Open Thread

August 10th, 2009 • Kate

explodingheadI had a long thoughtful post in my head, all about how I thought this post was especially interesting in light of the Liar cover controversy (now rectified), but my brain for thinking seems to still be on the plane from last night (or gone completely. This image seems particularly apt right now). So I’m going to take a page from Nathan Bransford’s blog and open up the thread for conversation.

What do you want to talk about? What have you seen that’s interesting, horrifying, thought-provoking, or repelling? Who has cute lolcat pictures to share?

Let ’em loose in the comments, which I look forward to reading.

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18 Responses to “Open Thread”

  1. Sara Says:

    What I really want to know is why are there only lolcats? Why no loldogs? Or lolpeople? I think lolpeople is a brilliant idea.

    No, but seriously. Being an agent, I have to ask you. What do you know about food writers? I went to culinary school and I would love to write about food. Is there a market for that?

  2. Sara Raasch Says:

    loldogs = WIN. I'd so buy a calendar of loldogs. And I think they call lolpeople "America's Funniest Home Videos."

  3. Rebecca Says:

    But there are loldogs! I Has a Hotdog!

  4. Jourdan Says:

    How would you suggest one get into the writing business? I know there are lots of sites to publicize your writing, but is doing that wise?

    Oh the lolcat vs loldog: I think because cats seem to have more personalities (and personality disorders) than dogs is why the invention of lolcats. Though the loldog Idea sounds like fun…


  5. Jenny Says:

    Hi Sara, I also went to culinary school and when I originally set out on this path my goal was to be an editor for a food magazine (of course then I discovered YA lit and agenting πŸ™‚ Anyway, from talking with my professors at school who mostly came from the magazine world in New York, I found that there is indeed a market for food writing. Just like anything else in this biz it's competitive and located mostly in NYC and maybe New Orleans to a smaller degree. Having a culinary degree and writing talent is a great place to start and my understanding is that a lot of people start with freelancing. Try researching submission guidelines for the various magazines and see what they're looking for. Also, there's a great anthology that comes out every year called BEST FOOD WRITING OF (YEAR). If you haven't already, I would recommend checking them out. They are great collections of some fantastic food writing. Ruth Reichl is one of my faves too! As far as lolcats go, my husband is a huge fan and he just sent me the best one ever… "crumbled under weight of own cuteness"

  6. Georgiana Says:


    I've just started a project that's much creepier and darker than anything else I've written. Usually I have a lot of humor in my horror, enough that when I got feedback on a vamp/bodyswitching script I wrote a few years ago I got complaints that it wasn't scary enough.

    Anyway, I've been wracking my brains trying to come up with YA horror that's pure horror and haven't thought of any. (Brain is not functioning at capacity however.)

    Finished The Forest of Teeth and Hands recently which was excellent but I didn't find it frightening. Have read a lot that makes me anxious (Kendra and Tyrell come to mind despite not being horror stories at all) but cannot think of any YA that I would put in a horror category.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Would like to get a feel for what is out there. I would love to read something as scary as Joe Hill's Heart Shaped Box or Kelley Armstrong's Haunted.

    For an idea of what I've already read you can look at the index to my weekly entertainment column as many book titles are also col titles.

    Thank you!

  7. Stephanie W. Says:

    ENJOY! πŸ™‚

  8. Sam Says:

    Lolmonkeys beat out the cats and the dogs, I think, when they aren't super vulgar. πŸ˜€ It's a close race, though.

    On the agenting end, I've been wondering about pace. In a book, how fast does the major plot need to be entered? Will it hurt you if there's a few chapters of setting up the rest of the book, or even the rest of the series? I guess it's a subjective question, but is there a general rule?

  9. Julia Says:

    well – I just spent way too long catching up on Icanhascheezburger! I do, however, think possibly the cutest cat pics on the web are at the

    other than that…my brain is in the same condition as yours, Kate!

  10. Jamie Harrington Says:

    I am in for loldogs. I'm not really much of a cat person. Their tongues just feel so scratchy.

    I want to talk about online presence for writing. I have been thinking about it a lot. I want to see people go nuts with their books… develop a whole social networked website around it.

    Why isn't this happening? Think of the cult following!

  11. Susan Says:

    I like cuteoverload out of all the cute animal sites.

    I like Jamie's topic–"online presence" is something I wonder about, too. Esp. since what I write is a bit younger than YA so social networking sites aimed at teens and young adults don't seem to make as much sense.

  12. Jamie Says:

    But, there have been websites specifically aimed at younger teens… neopets, for example. And there have been things that Nickelodeon, etc. has opened up for the kids as well. I have to wonder if a writer has the manpower to make something like that happen.

    Would it be beneficial to the writer? Would it be worth the time? Would people WANT a random character from my book dropping in on their YA review blogs to say hi, etc?

  13. Kate Says:

    Now, I know some of my readers are old hands at the publishing process — any of you have answers to some of the questions asked above? I'll chime in with my thoughts on Sam's question about pace.

    The fact of this business is that editors and agents see a TON of material, and given that ever threatening wave of stuff to read, it's hard to give a book time when we're promised it's going to pick up later. We just don't have time to wait.

    In the past, books could be slower, could take their time setting up their story — and in other genres or age ranges, this still may be the case. But in YA and MG fiction, pace is increasingly important. We want to hit the ground running — now, that may not be in terms of ACTION, but something about the opening of the book must drive the story onward.

  14. Kate Says:

    Oh, and to answer Jamie's question, I'm going to turn to fellow publishing blogger Editorial Anonymous:

    Why aren't whole new social networks being developed around a book? Money.

    If you have a lot of it, and are willing to do it yourself, will a publisher support you? Sure! But in most cases, we're talking about A LOT of money to do it right, and publishers like to work with the tried and true.

    So says Editorial Anonymous, and so say we all.

  15. Jamie Says:

    Man I miss BSG.

    But a simple social networking site wouldn't take that much money… heck the nerdfighters did it with a ning, and that's free.

    Let's take my current book–a superhero novel.

    A site is developed basically you pick between being hero or villain, right?

    It has cutesy graphics (people will do this for cheap if you know where to look) and a whole comment here myspace/ning-ish kind of feel. People are encouraged to come up with their own stories and write them. Then, there's an online vote… making them tell ALL their friends about the contest to come and vote for their made-up super hero. They twitter it, call their grandma in Waxahachie, whatever–and then the person with the most votes in the contest gets the ULTIMATE prize. Their superhero/villain gets a nod in the next book in the series.

    That's it. You need a basic polling system, a basic social network thing, and a cute website front (which you're going to need when you start to work on your personal blog anyway.)

    Who moderates the site? At first, when the community is small-it's the author, but later on, trusted members of the site are given special moderator tags, and now they're in charge. That's easy enough. They feel cool and special, and the author steps in from time to time to say howdy to her adoring fan base. If it gets HUGE, then there's going to be more money to flesh it out, but in the beginning, it's small and doesn't need all that fancy stuff.

    But, I could be completely wrongness… I look at website value differently than others because I have a husband that makes em–they're free for me lol.

  16. Georgiana Says:

    Hi Jamie,

    What age children do you have in mind? Anyone under thirteen (I think, maybe 12) needs special protection which is why many websites won't let you join if you're under the cutoff. Too much liability, too many hoops. Definitely something you'd want to research and you'd want a lawyer who specializes in this type of law to vet everything, esp your TOS and what data you're collecting and how it's protected.

    I've been in charge of a popular discussion board for nine years now and we now have more than 150,000 members. When I started we had about 1100. It took a great deal of time, energy and marketing to grow those numbers. It would have cost a lot of money also but I work for a media company and we ran house ads, which basically cost zip. There are loads of problems inherent with having a busy site including legal threats, stalkers, crazy people and threats of violence, but the biggest problem you have with a new site is likely to be obscurity.

    The problem with using a site nobody knows about to support a book nobody knows about is you're splitting your marketing time and budget.

    As you mentioned you would be competing with some pretty big name sites (not to mention Cartoon Network etc.) so you'd have to look into what would make your site special. Why should I go there instead of a place my friends and I already visit?

    By the time you get done doing all of this where is your time to write?

    Don't get me wrong – if you want to start a new website then go for it. You could end up with something pretty fantastic that makes lots of kids happy. But if you want to write maybe you should concentrate on that. Because we all have only so much free energy and time each day and we don't want to look back in five years time and wonder why we're still spinning our wheels.

  17. D. D. Tannenbaum Says:

    For readers younger than YA, why not target the site toward the parents, with some pages set up for both parents and kids to browse together? That also sets the foundation for future shared browsing with your children

  18. Anna Says:

    I'm interested in talking about where I can get some ARC's. I'd love to give market feedback in return. Do you know, Superagent Daphne?