A woman reads a tablet beside a fire pit on cold winter evening outside the Science Center at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT) - RTR4Q65X

Young adult literature is booming – and the secret is in the communities of young book lovers forming online. Photo: Brian Snyder

A post by Marcella Purnama and Mark Davis, University of Melbourne

Before JK Rowling, critics and experts predicted that young adult (YA) literature would finally die, as sales continued to decline. In 1997, a mere 3,000 YA books were published. A decade later that number was 30,000.

The success of Harry Potter changed everything. YA is now embraced by teenagers and adults alike – a 2012 Bowker Market Research study in the US found that 55 per cent of people buying YA books are over 18.

We’re currently living in the second golden age of YA literature. But why is there a sudden demand for these coming-of-age books?

Apart from the undeniable quality of the books themselves, a generation of online readers are creating new ways to discuss, dissect and celebrate their favourite stories. And it’s driving sales in a big way.

Take John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (2012). It reached #1 on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists six months before the book was published. It received thousands of five-star reviews, ranked by readers who hadn’t even held their copies.

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Instagram Tips for Writers
A guest post by Rowena Wiseman

The problem with being a writer is the act of writing is boring. Look here I am at my laptop, writing. Oh again, I’m at my laptop, writing. I’m drinking a long black coffee out of an aqua blue cup. I’m typing on my laptop. I’ve had three coffees already today, so I’m drinking a black tea. I’m at a cafe. Writing. Fingers, keys, laptop. I’ve got crumbs on my keyboard. The act of writing is repetitive and not very Instagram-worthy.

So when I came across #bookstagram I was like, finally, this is something I can contribute to! Type #bookstagram or #bookphoto or #bookphotography into Instagram and drool at some of the great photos #booklovers have been taking!

Instagram is a great way to connect with other #booklovers. People are like happy on Instagram – so if you want to feel some love, it’s the place to be! The use of hasthtags also mean that your posts have a wider reach and a longer life-span than they do on other social media sites. Hashtag a book #ItaloCalvino and it’s likely another Calvino lover will discover it two months down the track! That’s the beauty of Instagram.

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Wattpad for Authors

Online community Wattpad has a large and dedicated following around the world. In this guest post Rowena Wiseman explains how writers can use Wattpad to reach a whole new audience.

Wattpad is the world’s largest community of readers and writers with over 30 million people using the platform. I’ve heard that only 10% of these users are writers, making it 90% of readers looking for their next great read. This is where Wattpad is superior to other writing sites that I’ve used in the past where it’s just been writers reading and commenting on other writers’ work. Sure it’s great to connect with other writers, but Wattpad offers the unique experience of attracting masses of actual readers.

I started an account on Wattpad earlier this year and I now have followers from places as far as Mexico, Latvia, Vietnam, India and the Philippines. I’ve been lucky enough to have my short novella Bequest showcased on the homepage and as a featured story. Bequest is about a man that has been almost fully tattooed by a well-known artist and he wants to donate his skin to the National Gallery when he dies. This story attracted almost 30,000 chapter reads on Wattpad and is now being published as a short eBook by Tenebris Books.

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In the afterword of Stephen King’s highly regarded memoir/writing guide book On Writing, the bestselling writer shared a list of 96 books that he’d read while writing the book that he’d enjoyed and had influenced him. When a 10th anniversary of On Writing was released, an updated reading list of 82 books was included.

More recently, King has taken to Twitter to share with his fans and followers some of his favourite recent reads. Since joining the social media site in December 2013, he’s recommended the following 22 books.

1. Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Stephen King Reading List - Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

   

 2. The Marauders by Tom Cooper

Stephen King Reading List - The Marauders by Tom Cooper

 

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Online Tools for Writers
A guest post by Kelly Gardiner

There is a whole range of free online tools that are useful for organising your work as a writer. Here are a few basics:

Browser

Most of us take our web browser for granted. If you own a PC with Windows like most of the world, you might use Internet Explorer. Nowadays many people use other browsers like Firefox, Chrome or Safari.

Whichever browser you use, you need to know that they have changed a lot over the years and you need to keep updating (they’re free, so why not?). They also come with a great many more bells and whistles than they used to, such as better management of your bookmarks or favourites.

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