Recently, I’ve spent some time working my way through the bestseller list of YA romance fiction – everything from John Green to hit debuts such as ‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon, which was recently made into a movie.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book. But for now I’m done with YA fiction and going back to my usual genre of world lit, classics and general gritty depressing stories that leave me in existential doubt for days afterwards. As charming as it sometimes is to indulge in the idealistic world of manic pixie dream girls (MPDGs), deep conversations under the stars and passionate, obsessive love affairs, it’s all starting to feel a bit fake. Here are the 5 biggest cliches that I think have been way overdone in YA these days:
- The Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She’s beautiful. She’s deep. She’s probably a metaphor. She’s ‘broken’ but ‘strong’ and wants to make cryptic remarks about the meaning of life on a rooftop at 3am. She’s ‘not like the other girls’ because she’s a special snowflake and apparently has the ability to understand life better than everyone else, despite being a teenager with no actual life experience. Most likely she has a mental illness that’s probably being romanticised by the male love interest. Examples: basically anything written by John Green, pretty much ever.
- The MPDGs favourite activity? Astronomy of course. Because relating everything in your life to the workings of the universe automatically makes you deep apparently. Sorry, no. It doesn’t make you deep. It makes you sound kind of egotistical and occasionally like a bad science textbook. Example: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
- The dead parent/sibling/relative trope. Quite often it just seems like a lazy attempt to remove the adults from the story so the author doesn’t have to write them. In reality, family relationships are a pretty damn huge part of teenager’s lives. It’d be nice to see some more YA novels accurately reflect that.
- Romanticising mental illness. This one worries me. While I have read some books which have given the topic the gravity it deserves (Laurie Halse Anderson does this excellently) I’ve also read many more that treat it as ‘teenage angst’ or an interesting quirk to make the character seem broody, mysterious and ultimately more attractive. Yeah, no. Just don’t. Being depressed isn’t sexy, it’s just extremely unpleasant and soul-destroying really.
- Instalove! Because why spend valuable pages on having the characters actually get to know each other when they could be discussing the stars and their undying love instead.
What tropes and cliches do you hate in YA fiction?
On a side note, if you want to make me super happy please go download my new novel ‘This Really Happened’ here.
Sometimes I think of what we could
And in my fantasy it’s always
But in reality
It may not have been
And the most beautiful thing of all about this
Is that you can be whatever you want
But my love for you is mine alone
Impervious to change
And it’s something I can hold onto
Because fantasies can never be broken
In the same way reality can
So my love can stay pure and innocent
In the same blossoming form it started out as
And I will never learn to hate you
Because a love that never truly happened can never truly die.
Tried out a new style of poetry today inspired by some of the instapoetry accounts I’m following at the moment. The fluid, undulating structure is meant to represent river currents and the fantasy, dream-like atmosphere of the poem. What do you think? Let me know!
On a side note, my novel ‘This Really Happened’ is free on amazon until 30/09. Would love it if you could download it! Thanks!
In my last post, I looked at how to prepare yourself for self-publishing. This time I’ll be focusing on what to do once your book is already out there, and how to increase your sales revenue. Here are my top tips for marketing your novel on Amazon:
- Start driving traffic towards your amazon page. Post the link on your social media accounts, your blog, everywhere you can. Change your signature in any forums you’re part of to your book cover, with a link to the book. Ask your friends or fellow bloggers to tweet the link out for you. Write some articles for news websites or online magazines. Make sure to include a mention of the book and that link in your bio at the bottom.
- Send out review copies. Research book bloggers that you think will be a good fit for your book (there are many internet databases out there which make this much easier) then send them a message politely enquiring if they’d be interested in reviewing your book on their website. If they say yes, give them a free copy. In the internet book community high-profile book bloggers are basically celebrities. Their opinions matter. Get them on your side and you’re good to go. Just make sure to read through their review policies first.
- Hold a giveaway. You can do this through Goodreads, or twitter, or any other social media website. Ideas include ‘like my Facebook page for a chance to win a free of copy of *insert your book title here*’ Everyone loves free stuff. Make them want your book, and get them to follow you while you’re at it.
- Engage. When people leave you reviews, you can reply to them to say thanks. When people tweet about your book, tweet them back/retweet them. Leave reviews on other people’s books. Chat to other writers on forums. People appreciate you showing interest and making an effort.
- Make it easy for your readers to follow you. At the end of your book, include a page with your social media handles, your website, info about any other books you’ve written and a ‘thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this book please leave a review.’ Asking for reviews actually makes people more likely to review the book.
- Build up your writing CV. Submit short stories to magazines, and if they get published make sure to mention your book in your author bio. You can post excerpts of your book (up to 10%) or other things you’ve written on some popular writing sites such as WattPad. Publish multiple books on Amazon, since then you can cross-promote them.
- Put your book on sale. Strategically putting your book on sale at the right times can have a massive effect on sales. Make it 99p or even free for a week and see how the book performs once it’s back up to full price. Usually if the book is good, a strategic sale will kickstart the domino effect and get people to start talking about the book. By the time it’s back up to full price, the word will be out and people who have heard about it based on recommendations will be willing to pay an extra pound or two for it.
Follow me for book reviews and more tips on self-publishing, writing and marketing. i’m also looking to host author interviews and guest blog posts in the future – if this is something you’d be interested in please get in contact!
I’m super excited to announce that I’ve been nominated for the Unique Blogger Award! My blog is fairly new and this is my first award so it’s a big deal for me. I can’t thank Raistlin0903 enough for nominating me. Definitely go and check out his blog – he does some fantastic reviews of movies, TV and books. I’ve even discovered a great new anime series called ‘Orange’ through his blog which I’m really enjoying so far.
• Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you
• Answer the questions
• In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award
• Ask them three questions
1 If there was anything you could change about your favourite movie or novel, to make it even more perfect, what would it be?
Not the most original answer, but my favourite book series is Harry Potter. And while I would not dare to suggest that such a masterpiece needs changing in any way, I really wish J.K would write a canon series about the marauders. She’s clearly interested in exploring more of the Potter universe which I think is great, but if she wrote a screenplay about the marauders I think I would actually die with happiness. There’s so much potential! Ah well, guess I will just have to satisfy my bromance cravings with fan-fiction for now.
2 Name three topics that you haven’t written a post on yet, but might be planning sometime in the future.
- I’m planning to write about my experiences with self-publishing through Amazon kindle, as I think it might be helpful to anyone thinking of going through the process too.
- I want to write a ‘twitter guide’ for authors, as I think it’s an incredibly important tool for self-promotion and working in marketing has made me see social media in a whole new light.
- I’ve read a lot of excellent YA books lately dealing with mental health, so I will be doing a round up of those and discussing how mental health is portrayed in the YA genre.
3 If you could arrange a debate between two people that you admire, who would they be, and why would you want to let them debate?
Virginia Woolf and Caitlin Moran – obviously it’s not possible as Woolf is dead, but they’re both such different characters in the world of feminist writing that I think it’d be interesting to see them discuss it.
1 I’ve read this
2 Hokus Grey
3 Melanie Noell Bernard
4 The Magpie Says
5 Swooning over fictional men
6 Dreaming the day
7 Scrambled Symbiosis
8 Wild and Whirling Words
- What’s one cliche or trope that you secretly really enjoy in a book, movie or TV show?
- If you could have a dinner date with one fictional character, who would it be and why?
- What’s the next thing you’re looking forward to?