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Monday, March 11, 2013

Celebrating POISON (by Bridget Zinn)

Tomorrow (March 12) is the release date for Poison, a YA novel by Bridget Zinn, one of my fellow Apocalypsies (a group of debut authors from 2012).

Sadly, Bridget isn't here to see her debut novel make its way into the world. She passed away from cancer in May 2011 at the age of 33.

I'm joining other kidlit authors in honoring Bridget and her debut week by spreading the word about Poison -- a funny, romantic, and action-packed fantasy. Her family has also asked writers to blog about their own debut experience or a topic that would have been of interest to Bridget. 

I didn't know Bridget personally, outside of some exchanges on the Apocalypsies discussion forum and email threads. I do remember her upbeat spirit. I remember how she seemed way more focused on books than on cancer. I remember how she found time and energy to respond thoughtfully to group emails -- and even to vote on my author photo when I was agonizing over choices. From what I've read about Bridget since then, that was very typical of her. She was a librarian, a writer, a reader, a champion of books and writers, and totally involved in the kidlit writing community.

Because Bridget was also a librarian, I thought I'd take a moment to rave about librarians and the role they can play in a debut author's journey.

Before my book launch, I always heard so much the importance of cultivating relationships with bookstores and booksellers. That's important too. But bookstores can only host a certain amount of events each month for authors in general and for YA authors in particular. They only have so much shelf space, and your book may not always be prominently displayed, or not for as long as you'd like.

Conversely, if your book gets into a library, it's going to have a long life there. Librarians are eager to get more teens into the library and to host events; many will also permit you to hand-sell your book at such an event or they will work with a local bookstore to make sure that books are for sale.

Here are just some of the amazing things teen librarians have done for me and Tokyo Heist over the past year. They have . . .
  • Distributed bookmarks and talked up my book when visiting local schools
  • Slipped my bookmarks into related books on their shelves, to entice readers to try my book
  • Selected Tokyo Heist as a teen read for a community reading program and arranged for an author talk 
  • Chosen my novel for a parent/teen book club choice and invited me to talk at the book club
  • Advertised my library talks widely, in all kinds of events listings and other local media
  • Made beautiful flyers and posters for my events and plastered them all over towns
  • Invited me to hold writing workshops in their space -- and helped to advertise them widely
  • Reviewed my book on GoodReads and helped to spread the word among other librarians
To honor Bridget, her novel, and librarians, I'll be buying three copies of Poison this week and donating them to libraries.

Curious about Bridget's book? Here's an enticing blurb about Poison, which is getting rave reviews!

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she's the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom's future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king's army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she's not alone. She's armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can't stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she's certainly no damsel-in-distress—she's the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Want to learn more about Bridget? Check out her website, where you can find her bio, some of her excellent writing tips, and a great video.

Want to help spread the word about Poison and celebrate Bridget's debut week? Here's a list of ways to help. There are all kinds of fun ways to participate in the "Do Something Sweet for Poison" campaign, from blogging to tweeting about #poison this week to participating in the What's Your Poison? writers' discussion online.

Thanks for taking the time to read about Bridget and her book!

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Anonymous Ife Oshun said...

Wow. Diana, thanks for helping to shine a spotlight on a soul who seemingly left too soon. I'll definitely check out her work. RIP.

March 19, 2013 at 9:02 PM  

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