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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

6 Misconceptions of Non-Writers

I love non-writers. I come from a family of them and I was a non-writer once. I love to think back about all the misconceptions I once had about publishing and writing. Today I'm going to share and de-mystify a few.

#1: Publishing is easy
This is a common one. Before I became a writer, I used to think that all a writer had to do was write a book and it would somehow magically become a novel. I'm not really sure how I thought that worked but I was a naiive young writer back then.

#2: You make a lot of money publishing a book
This one comes courtesy of my grandpa who told my mom to publish her book so she could make some money. It is not at all true. Many writers still need and have day jobs. Writing is not a stable source of income. Most advances are not the six-figure ones that so many people dream of receiving. Some writers may not get an advance at all. It depends on the publisher and the book, and advances can even vary book to book for the same author. Disregarding advances, your source of income would be your royalties. Which also vary depending on how your book is selling and are only received after your book earns out its advance. In addition, even if your book sold today it's still going to be a year or two before it's actually released.

#3: You don't have to do a thing after your book is published
This is another one from me and it is SO. NOT. TRUE. Once your book lands an editor there's lots of edits to be done. Rounds and rounds of them. Then you've got publicity and many, many things to have to be done before and after the release date. On top of writing and editing your next book, of course.

#4: Paying to publish is okay
This one's courtesy of my uncle. Paying to publish is not okay. In fact, it's a red flag in agents and publishers. Money should flow to the author. You should not have to pay reading fees or anything of that nature. Extra fees is how vanity publishers make their money and why we have sites like Writer Beware, and Preditors and Editors.

#5: Writers just have to write the book and then send it out to the editor
Why...why couldn't this one have been true... Way back when I wrote my first novel. I sent it to a beta. They gave wonderful feedback. I started researching the publishing industry. I figured I could just send it off. WRONG. That novel sucked. A lot. Writing the book is just the tip of the ice berg. Once you write "The End" you have rounds of edits that need to be done, revisions with beta, and then query/synop writing and all that jazz.

#6: Writers are hermits
This is true-ish. Writers do tend to be a solitary breed as it can be difficult to get writing done when your phone rings every five minutes and someone wants you go to to the movies and you've got soccer practice every night after school. Though this is a myth in the way that writers are stereotypically shown as people who sit in their houses all day long and type away at their laptops while sitting at their desk. Writers do have lives. We have friends, significant others, family, responsibilities, clubs, activities outside of our home. Your writing should not take over your life to the point where you ignore everything else around you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Week in Short

The biggest news of the week was the release and reaction to MOCKINGJAY. I'm still recovering from the aftermath of that one and THE DUFF (which I will be reviewing next week). Hopefully I'll be able to think about something else by next week.

Must Read:

Unleashing your creative genius through dreams -- or how I'm going to justify sleeping until noon from now on
101 form rejection projects (I want to do the second to last one.)

News:
Real story on 6-year-old's book deal

Contests:
Natalie's Horrendously Hilarious Query Contest (Check out first prize! It's incredible and very original)

GLA:
6 articles on dystopian

Querytracker:
Controlling the weather in your MS

Rachelle Gardner:
When you need a mentor

Story Flip:
The parts of a story

YA Highway:
Character motivation with Jack and Jill

Everyone have an awesome weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mockingjay Review (No Spoilers)

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.

As I'm writing this, it has now been twelve hours since I finished Mockingjay. The PMJS (Post Mockingjay Syndrome) is starting to disappear. But I'm still not quite sure what I think about it. I don't know if I'm really ever going to know until I read it again so that I have time to absorb everything.

Last night I felt like someone had ripped my heart out and ran it over with a semi when I finished. Now I just feel empty. I feel like I should be head over heels in love with it, but I'm not. It just wasn't what I expected and I haven't decided if that's good or not.

The first three-quarters dragged a little bit, and then the ending came too quickly. Not in a "I wish this book would never end" sort of way but in a "it feels rushed" way. There was just so much build-up and then it kind of just ended. The best parts that I looked forward to seeing the most were just skipped over and things that should've been major plot points just...happened. It felt weird reading the last quarter because I kept glancing at how many pages were left trying to figure out how it could possibly end that fast.

Don't get me wrong, it's an incredible ending to an incredible series, but Catching Fire is still my favorite of the trilogy.


Overall: 10/10 Still, even though I feel like it could've been a 15.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mockingjay Day!

It's the day we've been waiting for! Mockingjay's official release is TODAY! I know some lucky souls already have their hands on it and hopefully I'll be joining them VERY, VERY soon. I haven't been this excited since I went into Borders to get Deathly Hallows at noon on its release day.

Will the Capitol be overthrown?

Will Peeta escape?

And most importantly, WILL Katniss choose Gale or Peeta?

It's time to find out!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

What You Need to Query

Ahhh querying. Sometimes pressing send can be as scary as jumping into the pits of Tartarus. But before you start sending out those letters, what do you need to have first?

# 1: A completed manuscript. This is the most important. Your story needs to be fully written and polished within an inch of it's life. It should've been revised and edited until it shone like a new penny, and read by at least one other person that gave a complete and honest critique. Don't be the person that queries before the story is done and then has to do a quick edit on it. Rushed editing does not make a polished novel.

# 2: A polished query. This will be the first correspondence you have with potential agents, so treat it like you treated your manuscript. Don't just dash it off in five seconds and hit send. A lot of people will write this at the same time as the novel, perhaps having a first draft query before the novel is even started. I usually wait until I'm about halfway done before I start, but to each their own. Write the first draft. Let it simmer. Revise. Try to see it from an agent's point of view. Revise. Share with a few people. Revise. Make sure it really shines.

# 3: A solid synopsis. Coming for experience, write the synopsis before you query. You don't want to end up like me, writing a synopsis as fast as I can because an agent just requested it. There are also more and more agents requesting a synopsis along with the query. So even though the synopsis might be scary, it's a good idea to have it written and polished before you hit send on that query. Just in case.

Once these three things are done, you're ready to start building your list of potential agents, crossing your fingers, and hitting Send.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Week in Short

FOUR DAYS TO MOCKINGJAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *explodes* Can. Not. Wait.

Must Read:

The Other: I'm Not It
The ultimate advice on how to write a query from Nathan

News:
Oh my gosh, if you haven't seen the Beastly trailer, watch it. NOW. I must see this movie. And buy the book... I'm totally fangirling on Alex Pettyfer's hair, not gonna lie.

Querytracker is now mobile!

GotYA:
7 tips for being a better beta

Pimp My Novel:
Inevitable envy

Querytracker:
The perks of being unpublished

Rachelle Gardner:
What a revision letter might include

Story Flip:
Poke those dead scenes with a stick
Follow the leader

***
I wrote a lot this week! I was really excited. The Elite finally hit 10k before I realized that dragging out every single word was not helping me and switched to Burning Bridges. The words are pouring out on BB and it hit 20k! I'm very excited about this one!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Censorship

If you were away from the blog/Twittersphere yesterday, you may have missed the talk of censorship going on when Ellen Hopkins was uninvited to the Teen Lit Festival. Other authors soon began withdrawing from the festival in response to the censorship.

From Ellen Hopkin's blog:

Once again, censorship opens its nasty mouth and takes a bite out of me. This time in Humble Texas, a suburb of Houston. Let me say first thing that I did two high school visits there a couple of years ago, and they went very well. The librarians were totally supportive and, in fact, took me to the amazing Houston Rodeo afterward. So when they asked me to take part in the Teen Lit Fest they help organize, I said sure. The event is scheduled for the last weekend in January, 2011. But I won’t be there after all.

Apparently, a middle school librarian saw my name on the roster and decided my presence would somehow negatively affect her students. I’m not sure how that is possible. Maybe she thinks I sweat “edgy and dark.” (Are those things catching?) Anyway, she went to a couple of parents with her concerns. I’m guessing she knew the exact ones who would raise a stink, and they did. They went to the school board, and the superintendent, Guy Sconzo, decided to uninvite me. (He says I was never invited, but I was!)

You know, I’m kind of getting used to this, and I had just about decided not to make a big deal about it. But then another Texas librarian, who is a great supporter, e-mailed Mr. Sconzo. His reply was arrogant and condescending and really made me mad, on two fronts. First, he admitted he “relied on his head librarian’s research” in regard to my books or me or both. Meaning he never bothered to read them himself. (Censors rarely do!) Never bothered to contact me with his concerns. Didn’t listen to the other librarians who lobbied heavily to keep me on the speaker roster, or ask other teen book festival organizers about their experiences with me.

Then Mr. Sconzo went on to say that there are so many authors they could never have them all at their Teen Lit Fests. Like I’m just another author. (Oh, except one that apparently gets under people’s skin.) I am not just another author. I’m an author who is a voice for a generation that faces real problems every day. An author who tries to dissect those problems, look for reasons, suggest solutions, show outcomes to choices through characters who walk off the page. I’m an author who cares about her readership in a very real way. I am thoughtful, respectful of my readers, and not afraid to tell the truth.

That is what censors fear. The truth. Mr. Sconzo doesn’t “want to jeopardize any possible negative reaction [sic] with what has been to date completely positive for literally all concerned.” (I always wonder about school administrators who can’t write a sentence correctly.) The truth may not always be pretty, but it is positive. What's negative is hiding truth in a dark closet, pretending it doesn't exist. And worse, manipulating people with lies.
More on Houston by Ellen Hopkins

Pete Hautman's views on the festival and censorship

Librarified's account

My two cents as a teenage reader:

Censorship is not okay. If you don't want your kid to read a book or listen to an author speak, that's fine. That's up to you. (You may also want to cancel the cable and home school them because the "worst" book is not worse than reality.) But it is not okay for you to tell other people that they can't read a book or listen to someone speak. That is up to them to decide. I wouldn't tell you that you can't watch CNN or buy a double cheeseburger or read Eat, Pray, Love.

There is always one person that feels the need to ruin something for everyone else. That is not how this should work. If Ellen Hopkin's presence at an event bothers you, don't go. But don't ruin it for everyone that was looking forward to seeing her there.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Writing Obsession

Sorry, no teaser this week. I'm trying to settle into one WiP and I feel guilty for skipping around with my teasers.

Writing is an incredible past time. It is something that everyone is able to do, but not something everyone is good at or wants to do. Like everything, writing has its ups and downs. Hours are spent writing, rewriting, editing, brainstorming. But what happens when those hours are all you do?

It is not okay to be obsessed with writing to the point where you block everything else in your life out. It is not okay to put your writing above everything else in importance, including friends, family, your job, sleep, meals.

If you find yourself spending all your days in front of the computer writing, take a break. Take a week and dedicate it to something -- anything -- else. Go to the movies, hang out with friends, go hiking, take a day trip into the city.

The best writing is drawn from everyday experiences. And if you're not getting those everyday experiences, your writing is going to miss out. Some of my best ideas have come while I was in public doing something completely un-writing-related.

So take a break. Don't worry, your writing will still be there when you get back.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just Write It

I hear a lot of questions from writers asking other people if they think something would work.

A point of view.

A tense.

A story idea.

A style of writing.

A plot point.

My answer is always the same. "Write the book the way it wants to be written. If it works, it works."

Because, honestly, NO ONE can tell you if something is going to work or not without reading the completed story. And that's not possible unless you write it. So the next time you want to ask someone if a novel should be written in epistolary format, skip the question and just do it. The worst that could happen is you finish the novel and find out that it's not working. And usually if something's not working, you're going to realize it in the first couple of chapters.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Week in Short

Happy Friday the thirteenth everyone! Don't break any mirrors, walk under any ladders, or step on any cracks. I can't believe August is almost half over...and I've accomplished NOTHING. Guess I'm going to have to change that. This week I learned that small children are the best form of birth control, staying up until 6:30 in the morning is NEVER a good idea and neither is drinking half a Monster before going to bed, and my one-year-old niece and cousin know how to fist-bump. My family is awesome.

Song of the Week: If Ever I Could Love by Keith Urban

The biggest thing on the internet this week was WriteOnCon! If you've been living under a rock, WriteOnCon was a totally free, online writers' conference for young adult and under writers. If you missed it, everything has been archived online so that you can check out the wealth of information too.

Must Read:
6 tips on how to critique with grace
Sexual double standards in literature
Don't EVER give up [If I wasn't too lazy to go out in the living room, hook up the laptop to the printer, and print this out (Note to self: buy wireless printer), I would do all that and tack this post on my wall. Not kidding.]
Common writing maladies

News:
YA fantasy showdown has begun! Vote for your brackets! Includes Katsa vs Edward Cullen, Jace vs Daniel, Eragon vs Sabriel, Katniss vs Tally, and Alanna vs Meliara.

Behind the scenes of Pirates of the Caribbean 4!

Adventures in Agentland:
Cheater's guide to requested materials

Adventures in Space:
Query tips and suggestions part 1 and part 2

Blood-Red Pencil:
12 do's and don'ts of first pages

BookEnds:
Query recap

Jodi Meadows:
Planning a trilogy (Could also be great advice for planning a standalone)

Rachelle Gardner:
Questions to ask during "the call"

Story Flip:
What to do when you're not sure where to go next
Where was I going with revisions again?

Writer Unboxed:
Interview with MacAllister Stone part 2

***
I didn't get a lot of writing done this week. What hours I didn't spend with family Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I spent trying to catch up on WriteOnCon.

Burning Bridges -- 13.3k. I'm a little bit stuck on how to go about the next scene. Skylar keeps surprising me and I'm about ready to kick Kaye.

The Elite -- almost 6k. It's been calling to me again lately. I really need to figure out exactly where it's going at the moment. I don't want this part of the story to be boring, but there are things that need to happen and I need to figure out how.

Jump -- an outline has started to form and rewrites have begun.

Everyone have an awesome weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Linger Review

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain. Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human. For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces -- wolf and human -- with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?

LINGER is the long awaited sequel to SHIVER and the second book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I thought it would be the kind of book that is both beautiful and heart-wrenching and I was right.

Like Shiver, Linger is told through multiple point of views, four this time. Normally this would seem like too much and get confusing, but it didn't bother me here. Though I did feel like through the first half of the book, Grace and Sam's story fell to the wayside in favor of Cole and Isabel's. Cole was by far my favorite PoV character. Even though he was arrogant and conceited, I felt like I wanted to know his story more than anyone else's.

The dialogue was amazing. There were a few lines -- usually between Isabel and Cole -- that I had to say out loud because they were so cool.

I was right, the ending did hurt. I wanted to cry but I was too in shock with how everything ended. I need FOREVER. Now.

Overall: 8/10. Liked it but I still loved Shiver a lot more.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I loved every word of the scene where Cole and Isabel kiss for the first time. It's just so raw and real. Beautiful.

Grace goes on and on about how her parents don't understand but she's acting like a little kid throwing a tantrum.

I didn't like the off-hand way Grace and Sam just kind of skirted around her illness for the longest time. I knew something serious was going on as soon as she started feeling hot and Sam started smelling wolf on her. I just figured maybe she was a late-bloomer and she was going to start shifting. Yet they wait until she's almost DEAD before they do anything about it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

RTW -- Underwear Drawers

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:
What does your character hide in their underwear drawer - or other secret location?

Hannah likes to hide stuff in her underwear drawer. She's got two pictures of her mom, one of which she intends to give to Lex someday. There's an old twisted bracelet that Lex made for her one Christmas, and a pressed flower that her first crush gave to her at sixth grade camp.

Kaye has a horseshoe from her first pony, Starlight, a lock of tail hair from every horse that's ever died or left the ranch, and several college brochures that she's trying to pretend are lost but can't bring herself to throw away at the bottom of her tack trunk in her room.

Skylar keeps everything hidden in his bag. Since he's living on the ranch, he's supposed to unpack but refuses to. At the very bottom of his bag underneath his socks and underwear he keeps the only two packs of cigarettes he'd managed to smuggle onto the ranch, his favorite purple lighter, and a picture of his family before the accident.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Adoration of Jenna Fox Review

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! Friday, I sunburned my face while swimming for four hours and then went to see Despicable Me (very cute movie). Saturday, I hung out at home and screamed when Quality Road lost to Blame (I'm a Quality Road girl) and screamed some more when Zenyatta won her 18th straight race therefore stamping herself as one of the greatest racehorses of all time. Sunday, I spent five hours in the basement of the church painting our youth group meeting hall with primer (surprisingly fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon). Okay, now on the things you actually care about.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year-long coma -- so she's been told -- and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. But what happened before that? She's been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why won't anyone in her family talk about the accident? Jenna is becoming more curious. But she is also afraid of what she might find out if she ever gets up the courage to ask her questions. What happened to Jenna Fox? And who is she, really?

***WARNING: On most of my reviews I have a section without spoilers and then a section with them. I didn't have much that would be spoilery that I wanted to talk about with this book so I'm leaving off the spoiler section. I apologize for any small spoilers that might have slipped through in this review. I tried to keep it as spoiler-free as possible.***

I bought this book expecting to hear a contemporary story of a girl dealing with waking up from a coma. I did not get that. Instead I got an intriguing sci-fi story of a girl that should've died but didn't and is now struggling to figure out who she is in the wake of the accident. It was way better than what I expected.

Every time I started to read this book, I got sucked into it. I started reading it at one a.m. when I couldn't sleep one night and didn't stop until two-thirty because I refused to put it down.

I loved Jenna's personality and her confusion over who she was. I also loved her confusion over certain words that she couldn't remember. Like in one scene she calls her grandmother a swearword because she thinks it means "annoying."

Dane intrigued me. I wasn't quite sure what to think about him. I'm kind of annoyed that we never really figure out what it is that was wrong with him.

I loved Ethan and I was curious and a little cautious about him at first.

I still can't believe the twist with Allys. I didn't see it coming until it was there and then I realized how obvious it should have been.

The only real drawback I found with this book was there were a couple of things that I'm still curious about. A couple of threads that didn't really get tied up. Specifically with the Dane thing and the bill.

Overall: 10/10. Original premise, beautiful writing, and dealing wonderfully with one side of an issue that could be very real in tomorrow's society.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Methods of Writing

Everyone has their own method of writing. The important thing is finding one that works for you. Here I'm going to explain four different methods of writing.

Pantser
A pantser is NOT someone that walks around pulling down anyone else's pants (or their own for that matter). A pantser is someone who writes without an outline. They start a story and then just see where it carries them. They might have a vague idea where they're headed but more often they figure out the story as they go. Advantages of this method would be the fun involved in seeing how the story unfolds and greater ease in accepting changes of direction in plot and characters without an outline. Disadvantages are an increase of writers' block because pantsers often get stuck when they don't know where they are headed next.

Soft Outliner
A soft outliner is someone that creates a soft outline before they begin the story. When I use this method, I usually created a bulleted list of plot points that I want to hit in the order that I want to hit them and then I just write bullet point to bullet point. Advantages of this method increased flexibility because it's not so strict that you feel that you can't make changes and also it keeps you writing because you always know where you're headed next. With an outline you can also puzzle out plot problems and watch out for weak spots before you even begin writing, making revisions easier.

Strict Outliner
A strict outliner is someone that creates a strict outline before they begin the story. This outline may include all characters who will be introduced in the story, every single scene, and how each chapter will be laid out. Strict outliners often spend weeks or months working out an outline before they even begin the story. Strict outlines are great for writers that always have to know exactly what part of the story they're on and where they are to be heading next. The disadvantage to this is the writer may feel obligated to follow the outline to the letter and be encouraged to dump any ideas that may come along that deviate from the outline.

Writing Out of Order
Writing out of order may be paired with any of the above methods or your own method. In this method the writer writes scenes out of order instead of always working in order. This can be great for getting past writers' block and keeping a pantser going since if they have a future scene, they'll know where they are headed. This can also be a disadvantage since some writers (me) have a tendency to rush because they want to get to a future scene.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Week in Short

Today is...Friday. Yes? Yes. Sorry I got about five hours sleep last night after staying up until 3:30. I feel like my body's conscious but my brain is still sleeping. I'm hanging out with my niece today though starting at noon so I had to get up early to post this before I left.

Must Read:

Going from good to great
Laurie Halse Anderson talks about her revisions on Wintergirls

News:
New trailer for Voyage of the Dawn Treader was released!

Literary agent, Natalie Fischer is blogging!

Adventures in Space:
Evolution of a query part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

Socially Acceptable Schizophrenia:
Writing what you don't know

Story Flip:
Things to know about your characters while writing
Fill in those plot holes

Writer Unboxed:
Loyal to the facts or the reader?
Interview with Macallister Stone, owner of Absolute Write

YA Highway:
SCBWI soundbites

***
Jump -- Officially pulled off the query train. I had some partial rewrite ideas that I think are going to make it a lot better...if I can just figure out how it's going to end. I'm thinking about taking the second half in a whole other direction. I cut 27,000 words in scenes this week, finished the outline for the first half, and am about ready to start rewriting.

The Elite -- stalled at 5k while I try to figure out what comes between the last major plot point and the next one.

Burning Bridges -- My new project. I've decided to do AugNoWriMo with it and it's going very well. I hit 7k Wednesday night.

Everyone have an awesome weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Book Buying Tally 2010 and Why My Habits Surprised Me

Lookin' at Lucky walked all over the Haskell field yesterday. Mwhahahaha. No one can say that Preakness victory was a fluke now. Anyway...

I thought it would be fun for me to visit the reasons why I bought the books I did the last few trips the bookstore. Why these books over the others on the shelves?

Word of Mouth
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta -- I've heard so many great things about this novel and I'm on quite a bit of a literary kick so I decided to pick this one up.

Paper Towns by John Green -- This one basically has the same story as Jellicoe Road. I heard a lot of awesome things about it and it's author, I'm on a literary kick, it was a paperback. I had no reasons not to bring it home.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan -- This was another novel that I picked up mostly because of word of mouth. Also because I want to read the Dead Tossed Waves.

Author
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan -- I love Riordan and that's pretty much the reason why I picked up this book. It came out between his two Camp Half-Blood series and I love his use of mythology so I figured, why not?

Looking for Alaska by John Green -- Bookstore didn't have An Abundance of Katherines and I needed another John Green book.

Book in a series
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare -- Read the first two and there was no way I could pass up reading the finale. Not after CoA.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater -- I read Shiver and there was no way I was going to wait any longer to read this one.

Cover/Book trailer
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles -- I saw the book trailer a few months ago on Pub Rants and decided I had to have this book. I read and enjoyed Perfect Chemistry while I was waiting so as soon as I could, I snatched this one up as well.

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman -- the cover was the first thing to catch my eye on this one as I was skimming through Amazon's new releases one day. It's definite to-drool-over. The concept just sealed the deal for me and when I saw it in the store, I just couldn't resist.

Other
When It Happens by Susane Colasanti -- There were a few reasons that added up to me getting this book. One, I was looking for a nice YA contemp read in the vein of Sarah Dessen. WIH was in paperback so I figured, why not? It sounded like a sweet read so it came home with me.

Sparkling Cyanide and Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie -- There's a whole story behind the purchase of these two books. The short version is I saw the Unicorn and the Wasp (a Doctor Who episode where the Doctor goes back in time and meets Agatha Christie) and decided that I wanted to read a couple of her books. Both of these are referenced in the episode so I grabbed them both because I couldn't decide which one I wanted more.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson -- I have a novel in the works that features a character waking up from a coma (though that's not the main focus of the story). When I found out this book was along similar lines, I had to pick it up.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore -- this one was another find while I was skimming through Amazon. You may recognize it as one of the features on a New Releases post a couple weeks ago. The summary grabbed me and when I saw it in the bookstore (I didn't even know it was out yet!) there was no way I was walking away.

Final Tally
23% Word of mouth
15% Liked author
15% Book in a series
15% Cover/book trailer
8% Similar to another author
8% Referenced elsewhere
8% Similar to a WiP
8% Back summary only

These numbers really surprised me. A year ago back summary would've been a lot higher and word of mouth would've been a lot lower. It really shows how my reading tastes have changed. I was also surprised to see that covers and book trailers were such a large portion of my reading as cover used to be the last thing I cared about.

Take a look at the books you've bought lately and look for trends. Did any of it surprise you?