The best thing about getting your book published is hearing from the people who connected with it. I love meeting fans at events and getting emails and myspace messages. I always write back (maybe someday time constraints will limit that, but right now I'm managing and I will always do my best to do so) because every message I get makes my day. It means the world to me to know that my words made an impact. That's why I write. It certainly isn't for the money, lol! It's because I hope that I have a story to tell that can help people. Maybe it just helps them escape for a few hours or maybe it holds a deeper meaning. I get quite a few letters from girls and women who see themselves reflected in the characters, usually Emily and Regan, and that always pleases me. I created those characters because they were the kind of characters I was searching to read about as a teen and even now. And then I get the most priceless letters of all, from people who tell me that the book really helped them take stock of their life or that they are going to give it to a loved one who they believe it will help. Those people often relate to Louisa and seem to understand that part of the reason I wrote her was as reminder of what happens when you run from your nightmares as opposed to follow your dreams like Emily does. But each letter, each story that my book inspires people to open up about... this is why I became a writer.
On Friday, I got a really cool message from Justine Kope a Chicago musician in the band My Velouria who enjoyed IWBYJR so much that she was inspired to write a song! I can't tell you how much that meant to me. And it was like things coming full circle. IWBYJR was a book inspired by music ("Don't Take Me For Granted" by Social Distortion and the song "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone" by Sleater-Kinney) and now it has inspired music! The song is called "My Gorgeous Letdown" (like Johnny's band!) and the lyrics speak volumes about relationships gone sour like Emily and Johnny's.
Here is a live performance of "My Gorgeous Letdown" by My Velouria:
I've totally fallen in love with this band and encourage you to visit their myspace to listen to more of their songs. I'm psyched because I'm planning to go see them on December 12th, but those of you who live in Chicago and don't have plans this Thursday night, the 13th (I have writing group), go check them out at Abbey Pub.
This reminded me that I had a contest idea awhile back and we are long overdue for a contest. I'm still in the brainstorming phases, but I know this much, I'll be seeking fan art. Basically send in a poem, a song, a drawing, a t-shirt design, or anything inspired by IWBYJR or the characters in it. Hell, you could even dress up as a character or create your own soundtrack for the book. Anything inspired by the book. This will probably go until January 1st and I'm thinking that since I will have such a hard time judging the contest, I'll have blog readers vote. This way everyone who enters will get to show off what they did. But I don't know, do you guys have a better suggestion as to how to judge this contest or do you like that? Also what would you like to see as prizes? I still have one or two signed posters from the event I did with Irvine Welsh (meaning they are signed by me, Irvine Welsh, and Bill Hillmann) and they are super nice. I'm framing one to give to my mom for Christmas. (Shh, don't tell her. She doesn't read my blog or really go online at all.) Is that a good prize along with a gift certificate to downloadpunk or amazon or something? Or what kind of prizes would motivate you guys to enter? I haven't done a contest in awhile because I had such a hard time getting entries for the last one, so I want your feedback.
My other idea is that hopefully people will enter t-shirt designs, like basically create a band logo for She Laughs or something like that. I really want to create a cafe press store that would benefit charity with She Laughs t-shirts. The person whose design is chosen obviously would get a t-shirt, but then maybe the overall winner of the contest could get that too? Along with the signed poster and whatever else? Is that a good prize? Of course I have to check with my publisher about creating She Laughs t-shirts and if I can do that...
But please, give me input on what would make this a good contest/what would encourage you to enter. Let me know about prize suggestions, deadline suggestions, anything else. And start brainstorming what you can do!
In the meantime, don't forget to enter the latest Women Who Rock Wednesday contest. Brenna let me know that the winner will receive a custom designed, stenciled DIY Last Gang shirt, both "27 Red" & "Out Of Time," & a few badges. That's a lot of stuff! I wish I could enter! So go read the interview, comment, and you'll be entered to win!