Friday, December 11, 2009

An Excellent Sign

This past week Ballard School hosted the annual Scholastic Book Fair. When I saw the signs go up advertising the book fair, I got excited because a book by my buddy Val Hobbs was featured. Being the dork that I am, I whipped out my cell phone and took a picture of the poster and emailed it to Val and a few other friends.

Val's response? She offered to come sign books after school! Woo-hoo!

The kids were so excited they bought every copy of Sheep that the book fair had in stock. They lined up at the library, eager to meet Val, tell her how much they loved the book, and have her sign their copies. It was so very cool!

Not everyone needed to buy books. I know for a fact that some kids brought copies they had already read when Sheep first came out in paperback. All of them were pretty awestruck to have such a celebrity in their presence.

Being there for the book signing made me think. I know there are days when the unpublished among us get depressed. We worry that we'll never get an agent, never see our books on shelves. But I truly believe that the more you write, the better you'll get. And even if the book you're subbing now doesn't get picked up, you have to keep believing in yourself. Because someday it will be YOU sitting in a library while kids line up to have you sign their copy of YOUR book.

Don't just take my word for it. Read this inspirational post by Mandy Hubbard, author of Prada & Prejudice. Then make your way back here so you can celebrate the Fifth Day of Christmas!

The winner from the Fourth Day of Christmas is:

Congratulations, Yat-Yee! Email me at solvangsherrie at gmail dot com and let me know which prize you'd like me to send from Day Four!

Today is the Fifth Day of Christmas and I'm sorry to say, I don't have five golden rings to offer. Okay, I'm not actually sorry because I've got WAY better gifts than golden rings!

Choice #1: an autographed copy of Sheep by Valerie Hobbs. All those kids lined up in the Ballard library can't be wrong! This book recently won the California Young Reader Medal and has been recommended School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly. Yay Val!

But if you're really jonesing for a ring, Choice #2 is like a ring, only bigger. Bigger is better, right? Sales of these cool bracelets from Ubuntu benefit women and orphaned children devastated by HIV/AIDS in Africa.

I'll be randomly picking a winner at 10pm on Sunday night, so get your comment in before then. On Monday I'll be interviewing a fabulous author and you'll have the chance to win a book OR a critique from her. How's that for a sparkly door prize?

Hope you're enjoying the party! Have a great weekend!


Susan Kaye Quinn said...

What an inspiring story! Writing is a tough slog, sometimes, especially considering how long it takes on the road to publication, with absolutely zippo for guarantees. Which is why author-friends are so important, for support!

Are both of your MG novels fantasy? I'm writing MG SF, which there doesn't seem to be as much of (on the shelf, at least), and I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Good luck with your writing!

Susan R. Mills said...

That's really cool she came to do a signing. I bet the kids were excited. Congrats to today's winner.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

That is a great story! It sounds like a wonderful time for the kids AND your friend. ;-)

Oh, man! There's that bracelet again. I missed it by a day on each side. ha-ha!

Hardygirl said...

You will be there signing books. VERY SOON.

What a fun season and what great prizes!!

Sarah Frances

Anonymous said...

Yay for being dorky. I bet Val was thrilled to get the picture AND to come! And the kids, you KNOW, were thrilled. :)

Yat-Yee said...

It's quite a lovely surprise to see my name against the bright yellow! Thanks, Sherrie!

My kids' school is having their Scholastic Book Fair this week as well, but I didn't have that quick-thinking to do anything for the authors. File away for next Spring.

Lori W. said...

Val is wonderful. We are so lucky to have so many great and generous writers in our SCBWI region.

Thank you to YOU for your encouragement to us and for passing on that link.

Julie Dao said...

I love book fairs and always have! Just the word "book fair" gets me excited. I'm sure you will be signing your own copies at one someday!

Dawn Simon said...

I love your attitude! I think positivity goes a long way.

It was super fun of you to snap the picture and email it to your friend, and fabulous of her to come and sign. What a treat for the kids and Val!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

It's so uplifting to see the enthusiasm the children have to meet an author and read books. The world is still good, and you helped make it a good day.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Susan: I loved Mandy's story. Yep, both my books are MG fantasy. I can't seem to write straight reality :) Good luck with your writing too!

Susan: I've known all those kids for a long time so it was great to see how excited they were to meet her.

Shannon: I think a good time was had by all :)

Sarah Frances: Not as soon as you! I'll be first in line for yours :)

Becky: I love that it's ok to be a dork sometimes!

Yat-Yee: You are very welcome! And really, it was just Val's spontaneous gesture, nothing to do with my lack of planning!

Lori: We DO have great writers in our region. I feel very lucky.

Julie: I love the book fair too! I think I bought as many books as my kids :)

Dawn: It was a huge treat to have Val there. And as for staying positive, believe me, I have my days! But I think we all benefit more from a positive outlook :)

Tricia: I was also thrilled to see how many boys were lining up. That's a really good thing!

PJ Hoover said...

Great post, Sherrie! You nailed it. Believing in ourselves is the most important key to success.

Anita said...

Thanks for sharing this story. I want to sign books!!!

Tana said...

How awesome is that? Isn't it fun to have friends in high places? ;) Great pics BTW.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sherrie, I read the first chapter of Secret of Undine. What a brilliant writer you are! The first two sentences made me laugh. I'm dying to read the rest of it now. I love fantasy stories. I hope I become as good a writer as you are :o)
When you say 'middle-grade', what age group is that? Here in New Zealand we talk in years, eg Year 1 is 5yr olds etc.
Well done you!

Rebecca Gomez said...

What a treat that your friend came to sign books! The kids at the school where I work love Sheep too! I've got a copy. Gotta read it!

Thanks for the encouragement!

Sherrie Petersen said...

PJ: Some days are harder than others, but if you don't believe in yourself, who will?

Anita: Some day you will sign books and I'll be waiting in line :)

T.Anne: It was very awesome!

Niki: I'm glad you liked the first chapter. Thanks! Going by the New Zealand standard, I would say middle grade is for children in Year 3 through about Year 6 or 7 (ages 7 or 8 to 10 or 11). A lot of 10 and 11 years olds are reading Tween and moving into YA.

Rebecca: Sheep has become quite the popular book which makes me so happy for Val. And as for the encouragement, you are VERY welcome!

Vivian Mahoney said...

I love your story. What a wonderful way to show support and generosity!

And Everyone, the bracelets are awesome. Sherrie sent me one last year.

Enjoy your weekend.

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