A Night with A.G. Howard

aghowardThis last Tuesday, the Southwest OKC branch of the Pioneer Library System sponsored another seminar in their enjoyable and informative writing series, this time featuring Texas novelist A.G. Howard, author of the popular Splintered YA novel series, an Alice in Wonderland spin-off.  A.G. spent the evening sharing with the group her writing process, giving us some insight into her self-started marketing procedure and ended the session with a hearty round of Q&A.

First of all, A.G. Howard was a wonderful speaker and very generous with explaining her writing, both in creating her stories and in handling them after they are done. One of the event organizers had corresponded with A.G. for some time and described her as one of the most helpful authors that she had spoken to and that certainly was the impression that I received during the seminar. It is essential to gain insight into the writing and (especially) the publishing process and the suggestions A.G. Howard gave to us provided me with a new viewpoint into how a published author can find success in their craft.

I cannot say that I was familiar with A.G. Howard’s work before last Tuesday but my wife luckily won a promotional copy of her first book in the Splintered series, Splintered, so I anticipate reading it and familiarizing myself with A.G. Howard’s fictional world. Although YA urban fantasy is not quite a genre I’ve delved into (yet!), I do love a good twisted classic and Alice in Wonderland is fertile ground for interpretation and retelling. I’ll make sure to post a review of the book once I’m finished, for those who might be interested in this successful and imaginative series.

The most impactful thing I took out of the process were the suggestions she had in marketing one’s works. As a traditionally publisher author, a lot of the basics are taken care of for her, like artwork. However, she indicated that traditional marketing like bookmarks and bookplates, posters and other materiel are left to the author, something of a trend with YA novels. She also provided a wealth of information on managing and maintaining a social media presence, something I have so far been hesitant to really delve into with much authority or assertiveness. Today’s author (especially in YA) can live or die by their social media presence and it is something I have been acutely concerned with ever since I first started writing my manuscript. The insight A.G. Howard shared with us has done much to both reassure me in my current actions as well as evolve my future efforts.

As I mentioned, A.G. Howard is very generous with her process and has even dedicated a portion of her website to providing information for aspiring writers, starting with the very basics of establishing a writing process and progressing all the way through sample query letters and marketing ideas (and assets). I spent several hours pouring through her information and came away far more educated than before. If you are curious about either A.G Howard’s literary works or would like to see what she has to say about writing, I encourage you to visit her site at AGHoward.com.

In closing, I’d like to thank Kim and Ashley for hosting yet another wonderful seminar. This was the third in the series and the last will involve self-publishing on November 10th. I’ll make sure to share what I learn shortly thereafter, although given that it will be both in the midst of NaNoWriMo and my big push to finish off my manuscript, it might not be as timely as it could be. Additionally, I failed to post about the query letter seminar earlier this month, an oversight I promise that I’ll correct before November 1st. As for the collected works of A.G Howard, I’ll make sure to post a review as soon as possible and make sure to check out her Splintered series if you’re a fan of YA fantasy in general or Alice in Wonderland in particular.

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