Is out! In stores! You can buy it, or go to your library and check it out! Or tell your friend to buy it (this week with the code listed below) and then borrow it. Or bid on a copy at the Help Write Now tornado relief auction. My launch party was yesterday, put on by the fabulous Crystal Perkins at Barnes and Noble. Crystal is a good friend and a strong advocate for YA literature. Her book recommendations are always spot on. The store truly gave me the royal treatment, they even named drinks in the cafe after Meredith and Desi. And there was a security guard standing by my books. Although that was just where he happened to stand, I did feel a little Stephanie Meyer-esque. I’m very thankful to all my family, friends, readers and kids-who-just-wanted-a-free tiara who stopped by. Thank you thank you everyone!
Best of all, a bookfair was set up by BN this week. Use the code #10486058 at ANY Barnes and Noble store or at bn.com on ANY book during this week, and 10% of your purchase will go towards The United Way of Western Alabama for tornado relief. If we raise $2500, that percentage goes up to 15%. So Please please please spread the word on that. That’s not just for my book. ANY BN PURCHASE. You can go read a scandalous romance novel or buy your kid a puzzle or a boxed set of a TV show (I think you get the picture here), and you’re helping a good cause. Go you!
I’m headed to Orlando for IRA tomorrow, where I will presenting on a workshop on using social networking to enhance reading programs with Kate Messner, Cynthe Liu, & Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. I’ll also be signing at the Disney book, so if you’re there stop by. My hubby is coming along since it’s our wedding anniversary, and WE ARE GOING TO THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER. I daresay the man doesn’t quite understand how much geeking out is about to take place by yours truly. Mad geekery. If there is one publishing dream I have, it’s theme park after my book. Dream big, kids. Dream Big.
Shannon Hale is an author I’ve followed since I first started writing, partly because I adore her writing, but also because her blog gives me a taste of who she is. And from my stalking stand-point, I like her. She’s down to earth, funny, a devoted mother, and she writes posts like this.
Yes, my love for Ms. Hale is now secure. Because such tales of woe happen to every author, even award-winners and bestsellers. Get a group of authors together, and we’ll tell stories that make those naked-in-front-of-the-school nightmares seem appealing. So now I gleefully share with you one such event…
I wrote last year about my southern book tour for PRINCESS FOR HIRE. In many ways, I considered that tour a success. I didn’t sell a lot of books, but I met a lot of sellers, visited schools, and learned something about presenting myself as an author. Now I can point out the advantages, but during that week I felt like the biggest loser ever, and not in an NBC kind of way. On this tour, I signed at a very respected, HUGE and busy independent bookstore. They’d made a flag of my cover, which hung over a desk and a few rows of chairs right by the children’s section. My publisher had provided a literary escort to drive me around to my events, and I’d even done my first TV interview that morning. Ten minutes before the reading, there were already three people seated, so I sat down to chat with them while I waited for the rest of crowd to come. Which, of course, never happened. The bookseller kept checking her watch and wandering around the store, trying to convince browsers to come listen to the author. None of them did. One "audience member" was really only sitting there because she was reading a mystery book. The remaining "fans" (yes, we use lots of quotation marks with stories like these) were two elderly ladies wearing lavish hats and a haze of floral perfume. I read to them, talked about getting published, and was almost done with the hour of humiliation when one nice woman smiled and said, "Oh, this is a children’s book? We came because we thought it was a pink woman’s novel. Can we still read it?" YES. And do you have granddaughters? Goddaughters? WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO WILL READ THIS BOOK? I ended up selling them 2 books each, feeling very much like I was standing in their living room pushing vacuums or encyclopedias. A few minutes later, a friend of mine from high school mercifully showed up with a three neighborhood girls, so now we had someone to enter the teen giveaway basket the store was sponsoring. Yes, a basket, flag, not to mention literary escort, hotel, dinner, and car from my publisher. All for six books. And my next tour stop? I sold ONE solitary copy of Princess for Hire. That wound is still too deep to discuss. But that was my debut, so surely the next book would be a smash now that I was such a success. SURELY any store would let me at least sign stock of SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD, especially in my home town. I brought my book baby up to the counter, informing the manager I was a local author published with Bloomsbury. But, alas. Said manager said, "We don’t really do that, because it might not sell. And please don’t ask to do a signing. You’re just going to sit at an empty table anyway." Of course, my mom was there. Blessedly, she did not tell that manager off. As far as I know. I have more. We all do. But there are also wonderful stories of packed stores and appreciative schools, and a shoe store clerk who recognized me from my author photo and gushed about my book. It’s all part of the author schtick, and I’ve learned to… expect little and appreciate a lot. Also? Make friends in all major cities and bribe them to come to your events. Tiaras or candy are often good incentives. Two approaching for THE ROYAL TREATMENT, out May 3! (good segue, yes?) May 7, 1 pm, Rainbow BN, Las Vegas, NV May 21, 4 pm, The King’s English, Salt Lake City
Last weekend, I went to my first CON. I've been to conferences before, and meetings and get-togethers and schmoozes, but not a CON–except for all those conventions I went to. So, oh. Um.. I went to my first TEEN BOOK CON. In Houston. My very first.
Every student in every state should have an opportunity to experience something like teen book con. The sixteen-year-old in me kept screaming at adult Lindsey. A recap…
16 LL (uh, then LT): Holy Moly. That high school was unreal–totally looked like a mall. And I should know, because i work at the Gap.
29ish LL: I hate the Gap. The jeans fit funny.
16 LL: They sit right at the belly button. Where all jeans should fit. Just like Joey on Dawson's Creek:
29 LL: Man, that style was not big-meal friendly. But let's move one. Teen Book Con
16 LL: Was, like, astounding. Awesome. And.. what's another word that starts with A?
29 LL: Amazeballs.
16 LL: What? No one says that.
29 LL: In the future we do. Everyone at the conference did. The paranormal panel even brought amazeballs to throw into the audience, and I even signed an amazeball.
All pictures stolen from Teen Book Con on facebook, because I poured a water bottle on my purse (and on Blake Nelson AND Rachel Hawkins. Great getting-to-know-you activity) So alas, my phone was moisturized and I was not able to take pics.
16 LL: Well fine. Balls. I just came for the books and to listen to some amazing authors. Like Deb Caletti? She did this key note and held up her gym shorts from high school, which would probably fit on my one knee cap, and she was so funny and REAL and totally got me and that's probably why I love her books, even though, in my late-nineties existence, they are not yet available.
29 LL: She was amaz—- great. I sat next to her during our panel and didn't even freak out as she spouted words and words of wisdom. And I heard where the adorable Stephanie Perkins got the idea for ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, and finally met Kristen Tracy, who assured me we are, in fact, soul mates, which was good, because I was getting that vibe too.
(Deb Caletti, Stephanie Perkins, Kristen Tracy, and me aka the panel: The Lighter Side With Some Bumps Along the Way. Yeah, things got bumpy in there)
So, to put it mildly, the panels went really well, at least from my authorly (and sort of fan girly) vantage point.
16 LL: Except when you got all tangenty and talked longer than the other panelists. Especially on that dreams questions. Please. I don't wake up every morning thinking "I shall be a writer someday!" \ I got to meet readers, and introduce myself to readers who didn't know I existed. Oh, and had a fabulous visit at The Kinkaid School that had a library that was simply unreal. Speaking of, fabulous librarians came to Teen Book Con and even bused in students from all over Texas. I can't give enough praise about the event, the organizers, or The Blue Willow Bookshop. In all, a magical day.
I really have no idea how to write this post and say all the right things. Perhaps there aren’t any right things that can be said at moments like this. Our dear friend, Lisa ( ) passed away early this morning. There will be someone else who can eulogize her life far better than I. And she deserves wonderful words, because she truly was a woman of grace, kindness, humor and integrity, an absolute gift and source of wisdom and light. And her words… her words are wonderful. I’m so grateful for the longevity of words. My life is better for having known her. I will miss her very, very much.
I was angsting with a friend yesterday who also has a book coming out in a couple of weeks and also debuted last year (okay, it was Rachel Hawkins. She’s actually a very grounded person, I’m just a negative influence on her. Oh, hey. You should buy her next book). We started confessing all the things we’d done lately to psyche ourselves out, like read our goodreads 1 star reviews, which is pretty much like stabbing your private parts with a spork while walking on coals. With your hands. Not possible? Read some 1 star reviews. You’re hands and, er… sporks will start to burn. But it’s not like I sit around all day, sporking my soul with other reader’s misguided opinions. No! This is my SOPHOMORE novel, and as such I’ve matured and grown (even though, as my 10th grade English teacher, Mr Dunn, liked to point out, sophomore means sophisticated moron. Also? My husband pulled Mr. Dunn’s tooth last week. So, well, those things aren’t really correlated. OR ARE THEY?). And as I often do when I am on deadline and should be focusing on the Plot LIne from Hell (Dear Editor–I am working on that. All the time. Except right now. But all the other time–I wrote a chapter today you’re going to love. No, I’m not reading reviews! What, and ruin my creative process? Phish), I started waxing all nostalgic about where I was a year ago, or two years ago, or THREE years ago when I was just shy of signing with my agent. I felt I was pretty prepared when I got my agent–I’d read enough blogs and talked to enough authors that I knew what I wanted in that relationship, and 3 years later I’m very lucky to still professionally be in love with The Great Sarah Davies. I even understood how books were sold–the revisions I needed to do with my agent, the different strategies to submit. But after Sarah called with news that–at the risk of sounding cheesy–changed my life, I didn’t know what was next. And then… and then… I’m published!!!! Unicorns and laughing babies and boxes and boxes of Target Choxie chocolate!!!! Oh yes. There’s been chocolate. There really isn’t a guidebook for the time period in between selling a book and the day, or even the months after, said book is published (okay, there might be a guidebook. And it’s probably very informative. But you’re already here, so just follow along, K?) The After Deal time is like marriage. You plan every little detail of a wedding, and then you’re married and… and… you’re married!!! Happiness! Book publishing is in better shape than our country’s divorce rate, but still. There is behind-the-scenes angst. I promise, every author experiences it to some degree, and if they are professional and smart, they largely keep it to themselves. But not Eve aka EVE-RY AUTHOR GOES THROUGH SOME OF THIS. Today we’re going to look at the first half–the build up to The Advanced Reader Copies. Then, later this week (when my contacts aren’t sticking to my eyeballs since I’ve been on the computer writing That Awesome Chapter), we’ll talk about the time where the book is done and waiting to hit shelves. Then the real Angst Balls roll out. Feel free to add more in comments. And I promise this isn’t me. No, really. It’s not! Stop it, IT ISN’T. But really. It isn’t.
FIRST LEG OF JOURNEY–creative part
Euphoria (first few weeks after sale) –I sold a book! I SOLD A BOOK!!!! And it’s the best book ever written! I mean, sure, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but… forget that. Everyone is going to love this book. My agent loved this book. A publisher (maybe MULTIPLE publishers) hungered for this book. It’s not the biggest advance of the century, but that’s cool.Expectations are rational, and I’m going to blow those up anyway, baby. Only one in a million books sell. I’m one in a million. Look at all the hits on your social network/blog/website. Ha! Old boyfriend wrote congratulating. Yeah, crunch on that tostada, loser. Maybe i’ll stick you in the acknowledgements. After Oprah.
The After Deal Crash (month to a few months after sale) ((I’m serious. This happens to everyone. You are so high after a sale, there is only one direction to go next)) –I need good news! I need attention! I had 39523023 comments on my blog last month, and now I can’t even get a bite on my funny toenail story. Should I vlog about my toenail? Will that help? Would someone look at me, please? Hey–next big thing over here! LOVE ME! –Uh, what now? No one’s calling. Shouldn’t my editor be calling me? Shouldn’t we be like, I don’t know, talking about the Bachelor last night? Or at least discussing my relationship woes? Or at the very least how awesome my book is? I haven’t heard from her since she called and said congrats. What’s she doing? When do I get my revisions? And why is my publication date TWO FREAKING YEARS away? I’m a fast writer. If they would just hurry up and get me my revisions, then I could get them back, and then this book could come out already. Because everyone keeps asking when does the book come out, and when I say two years, they look at me all funny, like, "What’s wrong with your book if it takes two years to fix it?" And I want to change my facebook status to WRITER, but then everyone will ask about the book. Or… –Everyone keeps asking how much money I made. –Everyone keeps asking when the movie comes out –Everyone keep asking why I don’t just publish the book myself like the lady in the PTA. She gets to keep ALL her money, and doesn’t have to share with an agent. Y’all, lady in PTA wrote a picture book about dog table manners. There is two pages devoted to drool. WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME LEAGUE. You’ll see.
Still waiting (weeks to months) –Um, but seriously? Is this thing on? I sent my editor this super funny email that took me three weeks to write and she wrote back with a "Sure! You can change the "A" to "The" in the title. She didn’t even ask about my date last night. I bet she’s off lunching with Big Shot author. I hope she still likes me. She had another sale announced in Publisher’s Marketplace. Maybe she’s lunching with New Author. Crap, am I the middle sister-wife? Wait, what’s the role of middle sister wife? Ew, I’m so bored, I’m using polygamy metaphors. I’m going to google myself. –should I start another book? the sequel? Will they want the sequel? Or should I go write that serial killer kitten book I was thinking about, even if it’s not my brand. Wait. Do I need a brand? How do I decide my brand? Do I make a website featuring that still undecided brand? And who is my target audience? And who should I talk to in my blog–my mom, or future readers? Wait. I’m going to have readers. I need to delete those pictures on Facebook. Have libraries ever banned an author’s book based on Facebook pictures?
Revisions (first revision month a year after sell. Can me completed in a month or two, can be completed in 1-2 years. No. I’m not lying) –MY EDITOR HATES ME. Oh my gosh, she hates me, hates this book, and wish she’d never bought it. She wants me to rewrite the ending. The ending is the whole point to the book. My book is now pointless. People will ask what my book is about and I’ll say "Uh…" and they’ll think I made the whole thing up, and Facebook Ex Boyfriend will be all smug, even though, hello, he’s an accountant at a sock factory. And a sock factory is much easier than the pages and pages of notes. There is not way I’ll ever do this. I bet they wish they’d never bought this sucktastic book.I need to call my agent. She probably hates me too. Judy Blume never went through this. I bet Judy Blume doesn’t even revise. I bet my editor is having drinks with Judy Blume right now, laughing at how sorry my manuscript is. Well, we can’t all write FOREVER, Judy! Revisions: Revisited (few weeks/months later) –My Editor is a goddess. A brilliant, bookish, red-pen wielding goddess. When this book is done (gah! If this book is ever done!) I’m going to whittle her a throne out of Irish Spring soap. How did I not notice how weak that ending was? Or how arbitrary that secondary character was. What if Sock Ex had read that and laughed at my poor character development? Embarrassing. My editor saved me. I hope she loves me as much as I love her. I want to send her a present but no… that’s stalkerish. I’m professional. I’m so glad she doesn’t waste her time emailing me about stupid reality TV–she’s busy editing awesome. Wait, if I say she’s editing awesome, does that mean I think I’m awesome? Yeah? Well, I kind of do. But only because of my editor. –So now that this book is pretty much done, should I bring up my next book? When do I start talking about flying my editor out to my release party? Uh oh–my book comes out in ten months and I still haven’t planned my release party.
Line edits/Copy Edits –Oh. So this book isn’t done. How many times does this dude gaze at my main character. Oh, just looked it up. Ninety two. So, uh… fix –Okay, every time I think of the name Hannah, I think of that old SNL skit HANs and Frans with the body builders? Bad association. Need to switch her name. –Urban dictionary says that means WHAT? Ew, no! She’s a farm girl, for pete’s sake. Head out of gutter, please. –I have rewritten this sentence 38 times. I know I used SHOE three times in this paragraph, but what else can I call it? A pump? No one has worn pumps since 1989. –How many people have read this and there are still this many mistakes?
To be continued… ARCs, the envies, the expectations, the surprises, the disappointments, and the But, Seriously, That’s my BOOK moment.