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.
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.
Mike 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…
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,
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?
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.
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.”
Mike 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.”
‘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.”
Meanwhile, have a Happy and safe Halloween, and come back next week for part10
with author Katherine Longshore.