Sunday, February 28, 2010

News For The Cammy Crew

I've got some marginally philosophical things to talk about, but I'm saving them for later. Today it's just a Me-And-My-Editor report.
First off, the weather here didn't cooperate, so we were stuck indoors most of the time she was here.
Too bad, but better than the tsunami warnings she was faced with when she arrived in Hawaii! Sheez. She was looking forward to leaving New York City snow behind for a few days and wound up being rushed to higher ground for safety from flooding.
Anyway, back to her being here.
I have a "partner desk". I just love the thing. It's dark wood, with lovely carved detail, and drawers on both sides. It's really old, and not huge -- just right for me. And this week, it was just right for me and my editor. I just cleared a spot for her and she opened her laptop, and I opened mine, and we worked at the desk much longer than girls on vacation should.
So I read her some of the comments posted here. She laughed, and said Awwww, and was in general touched by the things that were posted. See, Nancy's the one who pulled me out of the slush pile. She's the one who went to her boss and said she believed in me and wanted to buy these books about a girl named Sammy from this unknown author. So she's been with me from the very beginning, and the comments made here by The Cammy Crew touch her they way they touch me.
Just so you know.
Now, usually we have the "Five Year Plan" conversation over the phone, but this time we got to have it in person. What this entails is determining when a book is to come out (what season, and what month in that season), and when the paperback will be released. Random House divides the calendar into three seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall. (There is no Winter in publishing, despite the fact that 2009 was a long cold spell for many publishers due to the economy, among other factors.) So "Spring" is the first 4 months of the year, Summer the next four, and Fall the final four.
The now-conventional wisdom is that Summer is a good time for paperbacks. But you want to have enough time available for the hardcover to sell. (In other words, they don't want to release a hardcover in Spring and the paperback in Summer...there just hasn't been enough time for the hardcover to sell.)
You also don't want to be in competition with yourself. In other words, have more than one of your own books on the same list. Which means (for an author that doesn't seem to know that it's okay to take a break) that scheduling can be a bit of a juggle.
Am I going into too much detail here?
Sorry. I just think the decision making parameters make it easier to understand the decision.
Regardless, what Nancy and I did was calendar out the Final Five Sammy Keyes books (plus the paperback of Wedding Crasher).
That's right -- it'll be over at Book 18.
I showed her my basic plot ideas for the remaining books, including when Sammy will find her dad, and what is going to happen in the last book.
We were both excited.
And a little sad.
Sammy has been part of our lives for so long and she's "real" to us. So the thought of driving toward the end is...bittersweet.
But how amazing is it that a person who got rejected by publishers for ten years is planning out the eighteenth book in a series?
Pretty darn amazing!
So on we go.
And here's what I now know about the near future:
  • Random House is sending me on "blog tour" in May for the paperback release of Cold Hard Cash. This is a new way of "touring", and I'm all for it. I've been on traditional book tour many times and although I always enjoy meeting people at events, it's really quite exhausting (a different city every day) and expensive, and air travel is such a pain these days. Anyway, I've never done this before, but my understanding is that I'll be answering questions at a different blog every day during some week in May. I'll be sure to post the info as it becomes available.
  • Random House liked the idea of a "Fan Page" on their website for me. The format is just rough at this point, but I'm encouraging them to include submissions that would range from comments to poems to art. It would be a great place for those of you who have artistic inclinations to post your Sammy-related (or Flipped-related, or Runaway-related...etc.) creations for the world to see.
  • They want to have some Sammy mystery-related puzzle on-line. But when Nancy and I were brainstorming what the puzzle might be and what someone would get for solving the it, we couldn't really come up with anything that wouldn't incur prohibitive costs (like postage or prizes, etc.). And we sure didn't want it to be nothing. And then...
  • Then I hit on the idea of posting chapters of a Sammy Short. Like a mini-book, available only to people who solved the puzzle. The story would be divided it into sections (probably 8), and every week you could go to the website, solve a puzzle, get an access code, and read the next chapter. All free to you, except for the investment of a little brain power. I really like this idea (if I do say so myself!) because I think it will make waiting for the October release of Wedding Crasher a lot more tolerable. Am I right?

So that's a brief overview of what's planned. I don't know where we are with the shoelaces or charm. They like the idea a lot, but if anything will materialize from it is unclear. I'll keep at it, though, and let you know.

Thanks for checking in--see you next Sunday!



Elizabeth said...

Wow, that is a lot of info!(in a good way :) What decision was made with regard to the release date though (if one has been made)? I love the idea of a Sammy Short! And the idea for a page where fans who are artistically inclined to share their work is awesome! It sounds like an exciting and scary process, planning the end... But that is a ways away so no need for me to get mopey! :D. Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth

Jinnyd said...

THANK YOU FOR POSTING! I was agonizing about it in a blog post.. hee hee hee.

That picture looks so cool! If only it could be reality...

Why won't there be a book 19 & 20? Wasn't there originally 20 planned out for the series? Anyway, I'll love the final books whenever they come and whatever they are.

That Sammy Short idea is the coolest in the world! I've practically memorized the "casebook" that's already on the Sammy website. :-) Methinks my brain could use a little more exercising in the investigational and puzzle solving area.

For the Fan page--could we send in "How I survived Being a Girl" related stuff too? It stinks that it's out of print, but I still get it at the library and I love it!

Again, thanks for the post! It had lots of cool information that I never knew about the publishing industry. Mayhap it will come in handy someday.

Pooja Dimba said...

I love the puzzle idea. It makes sense... and its cool because its free for the people who make it and fans... because they have to buy it and stuff.
NOOO 18 books!!!!! I am so sad!!!!! Aww that means only 6 books left!!!!!
Man I am sad! The pic looks so cool (the high-top with a horse-shoe) where did you find it!!! :D
Great post!

Pooja Dimba said...

Oh wait I meant the Sammy Short Stories Thing-y I got confused....

Elizabeth said...

WOW I'm smart sometimes. October. Got it... lol so sorry about that. And you're right both ways Pooja Dimba, it is a puzzle with the Sammy Shorts as a prize! :D

Stefunny said...

Me gusta Sammy Puzzle mucho. I simply cannot wait for the book to come out AND since I'm not taking any math classes this year...I haven't been pumping logos to it's max.

Anonymous said...

The idea for short stories is great! I'd definetly do them - almost like "real" fanfictions because I usually read FFs (or make them) in compensation for the wait. Sounds exciting! It's really cool that you thought of that! Will the short stories be, like, short mysteries, or just short stories of her everyday life (or both?)?
And for the fan page-- will fan art be allowed to also be emailed (like, if we scan it or use a tablet)?
Cammy Crew... hehe... I like that. ;)


bookfreak said...

i love the sammy short stories puzzles idea thing. Sounds cool..=D

sammy4ever said...

ha! "the cammy crew". that made me smile (:
yeah, my family heard about the tsunami and the earthquake in chili on the news saturday morning. we were in l.a. for my great aunt's memorial service. and being in l.a. reminded me of SK and the Hollywood Mummy (: anyway my dad and aunt and uncles started freaking out because my grandparents were in hawaii. but my grandmother emailed my mom saying that they were safe and on high ground, but she was upset because she had to cancel her lunch plans.
that's my grandmother for you.
anyway, enough about me. let's get to the exciting stuff:
first off - your "partner desk" sounds awesome! i can just picture it in my head. and now i want one, ha ha!
second - there's a "five year plan"? wow. i never thought about how publishing companies planned out the actual publishing and releasing of books. i always thought that when a book was done being, you know, finished it was released in book stores right away. but apparently there's a whole plan plotted out.
lot more complicated then what i had in mind.
third - GAH! you're already planning the last book?!?! your thirteenth book isn't even published yet and now you have me all excited about the 18th book!
fourth - so there's only going to be 18 SK books? AW! that means the adventure is going to be over sooner! I'M GONNA MISS SAMMY!!!!!!! I HATE IT WHEN A BOOK SERIES ENDS! when i finished the last page, the last word of Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian (i believe the last word was "back", wow i'm a weirdo), I just sat there, staring at the back of the book thinking, darn. now what do i do?
WHAAAAAAAAA! *sniffles*
sorry. lost my cool there.
sixth - please please please please do the story puzzle thing!!! it will make waiting for WC a whole lot more bearable!!!!!!! WHEEEEE!!!!! just thinking about WC is making me giddy!!!!
well this is comment is getting a bit long so i should go now. can't wait to hear from you again!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I feel the same way when a book series and/or single book that I really love ends. I recently read this, I must say, twilight “wannabe” book that was actually really, really good (called Shiver.. by Maggie Stiefvater), but anyway, when I got to the end I was like, “Awh!”. So I guess what I'm trying to say is I also don't want Sammy to end but I also do want it to end just because I want to know the end.. =D I also heard about the tsunamis! They had to, like, evacuate Hawaii, right? We had an earthquake a few weeks ago here in Illinois. Unfortunately we're right on a fault line here, so yes.
Although I shouldn't be complaining because you guys live in California (and if you've ever seen the movie 2012, then you'd know that it showed a LOT of California-being-destroyed scenes..).
The thing I'm mostly worried about for the Sammy short stories is that I might not be able to find time to solve the puzzles. Soccer season is starting soon (if the weather gets better) and I'm going to do football cheerleading again this year along with leadership and drama club. I can't act. That's all I'm saying, I was forced to join.
On the other hand, I will still force time to do the puzzles...
So yes.
Oh, and I made this really cool slideshow for my Sammy fan blog but then I figured out that slideshows can't be put on the blog... :( I need to figure that out.
Anything else I need to add...? Oh yes, I wanted to say that besides Fanfictions, this blog is helping the time pass by while waiting.
I wonder if I'll remember all this when I grow up...? It used to be such so strange to think that I would ever talk to my favorite author this much (even if it's online).
This is also terrible long. I have too much to say.

Anonymous said...

The Sammy puzzles sound really cool! It was intersting to read all about what publishing companies do with books - I want to be an author or a publisher when I'm older so it was really neat to find out all that stuff. Aww, there's only a few more Sammy books left :( I really want to find out the end though!! But I can wait :p

PS - Where has TJ been in the books? I almost miss his grumpy self :p

Anonymous said...

Like my new profile picture? I just took forever making it for the Cammy blog. =] It's on there right now. It's my friend Karolina and her boyfriend Cam! <3
But anyways, I made it for the blog and I'm going to go edit some more pictures for the blog now. Bye. =]

Anonymous said...

Okay, now you really have to go see the fan blog!! I made a picture that fits with Wedding Crasher... it's too big to use as my profile picture. It's at the top of the screen. If you have time, I hope you can... =]

Helen said...

Publishing a book seems so exciting! I do love the shoelace idea I hope you guys go with that! I love the puzzle idea too because it's hard to wait until October for the book. Then again it's hard to wait a week for the next portion of the story. I'm 100% behind your decisions though!

Phebe H.L. said...


Me said...

About that tour. . . are you coming to Rhode Island? We never get any authors over here. I'm guessing it's because we're the smallest state, and it would be easier to go to overcrowded Boston (or maybe because if you go too far east, you fall off the edge of the country).