Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Little Boost

I tend to throw myself into things.

Not Dumpsters...although I have been known to pull a Sammy Keyes with those, too.

No, I'm talking about ideas. I get an idea about something and before you know it I've thrown myself into it and work, work, work until it's a reality.

Name any book I've written, and that was my process.

The Exercise the Right to Read campaign was like that. Building the website, getting schools to participate, running the marathon...

26.2 miles? Whose crazy idea was that?

The "Pirate Party" was like that--something I did as a celebration of the "halfway" point in the Sammy Keyes series (which was for Dead Giveaway, which is pirate-y in a Billy Pratt sort of way, which turned out to be the 5/9 point in the series, not the half, but I didn't know that at the time).

Mark & me (and Valerie Lewis of Hicklebee's, San Jose)
The Pirate Party was insane. We rented a ship and cruised around the harbor with booksellers and librarians from all over the country. Nancy and my agent, Ginger, flew in from NYC. It was so much fun, and I gained a whole new appreciation for booksellers and librarians because they ALL dressed in "pirate" -- and totally outdid my costume (although Mark's was majorly awesome).

There was also the Flipped premiere that I hosted at a local indie theater. O-ver-board again! (And nary a pirate in sight.) I was on my hands and knees (as were Mark and Nancy) pasting down our own Avenue of Stars for the guests -- again, people who'd been supportive of my career over the years.

The stars from the Flipped movie
And now there's the tour(s). Good grief. Can I just relax a little? Do I really have to get the family van wrapped in books? Do I really have to make posters and fliers and postcards and do all the things I can think of to make the stores happy they hosted us?

Well, apparently, yes.

Maybe I am just a serial overdoer. Maybe I have an unhealthy need to please. Maybe I'm afraid of failure. There's probably some deep-seated psychological reason why I do the things I do, but there are also rational reasons. What contributes to this insane tour of independent bookstores is having grown up in a family that ran a small business. It instilled in me an appreciation for what it takes to make a small business work. It's not an easy thing.

There's also the matter of saying thank you. Sammy Keyes is (or soon will be) 18 books strong. Some of these booksellers have been hand-selling my work since Hotel Thief came out in 1998. I think a thank you is definitely in order.

Some of the stores we've called to see if they'd like to have us visit are, like, "Why are you coming to [Small Town, USA]?" It's hard to explain to someone who doesn't know you or understand that the awards on your books haven't put a barrier between you and remembering what it's like to balance the books of a small business. It's hard to explain the bit about 'thank you'.

The "He Said, She Said" Road Show Wagon!
Some owners are suspicious in a What-Do-You-Want-From-Me? sort of way.

It's been interesting.

And understandable, which is too bad.

Right now, Mark's researching Wind City Books in Caspar, Wyoming. He's super good at this researching stuff. When he's going through a store's website or Facebook pages, he often calls out things like, "I love this place!" or, "Look at this beautiful high ceiling!" or, "Check it out! They have a dog!"

(Indie stores: If you have a resident dog, we will come.)

Wind City Books looks like a cool little indie. So does Main St. Books in Lander. (Mark tells me they have the bonus feature of a coffee bar, and if you've seen our Spring tour routing, you know why this is of interest to him.)

We'll probably call these Fall tour stores next week, because we have to get that ball rolling before we leave on the Spring tour. Maybe they'll be suspicious. Maybe they'll be excited. Either way, we'll do our best to win them over and give them a little boost in faith that sometimes people just want to say "We get it," and "Thank you."

9 comments:

Tamara Marnell said...

Who needs a deep-seated psychological reason to have a Pirate Party? It's a Pirate Party! Awesome! You need no reasons to be awesome.

Kylie said...

It has been some time since my last pirate party. Between my nieces and nephews the last few parties I have been to have been hunting or princess themed. (Sidenote: did you know the word to use to combine nieces and nephews, like you can combine sister and brother in to siblings, is nibbling a?) I think the last pirate party I went to was when I was seven and it was a blast. Especially playing pirates and "throwing" each other over board.

Places with dogs are always the best places. In all the field trip I have went on this year with my science class there has always been a dog there and the dog and I became good friends.

Isn't throwing yourself into something better than not? By throwing yourself in you know that everything will be perfect and that even if someone says no to you you still put in your best effort.

And a word about the playlist: It is done! But it grew way more than a normal playlist size. I think it has around 50 songs? I know a little extreme but is is only around 4 hours of music and you both are going to be in the car much longer than that.

Have a fantastic week everyone!

Kylie

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Thanks for the laugh, Tamara--so true! And thank you, too, Kylie. Can't wait to see your playlist.

Kylie said...

All right here is the final playlist:

1. Farther Along- Josh Garrels
2. Home- Phillip PhillipS
3. I'll Make A Man Outta You- Disney
4. Mountians- Odessa
5. We Are Going To Be Friends- The White Stripes
6. He Mele No Lilo- Disney
7. No Scrubs- Bastille
8. Love Is An Open Door- Disney
9. Working Man- Imagine Dragons
10. Down In New Orleans- Disney
11. All These Things That I've Done- The Killers
12. On Top of the World- Imagine Dragons
13. Hey Brother- Avicii
14. Babel- Mumford & Sons
15. People Are Crazy- Billy Currington
16. Some Nights- Fun
17. Walking In Memphis- Lonestar
18. Lover Of The Light- Mumford & Sons
19. At Least It Was Here- The 88
20. Best Day Of My Life- American Authors
21. Pompeii- Bastille
22. I'm Almost There- Disney
23. Strangers Like Me- Disney
24. Here Comes The Sun- The Beatles
25. 1985- Bowling For Soup
26. Born in the U.S.A.- Bruce Springsteen
27. The Twist- Chubby Checker
28. Awful Beautiful Life- Daryl Worley
29. Sweet Home Alabama- Lynyrd Skynyrd
30. Holland Road- Mumford & Sons
31. Rock Me Mama (Wagon Wheel)- Old Crow Medicine Show
32. Happy- Pharrel Willams
33. Eye Of The Tiger- Survivor
34. Blue Ridge Mountain Song- Alan Jackson
35. Wake Me Up- Avicii
36. Count On Me- Bruno Mars
37. Living Louder- The Cab
38. Ain't No Rest for the Wicked- Cage the Elephant
39. American Pie- Don McLean
40. Route 66- John Mayer
41. Home- Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
42. Dog Days Are Over- Florence + The Machine
43. Ring of Fire- Johnny Cash
44. Footloose- Kenny Loggins
45. Mambo No 5- Lou Bega
46. How Far We've Come- Matchbox 20
47. I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)- The Proclaimers
48. Under Pressure- Queen
49. It's America- Rodney Atkins
50. Born To Be Wild- Steppenwolf
51. Shark In The Water- VV Brown
52. Thunderstruck- AC/DC
53. Cruella De Ville- Disney
54. Wherever This Goes- The Fray
55. Home- Gabrielle Aplin
56. Take me home, Country Roads- John Denver
57. I Won't Back Down- Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
58. America The BeautifuL- Ray Charles
59. Another Travelin Song- Bright Eyes

It got very long very fast, but I am pretty proud of it. I tried to include songs that you could play when you were in the place it names. Like "Sweet Home Alabama". And of course some disney songs that are the best to sing along to (and I made sure to include Cruella De Ville for you). There are also some other songs on here that while they didn't scream road trip song they are some pretty great songs to listen to. And yes I know there are three songs called Home but they are all different songs and all fantastic!

I was planning on mailing the cd's I made because I didn't know what your plan was to get the songs, and it can be pretty expensive to download 59 songs. So is there an address I can mail it too?

I hope you guys like the playlist!

Kylie

Yusa said...

Wow Kylie that is amazing and ooh i got a suggestion!

An Angel With A Shotgun -- The Cab

:) I think it seems like a great playlist though many of those songs are new to me i'll check them out!

--Yusa

Kylie said...

Thanks Yusa! You can listen to the playlist here: http://8tracks.com/kgriffis/let-s-be-adventurers

I uploaded it to 8tracks, but the one problem with 8tracks is that you can only skip a few songs and with a playlist of 59 I think you might want to skip more than a few if you had already heard them.

I will have to listen to that I have heard a few of The Cab's songs and they are great! I love Living Louder!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Kylie, that's AMAZING. And SO NICE!

Could you email me from your current e-mail and I will get you my mailing address, because I would love it if you mailed the CDs. I will include pix in the Road Show log and explain that my blogettes are the best on earth.

So much to do before we leave--sorry I've been a little out of touch in the comments. It's nuts around here!

Jessica said...

Kylie, that list is amazing! I can add a few Georgia-specific songs:
1) Chattahoochee - Alan Jackson
2) The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia - Reba McEntire
3) The Devil Went Down to Georgia - Charlie Daniels Band
4) Welcome to Atlanta - Jermaine Dupri featuring Ludacris
5) Chicken Fried - Zac Brown Band
6) Night Swimming - Sugarland's cover (I prefer it to the REM original, though I think Sugarland only did it as an intro into "Joey", and not the whole song)
7) It Happens - Sugarland (perfect for when you get stuck in Atlanta traffic or things are going wrong)
8) Alright - Darius Rucker
9) Strange Fruit - Billie Holiday
10) Pride (In the Name of Love) - U2 (this works for Memphis, too, but MLK is an Atlanta native son)

Those aren't in any sort of order (well, randomly as I thought of them, but definitely not how I'd choose to play them).

Wow, the tour is starting so soon! Things must be crazy.

Random question (if you see it): Wendelin, do you share Sammy's opinion on raisins (i.e., mummy fruit that should never be eaten)?

Winny Li said...

Wendelin, the van is amazing!!!! It just brought me to realize how colorful the covers of the Sammy Keyes books are. (The ones with the black and white titles are still my favorite.)

I've been so busy recently that I haven't caught up with your blog for some time now. So sad to have missed your Houston, Texas visit. Was hoping a friend of mine who lives there could help me get your autograph since you aren't stopping by NYC. Ahh oh well :(