Monday, October 8, 2018

Second books and behind-the-scenes advice: Epic Reads Fall Meet Up

I love a good author event, but last months' chat with Kristen Ciccarelli, Heidi Heilig, and Ibi Zoboi was one of my favorites. 
The Epic Reads Meet Up in Chicago took place at a new venue for me, 57th Books in Hyde Park
(casually where the Obamas lived before they moved to D.C., don't worry, I'll be doing a bookstore spotlight). Online, the event was listed as small table discussions where a group of readers would get about 10 minutes per author to ask questions. Apparently the authors decided that the setting was intimate enough that we could have a large group discussion and it worked really well.

The group was all adults and mostly writers who had their debuts releasing in 2019 or those who were in the submission process. Literally I was one of three that didn't have a writing background, haha.  Because of the group's background, a lot of the questions were related to craft and the publishing industry which I found really interesting.

I was also thrilled to have some time to really chat with Kristen (who is the world's biggest sweetheart and I hope you have all have The Last Namsara by now) and meet Heidi Heilig who is so brutally honest and really wants to implement change in the YA world. 

Here are some fun things I learned!

  • Ibi wants to make sure everyone knows that Pride is not a straight retelling, instead it's "more danceable, more commercial."
  • Kristen wanted to explore grief and the idea of letting go in The Caged Queen
  • Heidi had to rewrite For a Muse of Fire after the 2016 election. 
  • Writing advice from Ibi: "Don't make your characters your plot bitches"
  • Kristen isn't on Twitter because she likes the idea of authors remaining a mystery.
  • Ibi is a fantasy reader at heart.
  • Heidi wants to level the playing field in publishing and make it more transparent for authors. 

Have you read anything by these authors? 
Have you attended any of the recent Epic Reads meet-ups? 
What would you change about publishing if you could?  


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