So this week, I'm hosting a very special contest.
Recognize this fella?
I saw him and co-author David Levithan last night which means...this week isn't a mystery!
A BRAND NEW FIRST EDITION HARD COVER SIGNED BY NYT BESTSELLING AUTHORS JOHN GREEN AND DAVID LEVITHAN COPY OF WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON COULD BE YOURS!
And guess what?
The guys were so sweet they personalized it especially for you!
To Blue People
David even signed in BLUE INK.
It's not over yet.
I'm also giving away a signed paperback of Looking for Alaska!
But before you run off to enter you must hear about the event.
For those of you who have followed by blog since before I had an agent--since before I sold a book--know how much I admire John. Looking for Alaska remains one of my favorite teen novels to date, and I've seen him half-dozen times. The first time we met he was touring for An Abundance of Katherines and we were at Books Inc. in Opera Plaza in San Francisco, the same place we were last night.
The signing I went to had about 20 people back in 2006.
The signing last night had 300 plus.
The crowd was thick. The air was hot. But the vibe was so positive, and magically frenetic it was one of those great moments where you can't help but get nostalgic.
So you know how your dad measures your height by marking your growth with a pencil on the wall? At the risk of sounding cheesy, John has sort of been a marker in my growth as an author.
The first time we met, I had just finished the first draft of SEA . I was waiting for him to sign my copy of Looking for Alaska (hardcover/first edition) and my friend Debbie told him I was a writer, just finishing my first YA book. He was so sweet and enthusiastic, wished me all the luck in the world and inscribed, "To Heidi, fellow writer." I mean, wow, right?
So that night I got up the guts to send him a publishing question via email. To my surprise he wrote back right away with sage advice about revision, which I still note to this day.
I saw him again when I got my first offer for SEA. Again when I was at my first ALA.
And last year when I was wrapping up revisions.
So see? Markers.
Last night John thanked Not Your Mother's Book Club for supporting him when he was a "brand new author trying to find his way" and independent bookstores in general for being so amazing throughout his career. And this is the same store, and bookclub that is going to host MY launch party in 40-some odd days, and I was just...wow. Another marker.
Their talk and reading was fabulous and funny. A personal highlight was fellow author Daisy Whitney, who went to college with David Levithan, acting out one of WGWG characters along with the boys:
David, Daisy and John "acting" WGWG
After, David and John were asked to give "inspirational advice" to the audience.
I wish I recorded to quote verbatim, but in the gist was we live in a broken world, we live, we die, so what do we have? We have this. NOW. So be the best you can be, enjoy life --do all you can--to make this life awesome. John went on to say this philosophy is the root everything he does. Why he started the community of Nerdfighters, why he writes books with purpose and meaning and Vlogs and all the rest.
Except he said it 1,000 more eloquently. ;)
So last night, when John signed by books (FOR YOU GUYS!) John congratulated me on all the exciting things happening "since we last met" and said, "I haven't seen it yet. Why hasn't anyone sent me a copy? I want to read it!"
This my friends, this giving back, this kindness, is the root of all things good about our broken world. The root of all things hopeful. What I admire about John is that he practices what he preaches.
I've gotten a few Twitter comments lately that shock me. One girl said, "I was having the worst day and the fact that you took the time to say hi made all the difference, thank you so much."
And I was like, "Seriously?" and she said, "Yeah. You have no idea what an impact you make."
I was sort of speechless, and then I said, "I'm going to remember that."
And I will. A published author is an aspiring writer who worked hard and got lucky. That's it.
We're no more special than anyone else, but the choices we make with our words and the way we present ourselves to the world can set us apart. John and David have proven that much.
As I hugged my friend Jandy, congratulated my friend Nina, chatted with my blogger friends and my fellow Tenners and S.F. buddies. As I watched the Nerdfighters in their striped tights and red Converse and beaming smiles, I was overcome with gratitude that I never gave up on my dream.
One last thing.
Someone asked what their favorite words were.
John said, "Grace."
David said, "Wonder."
Two words that sum up the evening better than I ever could.
* * *
***So you want to win that special book BLUE PEOPLE?***
PICK FIVE THINGS FROM THE LIST:
*Change your avatar to SEA on Twitter and/or Facebook
*RT the contest
*Go into your local bookstore or call and ask if they are carrying SEA in JUNE
*ADD SEA on Goodreads or VOTE for it on one of the LISTS
*PRACTICE A RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS. You choose it, and tell me what you did in the comments.
*Blog or VLOG about this contest. Blog about what INSPIRES you and WHY
*Tell me YOUR favorite word and why!
Link everything here in comments!
If you asked a bookstore, link which one :)
TWO WINNERS will be chosen by RANDOM.ORG
Contest ends Friday at Midnight Pacific time.
WINNERS revealed following MONDAY
DFTBA! And support your Independent bookstores!