ALA Annual 2011

Series build community

Hiking to the far end of the convention center #ALA11 raised my first blister of the conference yesterday evening, but it was worth it.  3 writers and 1 editor of series books for kids and teens shared why they (and we!) heart series books.

Booklist Forum – “Keep ‘Em Coming: Fiction Series Creators Talk Shop”
Lauren Myracle, Dan Gutman, Jonathan Stroud, David Levithan
Some tidbits:

Lauren Myracle: 13 plus 1 – title came about because Barnes and Noble said that if it was called Fourteen, they’d have to put it in the YA section.  But they were FINE with “13 plus 1”!  Go figure.

Did everyone know this but me? – Emily Jenkins (Toys Go Out) and E. Lockhart (Boyfriend List) are the same person!  No wonder I love all those books.

Dan Gutman – hllarious on the topic of all the permutations of the Weird School series, which “are all exactly the same!” despite the different series titles.

Jonathan Stroud doesn’t seem at all like Bartimaeus – at least as a speaker, he’s more an Arthur Dent type.  Unlike Myracle, who enjoys hearing what fans love about and want from her series, Stroud finds it a bit dangerous – sounds like he’d rather not be swayed by them.  About those footnotes – he says they’re a “cul-de-sac down which a reader can go, if he wishes, get a cheesy joke, then come back to the story.” 

The first series Levithan edited (as a 19 year old!) was The Baby-Sitters Club – imagine him on the subway, poring over Baby-Sitters Club paperbacks with a highlighter.  During Scholastic’s “live chat” with all the Babysitters, David Levithan was the one answering the questions from all those pre-teen girl fans.  “What are you wearing, Mallory?” “Capris, of course!”  Animorphs was another series he worked on.  Believes that digital publishing will look like paperback series publishing did in the 80s and 90s.

All panelists made the point that series build strong readers, build a tie between readers, characters, and the author – and most of all, they build a close-knit community of readers and fans.

One comment

  1. Abby

    No, I did not know that E Lockhart is Emily Jenkins! So interesting! Thanks for this post – I didn’t get to this session. 🙂

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