Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thank You From The Invisible New York Times Best Selling Author

I scurried downstairs this morning to get my New York Times with its Sunday supplements, but the Book Review Section didn't include the children's best sellers this week.

Naturally I was disappointed, but then I reminded myself that Dewey beat Truman in a newspaper and a fat lot of good that did him. I immediately cheered up.

Before I offer visual proof that Life As We Knew It really is a New York Times best seller (imagine how much pleasure it gives me to say that and then multiply it by a zillion), I want to say thank you to each and every one of you. I don't know for sure how this truly astonishing thing happened, but I don't think it was because LAWKI is a classic or because it's a tie-in to popular movies or because (no insult to Harcourt) it's been heavily promoted. I think it's a good book, but there are an awful lot of good books out there competing with it.

What Life As We Knew It has had almost from the beginning is the support of people who loved it. You've blogged about it, recommended it to friends, shared it with students, fellow teachers and librarians, given it to family members, reviewed it in newspapers and magazines, and encouraged your book groups to read it.

When I wrote LAWKI, I was as involved with it as with any book I've ever written. I loved going to work on it each morning and had trouble stopping each night. I hoped other people might feel some of that involvement, but I never dreamed it would meet with the response that it has, or that I would be so fortunate as to be able to witness how much people I've never met have supported me and my work.

Okay. Before I start getting all weepy, here's a link to the New York Times Children's Best Seller Lists of the week:

And here's what the list looks like (Number 10 is my favorite):

PAPERBACK BOOKS This Week Weeks on List

1 THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, by Kate DiCamillo. Illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering. (Candlewick, $7.99.) A mouse, a rat and a girl on a magic trip. (Ages 10 and up) 33

2 THE BOOK THIEF, by Markus Zusak. (Knopf, $11.99.) A girl saves books from Nazi burning and shares them with a Jewish man in hiding. First Chapter (Ages 14 and up) 53

3 MATH DOESN’T SUCK, by Danica McKellar. (Plume, $15.) A girls’ guide to middle-school math. (Ages 9 to 12) 6

4 BATTLE AT TETH, by Kirsten Mayer. (Grosset & Dunlap/LucasBooks, $3.99.) Clones vs. droids; a “Star Wars” book based on the movie “The Clone Wars.” (Ages 4 to 8) 7

5 THE NEW PADAWAN, by Eric Stevens. (Grosset & Dunlap/LucasBooks, $3.99.) To his chagrin, Anakin has a student; a “Star Wars” book based on the movie “The Clone Wars.” (Ages 9 to 12) 7

6 The iNHERITANCE CYCLE, by Christopher Paolini. (Knopf, $19.99.) Two fantasy novels, “Eragon” and “Eldest,” packaged together. (Ages 12 and up) 1

7 THE ALCHEMYST, by Michael Scott. (Delacorte, $8.99.) Twins must help an immortal alchemist protect his book of spells from an evil sorcerer. (Ages 12 and up) 3

8 RULES, by Cynthia Lord. (Scholastic, $6.99.) The challenges and rewards of life with an autistic brother. (Ages 9 to 12) 2

9 THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY, by Trenton Lee Stewart. Illustrated by Carson Ellis. (Little, Brown, $6.99.) Gifted kids on a mission. (Ages 9 to 12) 6

10 LIFE AS WE KNEW IT, by Susan Beth Pfeffer. (Harcourt, $6.95.) A girl’s diary reflects the catastrophe that ensues when a meteor hits the moon. (Ages 12 and up) 1

Thank you again.


jnifr3 said...

I am so happy for you and for the others (those that the rest of us haven't reached) who will pick up this book and read it now. They just don't know what they've been missing. :)

In our library, the students are constantly asking me what my favorite book is, so of course I instantly say, "Life as We Knew It." (It is always on reserve, by the way.) So, then they ask for my second favorite. When I tell them, "The Dead and the Gone," their shoulders drop and they reply, "I guess it's out too."

We have even had a near wrestling match in the middle of the library floor over the book!

I want to say Thank you, Susan for renewing the passion for reading in our middle and high schoolers! While they are waiting for LAWKI and DAG to be checked back in, they are reading with great enthusiasm. We are loving it, scuffles and all. ;)

Jennifer T.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue:

About six months ago, I asked what you thought of my plan to write a young adult book based on an amalgamation of ideas of all the NY Times bestsellers. You said you thought it was a good idea and I did write it and my agent, so far, has liked it a lot.

So now when I go to write another book with the same idea in mind I have to include your book.

Job well done!

(But are you at least a little upset over all those wrestling middle and high-schoolers?)

(And when people introduce you now, do they do so as NY TImes Best Selling Author Susan Beth Pfeffer? Should we now address you as such?)


Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Jnifr3 and Anonymous Glen and thank you for your comments-

I got an e-mail last week from a girl who said she wasn't much of a reader but picked up LAWKI and enjoyed it so much she read a couple of my other books while waiting for d&g. And now she's reading books by other people as well.

Nothing makes me happier than learning that I've inspired reading in kids who don't identify themselves as readers. A lot has to do with the tragic death of my vocabulary level in the middle of fifth grade. But I know some is because I like telling stories. It's that simple (and with my vocabulary level, it stays that simple).

Harcout sent me congratulatory flowers, but I have a feeling even they'll tire of my referring to myself as a New York Times Best Selling Author pretty soon.

But I'll always think of myself that way, even as I explore new careers like wrestling referee!

Anne Bradshaw said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog today. Thanks for all the great information. I'll be back :-)

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Anne Bradshaw-

Thank you for your comment and welcome to the blog.

It was interesting seeing what books made the Times Best Seller list. I still think it's astonishing LAWKI made it there!

Jenni said...

wow! I am so excited for you! This is the best news ever!!! :)

My students are really loving the book right now, which we just started this week (after one full week off from school, due to power outtages last week from Hurricane Ike).

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Jenni-

Thank you for your comment. I hope your students are enjoying LAWKI. It must be a little weird to be working on it right after a hurricane.

Say hi to them for me. Tell them I'm glad they have electricity again!

C.K. said...

Congrats, Susan! Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone completely blew me away.

I hope soon you're at the top of that list. You deserve it!

- C. K.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi C.K.-

Thank you for your kind words. And congratulations on the publication of your first YA novel- I Know It's Over.

I hope your rise to the best seller list is faster than mine was!