Rebel Mouthed Books Manifesto
What we do and don’t do
Rebel-Mouthed Books is all about giving readers and writers the resources they need to explore and grow within the bigger literary community. We share book reviews, writing resources, tips about the publishing industry, and all sorts of other fun stuff that readers and writers want. To be the best resource for you all, I have a few Do’s and Don’ts that I’d like to explain here so our beloved readers and writers know what to expect on this blog.
I don’t rate books; I do recommend books. Here’s why: there are so many AMAZING book reviewers out there and I am not one of them. Instead of trying to be something I’m not, I instead focus on what this blog is all about: connecting people with resources that work for them. When I read a book, I’d much rather talk about who would love this book than whether or not I loved it. Maybe I’m naive, but I believe every book has something magical about it. Though certain people may not like it, others might. So, bottom line: I don’t determine whether or not a book is good; I just recommend it based on what makes the book unique.
I don’t claim to be an industry expert; I do share resources written by experts. While I have led a very interesting professional life thus far, I can’t claim that I am a seasoned expert yet (hopefully I can grow more to become one.) What I can claim is that I pay attention and I am passionate about sharing the treasures I find. For example, I have never worked in publishing. But in my research, I have discovered some amazing people in publishing who write a lot about their work, the industry, and how writers can best prepare themselves to enter it. There is nothing I love more than sharing an article or a book with someone and they tell me it helped them. That is the heart of Rebel-Mouthed Books.
I don’t know everything; I do know about writing. If you check out my About page, you can read more about my background. While I admit openly that I have yet to learn it all, I do have experience in certain areas that I will write about frequently on this site. For example, I received my BA in English Writing and Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh (shout out), and I was a Teaching Assistant for several writing workshops. I also led separate groups outside of the classroom. I’ve interned at a magazine (briefly.) Professionally, in two different positions, I have written and organied grant proposals, some of which we won. Furthermore, I have spent the last six years writing my first book— practicing my craft every day. With this background, I plan to write frequently about the writing process and discuss things that sometimes aren’t covered in your typical workshop or writing course. There are also a number of helpful resources out there for professional and promotional writers that I will share here as well.
I don’t talk as much about the classics; I do focus on what works today. Many texts that are written to teach writers how to craft tend to reference classics that most people have probably read at some point in their lives. They do this because they are familiar, and that’s totally fine. But I try to talk more about new books that succeed in the market. What’s working for today’s authors? How do they surprise us? How do they revise stronger stories that today’s readers will love? How can they be their authentic selves on the page and out in the world? When I was in school for writing, I felt that instructors tried to mold our expectations and the industry’s current demands on writing into case studies that demonstrated why the classics succeeded. But I don’t think that is the best approach. While certain things in storytelling don’t change, we have to recognize that the publishing world has evolved over the last 150+ years. And that’s actually great news for writers! The expectations on Leo Tolstoy in the late 1800s are not the same as the expectations on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie today (if you don’t recognize her name, DEFINITELY look her up.) We can’t only reference the classics to teach contemporary authors how to create something that publishers will want. Let’s talk about what people today are doing right that we can learn from.
I don’t want to overload readers; I do want to post material meaningfully. Sometimes, when it comes to online blogs, quantity outweighs quality. Rebel-Mouthed Books isn’t about that. First of all, we know that our readers are busy people, especially our student readers. I am relatively fresh out of college myself, and so the memories of three hours of sleep a night are still fresh. When I was in high school, I was a part of the IB program at my school (International Baccalaureate) (also—side note— any IB graduates, holler at me if you STILL can’t spell Baccalaureate! I just had to Google it to make sure I got it right,) and being a part of that program, on top of my extra-curriculars really meant that I spent the last two years of high school a total zombie. I barely remember senior year because I was sleeping so little trying to keep up. Students especially don’t have time to waste when it comes to finding the resources to help them. No one does! So here at Rebel-Mouthed Books, we may not post as often as others, but it is because we want to pack the biggest punch for the resources we do post about. We respect our readers and want to make the most of their time with us.
I don’t LOVE all genres equally; I do love any type of book that inspires people to read. I’m inspired by books that get people excited about reading. Why? Because that’s a beautiful thing. We live in a world where many people, for one reason or another, don’t like to read. I think that’s a shame. So when a book comes along that inspires people to give reading a shot, that’s a victory for the literary community. While my preferences personally tend to lean more towards literary and historical fiction, with occasional dips into fantasy, I respect all genres. In this blog, I will strive to connect with all genres, but I know there will be a learning curve associated with that. If you ever have suggestions for texts I should read outside of my comfort zone, I’m all ears!
And that’s really it! If you have other questions about what’s going on here at Rebel Mouthed Books, check out the About & Contact page or our FAQ page. For anything else you may want to ask about, shoot me an email! I’m always happy to talk with readers via email.
Thanks for reading!