Friday, July 27, 2012

Guess What I got in the Mail? Or... how to send a moment of gratification by post

Look what the mailman brought...

Maybe someday, seeing my book in print for the first time will "get old". Maybe someday, I will open a box of ARCs and refrain from flipping the pages while inhaling that new book smell. Maybe someday, I will hand it to a neighbor without saying, "Careful of fingerprints." Maybe someday, I won't cringe when someone bends the pages back a little too far. 

But not today. 

It's days like this that make me intensely grateful. One bound book can remind me that all those months where it felt like writing a page would take more work than removing all of my organs with a spoon were worth it. 

It's especially true with this book. The task of writing it seemed insurmountable at times. Creating the fictional world often felt as ambitious - and impossible - as creating an actual world. 

Now it's real. It's corporeal. It's tangible. It smells good. And for the next few days, its pages will remain pristine, its covers shiny. 

When you get ARCs, there's this quiet moment... this breath of time before the book goes out to reviewers... and for this instant it's yours and only yours. 

I'm having my moment. It won't last long. 

P.S. Wanna see EVERBOUND do a trick? It can stand on its head. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Let's talk Numbers... Every Book Sale Counts

Last night, we attended Lindsey Leavitt's book signing at The King's English. She was there to promote the third book in her Princess for Hire series A FAREWELL TO CHARMS.
From left: Bree Despain, me, Lindsey Leavitt and Emily Wing Smith

Lindsey read from a horror "novel" that she wrote when she was in fifth grade. It was hilarious... and not really horrifying. I love hearing Lindsey talk, because she is funny, self-deprecating, and inspiring all at the same time. And, she can walk and chew gum. If you have a chance to see her in person, take it!

The reason I bring this up is... Lindsey has an uncle in Salt Lake City who buys about thirty books every time he attends one of her events. This is huge. The authors there were amazed and a little jealous, and it got us talking about numbers. 


When EVERNEATH first came out, one of my neighbors asked how many copies my publisher had printed. When I told her the round number, she looked shocked and said, "That won't even be enough for Utah!"

I could see her train of thought... The Wasatch Front is home to maybe a million plus people, and who out of that million wouldn't want Everneath? So that's a million books needed right off the bat. 

But I'm here to tell you, that is SO not the way it works with books. In fact, I'll even go a step further: When it comes to sales of EVERNEATH, or any other book out there... Every. Book. Counts. 

Now, let's dismiss the exceptions to the rule, the Stephenie Meyers and James Pattersons and Fifty Shades, where they are probably not as aware of the single sales out there. 

But for everyone else, every sale is significant. To everyone else, writing a personal thank you card to every buyer would not be an astronomical task. 

Each author has access to BookScan numbers, which track all the sales during a given week across the country. They divide those sales by region, and further divide them by smaller areas, to the point where if you buy a book in Wichita Kansas, I can almost see it. 

But not in a creepy way. Not in a "I know where you live" kind of way. We don't get that detailed by any means. It's more in a way that I want to reach out and hug Wichita Kansas - all of you - and thank you for that single book sale, and the knowledge that some reader among your ranks has handed over money for something that I wrote.

There is no greater honor. 

I guess my point is, if you're thinking that buying one book doesn't matter to the author, think again. I know most of you already know this. But please notice how an uncle who buys thirty books for all of his friends can draw the envy (in a good way!) and awe of every other author there. Know that the singles column of the sales numbers is compelling and meaningful. Know that our sales are not counted by the hundreds or the thousands, but by the digits on our own two hands. 

And when you buy a book, some author, somewhere, wouldn't hesitate to give you a hug.

And if you've bought my book, well... (((hugs))) 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Full Cover for EVERBOUND and how we got Too Close to the Fireworks

Two Things!

Thing #1

Have you ever wanted to see the FULL cover for EVERBOUND? Here it is, in its entirety...

Thing #2

You know how the 4th of July was the other day? Like, on the 4th? Well, I was watching the fireworks with my family on the balcony, and Kid C said we weren't close enough. So, we decided to "chase" the fireworks, like professionals "chase" tornadoes.

We got in the car and took off, driving toward each new batch of fireworks that we saw.

Eventually, we ended up on the side of a hill where we'd heard a rumor that there would be fireworks. (Actually, the "rumor" was an announcement on the city's webpage).

We weren't sure if the hill would be in the way of our viewing, so we asked a few people who were seated on the side of the road.

me: "So, will we be able to see the fireworks from here?"

guy (giving me a strange look): "Uh... you see that guy right there?" Points about ten yards away. "He's lighting them. You brought your ear plugs, didn't you?"

I didn't get a chance to answer, because without any more warning, the lights everywhere went out, and the show started. And by "show", I mean thunderous explosions that rattled my bones, reducing my organs to jelly, and fire that rained down on us.

I fought the urge to run naked down the street, screaming, "We're all gonna die! We're all gonna die!"

I lunged for Kid C, shielding him with my body, then the three of us (me, my mom and Kid C) dropped to the ground, flattening ourselves on our backs, partly to get the best view of the fireworks about twenty feet above our heads, and partly for safety measures.

During a break, I screamed to Kid C, "Plug your ears! Use the entire fist!"

At one point, I tried to get a video. It doesn't do our proximity justice, but you can tell we could only fit one portion of the show in the viewfinder. To get the full experience, turn it up way loud, find yourself the nearest jack hammer, swallow it, and then turn it on at the same time you press play. 

Afterward, my mom asked me (in the loud voice reserved for people who have just experienced mortar shelling) "Did you really ask that guy if we'd be able to see them from here?"

I could tell she was saying something, but I'm not good at reading lips, so I just nodded deliriously and hit the side of my head. Is it possible to catch "firework of the brain"? 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Best Anniversary Present Ever, In Which Rafa and I Share a Moment

Hey yon Bloggerland! 

Sorry I've been a little bit absent lately. I've just finished my first draft of NEVERFALL (aka Ever-Novella) and turned it in to editor Kristin. So now I'm returning to civilization. 

Last week Sam and I celebrated our anniversary, and last night he surprised me with this little beauty:

That there is the Sports Illustrated edition of the most epic match in the Federer/Nadal history, when Rafa won his first Wimbledon title. 

And it's signed. IT'S SIGNED! 

Which means that at some point, Rafa's fingers touched this magazine, and then yesterday I touched that magazine. Which means that we are connected in the universe. Which means that Rafa and I have finally reached first base. 

I understand that through my logic, one would actually have to round the bases twelve times to reach "Home Plate" but that's the way I was raised. My mama always told me that "first base" was simply being born into the same world as someone of the opposite sex. We were a very conservative family. It made it awkward when my junior high friends would be all, "Did you reach first base?" And I'd answer, "Of course. I've reached first base with every boy in this school. Duh."

You do not want to know how many times Sam and I had to round the bases to bring Kid C into this world.