Welcome Home: Published Today, And a Massive Thank You

out now

So Welcome Home is out today.

Gearing up for the launch of this book has been a wild ride. The book almost didn’t happen, and then Flux swept in to save the day. The signings at ALA and BEA, and the panels… I’ve just been beside myself with the turn out. And the reviews have leaving me awestruck. From School Library Journal to Children’s Literature to VOYA, I’m blown away.

“Authors across a variety of genres share stories that range from the fantastical to gritty, but all will touch readers hearts (and cause a few to shed some tears).” – School Library Journal

“This volume earns a place in every YA library and it is up to YA librarians to put it into the hands of teens who need it most.” – VOYA

Just, thank you thank you thank you.

I’ll be hitting the road for a little bit next month, visiting Philadelphia, Jersey City, Nashville, and Orlando to promote the book. I’ll be reading at bookstores and talking at youth centers with a bunch of the contributors in the anthology, and you can check out the dates and stops here.

To all of you who have pre-ordered, signal-boosted, shared, reviewed, and/or talked about this little book, thank you so much. Note that, if you pick up the book today, let me know. I’ve still got a few signed postcards and swag I would be more than happy to send your way.

And speaking of thank yous.

When my editor asked me if I wanted to add an acknowledgements page for Welcome Home, I reluctantly said no. Because really, this isn’t my book. I’ve said that again and again. While I’m lucky enough to have curated this collection, it belongs to everyone inside it.

But, if it was to have a thank you page in the back, specifically just from me? This is what it would say.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

To the lovely people at Flux, especially McKelle George, Mari Kesselring, Megan Naidl, Sam Temple, and Joe Riley, who worked so tirelessly to make this book happen. Thanks for taking a chance on this project. Wrangling up contracts and edits for nearly 30 authors, and organizing signings and panels with a dozen of us at conventions.. it all felt like such an impossible thing, and you all did it.

To my rockstar agent Dawn Frederick, who listens to every rambling idea I have, and told me to get to work on this book when I brought it up on a long drive together to a writers conference… you’re fantastic and unstoppable.

When the world felt like it was crashing down, to all the publishing people, agents, editors, and authors who reached out… it meant more than you know.

To my darling wife Nena who keeps pushing me to write about topics that are deeply personal and close to me. I wouldn’t have tried if you hadn’t have pushed. You’re a force behind-the-scenes, and I will keep making sure everyone knows it.

To the incredible contributors who published their short stories in this collection: Adi Alsaid, Randy Ribay, Nic Stone, Dave Connis, Helene Dunbar, Libby Cudmore, Lauren Gibaldi, Matthew Quinn Martin, Mindy McGinnis, Sammy Nickalls, Shannon M. Parker, Karen Akins, Erica M. Chapman, Julie Eshbaugh, Shannon Gibney, Jenny Kaczorowski, Julie Leung, Sangu Mandanna, Lauren Morrill, Tameka Mullins, C.J. Redwine, William Ritter, Courtney C. Stevens, Kate Watson, Stephanie Scott, Natasha Sinel, and Tristina Wright.

This book only exists because of your words. So to you, the biggest thank you. I can’t wait to see what good this book can do, and to keep sharing every moment with you, even if you are tired of my massive email updates. They aren’t going to stop. Sorry not sorry.

To the number of authors who helped point me in the right direction while putting this collection together. To Becky Albertalli, Nova Ren Suma, Gayle Forman, Justina Ireland, Beth Revis, I.W. Gregorio, Sona Charaipotra, Kim Liggett, E.C. Myers, and Dahlia Adler… all of whom sent a number of writers my way, and made suggestions about who I should reach out to. You helped so very much. If I’m forgetting someone in here, I’m sorry. I sent out what felt like hundreds of supremely awkward emails.

To Ashley Poston, for designing postcards and swag for me again and again. Please pre-order her books and hire her for things.

To Zoraida Cordova and Adi Alsaid (again) for that week in Mexico, where I edited a lot of the stories in this book. You’re both an inspiration.

To Jeff Zentner, David Arnold, and Brenda Drake, for the kind words on the back of the book. My goodness. I have no words for your words.

And to my Mom and Dad, for giving me a story to tell in the first place.

And to my sister. I see you. This book is for kids like you. Like us.

WELCOME HOME Pre-order Giveaway: Open Internationally!

preorder banner wh

Oh my goodness! Welcome Home is almost here!

It’s been a really lovely ride so far, and a huge thank you goes out to the team at Flux and all the wonderful contributors who have been pushing this little book out there. The anthology was recently featured by Bustle and Barnes & Noble in some lovely lists, and the reviews coming in from places like Kirkus, School Library Journal, and VOYA have totally warmed my heart.

“Authors across a variety of genres share stories that range from the fantastical to gritty, but all will touch readers hearts (and cause a few to shed some tears).” – School Library Journal

“This volume earns a place in every YA library and it is up to YA librarians to put it into the hands of teens who need it most.” – VOYA

To celebrate the upcoming release, I’ve put together a little pre-order campaign to get some swag, including some limited SIGNED swag, into your hands. And yes, it’s all international, because mailing paper and postcards is something I can totally do. I learned my lesson (glares at the necklaces I made for Inked).

So! Here we go! Swag, all artfully photographed on pieces of my furniture.

THE FIRST ONE-HUNDRED

It’s not too wild to hope for 100 pre-orders, is it? Cause that’s what I’m shooting for here. A boy can dream, you guys.

The first 100 pre-order-ers will get a bundle of signed postcards, autographed by Young Adult rockstars Adi Alsaid, Courtney C. Stevens, Dave Connis, Kate Watson, and Shannon M. Parker. These beauties were designed by author and artist Ashley Poston.

postcard set

They are currently on their way to the respective authors to be signed and mailed back.  You’ll also get a signed bookmark (seen below) from me!

I’ll keep this option up as long as it’s available, so if you see it here… guess what! I’ve still got signed sets to send.

EVERYONE

If we miraculously break that one-hundred number, don’t worry! I’ve still got prizes to send out.

After those one-hundred signed postcard bundles are gone, everyone after that will receive one unsigned card of their choosing as well as a signed bookmark, pictured below.

signed bookmarks

Look how FUNCTIONAL that bookmark is! My goodness. The ottoman that these bookmarks were photographed on will not be included, sorry.

Now! How do you dish that you pre-ordered?

LET ME KNOW

Let me know you pre-ordered by sending your proof right to me! I’m at ericsmithrocks at gmail dot com. Forwarding a receipt or a photo of your pre-order at a favorite local bookstore is just fine. You can order WELCOME HOME wherever books are sold, and here are a few links for you:

And that’s it!

Your Story is Welcome, An Adoption Short Story Microsite

story banner

A big part of why I wanted Welcome Home to happen was the lack of adoption stories floating around for kids. I wanted teenagers to see themselves in the stories they’re reading. In all ways. Happy stories, sad stories, stories that’ll make them angry.

And I also wanted to encourage them to tell stories themselves.

So, as a part of Welcome Home, I’m launching Your Story Is Welcome.

What is it?

So, Your Story Is Welcome is a microsite tied into the book. And yes. I know. I did book marketing for years. I know microsites for books are generally a bad idea. But this isn’t just about the book.

It’s about the kids the book is written for.

Here, I’m encouraging young writers and guest authors to pen their own adoption-centered short stories, and send them on over to be published on the website.

How Will it Work?

Writers can send over their short stories, and if the story is accepted (I can’t take everything!), I’ll commission a piece of artwork for the story. I’ll also be tapping guest editors for each short. You might get an editor at a big publishing house, you might get an author you love, you might get a literary agent. It’ll be a fun surprise.

I have some wonderful volunteers lined up and ready to play along, including Adi Alsaid, Sangu Mandanna, Nic Stone, and Dave Connis. Want to be a guest editor? Let me know.

The stories will be published on the microsite, and hopefully, they’ll get shared around a bit due to the joys of Tumblr. If you’re wondering who owns the story after it’s published on the website… the answer is you. Do whatever you want with the story after. Please. I don’t want the rights to anything.

Guidelines & How to Submit

Short stories should be around 2,000 words or less, and centered around adoption. They can be entirely fictional or based on personal experience. You can send your story in right to me at ericsmithrocks at gmail dot com, and tell me a little about yourself. Simple as that. You’ll hear back pretty quickly.

Are you a teacher, foster parent, librarian, adoptive parent, youth center worker, etc. who knows someone that might want to participate? Do you want some flyers and postcards to share? Please email me (ericsmithrocks at gmail dot com) with your address, and I will send you a bundle of free postcards in the mail to giveaway to students and colleagues.

The postcards are lovely with gorgeous quotes on the front, and the flyers are short one-sheets that will explain how to send in a story. Thanks to Ashley Poston for designing these. Please buy all her books, past and future.

How to Download Flyers & Postcards

You can download the flyer here, and save the images from the postcards below, if you just want to print them out yourself to hang around or pass out. That’s fine too, of course!

Note, that these files are BIG, so these are going to load up pretty giant on your screen when you open them.

Questions?

I’m here to answer them. Email away. Thank you! Read more

Deals: Brave Enough by Kati Gardner Acquired by Flux

kati and flux

I’m so happy this day is finally here.

When Kati Gardner pitched me her novel, I inhaled it immediately. After I turned off my iPad and stopped crying, I was moved to take on Kati as an author and represent her work not just because her novel was a stirring contemporary read, but because I think it’s important for someone like Kati to be able to tell a story like this one.

Kati’s debut, BRAVE ENOUGH, is about a teen ballerina who loses a leg to cancer… and Kati herself is an amputee and a cancer survivor. The world is full of books with characters living with disabilities and disease, written by people who have never experienced the truth of their fiction.

That needs to change.

Kati’s done sensitivity reading for a number of writers over the past year or so, and at now she gets to tell her own story.

I’m thrilled to say that BRAVE ENOUGH will be published by Flux in the Spring of 2018.

In BRAVE ENOUGH, readers meet Cason, a ballerina pushing herself to the limit, with the opportunity of a lifetime on the line… a scholarship and the chance to join one of the most prestigious ballet troupes in the country. And then there’s Davis, a recovering drug addict, volunteering in his old oncology unit, with the same people who saved him from the cancer that drove him to drugs three years ago.

The two of them collide when Cason is hospitalized, setting them on a path of physical and emotional recovery, as they navigate their new relationship and get ready to attend cancer camp together.

It reads like a mashup of Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, Bunheads by Sophie Flack, Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and I can’t wait for you to read it. 

Here’s the blip from Publisher’s Weekly Children’s Bookshelf:

bookshelf blip

Be sure to send Kati all the congrats on Twitter, and wish her and her editor (hi McKelle!) well.

Kati, I’m so proud of you and everything you’ve accomplished. It has been such an honor getting this book out there, and I can’t wait for whatever you do next.

The Girl and the Grove: New Title & Pub Date!

belmont

Remember that little book I announced last month? The Dryad of Fairmount Park?

It has a publication date and a new title.

THE GIRL AND THE GROVE will be out with Flux on May 8th, 2018!

Me and the team at Flux all agreed that the original title didn’t quite sound Young Adult, and the story isn’t entirely about the magic. It’s more about the character’s journey as she wrestles with identity. So I really love this new title. Thank you to Flux’s Mari Kesselring and Megan Naidl and my agent Dawn for the brainstorming session. I’m so happy with the result.

It’s a solid year away, but for now, you can add it to your Goodreads here (thanks Shveta!).