** I’d noticed recently that Avon redesigned its website, and it has also now announced the launch of Share Your Book, a place for aspiring writers to post writing samples and receive feedback from readers, editors, and other authors. It reminds me somewhat of the First Page feature at Dear Author, but since this one is sponsored by a publishing house, I suspect there will be more of a presence from editors giving comments and hopefully finding new talent. Avon has had similar features in the past, including the FanLit contest that brought us Tessa Dare, Courtney Milan, Manda Collins, Elyssa Patrick, and several other authors. I’ll be curious to see what new voices emerge from this new feature. More than a few writers have emerged from the self-publishing world recently, and it looks like Avon is trying to bring some of that talent on board.
** If you’d rather write category romances, don’t miss the Blaze writing challenge over at Harlequin. Entries are due June 1, and winners will be announced at RWA in Atlanta this July.
** And if you’re an aspiring writer between 13 and 22? Well, you might want to look into The Young Authors Give Back Tour. Four YA authors, all of whom were published by their mid-twenties, are trying to inspires young writers all over the United States. The tour is coming to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Grand Rapids, and Chicago (no inspiration for the West Coast?), and will feature free writing workshops as a way to help aspiring young authors learn more about the writing process.
** In case you missed the news earlier this week, author E.L. Konigsburg died on April 19. I was pretty sad when I saw this. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has ever been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and wondered if I could hide out there, courtesy of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler; and A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver completely whetted my appetite for medieval history. Ms. Konigsburg, you’ll definitely be missed.
** Since I’m from Virginia, I have to point out that Alexandria, Virginia took first place as Amazon’s “most well-read city.” Given that I see people reading everywhere when I’m out and about in the DC suburbs, this doesn’t surprise me too much. And since the 50 Shades trilogy is listed as one of the biggest sellers for Alexandria, maybe the bookstores in this area will get a clue and enlarge their romance sections. The choices in this area are pretty much Barnes and Noble (small romance section right by the bathroom) and several indie bookstores that are largely hostile to romance.
** Last but not least, congratulations to our winners in the Lauren Willig giveaway – Kim, Patti and Pamela!
– Lynn Spencer