Co-Hosting YALITCHAT... Expanding My Horizons

Last night was a first for me - I co-hosted YALITCHAT with Georgia McBride. Our guest was Daniel Ehrenhaft of Sourcebooks Fire, a YA publisher. The chat was fun, fast, and furious.

For those of you who aren't familiar with YALITCHAT, it's a chat on Twitter held on Wednesday nights at 9PM EST for writers of young adult books. If you're a YA writer and haven't stopped by, you're missing out. (If you have questions, email me and I'll explain exactly how you can "meet up.") My co-hosting duties included introducing, welcoming, and wishing farewell to folks, including agents, editors, and writers, as they came and left the discussion. I also retweeted anything I thought should be emphasized.

Agents such as Elana Roth from the Caren Johnson Literary Agency, Colleen Lindsay of FinePrint Literary Management, and Bernadette Baker-Baughman of Baker's Mark Literary Agency graced the chat and added many interesting questions and comments to the mix. 

It was a fun experience, though not without stress. For the first ten minutes or so, we had technical difficulties. People's tweets weren't appearing and the chat was moving at a snail's pace. Fortunately, the glitch was magically fixed (I imagine with the same faerie dust that makes fax machines and iPhones work!), and the rest of the hour went smoothly.

What did I learn from this new endeavor? 

1) That it's good to take on new endeavors.

2) That Sourcebooks Fire is a wonderful opportunity for YA writers.

3) That Dan Ehrenhaft is a sweetheart (and a good sport for being a first-timer, jumping  into the warped speed that is YALITCHAT), and that he's committed to putting great YA literature into the hands of readers.

4) Georgia McBride is a saint for getting the chat up and running in the first place, and for creating the partner website yalitchat.ning, which is a great place to network with agents and other writers and to improve your craft. You can get feedback on your queries and even submit directly to agents through the site. If you haven't already, you should check it out fo' sho'.

5) That I have the best agent in the world. I know, you're getting tired of my saying it, but it's true. She showed up all sparkly and beautiful to usher in my debut as a YALITCHAT co-host. (And, she tells me she'll soon be there to usher in my debut as a published author!)

6) That the writing community in general, and on Twitter in particular, is beyond amazing. I don't say that lightly. The writers, no matter where they are in their careers, are the most supportive, interesting, and passionate group of people I know. I realize that sounds somewhat crazy - I mean, how can you "know" someone via the internet? Yet, I do feel  I know a lot of them, just like I feel I know many of you.

Since I enjoy pain (kidding, Georgia!), I've agreed to co-host the chat again on January 20th.  That night we will be visited by JJ Jones of St. Martin's Press. She will be presenting winners of a recent contest and discussing the New Adult category, which features protagonists in their late teens to mid twenties.

So, get out there and try something new. That's what 2010 is all about. ;-)

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