Tuesday, June 24, 2008

5 Years of being an Author

Well, folks, it's officially been 5 years since my very first book came out, A DOOR IN THE WOODS. It blows my mind to think about how much has changed since then, and how much I've learned about the writing craft and the publishing industry. Not to mention the changes in my family. For fun, I'll try to list some of the differences between then and now.

Then: I had 2 boys, one a baby. Now: 3 boys and a girl, oldest eight years old.

Then: Dark brown hair. Now: Dark brown hair with traces of gray.

Then: Very skinny. Now: Almost skinny.

Then: Small regional publisher. Now: National publisher.

Then: First print run of 1,000 copies, paperback. Now: First print run of 40,000 copies, hardback.

Then: Michael Vick. Now: Matt Ryan.

Then: Had never met another author. Now: Have met dozens, including quite a few biggies.

Then: Amateur writer. Now: Not-too-bad writer (I hope!).

Then: Aspirations to become a financial guru. Now: Aspirations to never use a calculator again.

Then: Miserable book signings where people who'd never heard of James Dashner looked at me like I had leprosy. Now: Book signings where people actually come to the store knowing I'll be there, wanting to buy a book.

Then: I begged schools to let me come visit their kids. Now: Schools ask me to come visit.

Then: Willing to donate my left kneecap just to see my book in a bookstore. Now: Willing to donate my left kneecap to see my name on the NY Times list.

Then: Naive about the publishing industry. Now: Naive about the publishing industry.

Then: A cover with a gigantic photo of a kid's face on it. Now: A cover with an awesome painting by studly New Yorker Bryan Beus.

Then: Hobby. Now: Profession.

Then: Had an unnatural urge to eat cheese. Now: Have an unnatural urge to eat cheese.

Then: No agent. Now: Michael Bourret, best agent on the planet.

Then: Knew nothing. Now: Know a lot more.

Alright, that's enough. Wow, things have changed. Things have really, really changed. If you want to read the 8-part story of how I got published, just scroll down and click on the links to the right that tell every detail. It's an interesting tale.

And the tale is about to get a lot more interesting. Stay tuned.

19 comments:

Q said...

All right, so I didn't know you when I met you, but I didn't look at you like you had LEPROSY.

Don said...

Somehow I thought you had been on this road for a lot more than five years. That seems a very short time for everything you have accomplished. Way to go!

Sara Z. said...

*happy dance*

A word of warning - I think the kneecaps are pretty important, as body parts go. Maybe you could give up the left something else that you have two of?

Shari said...

Congratulations on your five years! If only I could be like you. *sigh*

Suzy - Q said...

Mr. Famous Author Guy!!
Way to Go!! :)
I can't wait to see where I'll be in five years!!

(It can only go up from here, right?)

Clint Johnson said...

James, you're probably the only guy in Utah who demarcates phases of his life according to the starting quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons.

A Hawks and Falcons fan? You're a sucker for punishment, but at least no one can call you fair-weather.

TKE Jenn said...

SPILL THE BEANS ALREADY! Enough with the mysterious hinting.... Or at the very least, send me a TOP SECRET FOR JENN'S EYES ONLY email so that I can say I knew it first :)

James Dashner said...

Q, that's very nice. Was it more of an elephant man type of thing?

Don, I've been seriously writing for longer than that, but yeah, it's been 5 years since that book came out.

Sara, points for making me crack up. Naughty.

Shari, stop that.

SuzyQ, you'll be on top in 5 years, no doubt.

Clint, what can I say? It's my punishment in life.

Jenn, I love to see you suffer. It brings me great joy.

Kimberly said...

Hallo James! Haven't stopped by in ages, and what a fit of giggles my triumphal return earned me. That was a fabulous post, and a great way to detail your journey.

Almost skinny made me giggle the most though.

Congrats on all your many successes!

Tamra Norton said...

Dashner says: "Then: Had never met another author. Now: Have met dozens, including quite a few biggies."

What exactly do you mean by "biggie?" Hefty? Huge? NYT Bestseller? Rotund? Stinkin' famous? Plump?

I'm sure I fit at least one of these. :) I knew you then, I know you now, and you're still a nice guy! Congrats on a fantastic five years!

Q said...

No, not an elephant man, more like, "Who is this person sitting between the Brandons Sanderson and Mull and claiming that Tor asked him to finish The Wheel of Time? I could have sworn I heard his name somewhere before..."

So congratulations! You neither have leprosy nor are an elephant man. In fact, you're quite a good writer, and I can say that now that I've read your books.

To quote Shari: "If only I could be like you" except without the donated kneecaps.

Pink Ink said...

That's an amazing list! I love being able to say "I knew James when he was recovering from leprosy." :-) Good job. You inspire me.

Laurel said...

You must really like cheese....

Congrats! I bet it feels like a lot more time then it really has been :)

My mom, Michelle Jefferies, said that at the Price Wal-mart, your book is on the very front display case right next to Brandon Mull's new book :)

Laurel

Rachelle said...

Too much suspense! You better give it up soon or I'll help you with that left kneecap thing.
It's so exciting to see how far you've come and your books are awesome! I have read all of them.
Congrats!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Does your kneecap know how anxious you are to get rid of it?

Anna Maria Junus said...

Congratulations on your five years!

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Wow! It's your 5th Anniversary. How sweet.

So, did your wife get you a pen and paper? ;-)

holly said...

oh wow. you have links to the right containing things i want to know. i think i love you.

y'know, as much as one blogger-wishes-she-was-an-author *can* love another person via the first visit to their web page.

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