I gotta say, as a practitioner out here in the fields, I have never heard of a gathering of authors across houses like this doing this level of coordinated promotion in such an inviting and downright "perfect-storm” sort of way. I asked one of the Apocalypsie debut authors, E.M. Kokie (Personal Effects, Candlewick, Fall 2012) if she could spend a few minutes enlightening me on the fabulous race. I share her responses below.
TTFLF: How did the Apocalypsies originally come together?
Tenners and the Elevensies preceded the Apocalypsies.
The Apocalypsies started fairly organically in that those of us who are active online and in social media knew of the Tenners and Elevensies. So, when we learned we would be 2012 debuts, we started organizing. While there were many of us helping to make decisions and organize as early as the summer of 2010, authors Gretchen McNeil and Lynne Kelly went above and beyond, really helping the Apocalypsies to organize, communicate and plan early. But this has been a group formed through self-identification and social outreach, with authors finding us, and us finding them, through word of mouth online. The group grew in numbers and in enthusiasm and in friendship faster and larger than I could have imagined. It's been amazing to have these friends to share the journey.
TTFLF: Is it unusual to have so many debut writers of YA and MG novels sharing their journey towards publication with each other and the kidslitosphere?
E.M.: I can't say it is unusual, but because we organized early it allowed us to support each other and to establish a presence early. Many of us have been members since our books were acquired, meaning we've been able to privately offer moral support and humor and advice through the entire journey - from revisions to sharing covers and title changes and now to support each other, to cheer each debut and news. We spent a good portion of 2011 organizing and supporting each other behind the scenes (and sometimes on Twitter), and lending support to the Elevensies (the 2011 debut group) through blog interviews and shout outs on Twitter and Facebook. Now we are focused a little more on efforts to get the word out - for example, we are doing monthly Twitter chats on the 12th of every month (use hashtag #2012debuts) and some of us are looking at doing some group signings and events, maybe even some in person events organized geographically or around similar themes or audiences. What's great is that the Apocalypsies is all about the support, but members can participate as much or as little as they like, and however they are comfortable.
TTFLF: If it's not unusual, how would librarians or kids lit aficionados find upcoming classes (2013; 2014) of debut authors?
E.M.: If you are active on Twitter, and follow authors and editors and other librarians, you would probably eventually see mention of the groups. But I'll give you a head start and a shout out to the Lucky 13s, the 2013 debuts. I'm not aware of a 2014 group yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.
TTFLF: The YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes is a great concept to alert the kidslitosphere to all you new authors and your works. How did this idea originate and grow?
E.M.: There have been scavenger hunts and blog hops before. But Apocalypsie Gina Damico suggested that we do a blog race in January to kick off the year with a bang, and she really took the lead in organizing all of the legs and creating the quizzes and deserves a hardy round of applause for all the work she put into organizing this. The enthusiasm has been amazing. And it's been fun, too, which is the important part.
TTFLF: I'm impressed by the way the Apocalypsies have embraced social media to make this very short week, a very big deal. Was this aspect - and the addition of swag - always part of the original concept?
E.M. Well, who doesn't love ARCs and swag and the tangible fun parts of being debut authors? Yes, from the beginning, from Gina's proposal, we knew that the Race would include prize packs, and even side give aways. There are so many amazing books coming out in 2012! And not all of the Apocalypsies were able to participate in the YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes. If you go to our blog, you can scroll through all of the members by name or release date.
Or you can go back to the early blog posts (use the pull down menu to select October 2010) and read a bit about many of the Apocalypsies in the form of our own posts on at the blog. We are so excited to finally be sharing our books! And if you missed the Elevensies, I encourage readers to check them out, too, and maybe find some great 2011 books you may have missed.
TTFLF: Just from a day's perspective, are you (and any of the Apocalypsies you've been in touch with) seeing a significant uptick in traffic/interest in your blogs/feeds/followers/newsletter sign-ups?
E.M.: I am in the third leg of the Race, and already I'm seeing a lot of activity on my blog and Facebook page, which means there are already a good number of people at leg three - go early bird racers! And what is even more interesting is that I'm seeing increased buzz and activity at Goodreads and Twitter, too, even though my profiles there are not directly related to the Race. So, I would definitely say the buzz of the Race is causing people to check out our books - which is really what it is all about, beyond the fun, of course.
TTFLF: Anything else, you'd like to wrap-up with?
E.M.: This is such an exciting time for those of us who are moving into a more public forum and who are finally seeing all the hard work pay off in the form of our books heading out into the world. It's wonderful to have the enthusiasm of librarians and teachers who are always looking for great new books to put into the hands of teens and younger kids. Thank you for all you do to put good books in the hands of readers.
TTFLF: Thanks zillions for your time on this, E.M. It is truly a great concept and is really introducing me to alot of books and authors I am excited to meet!