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27 posts categorized "MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND"

March 09, 2012

Gratitude Journal: This guy

I don’t think anyone should spend the exorbitant shipping costs to have my new book, MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND, sent from the UK or Australia to the US.

The book is coming out in America in August. That’s only six months away. 

Besides, the UK version of the book is slightly different than the United States edition. Language was changed to better suit slight differences in British vocabulary.

Not many changes, but some.

So just wait, my American friends. While I am honored and humbled by your anxious support, the book will be in a store near you soon enough.

Or you can preorder it from any retailer that sells books. Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or best of all, go to IndieBound and preorder from your local, independent bookstore. Preorders are great for authors.

Publishers love those sales already in the bank.

So when an American reader who I only know through social media is excited enough to order the book from the UK and have it shipped to his home in the United States despite the expense, I think that’s pretty special. 

And when that reader photographs his newly-arrived book, still resting on its bed of bubble wrap, and sends the image to me, I think that’s pretty amazing.

That’s what I’m grateful for tonight:

Readers who go out of their way to support authors and make them feel exceptionally fortunate to have them on their side.  

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March 08, 2012

My book has gone abroad

It’s difficult to launch a book internationally while sitting at home, thousands of miles away, waiting until August for your book to publish here in the US.

The reviews of the book have thus far been amazing, and I am thrilled by all the reader response I am already receiving, but I also feel so disconnected from my book and the places it has gone.

At the same time, I cannot express the joy in knowing that a story I made up in my head, filled with characters who I love,  is now sitting on bookshelves halfway around the world in places I have never been. Apparently aware of this, the booksellers of the UK, Australia and New Zealand have been kind enough to offer me a peek into the their stores with photos of MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND on their shelves.

It makes me want to hop on a plane and fly overseas immediately, just to drop by these fabulous bookshops and meet some of these generous booksellers. 

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March 01, 2012

International pub day for MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND!

It’s pub day for MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND in places well outside my immediate reach: The UK, Australia and New Zealand.

While it’s a thrilling day for me, it’s also a little sad that my wife and I can’t stop by every bookstore in the area, looking for my book, posing with my book, and signing my book, as we did on the days that my two previous novels were published.  

That will have to wait until August, when the book publishes in the US. I cannot wait. 

But still, this pub day is not without its fun and excitement.

A bookstore in Australia tweeted me last night to tell me that they had just sold their first copy of the book.

Reviews have been coming in and are thus far better than I could have ever imagined.

Best of all, the the lovely ladies at the Australian and New Zealand bookseller Dymocks Adelaide sent me this photo, perhaps knowing how much I wish I could pop into their store and see the book on the shelves for myself.

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February 27, 2012

Gratitude journal: Time zones (I know. Weird, huh?)

Tonight I am grateful to time zones, which are usually a pain in the ass but have been a blessing to me as MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND begins publishing around the world.

Thanks to time zones, I can spend my early morning hours before work speaking to my editor and publicist in the UK and my evening hours answering questions on Australian radio.

I can spend the late afternoon exchanging emails with SEO experts in Uzbekistan and still have time to chat with my agent, who is on the west coast and is therefore still working even after I have finished dinner.

If everyone was operating on the same schedule, I don’t know how I’d ever get anything done. Time zones manage to spread my work throughout the day and night, which means I never really stop working, but it also means I can at least get the work done.

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February 22, 2012

It’s here!

Fresh from the other side of the pond!

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February 07, 2012

A potentially great day ruined by you-know-what

Today was a potentially great day for me.  

To start, Cosmopolitan UK named my next book, MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND, #1 on their Best Books for February 2012 list  and offered a glowing review.

The cover of the book also appeared publicly for the first time, and it’s one that I love. In fact, I have seen a sneak peek of the US cover as well and am blessed with a bounty of great art for both sides of the pond.

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The actual UK cover will feature a quote from the very generous, internationally bestselling author Jodi Picoult.  Ms. Picoult offered me the best blurb of my life in regards to the book.  It reads:

A novel as creative, brave, and pitch-perfectas its narrator, an imaginary friend named Budo, who reminds us that bravery comes in the most unlikely forms. It has been a long time since I read a book that has captured me so completely, and has wowed me with its unique vision. You've never read a book like this before. As Budo himself might say: Believe me.

A pretty good start to the day. Right?

During the school day, I managed to earn my students’ respect in a realm rarely achieved by an elementary school teacher:

Music 

A truly outstanding a cappella group performed at our school this afternoon, singing a number of Motown hits by Michael Jackson, KC and the Sunshine Band and others. The kids loved this music, which I thought was odd since they normally make fun of me for liking “old music” like The Beatles, Van Morrison and Springsteen. 

When I questioned them about this after the performance, they explained that Michael Jackson, The Who, Neil Diamond and others are not considered old in their minds (a few admitted that The Beatles were probably acceptable as well).  When I showed them that I have 38 Michael Jackson songs on my phone, they gained an immediate, albeit grudging, respect for my taste in music. 

I went on to show them the 67 Neil Diamond songs, the three full albums by The Who, and the handful of songs by new artists like Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and Lady Gaga that currently reside on my phone. 

They left school feeling like I possessed a modicum of coolness, which in the land of ten-year olds is quite an achievement for any adult. 

At dinner, I told my daughter that I loved her, and with a piece of bread still stuffed in her mouth, she said, “I love you so much, too, Daddy.”

Clara has said that she loves me many times before, but something about her earnestness and sincerity nearly brought me to tears.

It was as if she really understood what the words meant for the first time.   

Later, I felt our baby kick inside my wife’s belly for the first time.  Actually, I felt it kick several times. It was jumping around so much that it nearly made Elysha sick.

I still remember the first time I felt Clara kick, and this was just as exciting. 

An unforgettable moment, both then and now.

But the Patriots lost the Super Bowl on Sunday night, and in horrific fashion, so all this good news was wasted on me.  There was no way in hell that I was going to feel at all good just 24 hours after a loss like that, regardless of what happened during the day.

Nice try, universe, but I don’t think so. 

January 30, 2012

Gratitude journal: Many hands thrust Budo and his friends into the light

Tonight I am grateful for the many, many people around the world who are working hard to put my next book, MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND, into readers’ hands.  

Today I exchanged emails with my Spanish translator, who wanted to better understand the intricacies of, among other things, bathroom bowling (the act in which you hold someone’s head in a toilet while flushing it).  Her attention to detail and desire to get the translation right is greatly appreciated. 

And from Australia comes this amusing tee-shirt design, which is planned along with a similar postcard campaign, as part of the launch of my book Down Under.

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So many smart, creative and clever working on behalf of me and my characters leaves me feeling but humbled and incredibly fortunate this evening.

November 20, 2011

MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND: Foreign news

Two exciting pieces of foreign news related to my upcoming MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND:

1.  The UK audio rights to the book have been purchased by WF Howes, an audio and large print publisher based in Leicestershire, England.  Since the story is told in the first person, this means that Budo (my protagonist) will presumably be speaking with a British accent.

I cannot wait to hear this. 

2.  My Italian publisher has hired the translator of JK Rowling’s HARRY POTTER novels to translate MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND.  

In the words of my agent:

“This is a pretty big deal. Unlike the in the US, translators’ names hold weight in Europe, so this adds a recognition factor to your book.  Plus the translator is supposedly one of the BEST!”

Unless I learn Italian, I’ll never be able to judge the quality of the translation, but it’s wonderful to hear that my book will be in the company of Rowling’s masterpiece.

At least in Italy.

In translation.

On an unrelated note, my second novel, UNEXPECTEDLY, MILO took another baby step this week on its journey to film adaptation. 

Nothing is even close to definite yet, but the chances of seeing Milo on the big screen became slightly more probable this week.   

Good things apparently come in threes. 

July 18, 2011

Unequal footing and a first peek into St. Martin’s Press

Prior to performing at The Moth last Tuesday, I stopped by at the beautiful Flatiron Building for a meeting with my editor, her assistant and the social media director for St. Martin’s.

It’s always slightly surreal to meet someone who knows me through Twitter and my blog but who I do not know at all.  Paul, the social media director, had clearly spent a good amount of time reading my blog, my Twitter stream and my Facebook fan page in preparation for our meeting, and so there was an immediate imbalance in our relationship as I sat down at the table. 

I was meeting him for the first time, for example, yet he already knew how I might feel about his watch

“Hi, I’m Paul,” he said.  “And my watch cost 80 bucks.”

Last week I met with a DJ client in my home, and the bride-to-be told me that she already felt familiar with the layout of my house based upon her faithful reading of my blog.

Again, a slightly surreal imbalance of the relationship.

Last week, my wife had lunch with a friend who reads my blog, and she told Elysha that because she reads it so regularly, she feels that she knows me intimately.

Again, an imbalance.   

This is probably a good thing. I write my blog simply because I desire a venue to express my thoughts and ideas, and I use Twitter and Facebook for many reasons, but one is to connect to people.

Apparently all this is working.

One of my friends likes to say that I “live loud.”

Paul was exceedingly helpful in terms of social media.  He had a list of ideas to fine-tune my use of Twitter and Facebook, including the importance of remembering that my Twitter followers and Facebook fans are probably two distinct audiences with differing interests and needs, so I should be catering my posts more specifically to each one. 

Very true.

He also reassured me about my scattershot approach to my blog.  There are competing theories when it comes to blogging.  Some people believe that it’s important to find a niche and become an expert on a specific topic, and that this is the way to draw an audience.

Others (like me) use blogging to express thoughts and ideas and share aspects of my life with others, and I believe that as an author, this is the best use of blogging.  Rather than focusing my blog on subjects like writing or teaching only, I attempt to achieve broad appeal while giving readers and fans a peek into my life.

It is what I wish some of my favorite authors would do more often.

And Paul approves. 

Paul and my editor also suggested that I share more of the inner workings of the publishing process with my readers, since this is an area that many people are curious about and have no access. 

And since I have a new book coming out next year and am in the process of writing the next, and I am now with a new publisher, this is a good time to share the process with readers.  

Thus this post. 

As my next book, MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND, begins its way through the publishing process, I’ll be sure to share as much of the process with you as possible, and if there are any questions that you might have about the publishing industry in general, please let me know!

A couple other random thoughts from my afternoon at St. Martin’s included:

  • I discovered that it is exceedingly easy to read the body language of my editor, Brenda Copeland.  Also, if slightly pressured, she is willing to be photographed wearing a red cowboy hat. 
  • I sometimes worry about the structural integrity of the Flatiron building based upon the sheer number of books contained therein.  Our meeting with Paul took place in a room that was wall-to-wall books, and I have yet to leave the building without new books under my arms. 
  • I want an assistant.  Brenda has an assistant named Laura, and I am jealous.  I forget that an assistant isn’t just someone to help you get things done.  It’s like having a second brain working for you. 
  • I like the look of my printed manuscript.  I never get to see it in actual page form unless is has a bunch of red marks all over it. It looks so nice, sitting on its shelf, so clean and presumably perfect.   

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May 26, 2011

Introducing Matthew Green.

My last name has caused me problems before.

And many, many more that I have yet to write about.

But despite the burden that a last name like Dicks has carried, I never imagined giving it up for a new name. 

It may not be pretty, but it’s my name.

I have never been able to understand or respect someone who changes their last name just for the sake of preference.  I’ve known a few of these people during my life, and each time, I have continued to use their original last name whenever possible. 

I can be a real jerk sometimes.   

But my last name hasn’t been all bad.  Thanks to Dicks, I learned at an early age that the best place to punch someone is between the eyes and never in the mouth.  The stomach is pretty good, too, but only if you know you can get a off a solid punch. 

I know lots and lots of people with beautiful last names who would be useless in a fight, so there is something to be said about a name like Dicks.

It toughens you up. 

I have two uncles named Harold and they both go by the name Harry Dicks.

My father’s name is Leslie, and he goes by Les Dicks.

And you have never met three tougher men.

I like to think I am following in their footsteps, even if my first name is slightly more palatable than theirs.   

But after forty years, it turns out that I will be changing my name after all.

We have sold the rights to my next book, MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND, to nine different countries so far, including the UK.  And one of the terms in the contract with my UK publisher, Little Brown UK, is that I change my last name for the British version of the book.

While Dicks might be an amusing name in the United States, it is apparently quite offensive in England. 

At first I was admittedly taken aback by the request.  I was annoyed, disappointed, and a little flummoxed.  While my previous two books had not been published in the UK, I knew that the US version of the book had made it across the pond and been read by many, many people there without any complaint.

So why the need for a change now?

After some research into the matter, it turns out that this is not an unusual request, and many authors from the US are asked to change their names for British publishers.  Randy, for example, is a first name that is changed quite often in the UK, and there are others.

The British are apparently a sensitive people when it comes to these kinds of things.   

Thankfully, my disappointment over the news was cushioned significantly by my introduction to a wonderful editor at Little Brown UK who will be working on my book, as well as a serious commitment from the publisher in regards to the novel and my future career. 

It would appear that they love everything about me except my last name. 

And so came the process of choosing a new last name.  My initial thoughts were names like Phallic or Shaft, and had I not already had great respect for my editor at Little Brown UK, I may have forwarded these choices with a glad heart. 

But instead, I decided to get serious and choose a more fitting name. 

And since I was able to choose anything, it was suggested by a fiend of mine in the publishing business that I opt for a name that would place my books on eye-level shelves in bookstores.

Apparently authors with last names beginning with W often change their name to improve their book shelf position. 

Ultimately I sent two names to my publisher and asked for them to choose what they preferred.

The names were Green and Mandeville.

Green is my wife’s maiden name, and Mandeville was my mother’s maiden name. 

Either choice would pay homage to someone I loved, and both seemed fitting.

The publisher chose Green almost immediately, liking the single syllable match with my real name, Dicks, as well as the simplicity of the name. 

Matthew Green.

And while my mother’s maiden name would have been nice, this choice made my wife quite happy, and I have always believed in the phrase:

Happy wife, happy life. 

And so after forty years of mild-to-moderate suffering with the last name Dicks, it has finally been changed, at least in one country, and on one book.

It’s a strange feeling, having a new name.

I can’t believe that women do this every time they get married.