Monday, October 09, 2006

Break On Through -- Jay

For a quick link to the photos and stories in my "When I Told..." series, just click My Wife, Eve, My Parents, or Robin.



Happiness is...


Razorbill? Isn’t that the name of a scary looking bird? Yes, it is. But it’s also the name of Penguin’s kick-ass teen imprint. And their logo, the one seen above, is going to be printed on the spine of my very first published book. Say it with me now…Woo-Hoo!!!

So how did I get The Call? Was it, “Hi, is Jay Asher there? Jay, this is Kristen calling from Razorbill. Are you sitting down?” No, it was a bit more…unusual. I checked my phone on my lunch break and saw that I had two new messages. The first was from my agent asking me nicely to call her back because we’d just received an offer. The second was also from my agent, this time telling me to call her back because we’d just received a second offer.

Last week, Razorbill and two other publishing houses squared off in what I have come to call The Battle of the Book. The rules of engagement, as set up by Referee Rennert (a.k.a. my agent), went as follows:
1. Slap your bids on the table.
2. Show us your marketing.
3. Place a call to the author.

Here’s how Rule #1 went down:
(today, the role of Variable X will be played by Variable $)
1. Contestant A offers an advance valued at $.
2. Contestant B counters with $ + ($ x ½).
3. Contestant A roars back into the lead with a staggering $ x 5.
4. Not to be outdone, Contestant B whips out the ol’ $ x 7½.
5. Wait…who’s that?…it looks like…it is!…here comes Contestant C with $ x 10.
6. Having none of that, Contestant A digs down deep to match the $ x 10.
7. But it’s not over yet, folks. Contestant B gets a second wind and we’re neck and neck with a three-way $ x 10. This one’s gonna be a photo finish.
8. And would you look at that…all three contestants are waving 2-book contracts!

Phew! Just typing that not-so-instant replay made me sweaty all over again. When I told Gregory K. about the auction, and after we were done celebrating, he asked, “Do you remember how it felt when the offer was still at $?” “It felt amazing,” I replied. “That’s what you need to remember,” he said. What a profound guy! (Of course, he then hit me up for some cash cuz he’s a smart guy, too.) But the great thing about having the editors come in with matching advances meant I was able to concentrate on the other details without being swayed by my well-fed credit card bill.

Speaking to each editor on the phone was wonderful. I came away with the impression that children’s book editors are some of the coolest people in the world. In the future, I would love the opportunity to hang out with each of them without having to worry about pitching myself to them…or having them pitch themselves to me. How weird is that? With past submissions, editors told me I was the one who wasn’t right for them. But last week they were telling me why they were right for me. Just when I thought I had this business figured out…

So my first book will be a Razorbill book. And my next YA will also be a Razorbill book. (If you have any ideas for a YA…any ideas at all!…please shoot me an e-mail.) They’re hoping to have my book out in Fall ’07, but you don’t need to write that down. Based on their marketing strategy, anyone within 20 miles of a bookshelf is gonna know it’s on its way. The title will likely change between now and then, but it’s currently titled Baker’s Dozen: The AudioBiography of Hannah Baker. As a demonstration of Razorbill’s marketing creativity, they submitted a 13-point Marketing Plan.

13-point…Baker’s Dozen…get it? Ha!

But enough about Razorbill. Let’s talk about me! More specifically, my wife, my parents, and my friends. They’re the real stars of this miraculous turn of events. They’ve been encouraging me for almost…oh…a baker’s dozen or so years since I first enrolled in a children’s lit. appreciation class. It was there that I wrote two picture books as part of an assignment. Soon thereafter, I made the announcement, “I want to be a children’s book writer.” From way back then till now, none of them ever said “Why?” or “You?” or “It’s never going to happen.” All they ever said was, to quote Rob Schneider, “You can do it!”

I wish you all could have been there to witness firsthand their beautiful rush of emotions when I told my wife, my parents, and my fellow Disco Mermaids that they were right.

Instead, I’ll have to show you. Over the next four days, I’d like to share with you some photographs capturing the above mentioned people when first told that their years of encouragement had finally paid off. If you’re a fan of joy, surprise, or tears, you won’t want to miss it.

- Jay


UPDATE:

The book will be released in Fall 2007 with the title 13 Reasons Why.

60 comments:

Gregory K. said...

You, sir, ROCK!!!!!!!!!

Congrats x 10 and then some.

Anne Marie said...

Jay! Jay, Jay, Jay!

I'm grinnin'!

Chris Barton said...

Fantastic news, Jay -- congratulations!

harried mom said...

WOW!...just speechless. WOW!

Heather Brewer said...

That's fantastic! Congrats, Jay!

SilberBook-Blog said...

That's fantastic news! Once the "hints" started appearing on the blog I was obsessed to know more....and the payoff was well worth it!

Bask in the moments...advice you apparently don't need.

alan

Kelly Fineman said...

Woo-HOOO! Congratulations!

Can't wait for the photo essay.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I LOVE good news! And you shared all the glorious details, too. What fun! A huge CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Lisa S.

alvina said...

Congratulations, Jay. Savor the high!

Can't wait to see the finished book, and read it, too!

cynthialord said...

WOW! Congratulations, Jay!

Kim said...

HOORAY! A huge congratulations to you!

Jo Whittemore said...

Congratulations!

Susan Taylor Brown said...

Congratulations on the fabulous news!

Tim said...

Congrats! Are you taking advance orders for autographed copies!!??

Anne said...

This is so weird. I've never even met you, but I read your blog all the time. I saw you at the SCBWI Jade Jubilee (who didn't!), but other than that I don't know if I would recognize you on the street. And yet...I'm so frickin' happy for you. And yes, just a bit jealous.

Congratulations!

Anne

Linda Joy Singleton said...

Congratulations!! You and the Disco Mermaids are the higlight for me every year at Nationals SCBWI/LA and I am so glad to hear of your success. Razorbill books are cool and they're lucky to get you!!

Linda Joy Singleton

Amy Friedman said...

I don't know you--just a fellow SCBWI member, but Greg sent us all the news and I just wanted to add my congratulations. Wonderful feeling. Yay you. Amy Friedman

Debby G. said...

Congratulations again!

tammi said...

Rock star!!!

Disco Mermaids said...

I know I've worshipped you as a writer and a friend privately for years, but now I'll do it publicly! You are an amazing writer, Jay and an even better friend. No one deserves all of this more than you.
But also, I'm so happy that the story you wrote is going to get into the hands of kids (many of them) because I think what you have written is going to touch them in a very meaningful way.
And finally, I find it interesting that it took a huge book deal for you to finally understand algebra.
X + O = Robin :-)

Mitali Perkins said...

Doing a Bollywood-esque song and dance number here in Boston to celebrate on your behalf!

Janet G said...

Wow. Too cool.

I'm green with envy but also very happy to live vicariously!
CONGRATS

Janet G

HeatherKT said...

Congratulations!

Terrific news that brightened up my (so far) rather grim Monday morning.

Yay for book deals!

Heather

Julia said...

this is so cool! Congratulations many times over! Can't wait to read the book(s)!

Brotha Buck said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jadedmetaphor said...

Congratulations, Jay!!!!!!!! This has been a long time coming. Thrilled for you!

Don Tate II said...

Congrats! Congrats! Ah, and I knew him when...

Pam Calvert said...

Just wanted to congratulate you over here, too!!!!

WEEEEEEE!!!

You deserve it! :-D

Miss P said...

Jay that is so totally awesome!!!! Congrats X10.

I'm so happy for you. Didn't we all say it was going to happen soon? I almost told you the exact date, when it would happen, but I didn't want to spoil it. LOL

Lisa Yee said...

See??? See!!! Dressing as a woman at SCBWI functions paid off!

XXXXOOOXXXXOOO
Lisa

Anonymous said...

Tears of joy. I'm leaking onto my computer. SO happy for you!
Kristen

Colleen Cook said...

Congratulations, Disco Jay, with wishes for many future multiple book deals == $ x 10.

Colleen Cook

Robert F. Walsh said...

Congrats, Jay! Having lost out to you twice now in competitions, now I have to admit it was not luck/sleeping with the judges... which, frankly, is disappointing.

:)
Rob

Chicken Spaghetti said...

Jay, congratulations! What great news!

--Susan

Nancy said...

Jay, this is fantastic news! Many many congratulations!

Anonymous said...

YAY JAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
YOU ROCK!!!!

LAURA
(ArtistQ the clay lady)

Little Willow said...

Congratulations! :) Razorbill is a fantastic imprint.

Disco Mermaids said...

This is what I love about the children's lit community. It's filled with such kind and supportive people. Honestly, without the encouragement of other authors (both unpublished and mega-published) rooting me on, I don't think I could've kept with it for as long as I did.

But this is a group I so much wanted to be a part of. Thanks for making me feel so welcome here.

- Jay

P.S. I'd sure love it if each of you bought at least one copy of my book when it comes out. And when you're done with it, please don't pass it around. Instead, buy another copy to give as a gift to your favorite teen. And then ask them not to pass their copy around, but instead to buy each of their friends their own copy. Seriously, I need to make back this advance!

robinellen said...

Such great news -- thanks for letting us enjoy with you!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Jay!! Since I'm the mother of a Disco Mermaid (does that make me a Disco Mermaid MaMa?),I feel so proud of you, as if you were my own. Can't wait to read your book.What an inspiration you are to all aspiring writers.
carolyn

Jenny said...

Yay, Jay -- congrats!

MotherReader said...

Amazing stuff. Don't forget us when you're famous. Or at least toss us blog reviewers an ARC.

Disco Mermaids said...

Ahhh! So relieved it's out of the bag...that was hard to keep in for a full week. Man, you have a lot of fans. It's redundant to congratulate you, because I talk to you 100 times a day, so we've already done lots of celebrating.

Now that you've "broken on through" to the other side, don't forget about us. Although, because of your extreme friendship, unwaivering support, and help and wisdom over the years, Robin and I will be right behind you. So, thanks!!

xoxo
Eve

saraclaradara said...

It couldna happen to a nicer or more deserving guy.

Who, it just so happens, is also an awesome dancer and looks great in fishnets...

A Proud Father said...

You made your mother cry with tears
of joy when you woke her with the
fantastic news and flowers.
From a 10 year old in Victoria BC,
reading in an empty bathtub-to a now soon to be published author!
I love your childrens books that I am sure will be published one day, but this book I will read after purchasing from a book store.
The friends you have made all along the way especially JoanMarie,
Robin, Eve & all of SCBWI who have encouraged & supported you - make way, now it's time for readers out there to enjoy your works.
Congratulations and love!

nina nelson said...

Little late on the congrats, but I'm hoping you're still open to them...

Yeah, I thought you might be!

Wonderful, wonderful news! I cannot wait to follow the happiness that is this blog.

Nina Nelson

Disco Mermaids said...

Leaving his first comment on our blog, my dad learned his first lesson in how to write a children's book. Blogger would only allow him 300 words...yet he'd written 1,200.

Love you, too, Dad!
- Jay

tammi said...

OH! How cute is your dad?!

Anonymous said...

Mucho congrats, Jay!

Jessica said...

I AM SO FLIPPIN' EXCITED FOR YOU! I can't wait to see your books on my shelves. That sounds wonderful, doesn't it?

Roz said...

WHOOHOO!
Brilliant news. Many congratulations to you and your family/friends!!!

What Maternal Instinct? said...

Mazel Tov! Excellent news.

Jen Robinson said...

Congratulations, Jay! That's so cool. You definitely deserve it. Can't wait to see the book.

Kris said...

I love stories like this - congratulations!

Paige Keiser said...

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! That is SOOO AWESOME!! Congratulations Jay!! You must still be walking on clouds right now.

p.s. "Break on through to the other side" - I always have that song in my head when it comes to similar situations. LOL

Irene said...

Congratulations! Enjoy the ride.

Tiffarazzi said...

Jay! I just finished Thirteen Reasons Why & it was a-w-e-s-o-m-e! :) great job...keep the good books comin'

- T

Cullencrazyninja said...

I LOVE your book!! I bought it yesterday night and I'm already on page 106! It's the best book EVER!!! It's even better than Twilight and I'm like the biggest Twilight fan ever so that's alot comin from me :]
don't let your book be made into a movie because your book is KICK-ASS! And if they made it into a movie it'd be too different and they'd screw it up!...But I'd probably watch it anyway ;)

xoxo
-Gabriella

Anonymous said...

This book is simply breathtaking!!! Jay did an amazing job writing this book!!! The way Clay's feeling were described made it so easy to step into his shoes and feel the pain and sadness that he felt!!!

A need read for everyone!!! A+ Jay Asher

Riley Hoveland said...

Jay, you are amazing! I finished Th1rteen R3asons Why about 3 hours ago. I started it about 6 hours ago. I was in love with everything about it. I'm sure you don't reply to many comments, but it would mean the world to me if you read mine.
Love Always,
A hopeful book nerd.