaluated myself back then, too.)

I blog three times a week, all year long. (I used to blog every other day, without fail.) And I’m only human. I get really tired. I get overwhelmed. And sometimes, I just need some space to take care of myself outside the blogosphere that I love so very much.

Which…reminds me. If there is anything you want to see in 2017, let me know! I love hearing from you, and your opinions matter to me. ❤

Again, I’ll still be around! (And don’t be surprised if I come back early—I did last year.)

But until then.

Thanks for understanding!

If you’re here while I’m on break, and you want some great articles to check out, below is a list of my top ten articles from this year.

1. No. Reading is Not an OptionAs a full-time editor and author, I have come across more and more writers who believe they don’t have to read in order to be a writer. I adamantly disagree, and I stand by my opinion—and Stephen King’s opinion—that you must read A LOT in order to be a writer. So go out there and fall in love with reading again.

2. The 90-10 Rule for Marketing and Writing, and How To Love ItWriting is hard. It’s a business. I stay organized with my writing-marketing calendar, and I truly believe a lot of writers could help themselves by trying to organize themselves that way. It’s easy to get lost in marketing (and harder to swallow the fact that, yes, you must market, a lot, no matter how you’re published), but you can learn to love it, and you can guarantee you don’t forget to write with a few little reminders.

3. The Truth Behind an Author’s Instagram: I really want to write articles like this for all my social medias, because it is important for authors (and readers) to remember that social media—while fun—isn’t the whole picture. I know we show our highlight reels every day, and things seem perfect, and everyone’s life appears wonderful, but like I mentioned above, writing is hard. Writing is a career. Writing is more than sitting around and coming up with ideas, and I hope this showed how social media can warp that, even though social media is still a lot of fun.

4. Help! My Female Character Is Flat: While writing my latest manuscript, I realized my female character was flat. How? Because I was holding her back. Why? Because I was afraid. When did I get scared and why did that happen…and how did I overcome it for her and myself? Read the article to find out.

5. Naming Your Characters: A lot can go into naming your characters, but hopefully, all these websites and tools help make the process smoother (and therefore, more fun)!

6. Writing Quicksand: I use the term writing quicksand to describe when writing it doing more harm than good. It does happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it or acknowledge it. This is how I got out from my quicksand and started writing again.

7. My Protagonist and Illiteracy: As many of you know, my protagonist—Serena—in Bad Bloods is illiterate. This article is about my journey in writing an illiterate character and why I chose to do so. 

8An Author Who Fears Public Speaking: Public speaking used to FREAK me out. But my speech class in college gave me the confidence I needed to accept my stutter and meet friends while laughing about my speech impediment. Now, I’m not afraid anymore.

9. How to Create Book Teasers on a Small Budget: Book teasers are so much fun, but they can be daunting. This is how I created 13 teasers for my book release on a relatively tiny budget. (It’s not impossible!) I’ll definitely keep creating teasers in the future, and I hope this article helps authors have fun creating them like I did.

10. Writing Tips for Love Interests: I’m a sucker for love, so I love writing about love, and in this post, I discussed how you can round out your characters and their relationships with one another. One mistake I often see in aspiring romance writers is making the romantic interest just that: a romantic interest. Your romantic interest should have goals and a life of their own. Find out how.

Also, book links! 😀 

Bad Bloods: November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods: November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods Free Book:

Bad Bloods Free Book:

The Timely Death Trilogy
Minutes Before Sunset 
(FREE) 

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

takefofytseve

 

August’s Ketchup

31 Aug

Wow! August, I’m looking at you. You are wonderful.

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this August.

Big Moments:

Bad Bloods: November Snow by Shannon A. Thompson

Bad Bloods: November Snow by Shannon A. Thompson

November Rain hit #1 in YA Sci Fi in the Free Kindle Store! I’m so happy so many of you are reading the Bad Bloods series and enjoying it. I love reading your reviews, seeing your photos, and geeking out about all the characters with you. (I’m going to get into some more character details below, so check that out.) My #1 searched term was Shannon A. Thompson! So, thanks for Googling me. 😉

In other news, November Snow arrived! I loved holding it in my hands. And since I could finally buy some books, I got all the books I could for Penned Con St. Louis. I’ll be there at the end of September! I’ve also confirmed that I’m traveling to Charleston, South Carolina in November for YALLFest! (Can’t you tell I love traveling?) I hope to meet some of you there.

I also got new author photos this month! Thank you, Huntress Photography!

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods Free Book

Bad Bloods Free Book

My #1 clicked item was Bad Bloods: November Rain again!

Also, the Bad Bloods Prequel is FREE on Wattpad. This month, the origins story of Ami and Steven released! You can read their stories by clicking the links. Ami is important because she’s the only character we meet from the Highlands. She will also play a huge role in the next books: July Thunder/Lightning. Steven, on the other hand, is just a plain ol’ sweetheart. He is one of my favorite Bad Bloods characters. His origin story has a lot to do with Catelyn, too, because they are practically inseparable. Fun fact: I almost told Bad Bloods from Catelyn and Steven’s perspective when I was first writing the books, but for those of you who’ve finished the books, you probably know why I didn’t do that now. ::cries into my hands forever::

#1 Referrer was Facebook!

#1 Referrer was Facebook!

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Naming Your Characters: A lot can go into naming your characters, but hopefully, all these websites and tools help make the process smoother (and therefore, more fun)!

2. I Love Free Readers: There has been a lot of controversy surrounding readers who only read books they can legally get for free, but hey! I love them, and here’s why.

3. An Author Who Fears Public Speaking: Public speaking used to FREAK me out. But my speech class in college gave me the confidence I needed to accept my stutter and meet friends while laughing about my speech impediment. Now, I’m not afraid anymore.

 

Other Blog Posts:

Heroes I Want To See in YA: There are so many of them! And check out the comments. You all had the best conversation on this article.

When You Shouldn’t Write That Book: And I’m not talking about writer’s block.

Writing Tips: Different Perspectives: I love telling stories from two perspectives, but more goes into than you think

#SATurdate: The Secret Life of Pets, #1 YA Sci-Fi, Noble My Love, Criminal, & Aerie: A weekly update of what I’m reading, watching, drinking, etc.

Connecting Books Across Genres: Surprise! All my books are connected somehow.

#SATurdate: Suicide Squad, Little Alchemy, Marshmallow Popcorn, & Cinderella and the Four Knights: A weekly update of things I’m watching, reading, and more!

#SATurdate: Star Trek, Tallulah, Free Book, & Rice Maker Cake: A weekly update of everything I read, saw, and experienced!

#SATurdate: An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night, W – Two Worlds, & YALLFest: Another weekly update of books, music, and more.

Website Wonders: A monthly update of all the websites I came across and loved.

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

NOVEMBER RAIN

  • Lena May Books: “A powerful work of art. In November Rain, Thompson invites us into a world of secrecy, murder and unlikely friendships that are bound to make your head spin with wonder.”

NOVEMBER SNOW

August2016

#MondayBlogs My Average Day as an Author

1 Aug

The average day as an author varies from writer to writer, but I think there’s a huge misconception that we wake up, write all day, and fall asleep at the end of the night with thousands of words ready for print. In reality, most authors—yes, even The New York Times Best Sellers—work day jobs. Writing is our second full-time gig. And I’m not an exception.

3 PM

My Twisted Clock

I wake up at 3 PM. Why? I work a night shift, so I don’t get to bed until about 6 AM. I also work opposite days, meaning Sunday-Tuesday is my weekend. This can cause some awkwardness online, because some have assumed I’m ignoring them on the weekends when I am, in fact, working. But I do work from home, so I can sometimes check in on my author life during my lunch break and dinner break. This is also why you see my #MidnightBaking posts a lot. While it’s midnight for you, it’s dinner time for me.

4 PM – MIDNIGHT

My First Job

Honestly, I work from 4 PM to midnight as an editor, social media marketer, and anything else you might find on my Services page. I love it. I absolutely love reading authors’ works, talking to fellow writers, and helping those with social media, because social media is something I honestly enjoy, hence why I blog three days a week. As an author, I also use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodreadsMailChimp, Wattpad, and YouTube on a regular basis. But all that is generally done in my next step.

My average day as an author always includes three things: coffee, cats, and books.

My average day as an author always includes three things: coffee, cats, and books.

MIDNIGHT – 4 AM

My Second Job

I’m an author. Finally. If I’m not completely exhausted from work—and I get all my housework done—this is where I write. But this is also the only time I have for marketing, so I often spend about a half of the time writing articles, sending out personal emails, researching books, and more. If I’m too tired, maybe I just read the current book on my nightstand. But I tend to write in this time period. If I can get one chapter finished and outline my next chapter for the next day, I am satisfied. It was a successful day.

4 AM – 6 AM

My Not-So-Chill Chill Time

I try to relax here, though I’m really bad at it. This is where I should be reading instead of writing (or even watching TV). Something—anything—to calm down my writer’s mind (or I won’t sleep at all), but more often than not, I’m curled up on the couch with my notebook jotting down more ideas as they come to me. I might even get back on the laptop. I find myself pulling 12-hour shifts (or longer) on a regular basis. This is probably why I’m addicted to coffee.

6 AM – 3 PM

My Very Restless Rest

Magnificent, majestic sleep.

Okay. So I have night terrors a lot. Not so majestic. But, hey, it helps inspire my writing!

P.S. It’s really HARD to sleep during the day. Lawnmowers. Sunlight. Truck engines. You name it, it has woken me up.

IN THE END

Writing for a living, more often than not, is not our living, but we do live for it. I love finding time between gigs to sneak in a few words or tweet back and forth with awesome readers, but I’m mainly working a regular gig like everyone else. And, hey! I love my day job. I honestly think my day job helps me be a better writer, and I get to read all day. It’s a dream come true, right?

If anyone is curious, I’m currently writing this article on my weekend. It’s Sunday, July 17, at 10 PM, so more than two weeks before you will be reading this. But it’s some of my only free time to blog, so I write ahead of time since I know work can get unpredictable and crazy. Even better? Now, I have time to go write.

Welcome to my writer’s life. 😉 

Original covered my average day as a writer in 2013.

~SAT

wattpadBlakeBlake’s origin story released on the FREE Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad. If you’ve ever wondered how a baby boy ended up in the Northern Flock, read his story here. I’m expecting to release Ami’s story from the Southern Flock on August 12. I’m also working on the sequel – July Thunder/Lightning – now!

I hope you’re reading the Bad Bloods series! Book 1 is only .99¢!

November Rain

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

#1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Rain

#1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Rain

July’s Ketchup

30 Jul

Another month has gone by, and now, two more books are out in the world! Yippee!

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this July.

Big Moments:

Bad Bloods: November Rain and Bad Bloods: November Snow released across all platforms! Because of your reviews, we already went into a second print-run, AND I’ve been approved to write more Bad Bloods books. I’m currently working on the next installment now! And I can’t wait to debut the paperbacks of these Bad Bloods books at Penned Con in St. Louis this September.

November Rain

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

#1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Rain

#1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Rain

Also, the Bad Bloods Prequel is FREE on Wattpad. This month, the origins stories of Catelyn, Niki, and Blake released. If you want to see what the sequel might be like, Niki’s story shows a place in Eastern Vendona called the sunken bay, and a large portion of the next book will take place there. Next month, you’ll meet Steven and Ami, both from the Southern Flock.

In other exciting news, my YA fantasy—Dreammare—made it into the top five of the Red Light / Green Light Competition! I am so happy I participated and met so many wonderful writers. One day, I hope I can pursue this manuscript!

#1 SEO Term

#1 SEO Term

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Content Disclosures for Novels: My publisher provides content disclosures on novels for readers who want to scan content before they read. This helps those with PTSD or even those who want to avoid cursing and other situations. They rate romance, violence, cursing, and drug use.

2. Bad Bloods: November Snow! My second Bad Bloods book released this month, and that was super exciting! I’m amazed to see this book back out in the world after nearly a decade off the shelves. Never give up, guys. It can be a long wait, but it’s worth it.

3. Bad Bloods: November Rain! The first book in the Bad Bloods duology released this month as well, and I was so excited to see so many of YOU excited, too. Thank you for posting your reviews and ratings everywhere you can. I appreciate all the time you’ve taken to try out my work and also recommend it to those who might enjoy it, too.

Other Blog Posts:

How To Get A Literary Agent: Many writers are searching, but many don’t know where to start. I ran a writer’s group this month, and since I covered this topic there, I brought the lesson to my own website. I outline where to start, how to begin, and when to research and pitch. There are dozens of websites and tools out there for you to use, so I hope you enjoy the info!

#1 Referrer was WordPress' Reader

#1 Referrer was WordPress’ Reader

How to Manage a Book Launch: Additionally, publishing can be scary, and no matter what route of publishing you went, you know you have to market…and you have to market a lot. This means you have a huge hand in your own book launch, so I outlined when to start marketing your book and some ideas to keep in mind as your book goes out to the public.

#SATurdate: Independence Day Resurgence, The Last Star, & PokemonGO: My weekly update of what I’m watching, reading, and eating.

Writing Tips for a Trilogy or Series: Everyone loves a good series, but how do you write one?

#SATurdate: Good Morning Call, Bad Bloods 3, Top Ten, & Serial: My weekly update of what I’m watching, reading, and eating.

Publishing A Political YA Book During An Election: My Bad Bloods books revolve around an election, and boy, is it surreal.

#SATurdate: Salt to the Sea, Death Note, The Turncoat’s Gambit, & Tallulah: My weekly update of what I’m watching, reading, and eating.

#SATurdate: Book Release, Stranger Things, A Thousand Pieces of You, & Swiss Army Man: My weekly update of what I’m watching, reading, and eating.

Website Wonders: A monthly classic

YouTube Channel:

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

NOVEMBER RAIN

  • Teen Book Lit 101: “I was in love with this novel right from the first page. It’s such a page turner and definitely a unique concept. I haven’t read anything like it so far. I love how fast paced and intense it is.”
  • Macy Loves Stories: “November Rain is very relatable and at the same time very inspiring, breathtaking, and beautiful. It should be read by everyone because I believe everyone will learn at least one valuable lesson from it. I also thought of The Hunger Games and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children while reading it, so if you loved those books, you should definitely check Bad Bloods out!”
  • A Reader’s Review: “A dark and insightful dystopian read! Thompson is an immensely talented writer. I was reminded of events from history such as the witch trails and the Holocaust, not to mention contemporary events surrounding the modern day diaspora of those from war torn countries which has resulted in the pressure of immigration on other nations, which  some are fearful of. A top read for readers of Young Adult fiction and/or for those who are seeking a thought provoking read.”
  • The Bookworm Who Lived: “I’m so hooked on this story and I am excited to start November Snow as soon as I’m done writing this review. I definitely recommend this book!”
  • Daydreaming Books: “November Rainwas a great read. The plot and the characters were pretty interesting and I was hooked from the very first page. The writing was smooth and easy to read and the pace was fast throughout the book. I easily finished this book in two sittings, it was hard to put it down. I am so excited to read the next part and see what happens! Recommend it? Yes!”
  • Black Words-White Pages: “This book is addicting and very fast paced. I highly recommend this story to read this amazing story.”
  • Between Folded Pages: “You’ll need to pick this one up if you’re looking for a great quick read about wonderful characters in a corrupt world.”
  • Tranquil Dreams: “November Rain is a fun read and very much a page turner!”
  • Chic Nerd Reads: “If you’re into X-men and corrupt government, then pick this up!! I am so left wanting more!!The writing is awesome and super easy. The story is fast paced and you will fly through November Rain. The plot is easy to understand, and once you’re into the story, you just get everything that’s going on. I am definitely going to read more from this author.” 
  • The Bookie Monster: “This is one of those ‘you can’t put it down’ books. Thompson builds the tension of the election and its importance slowly and with care. She develops her characters fully and with great attention to detail. She is a masterful storyteller.”
  • Mel’s Shelves: “I’m looking forward to reading more!”

NOVEMBER SNOW

  • Teen Book Lit 101: Oh, the feels!!! I absolutely loved it!!!
  • Black Words, White Pages: I bawled like a baby at the end of this book. I highly recommend this story to all to read and enjoy!!
  • Daydreaming Books: This book was an emotional roller-coaster! So much happened in this book, I couldn’t entirely believe my eyes. Recommend it? Yes!
  • The Book Forums: Wow…I mean this as a compliment, November Snowripped out my heart, then stepped on it…Then laughed at my dead heart on the ground. End the end, Bad Bloods: November Snow is an amazing read that I recommend to everyone.
  • OMG Books and More Books: Filled with suspense, action, and unexpected twists, Bad Bloods is one of my favorite duologues this year. I strongly recommend this book to anyone. My heart broke in the end, but I loved every minute of this book.
  • Read, Watch, and Think:  A lot more action, twists and turns making it an amazing finale. The language is satin smooth and the narration quality is what makes the author’s book to die for. It’s a fabulous series.
  • Babbling Books: Truly, Thompson has done an incredible job here of story weaving. Just wonderful. Don’t underestimate your need for tissues here people, don’t do it. Prepare yourself with tissues and a cuddly stuffed animal.

Interviews: Discover New AuthorsKC Writes Interview PodcastCharacter interview

 Features: CTP’s Sizzling Summer Reads, July Book Boyfriend/Girlfriends Month

Awarders: The Liebster Award by No Quarter Series. 

July2016

#MondayBlogs Content Disclosures for Novels

11 Jul

Recently, my content disclosure tree for Bad Bloods released by Clean Teen Publishing. What is a content disclosure tree? Well, I’ll leave that up to my publisher to define on their website. (Click here to read the definition. If you want to read my full content disclosure tree for Bad Bloods, click November Rain and November Snow.) I suggest reading both before continuing, but I’m going to write the article as if the links are broken. Clean Teen rates everything based on 4 subjects: violence, language, drug use, and romance/heat level, and you can see my examples below.

Content Disclosures for Bad Bloods

Content Disclosures for Bad Bloods

In summary, Clean Teen Publishing allows readers to understand what they’re picking up when they choose a book—which I completely support for numerous reasons, but I will mainly talk about personal experiences, both from working with readers and from traumatic topics I’ve lived through myself, and how these examples have helped me understand the consideration of a content disclosure.

Starting off at my day job, I help authors find readers interested in their work. One of the topics I always discuss with authors is whether or not there is incest, rape, or other controversial topics in the story. Why? Because many of the reviewers I have worked with requested to know this for various reasons. By talking to numerous readers every day, I started to realize how many readers would prefer to know certain things up front—again, for various reasons. Sometimes, it’s triggering for those with PTSD. Sometimes, they are simply disinterested in that scenario. Sometimes, it’s just a preference of how they are feeling that day. While I’m not one to be against any particular topic in a novel, I can understand why someone wouldn’t want to read about certain topics, especially involving traumas.

That being said, this sort of disclosure hasn’t happened without controversy. Simply Google “disclosing content in novels” or “content ratings for readers” and I guarantee you’ll find a forum discussing the pros and cons of this. The main arguments I see revolve around ruining surprises and the effectiveness of even preventing someone from reading something they won’t enjoy. And that’s what I want to discuss.

First, as a writer who has written about controversial topics—particularly with violence in The Timely Death Trilogy and drug use in Take Me TomorrowI would—by no means—want a reader to pick up one of my works and accidentally be triggered by something. Speaking from personal experience, my mother died from a drug overdose when I was eleven, which is why I wrote Take Me Tomorrow, but through years of counseling, I met many kids like me who reacted very differently than I did. Reading Take Me Tomorrow would be extremely upsetting for them, and knowing what they went through, I would never want to cause them distress about such a personal topic. As a fellow reader, I would also rather find them something else they might like to read.

Granted, I understand the “just put it down” argument, but—at the same time—why can’t we prevent readers from picking up a book they definitely won’t like in the first place? This isn’t about ratings or reviews. This is about caring about your readers’ feelings and time. Now . . . here is where I hear the “but that ruins the surprise” argument . . . which I don’t understand, because—if done correctly—the content disclosure will say the topic, not which character and on which page. Take my full disclosure for example (if you click on this link, it’s at the bottom of the page). Clean Teen Publishing lets us know that November Rain talks about the violence in the book, but it doesn’t say how it plays out. It doesn’t say how it happens or when it happens. It doesn’t even say how much it happens. If anything, I’ve given away SO MUCH more on my own website.

I know I write about controversial—and often violent—topics in my stories, and I, by no means, have an issue with readers knowing that up front, especially because my novels fall under the YA genre, and genres alone don’t warn about the insides. TV and movies have had ratings for a long time, and while I understand that it’s much easier to be surfing channels and accidentally comes across a movie (and a book takes much more time to get into), I think content disclosures can help a large portion of readers find more suitable books that they will enjoy.

Content disclosures can help those that feel like they need it, and those who feel they don’t need content disclosures can ignore them. If you want to be surprised about all the topics, for instance, don’t read the disclosure. It’s as simple as that. At this point, I will say that I don’t think it needs to be an industry standard but rather something that is up to an author and their publisher (and of course, the reader). Personally, I love them. I see too many benefits coming from them for me not to love them. Content disclosures can help those avoiding triggering topics and even help parents choose books for their children that they deem appropriate. Disclosures can help readers find exactly what they’re looking for, maybe even a controversial topic they’ve struggled to find. Everyone who wants them can read them, and everyone who doesn’t want them doesn’t have to use them, but as an author, I’m glad my novels have them.

P.S. On a fun side note, my publisher actually makes these for anyone interested! Click here to check it out.

P.P.S. Original posted here. (I covered The Timely Death Trilogy)

~SAT

Check out my latest interview on the KC Writes Interview Podcast! We discuss publishing, writing fantasy novels, studying poetry, hosting events, and other surreal parts about authors’ lives.

Clean Teen Publishing is hosting their Christmas in July giveaway, and it’s epic! They are giving away a Kindle Fire‬ and up to $200 in cash!!! Check out the details and yes, this giveaway is open for International contestants. They’re hosting a Goodreads Giveaway for Bad Bloods: November Rain as well.

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November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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