Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An Awesome Book Review. Or, At Least, An Awesome Word Review.

You know how sometimes you write a book and it's like 25,000 words long and you slave over it and work on it and strive to make every single one of those 25,000 words perfect in every way?

You know that?

And then, you do something wild and reckless and crazy and you wind up getting a book review from somebody totally amazing and that person reviews exactly one of the 25,000 words that you wrote?

It probably happens to you all the time, but this is the first time it's happened to me.

I have this new book coming out in the fall. Fame, Fortune, and the Bran Muffins of Doom. It's the epic adventure of Simon and his buddies Munch and Ralph, who are trying to win the school talent show so they can collect the millions of dollars that they are certain is the first prize.  They are hindered by the fact that they are entirely without talent of any sort. And, when they do actually try to rehearse, the crazy old lady next door starts throwing her deadly bran muffins at them.

So you can see that the book shares much with the great works of literature throughout history. Namely, that it has words in it. Lots of words. Including words like "habiliments", "kinesthesia", "pinguid" and "terpsichorean". The main character, Simon,  has an exceptional vocabulary. So I have taken the time to include a glossary to help readers decipher what he's talking about.

The book is, as I type, being copy-edited and proof-read by an expert team of ninja-like trained editors with red pens the size of baseball bats.

While I wait for the excitement of the editing party to draw to a close, I decided to use my time wisely and start bugging really famous people to review the book for me.

Target number one was one of my favorite writers on the planet, Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. (DO NOT GO AWAY RIGHT NOW! I'M NOT DONE HERE! Also, if you are a kid reading this, you probably shouldn't click on that link because she uses a lot of words that will get you sent to the principal's office if you use them. She can use them because she is an adult and people pay her big bucks to use that sort of language, so it's okay for her to use it.)

She is brilliantly funny and never fails to make me snort coffee out my nose–a tragic mistake you'd think I'd learn from.

So I decided to send her an email, asking if she would be interested in reading my book and writing a review of it. I know that she gets swamped with desperate requests like this. I know this because she has an entire page on her blog devoted to repelling requests like this.  (You might want to go to that link, but please come back, I'm almost finished. Also, there are a few more bad words there. Do not repeat them unless you are getting paid to do so.)

Basically, if you approach her with a stupid request, she will send you a picture of Wil Wheaton collating papers.

I was willing to take that risk.

I wrote to her.

Hi Jenny,
I just got a questionnaire from the marketing people at Holiday House (who are publishing my upcoming chapter book: Fame, Fortune, and The Bran Muffins of Doom).
They are looking for people who might be interested in reading it and writing a blurb that they can exploit and shamelessly use to help sell the book.

I'd love to say that it will benefit you somehow, but aside from the fact that you will get a free copy of the book (and really, not even a decent copy, just a crummy old ARC) I suspect that you are not in terribly dire need of any publicity I can offer you.

You would, of course get to read about Simon, Munch, and Ralph and contribute your thoughts to what I suspect will be the only children's book in existence that uses the words "terpsichorean" and "ballistic muffins of mass destruction". It is also the only children's book in history officially endorsed (sort of) by the punk bands Screeching Weasel, NOFX, and Psychostick.

If nothing else, I'm sure it will be a valuable addition to Hailey's library. Or you can use it as a handy coaster.

If you'd be willing to look at a copy of the book, I'd love to have the marketing gurus put you on the exclusive list of potential reviewers.
If not, I totally understand, and I will humbly accept a picture of Wil Wheaton collating paper.

Take care and thanks.

And I sat back and awaited my picture of Wil.
Within 24 hours, an email appeared in my inbox. With an attachment on it.

You are hilarious and I will forward your request to Jenny. I'm not sure
if she'll be able to review your book simply because she is so crazy busy
right now with her own book and upcoming tour but hey, it doesn't hurt to
ask right? Either way, one of us will get back with you and let you know
about the review.

In the mean time, because you are so sweet, I have attached THE PICTURE
and will wish you much success on your book.

We'll let you know soon, I promise!

Mary, Fairy Godmother
(Jenny's Assistant)

Who knew she had an assistant? And one with such wonderful taste in humor? She was charming and polite and funny, so what do I do? Sit back and wait?
Heck no! I fight back.

Dear Fairy Mary,
Thanks so much. I thought that Jenny would be unbelievably busy, but as you said, it never hurts to ask.
When I saw that there was an attachment, I assumed I had been Wheatoned. Yes. It's a verb now.
So, I will see your Wheatoning and counter with Simon, the main character from my book, drawing secret plans on paper which is bound and thus requires no collating.

Thanks again. Looking forward to hearing from you.


And she replied:


The picture is AWESOME and I'm so forwarding it to Jenny for her to see as
well. : )


Mary, Fairy Godmother
(Jenny's Assistant)

Please note that my name has been upgraded to include an exclamation point. I expect you all to start writing that way immediately. I also expect that you will say my name properly now. 

I owe Mary eternally for giving me a name upgrade. In fact, I will return the favor and ask that you all refer to her as MARY2.0! from now on.

And then, a scant few hours later, this arrived from Jenny herself:

I've been saying no to all reviews since I'm really busy but if it's a
kids book I could probably fit it in. Can you send the arc to the address
under my advertising tab? I can't promise I'll read it soon but you can
feel free to use this quote: "This book taught me the meaning of the word
"terpsichorean". Literally. If you don't know it you should probably buy
the book. "
Seriously.  How cool is that? How hard does she rock? (answers: Really cool. Really hard.)

Now, if I can just get her to actually read the other 24,999 words in the book...