More Love, More Beauty

Ah, my cup runneth over! Check this out. Isn’t it beautiful?

It’s the paperback edition of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. I really thought I’d never like anything more than that red cover, but MAN! What an amazing cover! Love it.

A lot of authors HATE their covers. I’ve been really lucky — I love mine!

(Won’t it be eye-catching on a shelf next to Boy Toy?)

Apparently, I’m Old

Now, given that I write for teenagers, it’s very easy for me to feel old, even though I’m safely ensconced in my mid-thirties which — come on! — isn’t that old. (Right?)

But yesterday I had a brush with reality.

I foolishly answered the phone, even though Caller ID showed a number with which I was unfamiliar. Little did I know what awaited me on the other end of the line…

FRENCH CANADIAN GUY (FCG): Ah, ‘allo? I am calling from Organzation Whose Name I Can’t Remember. We are testing materials that may be aired on television. We are not selling anything. Would you be willing to help us? Are you in the 18-24 year old age group?

ME (Me): No.

FCG: Ah. Are you in the 25-34 year old age group?

ME: No.

FCG: Ah. Could I speak to someone in the house — male or female — who IS in one of those age groups?

ME: No one like that here.

FCG: Not now, or…?

ME: Not ever.

FCG: Thank you. Have a nice day.

And then he hung up.

Man! I’m that old that no one wants my opinion any more? I wish I could get rid of telemarketers like that…

Love, Beauty

Imagine my shock and surprise when I came home from an eye doctor’s appointment this afternoon only to find that UPS had come and gone in my absence…and left a copy of Boy Toy on my front step.

When I say “a copy,” I don’t mean one of the galleys I’ve been signing for the past few months. I mean an actual, honest-to-God finished, bound hardcover book!

I was amazed. The book isn’t out until September and it seems like last year, I didn’t get a copy of Fanboy until much closer to the actual in-store date.

But who am I to complain about getting my book early, of all things?

Anyway, let me tell you something — I absolutely love this book! No, I’m not devolving into a creature of pure ego. I’m not talking about the words at all. I mean the look of it. God, it’s a thing of beauty! Houghton did a nice embossed treatment on the front cover, raising the letters in the title. There are little touches everywhere — the front flap in blue, for example, with the back flap in complementary green. The green endpapers. The way they’ve turned the cover design into a logo, using it everywhere on the cover it says “Boy Toy.”

I really thought that nothing could compare to the thrill of seeing my first book in print, but I have to say this is just as thrilling. It’s a beautiful package and I’m really happy with it. My thanks to everyone involved, but especially artist extraordinaire Jon Gray (who managed to distill a complicated and broad narrative into a simple, eye-catching image) and Sheila Smallwood, who took Jon’s vision and translated into a terrific package design.

How to Write the Great American Novel

Oh, boy, this is great! Especially since the guy eats OATMEAL! (In-joke, sorry. But those of you in on it will be cracking up right about now…)

[Thanks to GalleyCat for finding it.]

What if Libraries Didn’t Exist?

Over at Freakonomics (excellent book, BTW), Stephen J. Dubner asks that musical, magical question: “If public libraries didn’t exist, would it be possible to create them in today’s market?”

Dubner theorizes that today’s lockjaw-like grip on intellectual property rights would make it difficult for a free lending system like the one we’ve come to know and love to develop. Publishers (and authors, probably) would balk at the idea of selling a single copy of their work, only to have it loaned out ad infinitum. (Well, OK — not ad infinitum. But I don’t know the Latin for “a whole hell of a lot.”)

Dubner does allow that some sort of system would rise up — possibly revolving around a licensing fee — but it wouldn’t be the one we’re all used to. I wonder if we would evolve a system similar to that in the UK, whereby authors are paid a royalty each time their books circulate to a new library patron.

I’ve never known an author to extol the opinion that libraries are bad for business, but I have overheard such conversations. Fortunately, every single author I know is a huge fan and big booster of our public libraries. Dubner very even-handedly lays out reasons why authors and publishers shouldn’t like libraries, but also lists reasons why we should.

But he forgets one important one: Libraries are archives. They are repositories of knowledge, culture, and art. Authors should be honored to have their books on the shelves of public libraries. It is one more indication that the culture respects our work. And, perhaps more importantly, it says that we have made some contribution to the betterment of our society through the practice of our art.

In short: It ain’t all about money.