Saturday, May 21, 2011

O Canada, The Home and Native Land of...Really Nice People

I am back from Canada, and I am exhausted. I am also super lame, and did not take pictures, so I decided to do a post that is less summary of three jam-packed days of Canadian wonder, and more concise.

Without further adieu, 10 things I learned from my Canadian adventure:

1. Writers don't work the same way, and that's okay. The lovely Lauren Oliver, for example, crams writing into all the nooks and crannies of her day, whether that means a fifteen minute car ride or the ten minutes we waited for middle schoolers to show up at the Toronto Public Library. She also has a daily word goal (1500) and works on two projects at once. I decided to give this "write wherever you are" thing a try. It did not work for me. My "writing mode" switch is much harder to flip on than hers is--and that's all right. I may give the two projects at once thing a shot, though. You have to find the things that work for you-- and while that means you should try new things to see if they work, you don't have to work in a particular way. Whatever gets the words on the page, right?

2. Canadians really are nicer. That doesn't mean ALL Canadians, it just means that proportionally, it seems to be A Thing. For example: in Chicago, when you approach a help desk/concierge desk/business counter of any kind, while people may be polite to you, they expect you to state your business right away. Don't waste time, right? But in Canada, when I marched up to the guy at the hotel desk and said, "Hi, I'm here to check in," he gave me a strange look and said, "Hello ma'am. How are you?" At which point I felt like a jerk. I was much nicer the rest of the trip.

3. Canadians will teach you how to put on their accent if you ask them. Two women at one of the Chapters events (which were amazing!) told me that "out" should rhyme with "boat." A few people also insisted that I didn't have an accent when it is clear that I talk like a Midwesterner. I guess you have to listen closely. Or that's just how flipping nice they are.

4. HarperCollins Canada throws a good tour. We were always well fed. Everyone was punctual. There was a bag of Werther's in the car when we drove places. The hotel was fantastic. I am now spoiled.

5. Cory Beatty (of HC Canada) will, in fact, give you books if you give him donuts. No lie.

6. Chapters (the big bookstore chain in Canada), in addition to being lovely and well-organized with very enthusiastic employees, sells a wide variety of gifts, ranging from chalkboards you stick to your walls to those things you put sugar-water in to trap bees. Who knew that a bookstore could be so versatile?

7. There's a chocolate boutique in Toronto called Moroco that has the best salted caramel macaroons I've ever tasted. Actually, they're the only ones I've ever tasted, but their deliciousness was truly unparalleled. They also had Lauren and me put chocolate handprints on little pieces of canvas so they can hang them up on the wall. I never thought I would be in a position in life in which someone actually wants my chocolate handprint. Lovely.

8. Most Canadian women would choose Dauntless. This is according to my highly unscientific data collection system, also known as...my faulty memory. But really! Every other Canadian woman I talked to said she would choose Dauntless! A country full of badasses? I think yes.

9. Maple syrup counts as a liquid. If you're going to bring it through security at the airport, put it in your "these are my liquids!" baggie, or you will get dirty looks from the woman checking your bags, and she will not believe you when you say, rather stupidly, "I forgot it counted as a liquid." Also, don't accidentally take your tiny scissors to Canada.

10. Sometimes you will be asked to make a paper hat onstage in Canada. Make sure that you remember how to do so. (Okay, that might not apply to everyone, but I should really polish up on my origami skills. Or learn how to sing harmony to "On My Own" so I can contribute to Lauren Oliver's rendition of it. Everyone needs a special talent.)

Anyway. Canadian readers, booksellers, and publishing types--especially Melissa Zilberberg, who took great care of us and was just a lovely person all around, Cory Beatty and Charidy Johnston of HarperCollins Canada, and Melissa, Jeremy, and Lisa of Chapters/Indigo who arranged all the events, Moroco who enveloped us in tasty treats, and Lauren Oliver, who had great advice and conversation and...you know, went on tour with me!--thank you for a wonderful tour!

That said, in the two weeks before I leave for the Dark Days tour, I am going radio silent, which means I will be avoiding the Internet at all costs in order to revise, revise, revise. I will miss you. Tris says hi, though.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gone to Canada. BRB.

If you're in Toronto this week, come say hello to me and Lauren Oliver! Or get books signed! I have a passport and silver sharpies and I know how to use them.

If you're not in Toronto this week, well, you can say hello here, if you'd like.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Six

"Then everyone can call you Six."

-Divergent, Page 407

(That quote will make no sense to you if you haven't read the book, but I thought it was fun.)

I have announced this on Twitter and Facebook, but yesterday I found out that DIVERGENT debuted at #6 on the New York Times Bestseller List!

What I haven't mentioned yet is that it also debuted at #2 on the Indie Bestseller list!

Holy moly.

I am a little too overwhelmed to say anything intelligent about this, to be honest. As usual, I think I confused both editor and agent when I did not scream or squeal or discuss the numbness in my legs (sadly my legs remained full of feeling). In fact, I confused myself by my reaction, which was: sudden relaxation.

Because the news that all the hard work of my agent, my editor, everyone at Harper (especially those on the marketing and publicity side of things), every bookseller who hand-sold Divergent to their customers, every bookstore that put its support behind the book, every teacher and librarian who recommended it to their students, every book blogger who recommended it online, and of course, every reader who bought it, had made something so amazing possible gave me one predominant feeling, and that was gratitude. (Which is more of a relaxed emotion than, say, giddiness. That came later.)

And that's really what I want to communicate to you now. I wrote the book and I made it as good as I possibly could, but without you guys, it would still be a large .docx file on my computer-- something to be proud of, yes, as any complete manuscript is, but not this. This is fantastic and overwhelming and I couldn't have done it without you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Release Day!

For those of you who don't know already: DIVERGENT came out today! It may be available in any of the following places:

1. Your local independent bookstore
2. Your local Barnes & Noble or Borders
3. Your local Target and/or Wal-Mart
4. Online (Okay, it's definitely available there.)

I knew not to expect too much from my release day, because someone told me once that new authors tend to build it up in their heads, like you're going to wake up and the world is a different place, but in fact it is just another day until you go to a bookstore. And even then, if you're me, it's a lot like: "Oh look, there's my book! Why on earth is my book in a bookstore? Oh yeah..." I like to call this "persistent denial of good news." (PDGN. It's a serious problem.)

Here is what I did on my release day:

First, I signed stock at Barbara's Bookstores in the Chicago area. For those of you who don't know what signing stock is (because I didn't until last week), it is when you go to a bookstore and sign all the books they have there (not for people, just so they can sell a signed copy instead of an unsigned copy), and they put an "AUTOGRAPHED COPY!" sticker on the cover. I also got to meet people like...



Lydia, a buyer for Barbara's Bookstores, who was very sweet and very much on top of things. And then, since we were in the Sears Tower already, me and Jenny Sheridan (the wonderful HC sales rep who was escorting me around Chicago today) decided to go to the top because *gasp* I have never actually been up there. Check out the view:








And then, despite my intense fear of heights, I decided to stand in one of the glass boxes suspended from the side of the Sears Tower. Holy crap.





Me and Jenny...SUSPENDED IN THIN AIR! (Or so it seems.)

Look, a bunch of DIVERGENTs at the Barbara's Bookstore near UIC! Many wonderful people also work there.


After that, I went to my local Barnes and Noble to see if they had put DIVERGENT out yet. And there, at the top of the escalator by the teen section, was this stand. With a book missing already!


And that's me, pretending that I am not, in fact, posing for a picture in the middle of a Barnes and Noble.

Then, some relaxing, and a celebratory dinner, and some more relaxing. Every so often I checked Twitter and there was more D-related congratulations and well wishes piling up in my Mentions column. (That was a lot of Twitter jargon. Sorry, non-twitterers.)

Other things that happened today:

1. My interview with MTV.com went up today
2. As did my interview with Kody Keplinger over at YA Highway!
3. And Amazon named Divergent a Best Book of the Month for May
4. And the people in School and Library Marketing at the HC posted some great pictures
6. And so did I.
7. This didn't happen today, but I haven't mentioned it yet (mostly because I didn't have anywhere to link to, and I rely on links to do the talking for me). But Divergent was selected as #1 on the Indies Top 10 Summer 2011 Kids' Indie Next List: Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers. What an honor. Seriously.

So, thank you for reading as I talk incessantly about myself. And thank you, everyone who has been commenting on blog posts and tweeting and e-mailing-- your support is wonderful, and continues to mean a lot to me. I hope you like my book!

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