The Emu's Debuts launch party for Be a Changemaker

Emu's Debuts bannerOne of the most rewarding experiences of being a debut author has been participating on the Emu’s Debuts group blog (for clients of Erin Murphy Literary Agency who are in between deal and publication). Last week, my fabulous friends and fellow Emus threw me THE BEST LAUNCH PARTY EVER to celebrate the upcoming release of BE A CHANGEMAKER! (They went a week early, since Lindsey Lane’s EVIDENCE OF THINGS UNSEEN is releasing at the same time. I’ll be helping them celebrate that launch next week!)
They were all so generous, authentic, and hard-working in bringing the daily posts to life (as they are with everything they do!), and I was thrilled anew every morning to see what they had put together. In case you missed them, please go check out their posts. They’re fun, informative, and inspiring!
Here’s the roundup:
On Monday, Lindsey Lane (with some backup support from Tara Dairman), posted Welcome to the World: BE A CHANGEMAKER by Laurie Ann Thompson!, which included stories of and interviews with five other Erin Murphy Literary Agency authors who are changing the world in their own meaningful ways:

Tuesday featured several videos compiled by Megan MorrisonBE A CHANGEMAKER: Words of Wisdom. The clips contain contributions from fellow Emu Debuts bloggers offering their own words of wisdom, sharing quotes that motivate and inspire them, and giving advice they wish they’d gotten at the beginning of their journey. Great stuff, and so personal! It’s a great way to get to know these wonderful people a little better.
For the Wednesday post, BE A CHANGEMAKER: Celebrating with Quotes!Jennifer Chambliss Bertman compiled and created a collection of gorgeous images featuring quotes that inspire and motivate the members of the Emu’s Debuts blog team. If you want to spice up your Facebook or Pinterest feeds (or your office walls!), there are some fantastic finds here. Plus, they included the explanations behind why the quotes are so meaningful for them, making them even more special.
For Thursday‘s post, Penny Parker Klostermann, gave readers a sneak preview of Be a Changemaker with excerpts of the first 25 pages as well as the event planning chapter. Her post, BE A CHANGEMAKER: A Tool for Change, gives a sense of how the book can be used as a tool by individuals, teams, and classrooms.
On FridayTamara Ellis Smith closed out the party with Music to Be A Changemaker By, an inspirational and motivating Spotify playlist of songs recommended by the Emu’s Debuts bloggers, along with the explanations of why they included them. Spanning genres and emotions, you’re sure to find something of interest here–I know I did!
I’m so grateful to the awesome authors at Emu’s Debuts! Thanks to them, the Be a Changemaker pre-launch week was better than I ever could have imagined. I’m looking forward to each and of every one of their debuts–coming soon!

Why write Be a Changemaker for teens?

To celebrate the United Nations’ International Youth Day, I wrote a guest blog for the Beyond Words blog explaining why I wrote Be a Changemaker specifically for young readers. Here’s an excerpt:

We know that young people have always been at the forefront of societal change. Adolescence is a time when people begin to question and critique the morals and standards of the society in which they are living. Teens and young adults start to appreciate the complexities of social problems and the tradeoffs that come with various solutions to those problems. In addition, young people are known for creating, adopting, and circulating the culture of their times, be it the peaceniks of the 60s or the hip-hop movement of today.

Modern youth, however, are more empowered than ever to shape the world as they see fit…

To read the whole thing, click here.

Goodreads giveaway for Be a Changemaker ARCs

Goodreads buttonGood news: There’s a giveaway going on right now on Goodreads for two ARCs (advance reader copies) of Be a Changemaker! This is a pleasant surprise, because a) I didn’t know there were any ARCs left, and b) the publisher set this up without me having to do anything (thank you, Simon & Schuster)!
If you’d like to try to win a copy for yourself, just click here. Hurry, though… the giveaway will close to entries on August 19th. Good luck!

It's the Be a Changemaker launch party!

BE A CHANGEMAKER cover

Please come celebrate the release of my first book:

BE A CHANGEMAKER cover

Sunday, September 14th, at 2 p.m.

Seattle Creative Arts Center
2601 NW Market St
Seattle, WA 98107
(Click here for directions and parking information.

Eat, drink, mingle, hear more about the book from the author, and—best of all—meet some local teens who are already changing the world!

I hope to see you there!

If you can’t make it and would still like a signed copy, you can order from Secret Garden Books here (please indicate how you’d like it personalized in the “other notes about your order” field and leave an extra week or two for delivery).

First reviews for BE A CHANGEMAKER

BE A CHANGEMAKER cover

BE A CHANGEMAKER coverI’ve had great feedback from friends all along (you know who you are–thank you!), but I’ve been anxiously awaiting that first third-party judgement of BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS. The first professional reviews feel huge to me, kind of “make or break” moments, where the tone gets set for all that may follow for that particular book. I doubt that’s actually true, as most reviewers probably pride themselves on boldly stating their own opinions no matter what others before them have said, but it sure feels that way me. If nothing else, you can always point back at those first positive reviews if subsequent reviews are less than favorable, right? So, you can imagine my huge sigh of relief when that first major professional review landed in my inbox, and it wasn’t completely dreadful!
For me, the first one to come in was from Kirkus, somewhat notorious for not pandering to authors’ fragile egos. I prepared myself for the worst and opened the email. If you’d like to read their full review, click here, but here’s an excerpt:

“Teens looking to make a difference will find inspiration as well as real-world strategies for realizing their dreams of being the change they want to see in the world…. Inspirational as well as practical.
Kirkus ReviewsKirkus header

That one was soon followed by a second positive review, from Compass Book Ratings. Their full review can be read here, but here are some quotes from it:

“Thorough, complete, organized, on-target–pick an adjective, because they all apply in this case….
A superb reference book that should be a staple of libraries, school counselors, and anyone who rubs shoulders with young people.”
Compass Book Ratings

I’m honestly grateful to anyone who takes the time to read and review the book, regardless of his or her opinion of it, but it is extremely encouraging to have great reviews like this under my belt moving forward. Thank you, Kirkus! Thank you, Compass Book Ratings!
 

On overnight success (Surprise! It’s a lot like failure.)

I posted over on the Emu’s Debuts blog yesterday about what makes an “overnight success.” If you missed it, here’s a little excerpt:

Both of last week’s posts here were about failure, or at least the constant perceived threat of failure that so often makes it hard for us to move forward. I’m going to continue the theme, but on a slightly different note. Our own Emu Empress, Erin MUrphy, once said something along the lines of, “For every success, there is a waiting period that feels like failure.” And in a post on this very blog almost three years ago, she followed that up with, “But it’s NOT! It’s just waiting!”
Roosevelt quote about failure and successWhen she wrote that post back in 2011, I’d only been with the agency for a few months. One year from now, I’ll have three books published. That doesn’t seem like very much waiting, especially to those familiar with the pace of the publishing industry. Many of my writer friends have walked up to me and said something to the effect of, “Wow, you’re on FIRE!” Some say things like, “I guess you’ve been busy lately!” Others ask, “So, what’s your secret?” as if I’m holding out on them. A few say, “Boy, did you get lucky!” never thinking that some authors might be a little bit offended by that. (I never am: Yes, indeed, I have gotten very, very lucky!)
So, in the interests of dispelling myths and keeping things real, I thought it might be helpful to break down my “overnight success:”

You can read the rest of that post here.

Meet Changemaker Edward Jiang, founder of StudentRND

Edward Jiang

This is the second post in the series introducing the amazing young people who are profiled in my upcoming book, BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS (Beyond Words/Simon Pulse, September 2014). Today I’m introducing Edward Jiang, founder of StudentRND, and giving some behind-the-scenes details about our in-person interview.

Edward Jiang
Edward Jiang

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Meet Changemaker Charles Orgbon III, founder of Greening Forward

Be a Changemaker cover

Today, I’m kicking off a series of blog posts that will introduce you to some of the amazing young people who are profiled in my upcoming book, BE A CHANGEMAKER: HOW TO START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS (Beyond Words/Simon Pulse, September 2014). Each of the 18 chapters in the book includes a short piece about how one or more young people changed the world and their experiences with the chapter topic, in particular. I was able to interview most of them in person, via Skype, by phone, or by email, and I have so much more great stuff about them than would fit in the book–sort of like out-takes, only better! I hope you’ll enjoy “meeting” them here and reading more about them and their work.

Charles Orgbon III
Charles Orgbon III

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Exciting BE A CHANGEMAKER book news!

BE A CHANGEMAKER manuscript

I’ve had some recent excitement! In case you missed it over at Emu’s Debuts today (where I blogged about the dueling feelings of elation and terror that come with it all), here’s a quick recap…

  • I finished the final author query round for BE A CHANGEMAKER:
BE A CHANGEMAKER manuscript
Not many tabs–yay!
  • I got permission to share the cover for BE A CHANGEMAKER:BE A CHANGEMAKER cover
  • Friend and fellow nonfiction author Mary Cronk Farrell told me she downloaded the advance reader copy of BE A CHANGEMAKER from NetGalley, which means people are already reading it!

Things just got a lot more real, folks, in the best possible ways. 🙂

2013: What a year!

EMLA Client Retreat group photo

I haven’t posted here for way too long, but 2013 turned out to be quite a year. I did manage to squeeze in a few posts over at Emu’s Debuts, so I thought I’d share them here as a sort of roundup (and to partially explain where I’ve been since the last post)…
In July, I had the amazing experience of attending my second Erin Murphy Literary Agency client retreat, this time in Big Sky Montana. Words can’t really describe how wonderful these retreats are, but I posted a bit about it here.

EMLA Client Retreat group photo
The whole EMLA retreat gang (except me!)

Aside from that trip, I spent the summer writing, researching, writing, interviewing, writing, revising, writing, revising, revising, and revising to deliver the final manuscript for BE A CHANGEMAKER. I wrote a bit about the process here.
A screen shot of the developmental edit
Tracked changes in the developmental edit stage

Despite the mad race to the finish line, I feel really good about how it all came together. And here‘s a post about how it felt to get to THE END.
Done!
Then there was the dreaded author photo, which actually turned out to be sort of fun (and decent enough to share with the world, thank goodness!).

Laurie Thompson head shot

 
Other news and highlights from the year?

  • I got to see an early study for a scene from the picture-book biography of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, illustrated by Sean Qualls.
  • The above book also FINALLY has a title, EMMANUEL’S DREAM!
  • I also got to see preliminary sketches for MY DOG IS THE BEST (sorry, I can’t share them here, but Paul Schmid‘s illustrations are ADORABLE!).
  • I finished another fiction picture book manuscript and it will soon be going out on submission (fingers crossed!).
  • I participated in and finished PiBoIdMo 2013.

Stay tuned for my next post on how I plan to tackle 2014. 🙂

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