I'm at a stage with my novel where I need to obtain cover quotes--you know basically asking people who write much better than I and who are far busier than I to read my book and tell people how great it is. It is all very very awkward. So I'm only asking a select few whose books are very similar to mine and that I've read and admired, and yadda yadda. Because otherwise it just feels wrong. I'm pretty sure that 99% of said select few are going to be too busy and I understand that. But I thought I should at least ask because I would be thrilled and squeal and jump around if any one of them were to say anything remotely nice about my story or my characters or anything.
Plus there have been a few (okay at least one, maybe no one else) older folks asking questions like the following:
And so I want to be sure these booksellers have some sort of reference to other authors/books that have been successful with older, edgier reads.
There's also one author who I'm sort of reaching for the stars with--Judy Blume. Yes, okay, I realize it is a long shot. She probably gets a thousand and one requests a day. But hear me out--maybe everyone thinks that. Maybe, just maybe, she's the pretty girl who never gets asked out. Yeah, doubtful....I mean most all YA authors, women at least, have grown up on Judy Blume.
I didn't. I mean I tried to. But instead of having a wonderful eye opening, enlightening experience that most every other female in America has--I had the most humiliating moment of my young life. (Which is just so-freaking Judy Blume, it's ridiculous!)
See, in fifth grade we had a book of your choice oral book report assignment. So I pick up a Judy Blume book because I was told they were great and that I would LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Now, mind you I was not told that she writes for older girls and to be careful of the book you pick, because, you know, you'll have to get up and talk about it in front of your class and your teacher and stuff. (That might have been a nice thing to say, don't you think?) Well, I must have picked up Forever. Not sure, it is all a blur. Yes I read the book, the whole book, twice probably, but the whole time I was reading it I was thinking of getting up in front of the class (something I'd still be terrified to do) and telling them about this book.
And then the day came. It was too late to pick another book. I'm a slow reader after all. So I sucked it up.
My little fifth grade self got up at that podium and started to sweat. How was I going to explain the book without talking about IT? I'd have to just explain about other things--other aspects of the book--it could be done. No, no--They'll KNOW. They'll know what this book is about. If I don't tell them, they'll know I'm not telling the truth. No, no...they're eleven, they don't know anything! And after reading this book, I know EVERYTHING. It's okay.
I opened my mouth and my oral report went something like this :
So this book is about this girl...sex, sex, they had sex!!!! SEX!!! They HAD sex! The End.
I'm not even kidding. I know, I know. You're asking--where were the parents? Well, I'm not sure--I read The Godfather in eighth grade and they didn't say anything about that either...
Anyway, I got over my embarrassment and I stopped blaming Judy Blume for my temporary bout of Tourette syndrome, and Mario Puzo for my inability to sleep through the night, and went on to eventually read Summer Sisters. I was in my twenties, so I was well prepared for everything inside it. And OMG--so freaking wonderful. I had a friend just like Caitlin. Yes, everyone says that. But I did! Everything about the book was so reminiscent of those summer days when for three months you played at independence and adulthood only to have September coming screaming back to you with all of its restrictions, even ones on friendship. It is truly one of my all time favorite books.
For better advice on giving an oral book report: