Aug 3, 2017

Discovering new releases - Guest Post by Julie @ Quiet YA Reads

It's the first official guest post of Learnt it the Hard Way 3!

It's such a struggle to keep up with new releases sometimes. I often feel like I am so out of the loop with regards to new and upcoming releases, and when I see some new releases being mentioned around in social media, all I can say is HOW IN THE WORLD DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BOOK?

So today we invite Julie, the lovely behind Quiet YA, and a blogger who has an amazing knowledge of upcoming titles, to teach us all a little on the art of discovering new book releases. You can also find her at YA Interrobang, Pique Beyond and might know her as one of the founder of Blogbound Con. And of course, don't forget to follow her on twitter!

When I started blogging, I was blogging about books I found on shelves. I walked into Barnes and Noble and pulled books off the shelf that appealed to me. I didn’t worry about review copies and release dates and keeping up with trends, I was just reading books that intrigued me at the moment. I went through a vampire stage, a magic stage, a historical fiction stage.

Blogging opened up a whole new world of ARCs and buzz and bestseller lists and award lists and release dates. On the one hand, hearing other people talk about books and having publishers send me books helped me learn about a lot of titles that I might not have picked up on my own. There are entire genres I didn’t think were my cup of tea, but found that...actually they were. I learned about so many titles at first.

But this also created pressure. The pressure to keep up with release dates and to read all the popular books my friends were reading. Within a few years, I started to feel like I was in an echo chamber. We were all just talking about the same handful of books. I noticed the problem even more acutely on other websites, like tumblr.

Eventually, I got tired of it and started seeking out more variety. I started by subscribing to Publisher’s Weekly’s Children’s Letter. Twice a week, a PW emails me about kidlit books, including recent book deals. The newsletters don’t cover every deal, but they do cover quite a few I’d likely miss otherwise and the wait is almost worth it. I also started paying more attention to the publishing teams of books I love. Agents, editors, publicists, specific imprints. I figured out who tends to work on books I adore and I pay extra attention to what they acquire and what they put out. Additionally, I went to more events; I was fortunate enough to go to New York City for college, where there’s a large YA community and a lot of book signings. New York Comic Con, Book Expo America, and a couple of ALA Midwinter’s also helped expose me to new titles since I could actually talk with people who worked in publishing one on one about what they’re loving. Events aren’t an option for everyone, so I recommend building relationships on twitter with publishing people who share your taste.

Equally important to me has been following bloggers I didn’t know in the original days. I started blogging in 2009 when the community was really small. For a long time, I was mostly following those bloggers. This became a problem as more and more of them stopped blogging and the ones still hanging on continued to get the same opportunities from publishers over and over, so they were talking about the same books. In the past couple of years, I’ve paid attention to the reviewers and instagrammers who have been calling loudly for diverse books. Not only am I learning from them, but I’m also learning about titles that might not have gotten the same kind of buzz or might be indie/self published. I’ve made several purchases from authors I’m not sure I ever would have heard of from this practice alone.

My final tip for keeping with new releases has just been to put in the work. When I started writing #quietYA lists monthly for YA Interrobang, I wanted to make sure I covered as many titles as possible. This meant I was just sitting at my computer and googling “YA book releases” and the month and the year and going through at least a few websites to make sure I caught as many as possible. Any book I hadn’t heard of had to be googled and added to a spreadsheet. I was really, really thorough about this and spent hours just researching and googling and filling in my sheet in 2016; I’ve been a bit more relaxed about it in 2017 so far, but have plans for when my schedule calms down. It’s not particularly fun work, I’ll admit. It’s quite a bit of staring at a screen doing tedious work and often, I’m not really learning about that many new titles. The important part, though, is that I am learning and if me taking the time to learn and talk about those titles helps at least one person find a book they love and relate to, it’s all worth it.

Hope that was helpful to all of you! Thanks for the tips and insight Julie!
How do you guys discover new releases?

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