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Goodbye, Debut Year!

2013 has been behind us for awhile now, and we wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate our debut year! Many of us will continue to have releases in 2014 and years to come, and we remain a close-knit group. You’ll probably see us at conferences (check the bar) and we’ll keep you updated as to our activities and good news here on the site.

However, as we are moving on from 2013, we are also stepping away from blogging as a group. We will still maintain our social media presence on places like Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter – so don’t forget to catch up with us there.

In the meantime, we’d love to introduce you to those carrying on the 2k legacy – The Class of 2k14! They’re a great group of MG and YA authors who are ready to take the stage, and we gladly hand it over to them.

Thanks again everyone for making our debut year a memorable one!

THE CLASS OF 2K13: THE END OF THE BEGINNING

It’s December 30 and The Class of 2k13’s debut year is coming to a close. While I’m elated at the experiences that this debut year has afforded me, I’m also slightly wistful and a bit weary. Mostly, though, I’m grateful. My gratitude is to everyone who supported us through this debut year – from those in the publishing and book selling worlds to teachers, librarians, parents, readers, our families, and of course fellow authors.

fireworksSpeaking of which – I am in awe of the talent encompassed by the members of The Class of 2k13 – both in writing and in navigating through the uncertainties of a debut year. Our shared efforts reached far beyond what I could have imagined achieving on my own. Throughout the year we have worked together to deploy a variety of marketing approaches, attended conferences, shared ups and downs, and of course – celebrated each of our twenty debut books as they released into the world.

One of the most enduring lessons that I’ve learned as a member of The Class of 2k13: while we may write alone, we don’t have to be alone. And even though our debut year is winding down, our relationships aren’t – after all, our children’s writing careers are just getting started. Many of us are fortunate to have books slated to release in 2014 and/or 2015. There is definitely more to come from us and in the New Year we’ll be working on ways to stay connected with each other and with you. So instead of thinking of this as THE END, I’ve taken to thinking of this as THE END OF THE BEGINNING.

Here’s to The Class of 2k13 at the end of the beginning! It’s been an honor to debut with you and as we move beyond our debut year I look forward to seeing where your wonderful writing talents take you.

Season’s Greetings to everyone and all good wishes for a Happy New Year and a spectacular 2014!

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Tamera Wissinger is the author of GONE FISHING: A Novel in Verse, which arrived last March from Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. Two of her picture books: THIS OLD BAND and THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO GOBBLED A SKINK from Sky Pony Press will arrive in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Portions of this post appeared at Smack Dab in the Middle Blog on 12/14/2013. Online you can connect with Tamera through Facebook, Twitter, and her Website.

My Favorite Indie in Cincinnati, Ohio

JosephBeth-540x242If you’re from anywhere within 90 miles of Cincinnati,  Ohio, it’s likely that you know my favorite Independent bookstore in the city—because they do so much for readers and authors. I’m speaking of Joseph-Beth Booksellers, an independent chain of currently four stores in Cincinnati, Lexington, KY, Crestview Hills, KY, and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

My local store is the Joseph-Beth in Rookwood Pavilion, and it’s a reader’s paradise—books lovingly displayed, plenty of reading areas, a terrific space for young readers, a robust music selection, and even Bronte Bistro, where you can enjoy a fine meal and glass of wine, or excellent coffee and scones, depending on your pleasure (or time of day!). It’s a beautiful store, and they were extraordinarily supportive of my launch, allowing me to host nearly a hundred of my friends, past and present coworkers, family and even some new fans at my debut book launch for Maid of Secrets.

But Joseph-Beth doesn’t stop there. In addition to coordinating the massively popular Books By The Banks book festival in Cincinnati, Joseph Beth also contributes to the success of the Kentucky Book Fair, in Frankfort, KY. The tireless efforts of Michael Link, Publisher Relations Manager, are particularly impressive—especially since Cincinnati is home to several 2013/2014 debut authors, including Liz Coley (Pretty Girl-13), Geoffrey Girard (Project Cain and Cain’s Blood), Lorie Langdon and Carey Corp (Doon), and Melissa Landers (Alienated). We’ve kept Michael and the whole team at Joseph-Beth busy this year, and they have made our experience as authors unforgettable.

Joseph-Beth Booksellers is the kind of place that makes you glad to be an author—and overjoyed to be a reader. If you’re anywhere near one of these amazing bookstores, be sure to stop in and share your love for reading and books.

My Favorite Indie in Delaware, OH!

Yes, that’s right. There’s a city called Delaware in the state of Ohio. And every time I say I’m going there (which is fairly often because it’s where the boyfriend lives) some fellow 1990’s alum says, “Hi… uh… I’m in… Delaware.” And If you don’t get that, you’re not really 90’s.

My indie is Fundamentals, a parent / teacher bookstore that caters entirely to children and young adult readers and learners. Fundamentals has been a huge supporter of mine since my debut. Not only have they hosted a signing for me at their store, but they’ve also handled off-site sales for me on two separate occasions, so far – hopefully with more to come in the future!

As an author I can tell that they are flexible, easygoing professionals who hand sell my book like true book lovers. I’ve been contacted by so many people online who tell me that the owner is the one who steered them to Not A Drop to Drink, and you can’t buy that kind of promotion.

As a reader I could spend hours in the store, browsing the shelves (for sure) but also just talking with the owner and staff. These people know books – they know what’s current, have an encyclopedic knowledge of what has gone before, and are keeping tabs on what will be here soon.

They know good books. And I am so glad that I know them.

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MY FAVORITE LOCAL BOOKSTORE: VERO BEACH BOOK CENTER by Tamera Wissinger

I have loved the Vero Beach Book Center ever since I discovered them several years ago when I first came to town. There are many reasons for me to be grateful for this wonderful store. Here are a few:

Their home is in this beautiful pink building:

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A Sea Turtle greets patrons at the Vero Beach Book Center.

The Children’s Store is within the main store:

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A reading dolphin is the logo of the Children’s Store!

Inside, there is lovely writing on the walls:

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The writing on the wall rhymes!

The entire second floor is devoted to children and young adults:

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Isn’t this a cheerful spot?

They have a stage that looks like the ocean and is decorated with bright fish:

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I do love the combo of books and fish!

This time of year there is an Angel Tree in the Children’s Store; patrons can shop for books and the Vero Beach Book Center will coordinate giving the books to children:

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That’s Santa behind the tree!

They have a fabulous staff of committed professionals. This is lovely Suzann Pezzetti, Manager of the Children’s Store with the display that she and her team put together before my first-ever book event last April:

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This display was a surprise that I discovered when I visited the Children’s Store just after GONE FISHING released.

Promotions coordinator Cynthia Callendar invited me to participate in celebrating the Environmental Learning Center’s 25th anniversary. Here is the event posted on the Book Center’s marquis:

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This was another surprise – a friend told me she had seen this sign and I had to drive by to see for myself.

This is what the GONE FISHING book display looked like the night of our event:

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I love the old-fashioned trunk used in this book display. It reminds me of a treasure chest.

Each week, staff from the Vero Beach Book Center lists coming authors and their best sellers in the local newspaper. Because of their enthusiasm for GONE FISHING, I’ve opened the paper many times during the past several months to see something like this:

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Vero Beach Book Center is responsible for me knowing what it feels like to have a best selling book.

From my days as a pre-published author scouting new releases to my first book events, the team at the Vero Beach Book Center has consistently delighted and surprised me with their warmth, creativity, thoughtfulness, and commitment to books and reading. It’s a real honor to work with them.

If you are ever in the neighborhood, I encourage you to stop by. If you like bookstores, (and I’m guessing that you do) I think you’ll love the Vero Beach Book Center!

Vero Beach Book Center is located at:

392 Miracle Mile (21st Street)

Vero Beach, FL 32960

They are open Monday through Friday: 9am – 7pm

Saturday: 9am – 6pm

Sunday: 10am – 5pm

My Favorite Indie Bookstore in New York, NY!

It’s tough to sell books.

That’s one of the huge lessons from my debut year. The whole book-selling world is huge and confusing and IMPORTANT. Which is why I’ve never been so grateful for those independent bookstores, this year more than ever.

Luckily I live in New York where I have a lot of indie haunts to choose from for my favorite. We have the beautiful children’s bookstore Books of Wonder in Chelsea where a bunch of Lucky 13s and I had an even just last week.

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We have the very cool and inspiring multi-leveled McNally Jackson on the Lower East Side. And of course the beautiful maze of books in Union Square that is The Strand.

We have PowerHouse Arena and BookCourt and WORD in Brooklyn and The Astoria Bookshop in Queens. And these are only the ones I’ve been lucky enough to visit in the past year!

But my favorite bookstore is an adorable shop tucked uptown on the East Side: The Corner Bookstore! This is a classic bookstore, open since 1978, and beautiful inside and out.

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They host great events, including a book party for ME, HIM, THEM AND IT back in March!

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They also have great, creative services such as same-day delivery to buildings in the neighborhood and custom book basket sales for birthday and graduation gifts. But my favorite thing is that they recruit neighborhood kids to review their children’s selection and twice a year they publish The Corner Bookstore’s Kids Newsletter, by Kids, for Kids. What a great way to breed more thankfulness for our neighborhood independent bookstores!

My Favorite Indie in Flagstaff, AZ

With the official day of giving thanks just around the corner, it makes sense that we’re focusing on our favorite indie bookstores this month here at the Class of 2K13 blog. And my choice of indies to highlight also makes sense, considering the fact that I was in the store just today doing one of the things I love to do there (more about that later).

The bookstore I’m talking about is Bookman’s (aka Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange). It’s well-known to Arizonans, as there are several locations throughout our fair state, but the Flagstaff location is, hands down, my favorite. This is the store where R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe walked up to me in the nineties (stop me if you’ve heard this one before – most people who know me have) and asked if I thought they had any of Robert Graves’ poetry. As I recall, I led this friendly stranger over to the poetry section (which I knew well) and showed him where to look. He thanked me, life went on, and it wasn’t until later that night that I was like, “Wait a minute. Was that…?” Sure enough, over the next few days, our little mountain town was abuzz with news of our celebrity visitor.

That's me, chillin' in the Bookman's cafe

That’s me, chillin’ in the Bookman’s cafe

Several winters ago, during an incredibly intense blizzard, the roof of Bookman’s caved in, which meant we all had to do without the store for way too long while they rebuilt. It eventually came back better than ever, though, this time with a full café and an even more awesome collection of stuff than they’d had before. Which brings me to today, when I was in Bookman’s trading some of that stuff. One of the neatest things about my favorite indie is that it’s an exchange – sort of like a trading post, really. In other words, you can bring in your “stuff” (in my case, everything ranging from books to some nice quality costume jewelry to a kid’s microscope) and they will give you cash or trade credit. The credit is always a better deal, in my opinion, which is how I came away with some nice pre-holiday loot to spend on whatever coolness I find there in my upcoming visits. They also host readings, signings and, this month, NaNoWriMo write-ins for the local community.

Bottom line: If you’re ever in Northern Arizona visiting the Grand Canyon or whatever, be sure to make a stop at Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange on Milton. You won’t be disappointed!

The Omaha Bookworm: My Favorite Indie Bookseller

bookwormoutsideI love the Bookworm in Omaha, NE.

When I moved to Omaha about 7 years ago, we found the Bookworm pretty quickly. It just oozes coziness and warmth.

This is what you’re welcomed with when you first enter:

cookiesCookies, FTW.

You can bring your pets in on a leash (but I will personally be angry if they eat all the cookies. Just saying.)

You can meet super famous authors here at author signings:

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Here’s me and Ally Condie at a book signing! Okay, okay. It’s not real. And it’s a little creepy. But I swear, I was at that book signing and I accidentally deleted the photo of both of us from my iPhone. Also, my smile isn’t usually that crooked. Anywho…

You can hang out at the YA display near the front door and drool a little.

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And the whole basement level is dedicated to kid lit!

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You can discover this little nook of loveliness in the children’s department.

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Isn’t it cute? It’s painted on the inside to look exactly like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown!

And that’s not all. The Bookworm is home to over 100 book clubs. There is free gift wrapping (because let’s be honest–a gift-wrapped book causes way more gift-anticipation-drool than a book in a bag, right?) and there’s the Baker’s Dozen program. For every 12 books you buy, you receive credit for one free book (average price of the 12 books you just bought).

Oh, and this great coffeeshop, The Village Grinder, is actually attached. Caffeine and good books! What could be better?

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So that’s my ode to the Bookworm, my favorite indie bookseller. I’ll be having my book launch there in January and I can’t wait. Also, any orders of CONTROL from the Bookworm will be signed. Just a little perk of supporting my favorite indie. 🙂

Don’t forget to check out our giveaway page!

 I’ll be giving away a finished copy of CONTROL sent out from the Bookworm, and the other members of the Class of 2k13 are all honoring their favorite indie bookstores by doing the same with all of our debut books!

Do you have a favorite indie bookstore? Tell me in the comments!

Writers Are Fueled by Coffee & Little Moments

I was never much of a coffee drinker until this year. Last Christmas I got a Keurig, even though I was only an occasional indulger. The Keurig was a gift, something that I was grateful for and thought might come in handy on the more sluggish Saturday mornings.

Then I used it.

Good God. Why had I been putting cream and sugar in coffee previous to this? Someone tell me? I think my mistake was that I hadn’t been drinking *good* coffee, and now I was. And boy… was I. After the holidays I moved the Keurig into my office at work to serve as an enticement to actually get up and go to work in the mornings. Even though I love my job, the alarm always jolts me out of a lovely unconsciousness into reality – a place all writers know is a pale shadow of our daydreams.

So the Keurig began to get more attention, everyday. I drink two or three cups a day now, and while I hate that I need it, I also love that I have that excuse every time I cram a K-cup in there. I’ll get a headache if I don’t. It’s the polar opposite of the No-Sugar-Tonight-Honey excuse.

The coffee also serves as a ritual that politely jolts me into writing. I get to work about an hour early everyday (by choice) and I take that hour to settle in, hit my social media, and write up the blog for the day before I become Librarian Mindy. Coffee = Writing and I’m not the only writer who subscribes to that specific mathematically questionable equation.

Even so, we’re not just wandering brains attached to a pile of pink tissue that filters coffee. We use that caffeine (and the brain) to produce stories about things that never happened to people that don’t exist. Yet we care deeply about them, and we hope to make others invest in their dramatic fake lives as well. It’s a tall order, but sometimes it works out.

NOT  A DROP TO DRINK has been out in the world for a little less than a month, and I’m already having those experiences where I meet readers who want to know more about my fake world. Is anything else going to happen there? How did I create this place? What about the names of these people that don’t exist, how did I pick them? And mostly, WHY DID I DO THAT?? WHY, WHY MINDY WHY!??!?

It’s lovely.

And it’s pretty much why I do it. I’m still on a tour-phase at the moment. Coffee, hotels, small towns, big cities, little gorgeous indies, sprawling new-paper-smell chains and long, meandering conversations with other writers are my life right now.

It’s a pretty awesome life.

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What is WATTPAD and Why You Should Check It Out

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Have you heard of Wattpad?

Are you interested in finding an audience for your story? Or getting published somewhere along the way? Enjoy writing YA, sci-fi, or fantasy? (These are the dominant genres on the site). Or maybe just want to read some great, new fiction for free?

Wattpad might be the place for you.

I confess, when I heard about it a year or so ago, I didn’t know much about it. I’ve heard people call Wattpad the “YouTube of Writing.” Basically, you can upload your own writing (often serially, a chapter at a time) and let the readers find you. You can read other people’s work too and the community is uber-supportive of new writers. It’s free for users and free for writers. There’s nothing to buy or sell here. But ultimately, Wattpad is a social media site. The forums are alive and kicking, lots of back and forth conversations start over posted pieces, and the usual follower/followers paradigm exists.

So…how popular is Wattpad?

Wattpad enjoys 10 million readers per month, who collectively spend 2  billion minutes reading and networking on the site. Those numbers blow me away! I know many of my blogger friends from the last few years are enjoying success on Wattpad with hundreds of thousands of views of their books, like February Grace.

Has Wattpad ever led to publisher deals?

Yes. Here’s the story of  author Brittany Geragotelis whose work received 15 million views on Wattpad before getting a deal with Simon and Schuster. And another story of a 17 year-old whose Random House deal followed 17 million views of her work on Wattpad. Wow!

There’s FanFunding!

Need money to make a particular project happen? Check out the vid here. Even with FanFunding, the stories are still free!

There are awards!

The Wattys are an annual award for some of the most popular fiction on the site.

Come read free excerpts of CONTROL on Wattpad!

CONTROL cover book page

So I’m excited to announce that I’ll be posting free sneak peeks of CONTROL on Wattpad! I’ll be posting five pages at a time, and I’ll be uploading more with every 50 reads+comments+votes!  So if you haven’t had a chance to check out Wattpad, here’s some more incentive. 😉 The first pages of CONTROL go up Wednesday, October 16th. Check it out here!

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