Thursday Tip: Happy Accidents & Greg Pincus.

This has been on my mind for a while. The following post is a homage and thank you to someone who has been my guiding light in the blogosphere (I’m not sure he knows it himself). There have been times where I emailed him with a question, in panic mode, feeling silly for asking and thinking that he couldn’t possibly give me an answer (because, come on, it’s not as if he can know everything. Well, sure enough he saved the day). Even when he started his email with, “this is not my area of specialty,” for Pete’s sake he still gave more information than I could use! Well, I can’t keep “the goodness” for myself, I have to share it with you too. You never know, a happy accident might come your way sooner than you think. 🙂

According to UrbanDictionary.com, a happy accident is “when something unexpectedly good comes from what would otherwise be considered a mishap.” For me, it’s when you don’t realize that the “little” you’re doing sets you up for something bigger.

Do you want to make it happen? Do you know how?
Meet Gregory K. Pincus.

Starting a blog is one thing. Figuring out what to do next and assessing your goals are another challenge, and that includes being aware of all the opportunities that lay at your fingertips. To be honest, I’m still learning.

For starters, Greg has an amazing story, which I heard when I first met him at a conference. You see, he’s a poet. And a children’s book writer. And a volunteer librarian. And a blogger. And a social media specialist I mean mogul–Greg, how much longer should this list be? Anyway, Greg was sharing about his own journey as a writer and blogger, and about a poem–The Fib–that got him over 32, 000 hits on his blog in a single day, landed him in the New York Times and other media outlets. That happy accident also translated in a book deal with Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, a few months later. 🙂

I’m writing this post because several of you, writers or not, either have a blog or might consider starting one, and you’re looking for the right resource and information to make the best of it. At the conference I mentioned, Greg gave me an extensive media critique, one that I still haven’t finished exploiting til this day (it was that thorough and full of tips). One of my favorite part in our discussion was about time management. I will never forget when he said: “Remember that you are also a writer, not only a blogger. Make sure that you set aside time to write every day.” Have you ever had a media critique?

Those of you fond of poetry will enjoy his blog GottaBook. Greg is a champion of cultural diversity in kid lit, and that shows in the annual event he hosts during Poetry Month, 30 Poets in 30 Days, which takes place in April (feel free to get on me for not mentioning it then. You’ll be right. For my defense I had a lot going on). Greg invites acclaimed authors of all horizon to share unpublished poems on his blog. This year featured Jacqueline Woodson and Francisco X. AlarcĂłn, just to quote a few. The line up was amazing!

His other blog, The Happy Accident, focuses on social media: the latest news, what is changing and how it affects the rest of us…

For those of you who tweet, Greg is the co-host of weekly kidlit chats. I highly recommend them if you want to keep up with what is going on in the publishing world and have a chance to interact instantly with editors, agents and fellow writers. The event takes place on Tuesday at 6 PM PST/ 9 PM EST. Location: Twitter. (Use TweetChat or Tweetdeck) Hashtag: #kidlitchat
The transcripts are always available on The Happy Accident.

Greg can often be heard at conferences. He will next give a talk at the SCBWI international conference in Los Angeles this summer.

If however you can’t make it, but still want to be up to date and/or keep in touch with Greg, click on the following links:

o The Happy Accident
o GottaBook
o Follow Greg on twitter!

That was my tip of the day. 🙂

A Must-Know Blog About YA Lit: Reading In Color!

Back in 2009, I was badly looking for multicultural middle grade (MG) and young adult novels (YA) I would read during my Christmas break. I feared I could not devote a proper time to research, and I yearned to find online resources that would provide me not only with great titles I might miss in a library or bookstore, but with reviews as well. I found all that and much more in Ari’s blog, READING IN COLOR.

Reading in Color was started in July 2009 by high school student Ari, aka MissAttitude, and focuses on YA books about people of color (poc). The blog offers book reviews, author interviews and broadens your literary horizons through various reading challenges in the most engaging ways.

What makes Reading in Color so remarkable?

  1. The mastermind behind it: the blogger. How Ari manages to be an assiduous student and an avid reader, while providing us with posts of an exceptional quality is beyond me. It forces the admiration. Whether you are a writer or otherwise passionate reader of YA literature, she offers a heartfelt insight and in-depth analysis of books about people of color, leading you to understand what she identifies as the strengths in the plot, character development, pace and other components of a well written book, as well as the weaknesses.
  2. The Diversity and the quality of the blog’s content. There is an open-mindedness about culturally diverse YA Lit that is evident throughout the different genres showcased. The range of selection is so wide that I challenge the most reluctant reader not to stumble upon a title he or she will soon find him or herself interested in: adventure, chick lit, historical fiction, fantasy, GLBTQ… I was particularly drawn to the challenges. I joined the 10 in ’10 GLBTQ challenge, as well as the historical fiction reading one, which dares me to read 22 titles in one year. I am aiming for 10, like for the GLBTQ one, because of my school and writing schedule. Some other challenges are: South Asian Author Challenge, 2010 Debut Author Challenge, the Global Challenge, which encourages to read books by foreign authors. To review books, Ari has an elaborated rating system, which uses a scale of one to five, five being the best, as explained on her blog. Contests and book giveaways are other attractive features.
  3. Ari listens to her readers and delivers. She pays careful attention to the comments, constantly interacting with the readers. She also currently has a poll, which will be up until the end of this week, and through which she inquires about what readers wish to see as regular features in Reading in Color.

Of the many qualities there are to admire, I applaud Ari’s sense of initiative, her passion and generosity, but above all, her time management skills. 🙂 Reading in Color is also a great location to learn about more multicultural blogs.

Have you ever had questions about book reviewers? An interview of Ari will be posted this coming Monday, January 18, 2010!

For more information, check Reading in Color at http://blackteensread2.blogspot.com

Have a merry Tuesday! 🙂