I’ve been writing the last few days, but unfortunately nothing that’s ready for the blog. I’m chugging along on Chapter 4 of my YA gothic horror novel and working on a few opinion pieces that still need some fact checking and sourcing before I can post them. It’s been a while since I’ve written nonfiction pieces. One of them is a discussion on what representation in the media means to me, and it’s been a struggle to keep it from spiraling out of control. There’s so much I want to talk about, and it’s a conversation I have all the time offline, but trying to structure it into a post and conveying everything I want to say has been a challenge. It’s a conversation that receives a lot of backlash too, which is intimidating. Maybe you can tell me in the comments here what representation means to you, so I can reflect on your words while I continue to find mine.
I was also distracted by Book Twitter’s discussion about The New York Times YA Best Sellers List. The conversation has been changing from ethical behavior of authors and their networks to the value of these lists, given that they don’t celebrate literary merit so much as marketing teams.
Personally, I’ve rarely liked the books that make these lists, especially the adult fiction. I’ve never considered the factors that created the list before, even though I’ve always been aware of them. Working in a library, where I see these books being requested and checked out all the time, I attributed it to being heavy with “cheap thrill” reads like crime mysteries and bodice ripper romances. These books are definitely popular, would they still be beloved if potential readers hadn’t been assailed with the titles and cover images on ads, blogs, and Instagram before even walking into the bookstore?
And if the only qualifying factor is sale quantity, how do they decide which sales qualify? Is this practice so uncommon, and was it only spotted and called out because it was a new publisher and author raising red flags? (I do have to say, though, I love how quickly the YA community came together and went “Something about this is weird. Let’s ask some questions and huddle.” and influenced the NYT to update their list to reflect more “accurate” purchasing trends that kept by all accounts a better deserving author on that list.)
Share your thoughts with me, readers. How did you react to Thursday’s unveiling?