As of February 2, you can buy my debut picture book, Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) wherever books are sold. Or check it out of libraries wherever libraries are librarying, even in other alternate dimensions. It’s true. Alternate dimension libraries ordered a lot of copies.
Hard to say anymore, because this week has been a whirlwind. I have been waiting for February 2, 2016 for so long, and then it was tomorrow and then it was today and now it’s two days ago. And it has all been amazing and great fun and boy oh boy you all are so nice! I know some people say the internet is mean, but not my internet. My internet is full of lovely readers who are happy to have another book to read, and it’s great. So thank you!
While I’m on the subject of thank yous, thank you to the team at Viking/Penguin Young Readers. A debut author, or any author, could not ask for a better team. It feels like they were like, “Hey, is it cool if we shoot Julie and Tim out of a cannon and throw confetti at them and then vacuum it up afterward while they eat cake?” I’d especially like to thank my editor Joanna Cardenas, who has made this process so dreamy what with the way she completely understands me and what I’m trying to write, her ability to send me an edit letter which is somehow a magical shining beacon that shows that the answers were hidden inside me all the time, and also her great love of books and cookies.
Danielle! My agent Danielle Smith! Oh my gosh. She took a chance on me (any agent takes a chance on a new client, I guess) but she also shot me out of a cannon (I’d like to clarify here that this is not a literal cannon, but a metaphor for some kind of publishing success cannon, and I wore a helmet, don’t worry). I am so grateful to have an agent who is supportive, kind, has big plans, and is my friend.
I need to thank Carter Higgins and Elizabeth Stevens Omlor. You know all that talk about the universe, and blah blah blah, and everyone says it so much that you don’t even register what they’re saying anymore (the universe brought you coffee? what?). But THANKS UNIVERSE for shoving me at Elizabeth and Carter. I’m still not entirely sure how it happened, but we were somehow gathered up and (oh wait, I know) shot towards each other out of cannons. Writers, if you’re just starting out, listen: find your people. You only need one or two, but if you can find a writer who is at the same stage of writing/querying you are, and who writes stories you love, and who loves your stories, grab on and don’t let go. That very small group of best friends is going to be by your side through it all, and you’ll talk about writing and everything, and you’ll have a place to say the things which you should not even think about saying out loud on the internet.
And finally my family, who has put up with me so much. I have been maintaining a general air of cheerful insufferability for years now (oh wait — maybe it’s just my personality? huh) and they have been fine with it, as long as I keep making dinner. Let me tell you this: apparently the way to remain a “cool” parent is to write a book. With my kids, at least. We live in Maine. The definition of cool might be different from other places. In New York City, parents have to learn to fly to be cool. Good thing I could be cool just by writing a book. (Really though, Henry is 12 now, and was talking about how uncool parents in general are, because that’s what 12-year-olds do, and then he admitted that I was a little cool because “you have some degree of internet fame.” Do you know how hard it is to get your 7th grader to admit you’re not the most embarrassing person on the planet? It’s harder than getting a picture book published! And that’s hard!) (He’d still prefer not to be seen in public with me, however.)
And my husband Dave, who has been my cheerleader and supporter in so many ways. You know authors don’t make a ton of money, right? I’ll admit it here: my path would have been very different (longer) if I didn’t have a situation where my partner had a job that allowed me to stay home with the kids and write. Everyone’s path is different, and there are many ways to make writing happen, but having a spouse with a job is a way that a lot of people are afraid to acknowledge. I know college me might be rolling her eyes and wondering if I still called myself a feminist (of course I do, 1992 Julie!). But I’ve searched around, and people don’t talk about it. You don’t make much money as a not-yet-published author. And I can tell you that it’s not like those throw-rug-sized lottery checks keep getting delivered to the house since my book came out two days ago (we did get a delivery of dry erase markers, but those aren’t really the same thing). I bet I’m not the only author who is supported financially by a spouse, a long-suffering spouse, a spouse who comes home to see the writer person bleary-eyed at the computer and so much dust on the floor that you can’t see the floor any more. THANK YOU, DAVE. Guys, my husband is like a superhero. He’s tall and handsome, he can cook without a recipe, he knows how to do electrical stuff and plumbing and small engine repair and large engine repair and he wears a cape. (Okay, the cape part is only true when Ramona announces “wear this cape!” and then he does it because he’s also an awesome dad.) It’s hard to be married to a superhero. You feel inadequate sometimes. He doesn’t hold it against me. Shout out to Dave and all the other partners who go to jobs where they get paychecks to support the writer people at home who are not doing the dishes. Or who are doing the dishes! Whatever we’re doing, it doesn’t bring in money (yet!) and you all are so very patient while we are waiting to get shot out of our cannons. Here! We made you cookies! Yes, instead of folding laundry. Yes, the rug needs vacuuming, we know. Leave the light off when you go into the bathroom, please. Cookie?*
It’s a really nice feeling right now to be able to say “yes, my book is out.” Many of you know how long it takes for a book to be published, but the people I only vaguely know that I run into at the grocery store don’t know. So they say, “Hey, is your book out?” and then you have to say, “It’s coming out in a year” which is totally normal but the person looks at you like, “wow, is she ever a liar.” So it’s nice to be able to say it’s really, truly, a book that you can buy and read.
You have been so patient reading all this! Here is a quick run down of Snappsy excitement extravaganza stuff that happened this week:
- The book trailer premiered on Entertainment Weekly! I love our book trailer so much.
- I had a post on the Nerdy Book Club called Chocolate Cake.
- Tim finished Mr. Schu’s sentences, and called me a kindred spirit.
- I was interviewed by Colby Sharp, where I talked about what the hardest and easiest things about being an author are, and what book I’d like to live in.
- Tim and I were both on Matthew Winner’s Let’s Get Busy podcast. We had a really fun time chatting with Matthew, and I don’t know if this is obnoxious to say (like, “I love the sound of me!”) but I had a lot of fun listening to it too.
- Carter posted an amazing blog post about Snappsy and about our friendship, which managed to make the whole internet cry.
- Snappsy and the narrator were interviewed by Mr. Pig, and Mamabelly made a literary lunch to go with that interview, including an amazing cucumber Snappsy!
- Also be sure to check out Tim’s awesome process post about making the party scene in Snappsy, his video about all the sketches that went into the book, and his video on how to draw Snappsy.
And now we’re getting reading to go to Books of Wonder on Saturday. Tim Miller and I will be there from 1-3 singing and dancing (metaphorically) and signing copies of Snappsy. If you’re in New York City, we’d love to see you there!
* Edited to add: I wrote all this and then went for a run and it struck me that this might make us sound like we’re rich people who live in a mansion and have a butler and something called a livery stable even though we don’t eat much meat. We’re not. We scrimp and save and buy discount bread and used clothes and never eat out or go to the movies or do any kind of recreational activity that isn’t free. We are lucky in that we do have health insurance and enough that it made sense for me to stay home with our many children and work on my writing. But I don’t want you to think, “Oh, I don’t need to buy her book because she’s a dilettante hobbyist with piles of money.” Oh heavens, no. Please buy my book. If you can’t (which I get! books are expensive!) you can ask your library to buy a copy, and then we all win.