September 17, 2015
Remember back in June when I told you that you could pre-order a copy of Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) from my local independent record store/bookstore Bull Moose, and I would sign it?
Guess what? I can personalize it for you! (Only if you want. Totally cool if you don’t want it personalized.) So if you have been holding back on ordering because you really most of all want a copy of Snappsy inscribed, “To my dearest Pookums, we’ll always have the rutabagas, with much love, Julie Falatko,” now I can make that happen.
All you have to do is:
1. Pre-order a copy of Snappsy from Bull Moose.
2. Reply to the confirmation email, or send an email to bullmooseonline AT gmail dot com.
3. In your email, say you ordered the book, what your order number is, and what you’d like the inscription to say.
September 11, 2015
Hi everyone! I am beyond thrilled to announce this news:
(click to see in full-size glory)
Listen. It’s fairly nerve-wracking to be in the spot of having labored over words (and believe me, there was a lot of laboring over the words in this particular book), and being happy with the words, but also being a wordsy author-type, so I think of the story almost without illustrations. The characters speak in my head. I can hear them. But I can’t quite see them. I can a little, but it’s foggy.
The problem with that, as a wordsy author-type, who also maybe sometimes get a bit anxious about the worth of the words, is that I worry the story is not illustratable. I worry my editor is going to call me and say, “I’m sorry. I just can’t find anyone who can do anything with this. We’re taking back the advance and producing it as a community public access radio play.” (Is there even community public access radio? There should be.)
So I get nervous. And emotional. And so far I am 2 for 2 for crying when my editor Joanna told me who my illustrator was, first with Tim, and now with Charles. (The difference with her telling me about Charles is that I wasn’t home so she told me via email and then I made the poor choice to call and leave her a sobby-happy voicemail, which just goes to show that you can be a human in this business and they’ll still let you make books.)
Now go to your local independent bookstore or library and get these Charles Santoso-illustrated books: I Don’t Like Koala by Sean Ferrell, Peanut Butter and Brains by Joe McGee, and Spy Guy by Jessica Young.
August 10, 2015
Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) is one step closer to being a real thing. I just got F&Gs!
What’s an F&G, you ask? It’s an acronym for “folded and gathered” and it’s the book, but unbound (sometimes also called a “floppy copy”). The pages look just like they will in the bound book, but they are only folded together and put in order.
What this means is it’s just like the real book, but much more fragile. The rule in our house is that you can’t touch an F&G unless you’re in a clean room wearing a hazmat suit and promise not to sneeze or breathe. Other people maybe have better methods for reading F&Gs, but they have a habit of exploding on me.
It’s so weird to see my name in actual print on the cover of a book, after a lifetime of writing my name in crayon on a cover I drew myself and stapling it to the words I wrote. It’s like finding your name in the phone book, multiplied by one billion.
So here’s a sneak peek at the F&G! (Click on any of the images below to make them bigger.)
It has a cover!
And a hilarious front flap (and endpapers!).
And a title page! With my name on it! And Tim’s name! And Viking’s name! Plus that gorgeous blank page opposite where I’ll sign my name when you come to a book event or pre-order from Bull Moose. (That color has now been named Snappsy Green and my family is getting a weensy annoyed by how many things I insist we buy in Snappsy Green now — nail polish…oven mitts…couches.)
And a back flap with a drawing of me by Tim! (And a drawing of Tim by Tim.)
And, special to the F&G, a back cover with blurbs. I am so awed and lucky and grateful to have gotten blurbs from Ame Dyckman, Adam Rex, and Bob Shea. The bound book will have a different back cover, but I love this one, too!
June 12, 2015
It’s finally time to show you the cover for Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book). I love this awesome cover so much.
You’ll have to head on over to Mr. Schu’s blog to see it, but trust me, it’s worth it!
June 5, 2015
I am so, so excited to be working with local independent bookshop (and music shop, and games shop, and toy shop) Bull Moose to be able to offer you a non-giant-conglomerate option for pre-ordering. You can pre-order Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) now, or regular-order it after February 2, 2016, and Bull Moose will ship it to you. And! As an added bonus, I will sign it before it ships to you!
Note that it will be sent to you by a human. Not by an actual moose.
June 4, 2015
I have a post on Nerdy Book Club today, about how weird it is to have an idea I came up with while cooking dinner turn into a book that people will be able to read.
Here are some bonus fun facts about Snappsy and the Nerdy post!
Bonus Fun Fact #1! The Snappsy illustrations included in the Nerdy post have never been seen by non-Snappsy people! In fact, I hadn’t even seen them until two days ago!
Bonus Fun Fact #2: Snappsy was originally pitched as “Stranger than Fiction” meets Chloe and the Lion.
Bonus Fun Fact #3: It was surreal to see drawings of Snappsy, but not a huge surprise. I mean, I already knew he’d be an alligator. It’s right there in the title. But I wrote about a narrator too, and I didn’t say who or what the narrator was. It was exciting and nerve-wracking to see the first illustrations where the narrator shows up, and to see how amazing illustrator Tim Miller imagined him. I love who the narrator is. (I’m not telling.)
May 26, 2015
Now that the publication of my debut picture book is less than a year away, I’m starting to think about school visits. I love talking to kids about writing. I’ve talked about this before, but when I was a kid, I thought all my favorite authors lived in mansions with butlers, but were now dead. If I had known authors were living, ordinary people, I think I would have pursued writing seriously as a career twenty years sooner. Author visits are important.
I am working this summer on developing a program/presentation for school visits, and I have been thinking a lot about this great Nerdy Book Club post by Polly Holyoke: Teachers, Librarians, and Authors: Let’s Work Together to Make More Author Visits Happen. So, not to steal this concept too directly from Polly Holyoke, but: tell me what you need. I would love to come to your school and talk to your students, but I’d love it even more if I knew that the program I was presenting was helping you too.
If you are a teacher or school librarian, would you consider filling out this four-question survey for me? It’ll help me develop an author visit program that fits in best with school needs. To show my thanks, if you fill out the survey by July 31, 2015, I will do a 30-minute Skype with your class sometime during the 2015-2016 school year.
So far, teachers I’ve talked to seem to want real examples of how writing and revising work for a grown-up author. I could talk about this all day, so if that’s what most of you want, then that’s awesome. But I also want to know if there’s a specific curriculum need (especially in Maine, where I live) that you think I could help with. Do students need to be able to write plots? Vivid characters? Stories about bunnies? I can help.
May 23, 2015
Ramona enjoying the color illustrations in Snappsy.
Writing and publishing a book is a strange test on your perception of time. I spent 2013 working with my editor to make Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) the best it could be. I spent 2014 working on my bunny book with her, and not doing much on Snappsy. And now! Suddenly! All at once! Lots of Snappsy things are happening. It will be published February 2, 2016, which sounds far away, but at this point, to me, seems like it’s tomorrow.
Last week I saw all the illustrations in color for the first time. I’ve been loving the black-and-white sketches I’ve seen, but OH WOW seeing it in color was amazing. Tim Miller is a genius illustrator.
And now, if you’re so inclined, you can add Snappsy to your Goodreads to-be-read list, and even pre-order it on Amazon. It’s not on Indiebound yet, and I’ll let you know when it is. And you can walk in to your local independent bookstore, ask about it, and buy a few more books while you’re there (I recommend I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty and illustrated by Mike Boldt, Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea, Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora, Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, In Mary’s Garden by Tina and Carson Kugler, Faraway Friends by Russ Cox, Goodnight Already! by Jory John and illustrated by Benji Davies, Tricky Vic and Templeton Gets His Wish by Greg Pizzoli, and Home by Carson Ellis.)
April 20, 2015
Way back in March, when snow was still on the ground, I Skyped with a few classes for World Read Aloud Day. It was so fun. Anyone who thinks you can’t make a connection with students over Skype is just wrong. I love reading to students over Skype and answering all their questions.
I had a particularly great time reading to 1st and 2nd graders in Connecticut. I met their librarian, Mrs. Lussier, at nErDcampNNE in January. Those students are lucky to have such a passionate reader leading them — and go read her post to see the HUGE number of Skypes she did for World Read Aloud Day! I’m seriously impressed.
And I’m grateful that she said “Julie is enthusiastic, kind, passionate and clearly loves kids and children’s literature” and “Julie is terrific at reading aloud!” and “If you get a chance to have a school visit or skype with Ms. Falatko, you will enjoy every moment!” I swear I didn’t pay her even a little bit of money to say those things. But you should probably listen to her. She’s super smart.
April 12, 2015
Hi everyone! I’m excited to be part of a new segment on Busy Librarian Matthew Winner’s Let’s Get Busy podcast, where my best pal Carter Higgins and I talk about what books we love that came out in the last three months. We had so much fun talking about books, and as soon as we hung up, I thought of about twelve books I forgot to mention, so we’ll definitely have to do this again.
If you’re not already listening to the Let’s Get Busy podcast, you should be! Well, only if you’re interested in hearing children’s book authors and illustrators talk about their books. Matthew is a terrific interviewer, and I always, always, come away amazed, inspired, and impressed.
You can listen to me and Carter talk books here, or see the giant book list here (you should print it out and bring it to your library!).
(On a side note: I had only had one cup of coffee and was coming down with the flu when we recorded this, so if you listen and think, “I thought Julie would sound more awake and also be able to put nouns and verbs together more succinctly,” that’s why.)