What to Expect When You’re Expecting–a BOOK! part9: Baby meets world.

Yes, Virginia–WTEWYEpart 9 was supposed to post last week, but hey–when you have a new book-baby (and your internet goes out…)  TIME and SCHEDULES fly out the window.

Arthur Levine and Mike Jung at SCBWI.

Arthur Levine and Mike Jung at SCBWI.

Just ask Mike Jung, book-dad of the hilarious middle grade novel, GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES, which came out last October (Happy First Birthday to GG&SI !) with Aurthur A. Levine Books.

geeks girls and secret identitiesMike is also proud Daddy to a 7.26 year old and a 3.0 year old (Happy Birthday to the pilot-in-training!), and thus doubly qualified to help me discuss another aspect of Post-BOOkum: Baby meets world–the fears and joys of getting your baby out there…

Verizon commercial

Trick or Treat!
Sorry but I love this commercial…
Look at that baby!

Speaking of which >brings out the baby picture aka book cover–ahem<, because my new book-baby is a holiday picture book and

I KNOW, I KNOW–IT’S HALLOWEEN,

Deck the Walls cover by Erin DealeyI’ve been hesitant to introduce my bouncing baby book to the world too soon.

Check out these kinders with their "OLIVE TO READ" crowns!

Check out these kinders with their “OLIVE TO READ” crowns!

Instead we’ve had Skype parties with kids from Maine to California–plus Berlin, Germany. Cat in the Hat joined me for an event in September (see part5) and look who I met a PAL book signing at SCBWI SF North/East Bay?

Yes that's ME with THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN and Katherine Applegate--no biggie...

Yes that’s ME with THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN and Katherine Applegate–no biggie…

With Halloween officially over tonight, I’ll take my baby to the California Reading Association’s PDI this weekend and a book store event at The Reading Bug (Nov. 3rd 11-1pm–San Carlos, CA–Please come!) which–I admit–is causing a few Will they like the book?/Will anyone come? qualms, but as Mike reminded me–the best part is meeting the kids.

And kids write the best fan mail EVER.

 I Love your dook. Thanks you for saring your dook. It was vere nis I want to reb it. You are the dest testr.

I Love your dook. Thanks you for saring your dook. It was vere nis
I want to reb it.
You are the dest testr.

See what I mean?

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Mike: “There are many great things to look forward to after your book arrives on the scene (seeing it in a bookstore; signing autographs; getting congratulations from everyone) and there are many less-than-great things too (mean-spirited reviews; events where nobody shows up; the fact that you’re still as anxiety-riddled as you were before your book was published), but I think my favorite thing is fan mail from readers.

“Kids write the greatest letters, in case you didn’t know. Not that adults write bad letters – for example, I greatly admire the letter Daniel Day-Lewis sent to Steven Spielberg when he first turned down the lead role in Lincoln – but there’s a kind of unrestrained expressiveness that you can only find in a young reader’s own words. I’m partial to the handwritten, ink-on-paper letters, partly because a child’s handwriting feels like getting a glimpse into their personality, and partly because they often include drawings, but I’ve been lucky to receive fan email too.

“I met nine-year-old Tatiana at a bookstore event, and she was so bashful that she didn’t say a single audible word to me. The letter she handed over, however, was a gale-force blast of enthusiasm and appreciation.”

fan-letter-tatianaMike continues: “Max is a student of my agent-mate Tara Dairman; we’ve never met but Tara mailed his letter to me, and I had to admire his completely unselfconscious declaration that he’s read my book one and a half times and just might read it a second and a half time.”

fanletterfrommax“I respect people who can come right out and say what they want,” Mike adds, “and Alex’s fan email was impeccably direct:

WRITE A SEQUEL TO GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES.'”

 Mike: “I’m a believer in the power of books; I think the right books can change a child’s life for the better, even if it’s just by momentarily increasing that child’s capacity to immerse herself in a fun, engaging story. And while this crazy career provides all kinds of gratifying moments, it’s incredibly moving when young readers invest their time, energy, thought, and emotion in the creation of a tangible message about the impact of our work. Those kids are what it’s all about, and their expressions of gratitude are pure gold. They remind me of how grateful I am to be an author. We’re lucky, you know? We’re so lucky.”

Follow awesome book-dad @MikeJung , check out his blog at Mike Jung’s Little Bloggy Wog, and read his books!

Meanwhile, have a Happy and safe Halloween, and come back next week for part10

with author Katherine Longshore.

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