Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fear and Gratitude

I wrote my first three young adult novels while I worked 32 hours/week in Human Resources. I'd get up early in the mornings to write, and I spent many weekends writing as well.

A number of things led me to a place in January, 2010 where I was now going to give the full-time writing thing a go.

I was SO scared. I didn't know if I would fly or fall.

Maybe deep down, that's why I ended up writing a book that's ultimately about fear. About moving forward even when you're terrified. About finding people who understand and can tell you, when you need to hear it most, It's going to be okay. I began writing The Day Before in February, my first book as a full-time writer.

There are a lot of things in this business that can cause a writer to feel fear. In fact, I think it's safe to say, there's something at every turn.

You have an idea, and what if it's not as good on paper as in your head? Fear.

You finish your manuscript, and now it's time to find beta readers. Fear.

You finish your revisions, and now it's time to write the query letter. Fear.

You finish writing the query letter, and now it's time to send it out. Lots of fear!

You get requests to read the manuscript. More fear.

You sell the book, and realize people are going to actually read it. Fear.

Galleys are printed and sent to reviewers. Fear.

Release day comes. *gulp*

I heard a definition recently that I want to share. "Courage is not the absence of fear, but actually forward motion in the presence of fear."

Still, I know, some days, it's hard to be courageous. And so, this week, here's what I'm doing. I'm focusing on gratitude.

If you had asked me five years ago if I'd have four YA novels and two MG novels on the shelves by 2011, I'd have thought you were totally and completely insane. And yet, thanks to my agent, Sara Crowe and my publishers, Simon Pulse and Aladdin, that's exactly what has happened. I'm SO grateful to them.

I'm thankful for my family, who has supported me in this writing thing from day one, and for the many wonderful friends I've made along the way.

I'm thankful that I'm still here, writing full-time, doing what I *love*.

Each time a book is released, I have to figure out what to do with the fears that start to surface about reviews, sales, etc. If I've learned anything since my first novel, it's that when the book hits the shelves, or the e-reader as the case may be, it's no longer mine. If I'm going to stay sane, I *have* to let it go and give it away. Pass it on to who it belongs to now.


And that brings me to more gratitude. Oh how I'm grateful for my loyal and faithful readers, who buy my books and tell their friends about them.

Thank you, dear readers. Really and truly, THANK YOU! Those are the words I'll play on repeat in the coming days, if the fears start to surface. I'm pretty sure it's impossible to be afraid when you're feeling grateful. And I do have so much to be grateful for!!!

As for my book, I'd just like to say - welcome to the world Amber and Cade. I know it's kind of scary, but I have a feeling you're going to be just fine.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

NYC Here I Come

Tomorrow morning I get up bright and early to head to NYC.

I can hardly believe it!

It's my first trip to the Big Apple and I have so many things planned. I have a date to eat NYC pizza Monday night. On Tuesday, I'm hoping to do lots of touristy stuff, exactly what depends on the weather. I hope to ride the free ferry, stroll Central Park, and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As if that's not enough, I'm seeing Jersey Boys Tuesday night! I got a 9th row seat - woo hoo!

Wednesday I'm meeting publishing people and having an authorly kind of day.

Thursday I hope to hit a workshop or two, plus an awards reception in the afternoon, and then at 6:00, I'll be reading and signing THE DAY BEFORE at Books of Wonder. SO excited about this event!

Friday night, I'll get all dressed up for the awards event, because, as you may or may not remember, Chasing Brooklyn is a Rita finalist in the YA category. Look at the great company I'm in:

From the Romance Writers of America. Source: YA Fresh.

It's gonna be fun!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Answering the question: where's the best place to buy your book?

Sometimes people ask me this question, so today, I'm answering it!

Now there is a part of me, a big part of me, that simply wants to say - you want to buy my book? You do? For REAL!? SERIOUSLY!?!? OH MY GOSH, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, that is so awesome, just buy it anywhere, it doesn't really matter.

But, if I'm being honest, it does matter a tiny bit. What they mean, I think, is - I want to support you in the best way possible. How do I do that?

So today, I'm going to tell you. And while I'm at it, I'll try to shed light on some things the average Joe Reader may not know about authors and publishing and book sales.

My first preference would be for you to walk or drive down to your local independent book store and buy my book there. A few examples of well-known independent book stores: Powell's in Portland, OR, Books of Wonder in New York City, Vroman's in Pasadena, or Books, Inc in San Francisco. Independent book stores are lovely things. Authors do not want them to go away. But we must support them, that is BUY BOOKS FROM THEM, if they're going to be able to stay in business.

Now, you might say, "But Lisa, I walked down to my local indie store, and they didn't have your book. How can I buy it if it's not there?"

I know this can be frustrating. I do!! But if you think about how many books there are and the amount of shelf space these days, it's not surprising that you may not be able to find every single book you want on the shelves. But here is the great thing - independent book stores WANT to serve you! They want to help you, so you'll come back again and again. So please - ASK someone to order the book for you!

This not only helps the book store, but it really, REALLY helps the author too. Because usually, if they're ordering one book, they'll think, well, maybe I should order a couple of more to put on the shelves. Do you get this? No? Okay, let me explain it to you.

Because of YOU, my books are now in a book store where they didn't use to be. THIS IS VERY GOOD! Because hopefully someone will be strolling along, looking for a good book, pick mine up, read the flap copy and buy it! If the book isn't on the shelf, it's impossible for that to happen.

Some of you are rolling your eyes about now, thinking, yeah, well, I'm not as lucky as those people in Portland or NYC or Pasadena - there is no independent bookstore near me. At all. So go suck on a pickle, Lisa, because you're rubbing it in my face I don't have a great book store like that.

Oh... sorry!! Come visit me and I'll take you to Powell's! :)

If you have a chain store near you (Barnes and Noble or Chapters or Books-A-Million), PLEASE go there and pick up the book. I love the chain stores too - they have been very good to me and my books! Sometimes it's more convenient for me to go to a chain store, and so I do buy from them as well. Spreading the love around is a great thing to do if you are lucky, like I am, and have lots of book stores near you. And again, if they don't have the book in stock you're looking for, please ask someone to order it for you, for all of the reasons above.

Another thing you may not know - sales in book stores are tracked very closely by an author's publisher. They want to know how many copies were sold the first week it was out. The first month it was out. The first three months. And six. And twelve. You get the picture.

These numbers come into play the next time we've written a book and want to try and sell it to our publisher. Sometimes, these numbers MAKE OR BREAK an author's career.

They also come into play when the New York Times is determining which books "hit the list." Now, it's a bit of a mystery how any of that works and what's necessary sales-wise any given week for a book to make the list. But I can tell you that sales from book stores the first week a book is out in the world are VERY IMPORTANT for this reason. If you love an author with all of your heart, the very best thing you can do is go out and buy the new book from a book store the week it is released. That right there is awesomesauce for an author. And if I could, I'd send every one of you cupcakes for doing that when one of my books is released.

I know some of you are thinking, but the landscape is changing. More and more people are downloading what they read. Believe me, I get it! And publishers should probably start paying more attention and putting more weight in digital sales. But for now, print sales from brick and mortar stores still matter the most as far as I can tell.

You've probably figured out by now - Amazon would be my last choice. But sometimes, I know the discount Amazon offers up is the reason people are buying books at all. If the choice is - buy my books from Amazon or don't buy them at all, guess what? I want you to buy books and support authors as much as possible! (Note: Another thing you can do is request that your library order a copy. Most libraries have a process in place to request titles to be ordered. Just ask one of the librarians next time you're in how to do that).

I do know more and more people have e-readers and they're just not going to buy regular books anymore. If that's you, then great - download the book and enjoy!! I thank you for that purchase as well, because I know you have thousands of e-books at your finger tips to choose from.

Sorry, this post got long, but hopefully it sheds light on why authors prefer you buy from book stores and why we love you a whole whole lot when you make that purchase the first week a book is out. For most of us, the NYT is a pie-in-the-sky dream, but your support the first week does make a difference for authors with a big push from their publishers and good distribution.

For other ways you can support authors, please check out this post I wrote a couple of years ago called Supporting Authors When Your Heart is Bigger Than Your Wallet.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Celebrating A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL with Random Acts of Kindness

Today is the release date of Suzanne Young's gorgeous YA novel, A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL. I've read this book and it's amazing.

To help celebrate the release, I'm participating in a special event around the blogosphere where a bunch of us are sharing how someone's act of kindness or self-sacrifice has changed our lives.

One thing I know about Suzanne - she loved her grandma. And I'm sure on special days like this one, she wishes her grandma was here to be a part of the celebration. I know, however, her grandma is looking down and smiling, so proud of all that Suzanne has accomplished.

So today, in honor of my friend Suzanne and her lovely book, I'm going to talk about my grandma Ellamae, one of the kindest people I've ever known. Like Suzanne, my grandma helped shape the person I am today.

My grandma was down-to-earth, practical, and showed love to the people close to her in small but meaningful ways. They didn't have a lot of money. At Christmas time, I usually got a little gift of some kind along with a jar of her homemade strawberry jam. When I was a teen, I probably didn't think much of that strawberry jam. But oh how I miss it now.

However, there is one thing my grandma gave me over and over again that meant more to me than anything. Her time.

She took me camping, fishing, skiing, and hiking. In the summer, we'd go strawberry picking and bike riding where we'd pick up cans along the side of the road.

When I was about ten, she told me she wanted to take me on a hike around Silver Creek Falls. It was something like a 12-mile hike, that would take just about all day. I was a surprised that she thought I could do it. And I think I worried about whether I could do it. But she never doubted for a second whether or not I could do it, and she was SO excited about it.

It was a wonderful day. We had such a great time. I can still remember moments on that hike, walking along with her on the beautiful trail. She taught me this saying then, that I still remember today. "When you're out in nature, taking nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints."

When I went away to college and for years after, when I didn't see her as much, she continued to be a part of my life by writing me letters. Let me tell you, my grandma loved her typewriter. She spent hours at her typewriter, writing letters to the editor of the newspaper and letters to people in congress about issues that mattered to her. And she wrote letters to keep in touch with people she cared about. In college, she was so faithful in  her letter writing to me, and it meant the world to me. She remembered what it was like to be away at college. And in fact, recently, my mom found a box of letters she had saved between her and her parents during her college years. Those letters are so fun to read!

My grandma's kindness to me throughout the years made a difference in my life more than words can even describe. And here's my takeaway that we can all remember - the most important thing we can give to the people we care about is our TIME. Children, especially, want and I'd argue *need* that time with people they love. So as summer time stretches out before us, make the most of it. Go on a hike with your family. Or a bike ride. Or go fishing - a funny hat like my grandma liked to wear is optional. :)

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my grandma and the kindness she gave to me throughout my life. Here's a list of people celebrating the release and some of the prizes you can win:

First 3 chapter critique (Jessica at Confessions of a Bookaholic: http://www.totalbookaholic.com/)
YA Lit Swag Bag (Sara at Novel Novice: www.novelnovice.com)
Hourglass Order from TBD – Int (Corrine at Lost for Words: http://lostforwords-corrine.blogspot.com)
Random Books (Jessi at The Elliott Review: http://elliottreview.blogspot.com)
2 Header/Button Packs (Jessica at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile: http://www.hopelessbibliophile.com/)
First 3 chapters Critique (Cindy at Books Complete Me: http://www.bookscompleteme.com/)
First 15 pages Critique (Kari at A Good Addiction: http://agoodaddiction.blogspot.com/)
Signed ARC of Hereafter (Kari at A Good Addiction: http://agoodaddiction.blogspot.com/)
Query Letter Critique (Shannon Messenger: http://ramblingsofawannabescribe.blogspot.com/)
Signed copy of Invincible Summer – US/Can (Hannah Moskowitz: hannahmosk.blogspot.com)
First Chapter Critique and a Skype Chat (Keri Mikulski: http://kerimikulski.com/books/pay-it-forward-the-author-edition/)
Signed copy of Tell Me a Secret with signed TMAS art print - US (Holly Cupala: http://www.hollycupala.com/search/label/blog)
Signed copy of Chasing Brooklyn – US (Lisa Schroeder: www.lisaschroederbooks.com)
The Pledge Swag Pack including ARC (Kimberly Derting: http://kimberlyderting.blogspot.com/)
Daisy Whitney's Blog: http://daisywhitney.com/blog/

How can you enter to win?

Click on this FORM LINK which will take you to a form to fill out. This link is the same no matter what blog you click from. Multiple entries will be deleted, so PLEASE make sure you have ALL of your entries/links before you enter.

There will be 1 winner per item, and then three people will also be chosen to win a signed copy of ANsB in addition to their other prize. The signed ANsB copies will be US only. 

Earn one extra entry for each of the following:
Take a picture of an author's book in the wild and tweet it to us and the author
Post a positive Amazon review for a book you loved
Donate a book to a library or classroom
Tweet a good deed you plan to do this week, using the #ANeedSoBeautiful hashtag
Earn 10 extra entries for each of the following:
Take a picture of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL in the wild and tweet it to us and Suzanne Young
Post an Amazon review for A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL
Donate a copy of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL to a library or classroom

Happy release day, Suzanne!! I love you and I'm so glad you are my friend!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A special interview in which my secret creative space is revealed!

Wait. That makes it sound like I sneak away to work in some special little place deep in the woods where rabbits bring me tea and squirrels bring me cookies.

Oooh, wouldn't that be lovely?

So, it's  not really a secret. I mean, I do most of my writing in my house. In my office. Big whoop.

BUT how often do you get to peek inside a writer's creative space and see where the magic, or mayham, or more often than not, madness, happens?

Jennifer Bertman, who has a lovely blog where she shares glimpses into people's creative spaces, interviewed me and it's there you can see what my office looks like. She also asked me about three special things in my office, so pictures of those are there as well.

You can check it out HERE.

If you write in the woods with squirrels and rabbits, I want you to know I'm jealous. Very, very jealous.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday - a successful shopping trip

Yesterday, I took the day off from revisions and went to the mall.

The RWA Rita awards in NYC are just two weeks away, and in case you didn't hear the news, CHASING BROOKLYN is a finalist in the YA category. And apparently the Rita awards ceremony is a BIG deal and everyone really dresses to the nines!

I had bought a purple dress that was pretty but every time I tried it on, I thought - I will not be comfortable in this. It had little beads sewn all over it and I knew one wrong move and I'd have beads all over the floor.

I scoured the racks yesterday and luckily, I found a much simpler dress in the same color, which is good because I already had shoes, a bag, a wrap, etc. Plus, I saved $75.00! SCORE!!

I am so excited about my trip to New York City, I can hardly stand it. And remember, if you're in the area, I'll be signing books at Books of Wonder on Thursday, June 30th at 6:00 PM with three other YA authors. YAY!! I'd love it if you'd come and see me!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Look what I found...

This weekend, my husband and I went for a walk while the sun decided to grace us with its presence. We were walking pretty briskly, as I like to do, so imagine my surprise when I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a four-leaf clover. I stopped, reached down to check, and sure enough, it was.

And sitting right next to it was another one and right next to THAT one was a five-leaf clover!!!

Does this mean I'm due for some good luck three times over? Wheeeee, I hope so, especially if it relates to this $*%& revision I've been working on that is about to do me in!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Look - my book!

My editor sent me a copy of THE DAY BEFORE today, hot off the presses! On my wrist is a bottle of glitter, which she tied around the book with a pretty, green ribbon. Why glitter? Well, yes, everything is better with glitter. But there's an even better reason. One you have to find out by reading the book. :)

Only a little over two weeks until it's in bookstores. Eep!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Three. More. Weeks! And NYC book signing!

Just three more weeks until THE DAY BEFORE hits stores!


Some tweets I've accidentally seen tell me some early readers love it. And some, not so much. But that's just the way the pages fall. Ha! I'm trying to avoid reviews right now - lots of bloggers have been reading it, and while I'm working on this huge, difficult revision, I have to stay as strong and as confident as I can.

It is not a secret - my books are different. They just are. I'm not going to apologize for that or feel badly that some people won't like them or get them because they are different. There is a lot on the shelves right now that is similar. Sometimes a change of pace is nice, right?

Man, I hope so.

My friend, Shannon Messenger, who is all kinds of awesome, helped me with a book trailer, so watch for that to be revealed on release day - June 28th!

The most exciting news to share with you today - I'm doing a book signing at Books of Wonder! This is a DREAM COME TRUE! In case you don't know, Books of Wonder is this awesome children's book store in New York City I've always wanted to visit and now I don't get to just visit, I get to be an author reading from my book and signing too! To make it even more fun, my friend, Kimberly Derting is doing it with me, signing copies of her books THE BODY FINDER and DESIRES OF THE DEAD.

If you are in the New York City area, please come and see us! We'll be there Thursday, June 30th at 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My first Booklist review

When the e-mail from my editor landed in my inbox yesterday, I couldn't open it for a minute. Even though I'd heard Booklist doesn't give bad reviews, they only review books they like, I was scared.

Maybe I'm alone in this, but my writerly confidence goes up and down like a roller coaster. Some days it's fine and I feel okay, and some days, not so much. I've been in a lower place these past couple of weeks for some reason. Mostly I try really hard to just keep my head down, ignore it, and put that anxious energy into my work. After all, this is my job now. I need to write whether I am feeling good about my writing and my career or not. Yes, easier said than done some days.

Anyway, I eventually opened the e-mail. And it made me smile. Booklist has never reviewed me before, so it was especially sweet for that reason. Here it is:

Issue: June 1, 2011
The Day Before

Schroeder is the author of several teen books, including I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME (2009), an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers. Reluctant or not, readers will find plenty of appeal factors in this outing. The basic frame is a sort of noir Ferris Bueller's Day Off, in which two teens decide to spend a perfect day together before their respective fates claim them." (Spoilers omitted) "Cade, meanwhile, is handsome and brooding -- and his particular crisis delivers a punch at the novel's end. Schroeder has Amber narrate through free verse, the kind of jottings that might appeal to teens used to texting. This device gives Amber's revelations an immediacy and economy that add up to a surprising amount of tension. Fans of Lisa McMann's Wake series should gobble this up." -- Connie Fletcher

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WINNER of THE DAY BEFORE ARC and other goodies

I am laughing at myself. And you guys!!!

I have no idea why I said - please leave a nice comment for the contest entry.

Why did I include the word "nice?" I have NO idea. But it cracked me up to read some of the entries, because I could tell some people were like - is this a nice enough comment? How nice to I have to be? Do I have to be ALL KISSY-KISSY I LOVE YOU nice?

Oh. My. Gosh. It just cracked me up.

I'm sorry you guys! I really didn't mean anything by it. I meant - just comment. I promise! Please don't think that I was implying you guys *aren't* nice. Okay? Please?

*big sigh after lots of laughter*

That was fun, huh?

Sorry I'm posting this late but HOLY BLOG HOP you guys, over 150 entries, with more than half of those also tweeting about it for an extra entry!? That is INSANE!! It took a while to compile all of the entries and throw them into the random number generator.

I wish I could give all of you a prize! But, if you're interested in reading THE DAY BEFORE it goes on sale June 28, 2011! It's a great beach read, if I do say so myself. :)

Okay, the winner is LIBRARY LADY! Yay, congratulations! I hope you enjoy your jelly beans and CD, and the book, of course. I'll send you an e-mail and get all of your contact information.

Thanks you guys!