Monday, November 30, 2009

Kirkus Best Books of 2009

I know you guys get tired of hearing good news and feeling like you have to say congrats (which you don't, I swear), but I sure love getting it!

This is one of the biggest honors we've received yet: THE MAZE RUNNER has been selected as one of the best young adult books of 2009 by Kirkus. You can see for yourself by CLICKING HERE and looking at page 4. Or, here is their writeup:

Warning: Not for claustrophobics, or those who worry about being killed by techno-demons in the night. An elevator door opens and an amnesiac boy stumbles out into the Glade, a sanctuary—as glades have been since antiquity— surrounded by a devious, humongous maze. In the Glade, Thomas, the newcomer, finds a company of similarly amnesiac boys, some of them residents for up to two years, with their own rules and a decision-making Council. Defeating the maze is foremost and made especially difficult by its population of Grievers—half-machine, half-animal horrors—that patrol its corridors. James Dashner’s moody, complex narrative manages to maintain a jet-propelled, jaw-wiring intensity. “The Maze Runner was heavily influenced by two books I loved when growing up—Ender’s Game and Lord of the Flies,” says Dashner. "Throw in Holes and the television show Lost, and you get the flavor of the story—frightening but hopeful.” The characters prove a gutsy bunch who use their heads. “The boys show an uncanny, gritty determination not to give up in the face of obstacles,” says the author. “Something I hope all of us would do when it came down to it.” (Ages 12 & up)

We're all very excited and honored by this selection. THANK YOU Kirkus!!! (Congrats to my good friend Sara Zarr for also making the list with her book, ONCE WAS LOST!)

Here are some Q&A from the comments:

Jade, I would LOVE to come to Australia. Make that happen, would ya?

LT Elliot, I really, really love the Droid phone. Love, love, love it.

Alyssa, there might be a chance of me coming to Atlanta in April for the release of Book 3 of THE 13TH REALITY. Stay tuned...

One Cluttered Brain, don't know yet about St. George. Sorry!

Laura and Nichole, about those drums. My best friend, Ben Egan, had a set when we were teenagers. He was very good on them, I was very bad. But he taught me how to play, and I got to where I could kinda do it. Then I went to a studio with my brothers last summer and played for awhile and fell back in love with them. Hence the gift. And I'm getting better and better, but not quite band worthy yet. Haha. My ultimate dream is to jam with Stephen King and his band of authors.

As for a video? Hmmmm. Maybe. Maybe.

dcaprice1224: YES! There is going to be a second book AND a third book. THE SCORCH TRIALS comes out next October, and THE DEATH CURE comes out in October 2011. Just think, when that happens, we'll only have 2 months left to THE HOBBIT in theaters!!!

Debbie, yes, I like celebrating for as long as humanly possibly. I milk it like you wouldn't believe. Just ask my wife.

Deb, don't count out the Falcons just yet. If they beat Phillie next week they are back in the playoffs.

Alyssa, you can see all my books by scrolling down and looking at the right side of my blog.

Kirsten, you know I can't show favoritism or it becomes too obvious!

Most of all, thank you for the birthday wishes. I only have 2 more before I quit counting.

If you haven't "followed" me on this blog yet, please do by CLICKING HERE.

And if you haven't followed me on Twitter yet, CLICK HERE. I promise to get better at it!

Lyrics of the Day:

Don't waste your time on me,
You're already the voice inside my head.

I Miss You, Blink 182

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Checking in...

Hey! Ah, man. I averaged three posts a week for that one week and then ruined it all by averaging zero per week last week. And I used the word "week" four times in that last sentence. Bad writing.

Not a whole lot going on, but here's what's on my mind:

1. My birthday is on Thanksgiving this year. Which is good in the sense that I can eat lots of food and sit around watching football all day, but bad in the sense that I get a two-for-one special day situation. I know, not as bad as Christmas, but still. My wife made it up to me by celebrating early and getting me one of the coolest surprise birthday presents of all time:

2. I'm slightly addicted to the drums. And really getting pretty good if I do say so myself.

3. I had a great time in Michigan last week. Thanks to everyone involved: the schools, the students, the teachers. Thanks to both Barnes and Noble and Borders for hosting events and to all those who came. And I really enjoyed my luncheon at the Borders headquarters. Awesome people and it looks like they're going to promote The Maze Runner a lot this Christmas. Sweet!

4. But most of all I have to thank Mr. XXXX XXXXXXXX. (He insists on staying anonymous.) I didn't know people like this still existed in the world. He is genuine, funny, and completely and absolutely selfless. He personally funded this entire trip so that many students could have the experience of meeting an author (we did 5 schools). And he is by no means rich. I was truly blown away.

5. Mr. XXXXXXXXX also kept me laughing the entire time with constant one liners and countless "sayings", like "kill one cockroach and a thousand come to the funeral" and "women are like streetcars, a new one comes along every 15 minutes." (Don't get mad over that last one - his dad told him that when he got dumped one time to make him feel better. Haha.)

6. Thank you XXXX. I couldn't possibly say it enough times. You are a good man.

7. I've really sucked it up on Twitter lately. I promise to do better!

8. Especially considering my new phone makes it easier. So, I've always coveted the iPhone. But I held off because I LOVE Verizon so much. You can't beat their coverage and their incredible customer service. So when they came out with this new Droid, I couldn't resist. I don't know if it's as good as the iPhone, but it's awfully close. I love, love, love it!

9. I know all you iPhone users will look down on me. I don't care. I win.

10. By the way, I'll be 37. That is freaking old.

11. Maze was chosen for the Texas Lone Star Reading List. It's quite an honor and we are thrilled! Thank you Lori Loranger and everyone else on the committee!!!!!

Q&A from the comments:

LT Elliot asked which kind of cheese I prefer: Well, honestly, I'm a blue collar cheese lover. Cheddar and Pepper Jack!

Erin G: Yes, I knew you were kidding! Haha.

Diva Donna: Yes, I know I owe you guys dinner. Soon!!!!

Shannon O'Donnell: Yes! I would love to come to Montana. I'll email you....

FirstRainbowRose: Nothing in Provo anytime soon. Sorry! Stay tuned for all events....

Matt Hayes asked if I like 13th Reality or Maze better. Hmmmmm. Too close to call!

Dave asked who is publishing 13th Book 3. Shadow Mountain will do the hardback in April, Simon & Schuster the paperback.

ErinG asked if I would still write books if no one paid me for it. Easiest question I've ever gotten: YES!

DkuzNY asked if Maze is going to be made into a movie. I certainly hope so, and though nothing has happened yet, there's definite interest and I really think it will happen.

Jack Porter, great usage of the Maze slang words!

And Aaron, no, I did not die. Thanks for your concern!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Good News, Michigan, and Q&A

Happy Friday! I'll have you notice that I've blogged THREE times this week. That is 3. Three times. Which means this week I'm averaging three times a week. Thank you.

I have two bits of AWESOME news. Then I'll answer some of your questions from the comments.

1. I am very honored and excited to announce that THE MAZE RUNNER is listed #1 on the Indie Next List for this winter. This is done by Indiebound/American Booksellers Association, which represents all the many wonderful and supercool independent bookstores across this great country.

You can read about it (CLICK HERE) and see the full list of selections (CLICK HERE). Congrats to all my other author peeps as well (I'm looking at you Bree Despain)!

Now, I'm not sure what it means that I'm listed as #1. But considering I've never seen myself listed as #1 on any type of list, I will take it and love it.

2. I'm also being honored by the Hudson Booksellers Book Committee. We've all seen their stores in the airports, have we not? It's one reason I don't mind being early for flights! I hang out in that place till the last second.

They've chosen MAZE as one of five best books for young readers for 2009 and it will be prominently displayed in their stores in December and January. I can't wait to see that! That'll definitely be one of those surreal moments for me. Anyone need to be picked up at the airport?

3. So, a very heartfelt and sincere thanks to Indiebound and Hudson. You have certainly made my week.

4. Important Appearance Notice!!!!!

I will be in Michigan next week, visiting some schools (all arranged by the very cool Charlie Stratton) and having a luncheon with the good people at Borders corporate. I also have two public events - please come see me if you live within 1,000 miles!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 7:00 pm
Borders Ann Arbor - Waters Place
3140 Lohr Rd.
Ann Arbor MI 48108

Thursday, November 19, 7:00 pm
Barnes and Noble Huron Village
3235 Washtenaw Ave.
Ann Arbor MI 48104

5. Now, for some Q&A:

Mr. Vincent and Mary asked when THE MAZE RUNNER will be released in the UK. The rights have definitely been sold there (Scholastic/Chicken House), but I don't have a release date yet. I'm guessing spring or summer of 2010?

Erin G asked if I still love peanut butter toast with tomato soup. YES!!!!!!

CTW asked if I'll be doing any signings in northern Utah this Christmas. Nothing scheduled as of right now. Sorry! Always check back here on the blog for events.

Many people have asked about the release date for THE SCORCH TRIALS. No exact date yet, but probably October of 2010. Or that vicinity. I put up a countdown on the right side of the blog.

Blue asked if it's not better to just wait until a series is done and then read the whole thing at once. Hmmmm. I don't know. I think there's a definite joy in waiting and anticipating something you look forward to. Agonizing sometimes, yes. But fun. Fun to talk about the story and speculate while you wait. Fun to long for it. Isn't that the magic of Christmas? The waiting?

Lula didn't necessarily ask a question, but made comments about the greatest college football team in the land (if not by record, by everything else), Georgia Bulldogs. Lula, you are wise and awesome.

Jen Jenkins asked if it's too motherly to say she's proud of me. Absolutely not!!!!! Nor is it too grandmotherly or first cousin once removedly.

Tamara Hart Heiner asked what it's like to be with more than one publisher. It is cool in many ways, most ways. I certainly would be a complete idiot to complain at all. I guess the only slightly hard part would be figuring out how to show them all your faithfulness to them. :)

Anonymous asked about advance copies of SCORCH. Those will probably be available in May. As for who gets them? Let the battle begin! One good way to set yourself up: have a book blog and talk lots and lots about how much you like MAZE. :)

MattE asked about my 13th Reality books. Matt, it's going to be a 5 book series. My favorite characters are Edgar and Mothball. Sally, too.

And to everyone else - THANK YOU for the comments. I read them all, often more than once. And they really help get me through each day. Thank you very much. I'm thrilled that so many of you are enjoying my books.

Lyrics of the Day:

And I don't want the world to see me,
Cause I don't think that they'd understand.
When everything's made to be broken,
I just want you to know who I am.

Iris, Goo Goo Dolls (Has there ever been a group of people more confident in themselves that they can go by Goo Goo Dolls and not apologize for it?)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Paperback Cover, The Hunt for Dark Infinity

Oh, man, I'm so excited to show this to you guys! What do you think? This will be released by Aladdin (Simon & Schuster) on February 23, 2010. Just 3 months away! It's the second book in The 13th Reality series. The artist is Owen Richardson. I so love it!!!!

If you missed it, the first book (The Journal of Curious Letters) will be released in paperback on December 22 of this year. Then Book 2 in Feb, then Book 3 (The Blade of Shattered Hope) will come out in hardback in April. Here is the PB cover for Book 1 (this was done by a different artist, John Picacio):

The hardbacks were actually done by a different artist as well, Bryan Beus. I'm so lucky to have had so much different talent to experience. :) These guys are all amazing. And a big thanks to my Aladdin editor, Emily Lawrence. She's awesome.

I know it's slightly confusing that I have two series going on at the same time. It just worked out that way. I actually wrote the original draft of The Maze Runner before The 13th Reality. If you've read either one, please try out the other! I really think you'll like both.

To preorder these paperbacks, you can CLICK HERE.

I'll answer questions from the comments in my next post, I promise!

Monday, November 9, 2009

How are sales?

Hey guys. What's up? I know I didn't blog last week. I wanted to, but I was performing a social experiment to see how the world would react if I went a full week without blogging. No results of interest. Yet.

The Maze Runner has been out now for about a month. First off, that's hard to believe. I spent a year and a half counting down the days till its release, and now it's passed by, several weeks. I even remember thinking sometimes that once this book was out, life would never be hard again. Tee. Hee. Humans would be idiots if they weren't so darn cute.

Anyway, almost everytime I talk to someone, they ask me how sales are. People have asked it in the comments on this very blog. People have asked me in email and on twitter. Complete strangers have asked me at signings. Lots of people want to know.

Trust me, no one on Planet Earth wants to know more than I do!

It's a very, very difficult question to answer. Now, that sounds like what someone would say if the news is bad news. No bad news here. Random House, my agent, my editor, me - we're all very pleased at how it's doing and how it's building. Each week has pretty much had more sales than the one before it. And we're just about to hit the Christmas season.

But I can't share numbers with you. Not only because my publisher would kill me, but because they wouldn't make sense. The vast majority of people don't understand how this industry works. Just because I have a ton of support and marketing from RH doesn't mean I'm selling millions and hitting all the bestseller lists.

I know I have other books out. But for all intents and purposes I'm a debut author nationwide. Hence the B&N Discovery thing. Also, my book is packed into a genre with a lot of books and readers who are currently in love with romance. And series take time to build usually. Had you heard of Harry Potter or Twilight when there was only one book out, and for just a few weeks at that? Most of you probably just answered no.

Now, having said all that, my book is doing great! All the reviews and trending point to strong word of mouth. I have zero worries, and I'm the biggest worry wart in the history of time. (Ask my mom.) So that should tell you a lot. The numbers are solid and growing. I really think that by the time Book 2 (The Scorch Trials) comes out next year, it'll debut on the NYT list. And who knows? Maybe Maze will hit it before then. We shall see.

So, there's your non-answer. How are sales? Great. Is that good enough? I hope so.

I think I can tell you this one little nugget: You can go back and see that my announced first print run was 100k. That's usually a bit of an exaggeration, but my real one was close. And I heard from a little birdie that Maze is already in its 3rd printing. So there you have it. Speculate as much as you want.....

I can honestly say that what thrills me the most is how many people seem to be enjoying it. Even those who give it somewhat negative reviews usually do so because they're ticked off that it's a trilogy and they didn't know that going in. They accuse me of milking the industry for more money. Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Not true. This was a series from almost the very first. And series are what people love in my genre.

Anyway. Thanks for visiting, and have a great day! Wednesday I'll try to answer some of the questions you guys have asked me in the comments.

Lyrics of the Day:

Don't ask me what you know is true
Don't have to tell you
I love your precious heart
I, I was standing
You were there
Two worlds collided
And they could never tear us apart

Never Tear Us Apart, INXS