Monday, May 11, 2009

Maze Runner Prepub Tour Day 2

Monday, 2:35 pm:

I just got back from the biggest confidence boost I've had yet for MAZE. Ya know, it's been incredible to hear for months about how much Random House liked my book and how excited they were to promote it and all that. More than incredible. But deep inside me I had this worried itch because everyone reading it was an adult. What about my core target audience? Ya know, teenagers?

Well, I've heard from the first batch of suspects, and it was most excellent!

Let me back up. I actually had the morning off, which was sweet. I slept in, piddled around, got some work done, went on a walk, all very nice. My only hiccup was I walked about two blocks to this really awesome looking breakfast place, ordered, did the whole bit, then realized I'd left my wallet in the hotel. Doh! I hiked back, got it, returned, and started all over. The guy there was very nice for not hating me or calling me an idiot, two things I'm sure he was thinking in his mind.

At 12:30, Dandy Conway, the Random House sales rep for this area, picked me up. For at least thirty minutes before she arrived, I sat in my room worrying about everything from spontaneous combustion to looking like a dork in front of the kids to world hunger to looking like a dork in front of the kids. It was such a relief when the time finally came.

Dandy, you're awesome! You made me feel right at home and I really enjoyed getting to know you. She even let me be the navigator as we drove to the school. And I didn't get us lost, which was a big bonus.

Jen Laughran from Books Inc. (she's also an agent for the Andrea Brown Literary Agency) met us at Brandeis Hillel Day School. I already feel like Jen and Dandy and I are old friends and could hang for hours talkin' about nothin'. Anyway, soon we met with about twelve 7th graders, all of whom had read advance copies of MAZE beforehand.

I couldn't wait any longer. I'd barely said hi when I point blank asked the group if they liked the book. The resounding calls of "YES!" and "I LOVED it!" were too genuine to fake, and my worries finally washed away.

It was a really fun hour, a definite highlight of my author career so far. They asked me a million questions, the first time I've had the opportunity to really dig in and discuss plot points and specifics with readers on this book. I loved every minute of it. I can't describe the immense relief of seeing actual target readers tell me, and more importantly show me, how much they enjoyed my story. It was amazing. Just amazing.

We ran out of time before I could get everyone's name, but I do remember Phoebe, Abigail, Sam, Arbel (sp?), Izzy, and Dannika the teacher. Sorry guys! You were all awesome, and will always be the first group of MAZE readers, so you're what I call special. Thanks.

Whew. Now I have 2 or 3 hours to work on SCORCH, then Dandy's coming to pick me up for our dinner tonight at the One Market Restaurant. About twenty booksellers and librarians are coming, so I'm excited and nervous to see what that's like.

I'll update this same post when I get back tonight and give you a report.

Monday, 9:56 pm:








That was amazing. I'm an author and should come up with a better word, some kind of nifty run of never-before-seen superlatives, but I can't. Tonight was... freaking awesome. Better?

I just spent three hours with some of the greatest literary professionals in the country, and my little brain could barely handle it. It was a whirlwind of conversation and laughs and industry discussions and getting to know each other. And, to my great honor, a lot of MAZE praising. If these people like it, I'm feelin' pretty good about my chances!

The evening went very simply. Dandy picked me up and we drove to the restaurant about 15 minutes early. There was a private room that was already set up with these cool menus sitting on the plates:

Dandy put out nameplates, and each table had a seat marked "Reserved" for yours truly. The first half hour she and I greeted people as they arrived so I could meet them individually. Then drinks were served and we all mingled for awhile. Once we took our seats, Dandy got things started and had me speak for a few minutes. I honestly have no idea what I said. Seriously. Can't remember. But they laughed a few times, hopefully for the right reasons. (Um, please tell me my fly was up.)

The rest of the evening I took turns at each table, spending roughly a half-hour with each group. I really enjoyed this - far more than I'd dared hoped for. Everyone was down to earth and genuine in their hopes that my book finds success. They all seemed to really like it and many promises were made as to them pushing it in their stores and libraries. All of which made me want to shout with glee and do the Elbow Dance on the tables. (Something my nephew invented. Don't ask.)

Dandy was in charge of moving me around, and it always seemed way too early when she dragged me from one to the other. I had a great, wonderful, fabulous time. Truly.

So, a big shout out and thanks to Dandy and all the fine folks from Books Inc, Book Passage, Clayton Books, Hicklebee's, Kepler's, Rakestraw Books, The Storyteller, Towne Center Books, Alameda Juv. Hall Library, Brook Haven, SF Public Library, and The Girl's Middle School (Walter - thanks for those parting words!). You put me at ease and made me feel like a real bonafide author. Thank you very much.

So, guess I better get to bed. Early flight tomorrow to Seattle. I think I'll try to get brave and ask my driver if I can sit in the front seat.....


Unknown said...

Wow. That's awesome! Just soak it in and save it up for those bad days of horrible edits or less-than-stellar reviews (which you know will come at some point in your career).

The Scarlet Tart said...

No really. Wow.

Okay, that's it. I need an ARC! Glad you're enjoying San Fran. It's a neat little city. Good luck at your dinner. I'm sure it can't be any worse than what you just went through.

Magenta said...

What another cool day in the life of a famous author. ^_^

Sorry, but it was a funny story, you forgetting your wallet. It reminds me that you're just as human as the rest of us and not some mighty Typor. ^,^

That must feel soooo awesome! Hearing a classroom of kids give a resounding "loved your book!"

This is so much fun! Don't stop updating!

Enna Isilee said...

I just wrote my review! I loved MAZE! Can't wait for SCORCH.

Carolyn V. said...

Wow... that's all I can think to say. Wow. How awesome! =)

The Scarlet Tart said...

Did they really do a little cheer like that or are you making it up?

I wouldn't put it past you. ;)

James Dashner said...

Arlene, you silly goose. If they had hated it, I would've been too depressed to post. :)

Enna - thanks for the awesome review. Everyone should go check it out. I'm so glad you liked it!

I really appreciate all the faithful Duders out there!

The Scarlet Tart said...

Ummm...did you just call me a silly goose?

J.N. Future Author said...

If I take you out to dinner, can I get to read Scorch? I hear Veritiserum works wonders!

We can talk about this later ^.~

That sounds so cool! your publicity is going to start picking up soon!

Unknown said...

BALLIN'!!!! October can't come fast enough!

numberonedashnerfan said...

sweetness...sneek me an ark please if you get your hands on some... lol...oh and arlene I would take silly goose as a compliment after all its coming from James....tiki tiki

Anonymous said...

I'll probably be asleep before you even get back from your dinner, but I look forward to reading what happens tomorrow.

Have I said 'Congratulations' before? No? Well, Congratulations!!!!

Kelly M said...

Go Jamie! That's so awesome- I'm proud of you. I can't WAIT to read it!!

Deb said...

James, first of all I can't believe that you didn't pimp your book to the ugly footed, subway smelling guy. You're supposed to pimp your book to everyone, my friend!

Secondly, I might, MIGHT, be a wee bit jealous of your book expedition. Well, at least the parts that haven't included driver protocol and wallet mishaps.

Good luck with the rest of the tour! Hope to see you when you get back to good ol' Utah.

James Dashner said...

You guys are so good to me! I wish you could've all come. It was really great tonight.

The Scarlet Tart said...

Firstly, I love the name Dandy. It's pretty much the best name I've heard of in months.

Secondly, I don't think you're allowed to sit in the front seat. Don't try it. You'll tip the balance of the universe in some weird Dashner way and we can't have that.

Diva Donna said...

Dashner! Dashner! Dashner! All Hail the mighty Author. Julie is really going to have to take a pin to that inflated head of yours by the time this is over I can tell.

But seriously. What a trip! and by trip I mean the psychodelic kind not the airplane kind. The universe is bending your way and Man can I tell you that it is inspiring. I think we all feel like you are taking us with you on this wild ride and I for one am totally enjoying it. Keep it up and I look forward to the wackier posts as you become more sleep deprived.

Diva Donna said...

Kiess [keess]-slap in the face.
usage: When he walked in the door she gave him a kiess for being late.
He gave me such a terrible grade I wanted to give him a kiess. Take that!

Karen Pellett said...

Thanks so very much for traveloging your pre-pub tour. It gives the rest of us encouragement and a hope to dream for something similar down the road when we become (dare I say it) as popular as the Dash-man.

Congratulations. That is totally awesome. Please say hi to Seattle for me. I miss it.

James Dashner said...

Kiess. I like that one!

Karen, will do. :)

Heather Moore said...

Totally rocking wicked awesome (much better than "um" "wow"). But yeah, can you tell that we are all so totally d-mn proud of you!

L.T. Elliot said...

You ARE a bona fide author! You're kickin' trash out there, James and we're all so proud of you! Way to go!

J.N. Future Author said...

man! you are off having all this fun!

I'm telling you, someday it will be you asking me to sign a copy of my book! ^.~

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

So glad for you, James! I can't begin to imagine how gratifying this must be for you!

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