Monday, March 19, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday and Secrets of YA Bestsellers

I was watching Hot-Tub Time Machine (don't judge -- I also watched a Norwegian existential comedy this weekend), and I found myself analyzing the time-travel worldbuilding. Which is wrong. I mean, the time-travel concept doesn't work at all, but what's really wrong is thinking about it for more than two seconds. Sometimes worldbuilding is awesome in movies, like The Matrix. Sometimes worldbuilding becomes an unwieldy mess, like latter seasons of The X-Files. And sometimes, you just have to enjoy the hairstyles and New Wave tunes, like Hot-Tub Time Machine.

Ignoring bad worldbuilding opens you up to the pleasures of shows that just say, "to hell with current knowledge of physics." My favorite time-place travel show, Lost in Austen, is also one of my favorite shows based on a novel by Jane Austen. At first, I got bogged down trying to figure out how a modern girl in modern dress could enter the Regency era. But she's a fictional character entering another fictional world, so anything's possible. That's what I told myself and that's how I can sit back and thoroughly enjoy the hilarious and romantic series.

By the way, the Norwegian movie, The Bothersome Man, also benefits if you just roll with the premise of a suicidal man who finds himself in an ideal city that may either be heaven or hell.  I did a compare-and-contrast of both films for The Husband, who didn't seem to properly appreciate my scholarly analysis.

SECRETS OF YOUNG ADULT BESTSELLERS: Laura Miller wrote a terrific in-depth story, "The Making of a Blockbuster," on the extensive marketing that occurred before the release of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. If you're interested in how publishers are using social networking with old-fashioned word-of-mouth to crank up the hype, you'll want to read this. (Of course, no amount of hype will work if a book doesn't hook readers.)
With the right title, a kid’s publisher can deploy something the world of adult publishing can only dream about: a large, well-oiled and highly networked group of professional and semi-professional taste makers who can make that book a hit even before it’s published. This is what happened with “The Hunger Games,” which landed on the New York Times Bestseller List — there are separate ones for kids’ books — the week it was released. 
Speaking of marketing, I'll be attending the Northern California Independent Booksellers Conference on Sunday and talking about Dark Companion, my upcoming YA Gothic. I'm really looking forward to talking to the indie booksellers. Buying books online is hokay, but it doesn't compare to lingering in a bookstore, going through the aisles, and chatting with the clerks, who are usually passionate book lovers. I still miss Cody's, the great Berkeley bookstore where I had my first few book launches.


 The theme is worldbuilding, so songs about worlds. Here's a rather well-edited vid set to "We Can Take the World" by She Wants Revenge.

Here's a Dracula 2000 tribute set to Kevin Rudolph's "Welcome to the World."

This The Vampire Diaries video uses Simple Plan's "Me Against the World."

And I can't forget Buffy's "Mad World."


Jenn3128 said...

Hot Tub Time Machine is one of my favorite background movies. One of those that you can have playing while doing the dishes and although you can't hear every word you are still able to laugh.

I have yet to jump on the Hunger Games wagon, movie doesn't look that interesting, but maybe that's cause I haven't read the books?

Marta said...

Hi, Jenn! I have a few comedies that I like to watch bits and pieces of. Zoolander, Bridget Jones's Diary, and Overboard are some of my favorites. I also like to rewatch scenes of classics like All About Eve and The Philadelphia Story.

As for The Hunger Games, I only hear great things about it. I started it, but I prefer adult sci-fi dystopians, which don't have to shy away from sex because of the audience.

Dot S.( said...

Hi Marta, I have not seen "Hot Tub" but I love, love, love, "Lost in Austen" although the female lead didn't impress me much.

I loved Hunger Games the book and I am falling for all the buzz about the movie. I never got around to read the rest of the trilogy.