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May 18, 2011

Katie Crouch: After the MAGNOLIA LEAGUE Tour

Posted by jordana
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Today we have Katie Crouch, talking with Teenreads.com about going on tour for her latest book MAGNOLIA LEAGUE. Katie has also written books for adults, and here she tells us about what's different about the experience of writing for YA.  

I’ve just wrapped up my Magnolia League Book Tour. Am on a tiny plane home to Charleston, bumping through the clouds. Eight cities, twelve days. This is my fourth book tour, but it’s my first time promoting YA. I’m exhausted and I seriously need to do laundry. But I have to say, I absolutely loved it.

Promoting a book of literary fiction for adults can be pretty lonely and tough. Even if adult readers like your work, they are far less likely than teens to say so, either to your face or online. A lot of times you feel like you’re just showing up in a strange town and reading to the air.

YA is a totally different beast. Teen readers are quick, sharp, friendly, and if they’ve read your book, they want to meet you. Girls in Trucks was a New York Times bestseller, so I knew, given the sales, that someone somewhere liked it. But I rarely heard from anyone. This year, I found that lots of people have contacted me online (wither via twitter or Facebook) to say they loved the Magnolia League. A lot of bloggers have come to find me at bookstores to snap photos or ask me about the next book. The level of interested is gratifying and, frankly, intoxicating.

Of course, it’s not all rainbows.  As with everything, there’s a price! Young readers are impatient. If you write a plot-driven book with an open ending, they want the next book, NOW. Some readers look almost angry when I tell them they have to wait until next April. I feel like a soldier going off to war and leaving his fiancé behind. Will she still remember me when I get back? I want to give them what they want, because I’m southern, and I get uncomfortable when others are displeased. But literally I can’t write any faster! I’m already at it five hours a day!

There is also much more pressure to network. As a literary fiction writer, I never tweeted, and barely Facebooked at all. My fiction seemed to catch on on its own, and I let it. If people wanted to chat about it online, they could, but I didn’t help. When I began promoting Magnolia League, I quickly realized if I didn’t get into social networking, I was going to seriously miss out. Almost all of the kids I talked to about the book had their own blog. They referenced my tweets (all five of them) and asked me to email them directly. I’m definitely more into it now. It’s fun! Though my baby daughter will probably slow me down when I get home.

As tough as the travel is (Planes! Delays! 4:45 wakeup times! More planes! Security lines! Long weeks without my kid!), it’s been a great tour. I met so many interesting, fun people and saw some really terrific schools. And the food! Hello, Cuban steak in Miami? Tupelo honey biscuits in Asheville? Also picked up a few Voodoo tricks as well in New Orleans, which you’ll definitely be seeing in the next Magnolia League in April. (Hint: paralysis, zombies and more intense love potions.)

To check out photos from the tour and enter a giveaway contest, check out the Magnolia League on Facebook. I’m updating daily! I swear!

--- Katie Crouch