Friday, August 24, 2012

And now, a Guest Post from Publicist Overlord Morgan!

Hello! Publicist Overlord Morgan here to say a quick HELLO (in a non-threatening, no-weapon-yielding-today kind of way) to Amy’s loyal blog readers. I think we can all agree that answering YES to Amy’s initial question, “To Blog, or Not to Blog,” was a great idea. (If you disagree, please let me know @moregan on Twitter as not to spoil the array of positive reinforcement Amy receives in her comments.)

I wanted to share one of my favorite moments in the first book of the series, The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang, which I read for the first time in the past month.

I love this excerpt because I’m big on the idea WE NEED OUTSIDE ADVICE, especially from the people who know us best. (Lydia’s mom and sister are great examples.)  I’m 24 years old and I still call my mom a couple times a week to ask her opinion on something. (I’m actually aware that my mom thinks I call too much for a 24 year old who lives on her own in New York City, but that’s another topic.)

Asking for advice—and learning to accept it—is a huge part of growing up, as well as creating and maintaining relationships. Interesting tidbit: When I first talked to Amy about blogging and social media her response was the following: “Very exciting! This is good. I need deadlines and to be told what to do…Thanks, and please push me!” Gold star, Amy, for accepting and welcoming outside advice.

In a recent conversation with my mom, I was talking to her about my new-ish position at Abrams. I was relaying my jealousy of girls who get to go through middle school with The Popularity Papers as their guidebook. To this my mother replied: “Yes, as long as you don’t distract the author with your obsession with blogging, Twitter, and Facebook and give her no time to write new books…” We all need outside advice.

Amy here. First: AH HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! Second, OH MY GOD, YOU'RE ONLY 24? When I was 24 I was hardly making rent by illustrating terribly written educational anti-drug cartoons:

Stephanie: Let's do lots of drugs!

Lisa: I don't think that's a good idea. I once knew a girl who did drugs and then she went crazy and killed a bunch of kittens and then fell off of a cliff and died.

Stephanie: That sounds bad. Let's never do drugs!

I have those old cartoons somewhere in a file, and THAT'S WHERE THEY'RE GOING TO STAY FOREVER AND EVER. Also when I was 24 I worked as an airbrush face and body painter for a guy who legally changed his name to Peanutbutter and always insisted on MORE GLITTER. So anyway, Morgan is a lot more successful than I was when I was her age, so I should probably listen to her advice. I'm not always going to take it, but I'll still listen.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

And the title of the 5th Popularity Papers is...

Coming up with a title for a book is not easy. Not only does it have to sound good, and not already be taken, and make sense, but it also has to be agreed upon by approximately 784 people at Amulet Books, as well as my literary agent, my husband, and my cat.

THIS IS A LIE! NO ONE LISTENS TO ME. Close the shower curtain, I need to be alone.

Usually I come up with a bunch of ideas. Some of them are good, some of them are okay, and some of them are just terrible but that's what happens when you run out of good ideas (ex. The Popularity Papers 5: Can You Believe That We're On The Fifth Book Already with Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang?) Then my editor makes suggestions, my agent makes suggestions, the marketing department makes suggestions, some random people on the street make suggestions, and slowly but surely we come up with something that everyone loves. Or that everyone likes. Or that no one recoils from.

I'm excited about this one, so without further ado, the title for the fifth Popularity Papers will be...

(drumroll, pleez)

The Popularity Papers 5:
The Awesomely Awful Melodies of
Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang

Finally I can stop referring to it as PP5, until I get tired of typing out The Popularity Papers 5: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang and go back to PP5, but I'm pretty thrilled with the title so hopefully that won't happen for a while.

You heard it here first, dear blog readers! You are the first people to know, besides everyone at Amulet, my husband, and my dad (who was all, "THE AWFULLY WHAT OF THE WHAT? Oh. That's nice.")

The Popularity Papers 5: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang! Coming to bookstores next Spring...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

PP5 Progress Report (wee hours edition)

Emails from fans RULE. Really, if someone had told me a five years ago that I’d be receiving amazing fanmail from all over the world on a regular basis I probably would freaked out and screamed, “HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS? ARE YOU FROM THE FUTURE? African-American president? For real? TELL ME WHO WINS THE 2008 WORLD SERIES!!!”

But that time-traveler/soothsayer would have been right, and I’m still amazed every time someone takes the effort to send me a fabulous paragraph about how they’ve enjoyed The Popularity Papers. It’s really gratifying.

As of late most of the emails have been asking the same thing—

Is there going to be a fifth Popularity Papers book?

I sure hope so, or else all the work I’ve done over the past eight months will have been completely in vain. YES YES YES, there is going to be a fifth Popularity Papers book!!

Yay! Great!!! Now we are happy. When is it coming out?

In Spring of 2013.

Hooray! When in Spring of 2013?

I’m not totally certain.

How can you not be totally certain?

Because it’s stupid o’clock in the morning and my brain isn’t working properly.

You should really get some sleep. You’ve been looking a little peaked.

I know, I know.

Maybe some warm milk?


Hey, we were just trying to be helpful. So are you done writing the book? If we sneaked into your house and stole your computer and went through your files, could we read it?

I’m mostly done—there will probably be another round or two of edits to make sure that everything makes sense and that I’ve spelled everything correctly. Because the Popularity Papers is written entirely by hand every time I spell something wrong I have to correct it in Photoshop. It takes a while to make certain everything is perfect.

Also, don’t break into my house and steal my computer and go through my files.

Okay, we won’t. So what’s the name of the new book?

I don’t know yet.

The Popularity Papers 5: I Don’t Know Yet with Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang? That’s…a little weird. We probably have to read the book to understand it?

No, no, no, I mean that I haven’t come up with a name for the book yet.

So you don’t know exactly when the book is coming out and you don’t know what the book is called. Are you sure there’s actually going to be a 5th book?

Yes! I promise. I’ve been working really hard on it and I’m really excited about it, and trust me, I will post it to this blog the moment that I’ve decided on a title.

Well, if you promise. You should try to go back to sleep now.

Okay, I will. Do you think warm rice milk will taste okay?

Go to sleep!

I love my fans. You guys are the best.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lydia and Julie's Thoughts on Summer (sort of not really)

August 5th
“Guest post” from Lydia and Julie about the summer

So this blogpost suggestion from Morgan sounded like a really good idea when she sent it four days ago at 1:35 in the afternoon. But now it is 4:51am and I’M FREAKING OUT.

There are several problems. The first, most pressing problem is that I’M AWAKE AT 4:51 IN THE MORNING, and in order to be sitting here at my computer means that I’ve been awake for a while and finally just gave up on sleeping. This is what happens when I drink coffee on a Saturday—awake at O-dark-thirty on a Sunday morning, because my body is unused to caffeine.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Starbux at the Steamtown Mall? I texted our good friends from Syracuse who were meeting us in Scranton. When we got there we’d been in the car for over two hours, and I’d been up since O-dark-thirty because of anxiety about forgetting the billion and one things that I thought I had to bring in anticipation of Anya’s every need (What if my ten-month-old’s bladder magically turns into some sort of thoroughbred horse peeing machine’s bladder? PACK MOAR DIAPERS!!!) Coffee seemed like a fabulous idea, especially because you can buy it in iced form with floaty bits of caramel that you can suck through a straw.


Maybe the coffee alone wouldn’t have done me in, but having that late-afternoon cola in the car was basically me telling my brain, “We are getting up EARLY!” And now we’re up and my brain is all, “Guess what??? I’m sleep-deprived and I can’t think of one good thing to write about what Lydia and Julie think about summer! Hope you enjoyed that Coke Zero, doofus. Now Morgan is going to drive to Philadelphia and repeatedly hit us in the head with a frying pan.”

Morgan seems really super nice and not at all like the sort of person who drives two hours on a Sunday just to bean someone in the head. She might not even have a car. Or a frying pan. But it’s really early and I’m given to hyperbole.

The second problem is that just because I can’t think of one good thing to write about what Lydia and Julie think about summer doesn’t mean that I can’t think of a bunch of boring things to write about what Lydia and Julie think about summer.

Lydia: You know what’s great about summer?

Julie: Everything.

Lydia: Everything is great about summer.

Julie: Sometimes it’s too hot.

Lydia: Everything is great about summer except for when it’s too hot.

Julie: Yes.

Lydia: This has been a fascinating exchange, we should do it more often.

Julie: Let’s do so.

When people think that writing is hard, they’re really wrong. Writing isn’t that hard; writing stuff that people want to keep reading is a different story all together.

But please keep suggesting blog topics, Morgan and everybody else! One of these days I will prove that all your good brain-thinking is not in vain…

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

To Blog, or Not To Blog: It’s a Question

Okay, so I think we all know the answer, and that is to blog, because obviously I am blogging RIGHT NOW, and also my blog is all fancy and new-looking. But bear with me, because I’m still asking myself The Question: To Blog or Not To Blog?

Up to now this blog (formerly known as The Yellow Car Chronicles) has been mostly about my adventures in touring, which is why there are a huge amount of blogposts from the summer of 2010 when Mark and I drove to Denver and back, and very few blogposts during the summer of 2011 when I was ginormously pregnant and spending every day holed up in my studio working to finish The Rocky Road Trip before giving birth (and with my editor Maggie as my witness, I handed in the final edits at the last possible minute before heading to the hospital). So the blog has been, at best, spotty.

“THIS IS TERRIBLE!” My new publicist screamed at me while brandishing several medieval weapons, “You are a super-inconsistent blogger! THIS WILL NOT STAND!!!” Her name is Morgan and she seems like a smart and lovely person, but for the sake of my own amusement I’ve decided to portray her as a screamy potentially violent madwoman. “BAD AUTHOR! BAD AUTHOR!!!”

“But I don’t know what to write about!” I whimpered while cowering in a corner that was no doubt dungeony and full of spiders. “All I do all day is write and draw and take care of my baby and listen to National Public Radio and talk on the phone with my dad. Please don’t hurt me.”

The reasons I’ve never felt comfortable writing about my daily life are:

A.     It could be super boring
B.     It could also be super duper boring
C.     It could be crazy embarrassing to my daughter in thirteen years (ex. Yesterday she pulled down my shirt, shoved her face into my chest, and barfed)
D.    Without guidance, I could easily just write down a series of ridiculous conversations with my dad where he yells a lot (not because he’s angry, but because he’s just naturally really loud)

I’m also always a little worried about coming off like kind of a butthead. Hey, read what I wrote, I’m a Big Important Author so my thoughts are like precious jewels. Come gather round and be dazzled by my sparkling jewel-thoughts!

But Morgan has been working really hard to make the blog pretty. She’s helped me to come up with interesting blog topics, and also she can shoot lasers out of her eyes, so I’m going to make a genuine effort to blog on a regular basis. Here are my rules:

1.     I’ll try really hard not to be a butthead.

2.     I’ll try not to blather on about my kid too much, because she has a right to privacy, even though it’s really tempting to post a picture of her every day because she’s seriously crazy cute.

3.     I’ll try to be a really good blogger and write good posts because my readers are worth it.

To do all this (particularly #3) I need help. What would you like to know about? What would you like me to blog about? This is interactive! LET’S DO THIS THING.


(That’s a word, right? It is now.)