Pass Pages and A VERY EXCITING THING

Well I'm currently sitting beachside in Indonesia, attempting to a) finish my last paper for the semester which is due today oh God why do I procrastinate everything and b) finish the draft of my second book which is due in a month or so. Guess which one is more exciting and thus getting more of my attention? 

Neither of them, clearly, since I'm blogging instead (but the manuscript is totally more exciting than the paper). 

To be fair, it's kind of hard to get anything done (excepting drinking cocktails) when this is your view.

To be fair, it's kind of hard to get anything done (excepting drinking cocktails) when this is your view.

So today I'm gonna talk about pass pages and, as the title of this blog post suggests, A VERY EXCITING THING that happened recently. 

Pass pages are when your book finally looks like a book. Up until this point, it's usually no more than a ramshackle Word document covered in comments and highlighter and pockmarked with bad formatting. Then, after copyedits, that sad, downtrodden document is handed to a designer who takes it and performs some dark and mysterious designer magic on it and makes it beautiful. 

Pass pages are typeset to look exactly how the book will look when it's printed, complete with chapter headings, page numbers, and - in the case of OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS - an abundance of beautiful black and white fish swimming on the paper. 

Then the author, aka yours truly, is given one last chance to read the manuscript and correct any minor mistakes that need to be fixed. Naturally, when the author hears "this is the last time you'll be able to change anything" the author freaks out and wants to burn the first pass pages to the ground and rewrite the whole goddamn book from scratch. 

Lucky authors have agents and editors to prise the pass pages from their arthritic, RSI-damaged fingertips so that, you know, the book can actually be published on schedule. 

Your agent and editor's response when you want to rewrite your whole book. 

Your agent and editor's response when you want to rewrite your whole book. 

I handed in the pass pages for OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS a few weeks ago now, along with my acknowledgements, which were almost as difficult to write as the book. The fear of forgetting to thank someone was real. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the fear of making my acknowledgements too long and emotional and therefore utterly boring was also real. 

Once I started considering thanking my childhood dogs, I knew it was time to wrap things up lest I start being played off stage Oscars style. 

Me, trying to write my acknowledgements. *weeps*

Me, trying to write my acknowledgements. *weeps*

It's really hard trying to convey the magnitude of your thanks in 500-1000 words when you could write poems and compose songs in honour of all the amazing people who helped you bring this book (that you still kind of want to rewrite) to life, but I somehow managed. 

And now I shall leave you with the VERY EXCITING THING...

OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS was chosen by the American Booksellers Association as one of the 20 best YA debuts of 2016 (they choose 10 every six months), and is thus one of their Indies Introduce books for summer/fall. I'm blown away to receive this honour. If the rest of this blog post could just be GIFs of Gywneth Paltrow weeping as she accepted her Oscar, it would be. 

What does this mean? Basically OCH is going to be getting some very special treatment at indie bookstores across the US. Logos, promotional material and - perhaps most excitingly - special displays just for Indies Introduce titles. A huge, massive, super-sized thanks again to the panel of booksellers who took the time to read OCH and bestow it (and some other amazing books that you can find here) with this incredible honour. 

Now I need to go find another frozen margarita, uh, wait, uh, I mean, finish my paper.