ecmock

TRYING TO NETWORK AT CONFERENCES

whatshouldwecallgradschool:

credit: redheadextinction

Networking.

I just end up panicking and telling people weird untruths about my homeland.

LIBRARIAN: Hello I work in this library.

SARAH: I love libraries.

SARAH: In my land, we court people by throwing potatoes at their head. If someone hits you in the head with a potato, you have to get married.

LIBRARIAN: …

SARAH: (whispers to self in agony) Why is ‘have you read any good books lately’ so hard to say?

sarazarr

sarazarr:

maggie-stiefvater:

I’m asked at least once a week how to get published. Once upon a time, this was a very straightforward answer:

1. Write a novel.

2. Write a query letter.

3. Send the query letter to agents or to editors.

4. Rinse and repeat until said agents and editors ask to see the rest.

5. Rinse and…

Aggghhh thank you Maggie Stiefvater for writing this.
This is exactly what I actually need to say to half a dozen friends and family members in my inbox right now.

Smart stuff. Specially as a filthy non-American I was like ‘tell me about this… club of Sam’s…?’

yaflash

entrandoempanico:

About all that “books by men are more successfull” stuff that’s coming up on my dash… I want to share a few thoughts. (If I write something wrong, I’m really sorry, but I think the thought behind this post is valid nontheless.)

So. I work in publishing (in YA publishing)…

sarahreesbrennan

Anonymous asked:

I love to support my favorite authors in any way I can, so I was wondering.. What all contributes to first-week sales, or other important numbers relevant to authors' and publishers' interests? Do pre-orders count? What about ebooks? Do they all come together as one big number, or are they separated out? Or both? Love learning about your experiences in the publishing world! <3

sarahreesbrennan answered:

Well. 

I feel a little edgy answering this question, because I don’t want people to feel pressured into doing something a particular way! Books are entertainment, yo, and you should get your entertainment any which way you like… you should get it the way that entertains you the most. (Aside from piracy, which hurts others.)

However I also don’t want to be like: request for information denied! Especially when it is such a lovely request.

Also I think it is useful for everyone to know where everyone else is coming from. Because I have in my time been like ‘wah please don’t tell me  you’ll get around to getting my book one day’ and people have been like ‘lady, that’s a nice thing to say, what is your deal?’

So: I will try to lay it all out in a useful explanatory manner but… also be clear that readers have no obligation to writers. 

Pre-orders totally count. Everyone loves pre-orders. 

Ebooks also count: we hear about numbers (if we hear about numbers at all, I talk about how and whether authors get numbers here: http://sarahreesbrennan.tumblr.com/post/23414558361/sarah-i-just-asked-my-library-to-purchase-surrender) both separately and divided up.

Also, this is my face when faced with numbers, I am not a useful person if anyone has further maths questions!

I am sorry. Not as bright as I could be!

The best thing is buying/ordering books from bookshops (if one is near a bookshop and it is handy) because then bookshops are like ‘now we know this book is in demand, we’ll get more!’

But of course if you prefer ebooks, you should buy an ebook… you’ll be happier with one, and happier people who enjoyed reading one book are more likely to buy the next one.

And if you order it at your library, also awesome, because then your library thinks ‘Oh, someone wants this book,’ and also people in your library might try it. Joy for all!

It is always nice to be in demand.

(The Boyz 2 Werewolves single dropped one week later.)

People talk a lot about first-week sales for two reasons: one, good first week sales are what get you onto the bestseller lists.

I am not fancy enough to worry about that one. That would be like me sitting around and worrying about whether I will get along with Ryan Gosling’s friends when we are married.

(I can learn to like Todd, your best friend since kindergarten, despite his body odour.)

However, another problem which all writers, especially the unfancy ones, have to worry about is this one: the shelf life of a book. Typically, a book will stay on bookshelves for a couple months, tops. This is obviously very different for bestsellers, who stay there for years and years.

So if I or another unfancy writer hear ‘yeah I’ll get around to it’ six months after release date, we know that our books are already off the shelves in a lot of places, and maybe our publishers have already handed us our umbrellas and looked meaningfully at the doors.

It is STILL AWESOME if you get my book, even years later. It totally makes me happy! But that is why writers yearn for books to be got and read soon after release date, or just ask not to be told if people aren’t that pushed… (which I have done) it’s not just banging a spoon on a table and going ‘Pay attention to me NOW!’

BABY: I will have your allegiance!

However—I wouldn’t have had a clue about release dates before I was a writer: not the kind of thing readers need to pay attention to, except as a vague ‘So when’s the next book out, oh right, then’ guide.

I don’t believe in stuff like ‘don’t buy until the first week, if the book gets leaked early’… look, I’d still buy a copy of a book I wanted if it was on the shelf now. I’d probably go ‘WAHOO!’ because hey, I want the book now. And if someone saw my book out early, and bought it going ‘WAHOO!’ I’d be very flattered.

So, general guide, it’s lovely for the writer if you want to read their book pretty soon after it comes out. I don’t have any personal format preferences and… this is all the information I could think of. ;)

Listen: if you buy my book anytime, if you borrow my book from the library, if you borrow it from a friend, that is amazing, and I am happy.

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I received this kind message and figured I had answered it mostly before and so should reblog. (My blog is full of yammering and hilarious cat pictures, very difficult to find specific stuff, so NO SHAME if anyone ever asks a question I have answered before!)

I stand by what I said in the earlier post—buying books from bookshops, or ordering books into bookshops, is handy because of letting said bookshops know there is demand. But publishers still have sales data for ebooks, and they don’t discount that data, especially in these Current Digital Revolutiony Days. Books can hit the bestseller list on ebook sales alone. Getting to bookshops can be a hassle and an expense, especially if you have to go twice, once to order and once to pick up! And I don’t want readers to suffer hassle or expense for me.

(I talked a little bit about having your books in bookshops, and why that happens more—thus making getting books easier and more convenient—for fancier authors, here. Among other things.

http://sarahreesbrennan.tumblr.com/post/56966971487/susan-dennard-please-stop-pirating-books )

I do not really see that much difference in e-sales and physical-book-sales, especially since I think that books should make the readers happy above all, and that means readers should get the book in the format and in the manner which is easiest and best for them.

(I am super aware that physical books can be a pain: I just gave ten bags of books to charity.

CHARITY: Is… a library shutting down?

SARAH: That’s hurtful!

But then I also enjoy reading a physical book a little more, so…)

The direct financial benefit to authors in choosing a particular method of book-buying is minimal. The long-term benefit to an author of a reader who’s like ‘You’re a good time, lady’ is I believe great. So an ye harm none, do as ye will!

Support, whether buying or library-loaning, is always so appreciated, and so are kind questions like these.

If you are reading, I am happy. If you care enough about authors to ask… well then you’re double awesome, and I’m double happy. ;)

summerscourtney

summerscourtney:

My “Women Don’t Couch Your Accomplishments in Apologies and be Shamelessly Proud of Your Work" post is making the rounds on Tumblr again and one of the more interesting responses I get to it is that one—how, without sounding arrogant?  If you have spent your whole life minimizing your hard work it can be uncomfortable taking ownership of it, but maybe you are misidentifying your discomfort for arrogance… because you have spent your whole life feeling you have to minimize your hard work so other people can be comfortable with it?  There is a VAST world of difference between arrogance and plainly stating you’re proud of yourself.  Anyone who makes you feel otherwise is probably a jerk.  If anything, look at this as a great new way to weed out the jerks in your life!

Another good way to get comfortable with the whole idea of owning your success is to simply accept it and say “Thank you,” when someone sincerely acknowledges or compliments your hard work.  Don’t try to talk someone out of their compliments to you and do not try to downplay your efforts, so it’s easier for you to receive them.  Accept that acknowledgment AND THEN RUN WITH IT TO THE NEXT AWESOME THING YOU DO. 

And when you’ve done your next awesome thing, DON’T FORGET TO TELL PEOPLE HOW AWESOME IT IS.

I have learned, after a great deal of time spent grovelling for my audaciously confident (CONfident?!) ways, to be extremely inherently suspicious of people who go ‘So smug, so self-satisfied!’ (this to a lady who regularly spends 3 a.m. going through her misdeeds and attempting to smother herself with a pillow)…

'Instead of feeling good about yourself, why not feel bad about yourself?' is not a message trustworthy people give you.

summerscourtney

summerscourtney:

Since a lot of the questions I get asked here are about writing, I decided to make a master list of the advice posts I’ve made for convenience. Yay, convenience! I will update it for as long as I continue to get these types of questions.

Note: the writing process is such…

I get a lot of questions about writing too, and so wanted to share these because lots of them are brilliant, MOST ESPECIALLY On Writing For Girls! Courtney Summers, Invaluable Resource and Smart Lady. 

barrylyga

barrylyga:

jonnyskov:

This is how I generally feel when trying to explain anything about the publishing industry to someone.

My second novel, Misfit, came out in October of 2011. More than two years later, I still get asked on a weekly basis, mostly though my website contact form, if/when there will be a sequel. About a year and a half ago, I did my best to answer the question in a serious and professional way. But anyone who knows me well will tell you that I am generally neither serious nor professional. So it wasn’t the full answer. I was attempting to tow the party line. And mostly failing.

The truth is, I really wanted to write a Misfit sequel. Really really REALLY badly. So badly that I wrote the first 8 chapters on spec (for free) with the hope that I could convince the publisher to keep going with the series. And they didn’t go for it. They never said why, but I suspect the reason was the same one that applies most of the time a series is not continued. Because it didn’t sell as well as they’d wanted and rather than take more chances and keep putting money into it, they cut their loses. That’s normal. That’s business. And it completely and utterly broke my heart.

Many of the readers who contact me about a Misfit sequel think that I don’t care or that I’ve abandoned them. That is the furthest thing from the truth. I care a great deal about Jael’s story, and it means so much to me that I continue to hear from readers who are as passionate as I am.

I wish I could just write it, regardless of a publishing contract. But sadly, as a single parent just trying to make ends meet, I can’t afford to do that. Who knows. Maybe some day I’ll be successful enough to call the shots and tell a publisher what I want to write and they’ll just agree to it because I’m me. But until then, Jael is going to have to wait. I won’t say “never”, because as a wise friend once said to me, “Life is long, and you never know”.

One good thing to come out of all this is that I’ve learned my lesson. Which is why the sequel to Man Made Boy was included in the contract right from the beginning. So no matter what, that will happen. And sometime in the next couple months I should be able to tell you more about it.

If you’re curious, replace “Misfit sequel” with “more ARCHVILLAIN books” and that’s pretty much why there won’t be any more of them.

http://sarahreesbrennan.tumblr.com/post/76442194320/on-writing-continuing-series-and-a-gratuitous-picture

*nods sadly* See also the last thing I said at that link. So many writers with love in their hearts for projects. Believe you me writers love their characters and love their stories and want to continue them! 

(Side note: how amazing was the Lego Movie? My favourites were Princess Unikitty and Batman. Sorry. Sorry to bring this serious post down to my level.)

gratuitous-moonspeak

gratuitous-moonspeak:

getting sick of female YA authors crying about every little bit of criticism they get. “oh boo hoo I’m a girl and I’m getting criticized so it must be sexist”

like hey yeah maybe you’re just bad at writing? maybe you need to break out of your circle jerk of well-to-do writer friends who just pat each other on the back and say, “no no it’s fine if people don’t like your writing it’s not because you’re a hack, it’s because they’re a meanie poo poo head”? maybe you need to get people who aren’t emotionally invested in you to read your shitty stories and give you actual feedback so you can improve as an author?

but what am I saying, I’m not a NY Times best-selling author

This was tagged ‘Sarah Rees Brennan’ and ‘whiny babies’, so I presume it refers to me and the recent post I made.

image

Now, I’m going to have to ask for my readers for a little help here. I promised myself that this once, I would react to this stuff, and show it to people so everybody knows about the things women writers usually keep quiet about. But I don’t want to set people on anybody. I don’t want anyone else called names, and I definitely don’t want anyone to become a target for defending me. So… please, please don’t message this person. Trust me. I can take care of myself, and I’m trying to do so. Thank you in advance, my crystal vases of clear water: I appreciate you. 

So here we go. Original poster, I am sorry that female YA writers talking about sexism bores you, because I fear we are not going to stop.

http://jenniferlynnbarnes.tumblr.com/post/51744321696/for-those-of-you-interested-in-publishing-some

http://jenniferlynnbarnes.tumblr.com/post/52139503163/author-gender-null-results-examining-privilege

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-johnson/gender-coverup_b_3231484.html

More bad news: sometimes adult-fiction female authors discuss it as well!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-pinter/jodi-picoult-jennifer-weiner-franzen_b_693143.html

There are a few misapprehensions in this post.

1) Misapprehension 1—I was talking about book criticism.

On amazon and goodreads and tumblr there’s plenty of criticism of every book in the world, including my books. That’s excellent. I would fight to the death for anyone’s right to leave a review on my book that said ‘Total poop.’ (I vow not to go looking for the inevitable goodreads review that says ‘Total poop’ after this post.) I’m not going to say I don’t care—but I respect anyone’s right to criticise the quality of my books. It’s subjective. It’s their opinion, and they get to express it.

My post was not about book criticism.

I was pointing out that women get judged for their hobbies in a way men don’t get judged for theirs.

I was pointing out that a man can do the exact same thing as a woman, and yet nobody criticises the guy for it.

Having your school visits cancelled because of malicious strangers, getting death threats, being publicly insulted at book signings, being threatened with—as another author who reblogged this was—acid in the face… none of that is book criticism.

image

2) Misapprehension 2. I am a NY Times best-selling author and very well-off…?

Okay, the NY Times bestseller thing is a technicality. Technically I am one. But it’s for stories I co-wrote, and it’s because those stories are about a super-popular character I did not create. I think it’s wonderful he’s so popular, I think it’s a testament to the fact readers will embrace diverse characters, I’m proud to be a part of the project, but I can’t take the credit. And it sure doesn’t make my books bestselling. I worry every day that I won’t ever get another book published. (Um… clearly if I didn’t, it would be good news to some.)

As for being ‘well-to-do’: well, yes again, in a way. I can live and pay rent on the money I make, and have luxuries like travel and lots of books, and without being subsidised by another job, or a parent or a spouse. (My parents would fire me out of a cannon if I asked, and nobody has as yet been convinced to take me on in holy matrimony, so it’d have to be another job.) Someone on twitter did the maths and described my yearly income as pretty average and that’s about right (for a privileged person in a privileged position, which I am). I’m super lucky to be able to support myself, for the moment, on my earnings as a writer. But I don’t have that many expenses—I don’t own a house, I don’t have kids—that’s how I make my life work. I certainly can’t afford an assistant to weed out all the hatemail I get, or to go through my tumblr tag for me so I don’t have to see hate there. I want to be clear that I’m very lucky, but also make clear that I don’t know why anyone would decide I was wealthy enough for it to be commented on.

I’m also… not sure why I decided to announce to people who don’t like me that I’m not rich and popular.

image

I’d be delighted to be rich and popular! I don’t mind if people who dislike me spend their time going ‘That SRB… her life is so great’ even though I’m actually spending my time catching up on My Mad Fat Diary and I haven’t brushed my hair since yesterday.

What I’m thinking is that I want to make the same point as in my first post. The point is twofold.

a) The assumptions people make (often about women) often aren’t true.

b) Said assumptions are often hurled as accusations against women, and that’s unfair whether they’re true or not.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes, in her amazing follow-up post to mine, discussed parasocial relationships and the way people come to believe they know other people whom they do not know. 

http://jenniferlynnbarnes.tumblr.com/post/77959090266/on-fandom-parasocial-relationships-and-what-we-dont

So I share all this personal information to show… well, clearly this person doesn’t know me. None of us know the people we only know from the internet.

But to the second point—if I was well-off or bestselling, would it be okay to call me names? I think I was called ‘well-to-do’ and ‘bestselling’ to highlight this person’s belief I don’t deserve success.

Women in many fields are told that they are not deserving of success, money or recognition. It’s kind of a thing.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130519-women-scientists-overlooked-dna-history-science/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2013/10/04/why-is-work-by-women-systematically-devalued/

And we tell ourselves we suck, too. 

http://www.psmag.com/navigation/business-economics/qualified-job-wait-probably-imposter-syndrome-psychology-68700/

(Er. Oh dear. Talking about sexism again! Funny that.)

3) Misapprehension 3… I don’t have anyone to critique my work who is not emotionally invested in me.

… But of course I do?

They’re called my editor and my copyeditor. That’s their job. 

Extra critique is an optional extra, something I ask for from some people whose professional expertise I trust, as an add-on to the publisher’s feedback I already get, because I really want my books to be as good as they can possibly be. Some of these critique partners are very well-off, some of them a lot worse-off than me. Some of them are emotionally invested in me (that’s how things work with your friends) some of them couldn’t care less about me but do it because I will critique for them in return, or because I pay them. I wouldn’t keep them as my critique partners unless they critiqued me thoroughly.

All my critique partners do critique me extremely thoroughly, and none of them have ever told me that other critiques were mean. ‘Go meaner’ they murmur to themselves as I writhe on the floor, then pick myself back up again and write. ‘MEANER.’ 

If there is a strong objection to writers being friends, please go back in time and make a complaint to Shelley, Byron, and Keats, the original mean girls clique. Also to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and J.A.W. Bennett—a bunch of people who loved initials. Thank goodness nobody ever liked something they wrote.

image

(Some bunch of losers.)

Wait no, they’re men, and people don’t critique men for being friends or colleagues, even though dudes being colleagues means way more benefits for dudes than for ladies:

http://www.ibtimes.com/book-reviews-are-boys-club-vida-count-finds-women-still-rare-sight-pages-major-literary-magazines

(There I go talking about sexism again! Sorry, sorry, it’s a sickness. It’s not like it comes up all the time.)

4) Misapprehension 4… I don’t care for being called ‘whiny’ as it’s a pretty gendered term.

http://bigthink.com/harpys-review/hop-on-the-waaaambulance-in-defense-of-whining-women

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(I don’t know what it is with this compulsion of mine to say that things are sexist… when I think they’re sexist. It’s so weird.)

As for being called a ‘hack’… that was actually a perfectly fine thing to say. This person doesn’t know me. I can tell them that I love my work, and that I work very hard, and that I try to produce stories that feel original and exciting to me, but they don’t have to believe me.

If the ‘shitty stories’ (thanks for reading my work, original poster, and I’m sorry it wasn’t your cup of tea) I write struck them as ‘hastily written (they weren’t), routine or commercial (I wish!)’—I looked up hack, it’s in the definition—that’s fair. It’s a judgement of my writing and that’s fine. 

It is, however, a judgement more often made about women than men.

We’ve all heard that women can’t write. People come to books thinking ‘oh lord, a girl’ or ‘I can’t stand her’ and it’s very hard to read a book you’re prejudiced against fairly: it’s very easy to decide women are lousy writers.

http://www.salon.com/2011/06/02/naipaul_slams_jane_austen_women_writers/

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If you’ve called men hacks too, just as often, then fine. If you’ve given the matter serious thought and gone: yes, even if this person was someone I really liked I’d think the writing sucked, fine. Call me a hack. You have my permission, and you didn’t need my permission in the first place.

Here’s a thought to close with, about insults that aren’t about writing. You can call me a hack if you like, but there are other words (which the original poster didn’t use) which I do find unacceptable. 

I get called a bitch a lot. It’s not a word I like.

http://the-toast.net/2013/11/12/a-female-author-talks-about-sexism-and-self-promotion/

If someone honestly spends their time going ‘God, when will these stupid whiny bitches stop talking about feminism? Sexism exists, but this bitch isn’t suffering from it! What a bitch, why doesn’t she shut her stupid bitch mouth!’ and they don’t see a contradiction there, okay. I don’t get it, but it happens a lot. It’s happened to me a lot. 

But here’s a suggestion: a good way to make me stop talking about being called a bitch would be to stop calling me a bitch. And I’d enjoy being called a bitch less often. Everybody wins!

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Guess what? I’m sick of talking about this too. It would be better for me if I just shut up. It’s scary for a writer who’s (as extensively discussed) not that popular, and terrified about her career. It’s scary for a woman who is concerned about her physical safety. I don’t want people calling me a bitch or a whiny baby (and as you can see, they do). I don’t want people making fun of a picture of me up on Oh No They Didn’t. I don’t want people picking apart my books because they’ve decided they dislike me. I don’t want people telling me that I’m imagining negativity when negativity comes at me every day.

I’d like a world which doesn’t punish women for talking about their own damn lives, though. I want the world to be different. I think it’s important to talk about this.

So I will.

And this fits in with my musings on Shannon Hale&#8217;s post about school visits. 
http://shannonhale.tumblr.com/post/40198778700/whats-the-deal-with-authors-visiting-schools-and
(By the way I feel bashful publicly replying to asks that praise me&#8230; as if it&#8217;s saying WHY YES, CORRECT, EXCELLENT OBSERVATION OF ME! &#8230; but if you are one of the LOVELY PEOPLE who have sent one I do get them! Thank you!)
And thank you, lovely lovely anon. I&#8217;m so glad you had fun when I came, and so glad you remember me. You&#8217;re extremely nice to say so. Basically you are amazing and should feel amazing about yourself!
For school visits usually contain three kinds of kids in one class:
a) kids who are like, well, I don&#8217;t read much, but hey, I&#8217;m missing class. Don&#8217;t want them to be bored! (GOOFY STORIES TIME.)
b) kids who have a mild interest. Want to make them have more interest!
c) kids who read a lot, or write, and who often really want to ask questions. Want to let them know it is AWESOME to ask questions.
Really, want to encourage everyone to ask questions, because then I&#8217;ll be telling them stuff they actually have an interest in knowing. Or at least, they can pretend interest while plotting for more sweets, and enough people will be asking questions so those people who really want to ask questions won&#8217;t feel self-conscious. 
(PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN ME IN BOOKSTORES: But this is an outrage. Where are our sweets?
SARAH: I, you know, we all came to the bookshop for a literary discourse, I wanted us all to keep our dignity&#8230;
PSMIB: What dignity? You pretended to be buried alive behind a bookcase! You did a little dance about Libba Bray&#8217;s books! You balanced a book on your head! You gave out fake spoilers about everybody else&#8217;s books. You rolled all around on the floor in a dress! You tried to kill Margi Stohl! YOU STRIPPED!
&#8230; everything I just said except one thing was true, but WHICH ONE?&#8230;
SARAH: &#8230; That&#8217;s a very fair point. Do you guys want sweets? I can bring sweets.)
Anyway, that&#8217;s my genius school visits plan. I have one move! Goofy stories and throwing sweets. I once beaned a girl in the face with a tube of Smarties. (Smarties are not the answer.)
And often it turns out super well, and people keep asking lots of questions long after the sweets run out. Some questions are from those who clearly have my number: &#8216;Sarah! Have you ever been ARRESTED?&#8217;
And of course, sometimes you still get the fisheye of boredom. When I was starting out, just like with everything else, I had nooo idea of what I was doing. I can&#8217;t run scripted, because I want it to be all spontaneous and fun, and anyway if I forgot one sentence I&#8217;d just end up going&#8230; &#8216;Stop looking at me! I didn&#8217;t forget! YOU forgot.&#8217;
Sometimes you still get the fisheye of boredom. Sometimes worse. Once I had a banana thrown at my head. (Et tu, Banana?)
But I try, and I like doing them, and messages like this, letting me know I got it right once or twice, Make It All Worthwhile.
And that&#8217;s how I school visit. 

And this fits in with my musings on Shannon Hale’s post about school visits. 

http://shannonhale.tumblr.com/post/40198778700/whats-the-deal-with-authors-visiting-schools-and

(By the way I feel bashful publicly replying to asks that praise me… as if it’s saying WHY YES, CORRECT, EXCELLENT OBSERVATION OF ME! … but if you are one of the LOVELY PEOPLE who have sent one I do get them! Thank you!)

And thank you, lovely lovely anon. I’m so glad you had fun when I came, and so glad you remember me. You’re extremely nice to say so. Basically you are amazing and should feel amazing about yourself!

For school visits usually contain three kinds of kids in one class:

a) kids who are like, well, I don’t read much, but hey, I’m missing class. Don’t want them to be bored! (GOOFY STORIES TIME.)

b) kids who have a mild interest. Want to make them have more interest!

c) kids who read a lot, or write, and who often really want to ask questions. Want to let them know it is AWESOME to ask questions.

Really, want to encourage everyone to ask questions, because then I’ll be telling them stuff they actually have an interest in knowing. Or at least, they can pretend interest while plotting for more sweets, and enough people will be asking questions so those people who really want to ask questions won’t feel self-conscious. 

(PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN ME IN BOOKSTORES: But this is an outrage. Where are our sweets?

SARAH: I, you know, we all came to the bookshop for a literary discourse, I wanted us all to keep our dignity…

PSMIB: What dignity? You pretended to be buried alive behind a bookcase! You did a little dance about Libba Bray’s books! You balanced a book on your head! You gave out fake spoilers about everybody else’s books. You rolled all around on the floor in a dress! You tried to kill Margi Stohl! YOU STRIPPED!

… everything I just said except one thing was true, but WHICH ONE?…

SARAH: … That’s a very fair point. Do you guys want sweets? I can bring sweets.)

Anyway, that’s my genius school visits plan. I have one move! Goofy stories and throwing sweets. I once beaned a girl in the face with a tube of Smarties. (Smarties are not the answer.)

And often it turns out super well, and people keep asking lots of questions long after the sweets run out. Some questions are from those who clearly have my number: ‘Sarah! Have you ever been ARRESTED?’

And of course, sometimes you still get the fisheye of boredom. When I was starting out, just like with everything else, I had nooo idea of what I was doing. I can’t run scripted, because I want it to be all spontaneous and fun, and anyway if I forgot one sentence I’d just end up going… ‘Stop looking at me! I didn’t forget! YOU forgot.’

Sometimes you still get the fisheye of boredom. Sometimes worse. Once I had a banana thrown at my head. (Et tu, Banana?)

But I try, and I like doing them, and messages like this, letting me know I got it right once or twice, Make It All Worthwhile.

And that’s how I school visit.