Thursday, August 7, 2008

One month of IWBYJR, Excitement, and Contest News!

One Month

So IWBYJR has officially been out for exactly a month today (though it did come out like a week early, so really…) and I figured I should ponder that a little bit. One month has always seemed like a significant period of time to me for some reason. I decided to lose my virginity to one of my high school boyfriends after dating him for precisely one month. *Shakes head* Should have thought on that one a little longer. But in high school, it seemed that if a relationship made it to one month, it was a big deal, the person was seriously imprinted on my soul. I had two three-week relationships. It seemed like when “one month” loomed, people began to evaluate and reconsider. In one case, I did, in the other case, he did. Both were the kind of relationships where you date someone because you think that they are really cool and they are of the opposite sex so you think that to be close to them, you must date, but then you realize that you really just wanted to be friends. I remained friends with the guy that broke up with me. He let me down gently with a metaphor about birds that made no sense. The guy that I broke up with… it was a little more complicated. Our friendship was never the same, but at least we didn’t end up hating each other.

Anyway that was a total tangent that had nothing to do with IWBYJR except for that it has been a month and apparently this is my natural evaluation period. Not that I could break up with IWBYJR. Not that I want to. Ugh, this is an awkward metaphor, but unfortunately I’m in no position to evaluate IWBYJR in terms of it being a product like some people seem to want me to. I get asked things like “How is it doing?” and sometimes more blatantly, “How many copies has it sold so far?” I don’t know the answers to these questions. I shrug and tell people, “I’m really the last person to know.” Which is true as far as I can tell. I can check the ever fluctuating Amazon ranking, but that is about all. I’m sure there are people at Simon & Schuster who know and then they tell my editor and perhaps she tells me directly or perhaps I hear via my agent. So far I’ve been given some numbers that seem random to me with nothing to compare them to and been told it’s doing “pretty good,” which I immediately wondered if she meant like “okay, but not as good as we expected” or “surprisingly it is doing pretty good and we are impressed.” *Shrugs* If I worry about this I will drive myself batty, though, so fuck how many units have been moved or whatever, I’m interested in people’s relationship with the book.

It seems that a lot of people are having good relationships with her. This means more to me than anything. It’s weird, people send me an email or a message on myspace, telling me how much the book matters to them and then they seemed shocked when I write them back. I will always do my damndest to write you back. It may take some time, but I try really hard to write people back and the reason is, what you said to me is as meaningful to me as the book was to you. Seriously. I poured my heart and soul into this thing with the hope that it would stir something inside of someone, but as a chick with horribly low self-esteem who knows that writing is what she does best, but still doesn’t feel it is good enough, I worried that it wouldn’t matter to anyone. So when I’m told it did, I get so unbelievably excited and I thank the person profusely. Without a doubt, hearing from and especially meeting people that enjoyed the book has been the best part of this month.

On the flipside, you can’t please everyone. I haven’t seen too many negative things about my book, but of course there are some out there. My boyfriend has long joked that he needs to toughen me because sometimes I can’t tell when he’s joking and I get overly sensitive about something. It’s been almost three years, he still hasn’t toughened me. What can I say? I’m such a Cancer. I’m as sensitive as they come. I was made fun of a lot as a kid and teen and never learned not to let words hurt me. I also exist on much less sleep than I should (and not on purpose, mind you), which makes things worse. Oh and I’m a perfectionist. Even though I know it is impossible to please everyone, I want to. So I take the negative stuff hard especially when it is not constructive. If it’s constructive, I make mental notes to examine things in the next one.

In the end though, there has been a lot more positive than negative and the positive stuff has been so meaningful, esp from teen girls, that it outweighs everything. The negative stuff, the exhaustion from long hours trying to be a writer and work full time, all the self doubt, all of my own teenage pain--it has all been worth it just for those letters and meetings and hugs. There is a point to my existence. I didn’t waste my limited time here. I helped someone or several someones with my words. So outcome of one month evaluation of my life with IWBYJR: it’s one of the most meaningful relationships I’ve ever had.


Okay, I promised you exciting things in the blog title and I promised you more exciting news earlier this week. I can deliver some excitement, but it is not the news I planned to deliver. The one big announcement that I’m totally dying to blog about has to stay under wraps for a few more days. (I’m squawking by this time next week no matter what!) And then of course, the other big news, which my MySpace friends already know about, is that my tattoo is finished. But I’m not gonna take pics and blog about it til it’s healed, so that will be sometime next week too. If you want to see it before then, well I guess you’ll have to come to the Glenview Public Library at 2 pm on Saturday where I will be reading, signing, and discussing. We’ll mostly discuss books and writing stuff, but we can discuss the tattoo, too!

The Glenview Public Library thing is one of my exciting things (my first library visit! I owe so much to libraries and librarians so it is very meaningful), but I have more that are accessible to an even larger audience. I hate that I can’t visit and talk to you all, but here are two opportunities to hear me blather or have a discussion with me about my book that everyone can join in.

First, I’m going to be on the Black Oak Media internet radio show this weekend. We’ll be talking about book-related things and it’s live so you’ll get to experience all of my “umms” and how I say “like” too much and all of that. Terrifying for me, but hopefully it will be enjoyable for you. You can listen live at 3:30 pm CST on Sunday at http://www. blogtalkradio. com/Black-Oak-Media/2008/08/10/Black-Oak-Media-Radio or if you can’t catch that, it will be on the player at (look under general interests at blog talk radio) after 5 PM CST on Sunday, so everyone who wants to will have a chance to hear me blather.

That is not interactive though. The Panic at the Disco Book Club message board is! They are discussing IWBYJR (right now part one, next week, part two, then part three and a general conversation) and looking for more people who have read or are reading it to join in the conversation. Why should you do this? Because I’ll be visiting the board during the general discussion to talk about the book, writing, and whatever other questions you want to ask. So go join in and I’ll be there soon!


Lastly I have contest news. I’m extending the Tour Contest to the end of August because I still haven’t received very many entries (and I’m not going to be sensitive about it and will just assume it is because it’s summer and people travel!) and I have some very good (signed) books for people to win so I want as many people to have the opportunity to enter as possible.

All you do to enter is send a picture of your copy of IWBYJR to stephanie at stephaniekuehnert dot com (you don’t spell out at or dot nor use any spaces of course). You’ll wanna get creative with your picture (pose the book with your musical equipment, your adorable kid or pet, or in some other way that expresses you or your feelings about the book) because the five most creative photos will win a signed copy of one of these great books: Frenemies by Alexa Young, Songs of a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson, King Dork by Frank Portman, O Street by Corrina Wycoff, and best of all an ARC (advanced review copy) of Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra. You can let me know your preferences on prize and all winners will win some extra swag, too!

Shooting Stars Magazine and their fellow bloggers have also extended their IWBYJR contest in which you send a photo of your copy of the book (could be the same one! We don’t care if you double dip, in fact we encourage it) or the receipt showing you purchased it to Lauren51990 at aol dot com by August 22 and you could be eligible to win 130$ in gift cards. That’s a lot of books and CDs. I’m gonna be jealous if you win.

Finally Tera Lynn Childs, author of the amazing book Oh.My.Gods. is running a Contest of Olympic Proportions throughout the Summer Olympics, which start today. One of the many books she is giving away is IWBYJR. She’ll be running a contest for it (signed and personalized by me of course!) later today when the opening ceremonies kick off (we thought IWBYJR belonged on the big party day!), so you will want to visit her blog today and for the next 17 days to enter to win IWBYJR and a bunch of other amazing books!

So that is my excitement for the week. More next week, when I finally reveal my tattoo and my other news and most important, the inaugural Women Who Rock Wednesday!

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