Sunday, June 30, 2013

ALA's Best Fiction for Young Adults and Quick Picks Lists

Every year, committees of librarians read hundreds of titles to try and come up with various lists that ultimately help librarians make purchasing decisions. There are literally thousands of young adult books published each year, and there is no way every library can purchase every book published. It would be nice, wouldn't it? But that's simply not the case, and so, the lists that the ALA provides every year is an incredible resource for YA librarians.

There are a number of these lists, but today I'm going to talk about two of them: The Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) list and the Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list.

At the Annual Librarian Association conference, they always have a session where the committee gets teen feedback about books on the list of BFYA nominees. On Saturday, I noticed people tweeting teens' comments from that session, and it's always fascinating to hear what they have to say, so I followed the hashtag for a while. Then I clicked over to the link of nominees and once again, like almost every other year, I'm not on the nominee list. And although it stings a little bit each time, I'm sort of used to it by now. 

Two of my books, I Heart You, You Haunt Me and The Day Before, did make the Quick Picks list, designed to help librarians find books that can be great for reluctant readers, which is a wonderful thing.  

In the past couple of weeks, I've seen some bloggers post their "Best of 2013 So Far" lists or "Summer Reading" lists, talking about their favorite reads this year, and I think that's awesome and fun and a great way to mention titles again that came out a while ago. Getting the word out about books you love to readers of your blog and other bloggers is a wonderful thing, and I know all of us authors appreciate that a LOT! 

Pretty tulips for you!

Many bloggers make it a point to post their reviews not just on their blogs, but on goodreads, Amazon, B&N, etc. This is extra work that doesn't necessarily get the blogger anything, but it helps the author a lot, and again, authors appreciate it SO much. 

But please consider there is one more thing that can really, really help an author, and that is to suggest the books you love for the BFYA lists and the Quick Picks list. Anyone can suggest a title. Not just librarians - ANYONE (except for the author, agent or editor of the book).

As I look over the list of nominees, I'm happy to see some titles I've read and loved this year, like Just One Day by Gayle Forman, The Archived by Victoria Schwab, The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr, Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys, Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, etc.

But I'm also disappointed that I don't see some of my favorites of 2013 (in no particular order). Golden by Jessi Kirby. Going Vintage, by Lindsey Leavitt. The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler (which I'm only halfway through, but still, I'm loving it). The Program by Suzanne Young.  The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding. Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger. (If you are wishing I listed your book here, please know: I'm sorry, I have SO many more sitting here in a TBR list, but it's hard to read as much because I've been on deadline a lot the past few months).

You might be wondering why I don't suggest some of these titles for the list myself. Well, because I have to admit that some of these people are my friends, and I'm guessing the committee doesn't really want the selection process to become a - you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours kind of thing, where authors nominate titles for each other. And although I may have picked up the book because a friend wrote it, I can honestly say in the end, I loved the book regardless of that fact.

Anyway, which books I've loved is not really the point here. Have YOU read a book this year that you loved? Do you enjoy supporting that author, so he/she will be able to continue to write and sell more books in the future? Library sales are important sales for YA authors! 

If you are a teacher, a librarian, a blogger, or a reader, and you've read and loved a book this year (that was published in 2013) and think it deserves to belong on library shelves all across the country, please, take a few minutes and tell the BFYA committee about it.

Click HERE to see the list of BFYA nominees so far (because the year is only half over, and more titles will be added).

Click HERE to find the form you can fill out to suggest a book for the Best Fiction for YA list.

Click HERE to see the list of Quick Picks nominees so far (again, the year is only half over and more titles will be added).

Click HERE to find the form you can fill out to suggest a book for the Quick Pick list.

Both of the forms say that suggesting a title does not guarantee the book will automatically become a nomination, but I'm guessing that the more people who suggest a title, the more it makes the committee sit up and take notice.

Again, thanks for all you do to support YA authors!

Monday, June 10, 2013

From my mail

Every few months, I like to stop and take a minute to say thank you to my readers for your e-mails and letters. I try hard to reply to each and every one individually, but I think it can be fun to give a shout out to some of the awesome notes here as well.

This is a picture a reader named Zainab sent to me a couple of years ago, and I wanted to point out that her creativity around an all-girl band was the inspiration for one of the story lines in my upcoming novel, Frosting and Friendship. So thank you, Zainab!

Here are some snippets from letters and e-mails I've received from readers recently:

"Sometimes I have problems with my friends in school, but your books inspired me to talk it out and say sorry." ~ Chelsea, soon-to-be 5th grader

"When I was looking for a book at Barnes & Noble, your book caught my eye, and once I started to read it, I felt as if I was there. My most favorite book is It's Raining Cupcakes." ~ Jessica

"My best friends and I liked Sprinkles and Secrets so much, we did a video book report on it. We had a lot of fun doing it. I wish I could send the disc to you but I can't, it's way too fragile for the mail." ~ Elly

"I enjoyed It's Raining Cupcakes because it taught me that you can do anything you set your heart to. My mom and I made the Grandma's Applesauce Cupcakes and they were delicious." ~ Brooke, 5th grader

"I have read all of your books at least three times and I own all of them. They are really fun to read. Your books are just amazing. My favorite one is your newest one Falling For You. My second favorite is The Day Before; that one made me cry." ~ Emily, 13

"Your book [Falling for You] had me in tears because I realized that I wasn't the only one who had been in a situation like that. Even though it's fiction, it made me really connect with Rae." ~ Rebecca

"I just wanted to let you know that I love your books.
The way you write,
the way you describe,
the way you understand how teens feel,
I just love it.

I have just finished Falling For You and it had me crying at the end. I'm already looking forward to your next book." ~ Xiu


Please note: In August, I will be sending out fun postcards I ordered specifically for the release of Frosting and Friendship. If you would like to receive one of these postcards with a little note from me and signed by me, I just need your address. Please send it to: lisaschroederbooks(at)gmail(dot)com. Make sure your parents are okay with giving me your address. Thanks!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

If I were Queen of YA covers

Jeri Smith-Ready revealed the cover for her new contemporary YA novel coming out in 2014. I commented on twitter that I love it. (You can read a synopsis of the book here)

If I were Queen of YA Covers, I would say, let's have more artistic covers like this, please!!

I was browsing a great web site,, which gives an easy-to-read list of upcoming YA releases, and although I hardly found any artistic covers in my quick scan, I did find some that feel different to me than the usual fare, and I'm curious if others like these that are different, or is it just me?

I need to get back to revisions, so I don't have time to link to indiebound so you can learn what these books are about, but do look them up if you're curious. Mostly I just felt like crowning myself Queen of YA Covers for a day, or you know, five minutes, where I say - more creative and different covers, please!

A side note: There is a series my 16 YO son loves, but I don't think he ever would have read them if he wasn't able to take the covers off so he could take them to school. The covers feature a teen boy and girl (though they look older) and he really hated the covers. A lot. I feel like so many of the covers are marketed toward girls, and if we want boys to pick up books and read them regardless of whether a male or female tells the story, publishing really needs to try and do a better job with covers.

All right. Carry on. I have other royal duties to attend to, haha.