A desperate student question & a couple calm ones

Katie writes: I have a few more questions to ask you. If you could, please answer these as quickly as possible. Do you have any idea of how many copies of “Speak” were sold? Thank you so much!! If you could, please post the answer on your web site. I’ll be looking for it.

It shocks me to admit this, but SPEAK has sold more than one million copies in paperback, and about 80,000 copies in hardback in the last six years. In other SPEAK news, the movie is up for a Writers Guild of America award, which is a huge honor to Jessica, Annie and Fred, the powers behind the film.

Leah writes: I’m 15 years old and I’m in the ninth grade. I have a few questions for you. I am writing a book myself, and I’m wanting to publish it when I’m through. I know I have the talent and the skills to make it far. I love writing and I’m very creative with it. I want to know what I have to do to publish a book and if there are any sponsors I can send my book to. I don’t know a lot about publishing and how to make the book known or what is required so I need help from someone who knows what they are doing. Laurie Anderson is one of my favorite writers. I love her books more than anything. I have read a lot of them and I have a collection of them at home. A teacher told me it doesn’t matter what age you are so I’m assuming I can publish a book at this age? Anyway. Please if you could find some way to respond. Hopefully in the journal on the website.

I suggest you head to a library and start researching the business side of being published. Or, you can surf to Harold Underdown’s sitehere are the basics. It does not matter how old you are. If you write a book that is of a high enough quality (or has a great marketing hook) you will probably sell it. However, it could take a very, very long time. You have to be patient and determined.

Cynthia writes: We watched the DVD the other night! My husband joined us after it started and he liked it too! I especially liked how you wrote Speak as though you were a 14/15 yo girl. The nuances? were right on. The way girls…teens treat each other in school…all the non verbal stuff that’s hurtful.
Oh I …we were wondering why the all the writings on the walls weren’t included in the movie? We thought that they were important to the story.
In the book Melinda confides in her art teacher but in the movie it’s her mother. Why? Lastly, I wonder what became of Andy. If you could write a sequel what would Melinda’s sophomore year be like?

I did not have control over the script, although I think the screenplay writers made good choices. If they put the entire book on the screen, it would have lasted something like ten hours. If you read my book CATALYST, you’ll see a mention of Melinda in her sophomore year. In my mind, she’s going to be fine.

We took my mom out to see Chris’ swim meet last night and she was able to stay through the whole thing, which was awesome. The Mexico team won hands-down. The divers were excellent. I usually cringe or cover my eyes when the divers compete, but these boys knew what they were doing, plus it was clear that they were having fun. A good evening all around.

I have to take half a day to deal with correspondence that is piling up about this spring’s school visits. Although I love visiting schools, I am looking forward to my sabbatical from them. For every day actually spent in the school, there is usually at least another full day of correspondence and preparation, in addition to travel time. I know I will miss seeing students and talking to teachers, but my writer self is desperate for a steady string of uninterrupted weeks during which I can focus on books.

We have no kids this weekend, so I will spend it swimming in books about the Revolution. George Washington is my home boy.

54 Replies to “A desperate student question & a couple calm ones”

  1. New research for new book or recent WIP?

    Laurie…
    Is this research for the current WIP (work in progress) or are you starting on a whole new book? (Just curious)

  2. New research for new book or recent WIP?

    Laurie…
    Is this research for the current WIP (work in progress) or are you starting on a whole new book? (Just curious)

    1. Re: New research for new book or recent WIP?

      This is a Whole New Book….let’s call it WIP2. I am waiting for comments from my editor on WIP1, so it’s time to start the next project.

      1. Re: New research for new book or recent WIP?

        Work on a new book sounds exciting, and the Revolution sounds like a great place to set the book. Hope the research is going well!

  3. New research for new book or recent WIP?

    Laurie…
    Is this research for the current WIP (work in progress) or are you starting on a whole new book? (Just curious)

  4. Re: New research for new book or recent WIP?

    This is a Whole New Book….let’s call it WIP2. I am waiting for comments from my editor on WIP1, so it’s time to start the next project.

  5. Re: New research for new book or recent WIP?

    This is a Whole New Book….let’s call it WIP2. I am waiting for comments from my editor on WIP1, so it’s time to start the next project.

  6. Re: New research for new book or recent WIP?

    Work on a new book sounds exciting, and the Revolution sounds like a great place to set the book. Hope the research is going well!

  7. Re: New research for new book or recent WIP?

    Work on a new book sounds exciting, and the Revolution sounds like a great place to set the book. Hope the research is going well!

  8. George Washington is my homeboy there’s something I haven’t heard someone say about him before. Sometimes you are just too funny and what about that contest you mentioned? – jessica

  9. George Washington is my homeboy there’s something I haven’t heard someone say about him before. Sometimes you are just too funny and what about that contest you mentioned? – jessica

  10. George Washington is my homeboy there’s something I haven’t heard someone say about him before. Sometimes you are just too funny and what about that contest you mentioned? – jessica

  11. Okay, I need help. I have this whole entire book in my head, but I can’t start it without deleting the whole thing with a scream. It’s driving me crazy. I also need a creative format. I loved the Speak format, with the subheadings. Any ideas???

  12. Okay, I need help. I have this whole entire book in my head, but I can’t start it without deleting the whole thing with a scream. It’s driving me crazy. I also need a creative format. I loved the Speak format, with the subheadings. Any ideas???

  13. Okay, I need help. I have this whole entire book in my head, but I can’t start it without deleting the whole thing with a scream. It’s driving me crazy. I also need a creative format. I loved the Speak format, with the subheadings. Any ideas???

  14. Sounds cool. I loved Speak to death and I just finished Catalyst;It was hard for me to picture both of them in the same community; and it help kinda surreal when Kate bumped into Melinda.{I have just been on a Speak high so ignore me >< } I can see Cataylst having a sequel. ^_^ Good luck with the WIP.

  15. Sounds cool. I loved Speak to death and I just finished Catalyst;It was hard for me to picture both of them in the same community; and it help kinda surreal when Kate bumped into Melinda.{I have just been on a Speak high so ignore me >< } I can see Cataylst having a sequel. ^_^ Good luck with the WIP.

  16. Sounds cool. I loved Speak to death and I just finished Catalyst;It was hard for me to picture both of them in the same community; and it help kinda surreal when Kate bumped into Melinda.{I have just been on a Speak high so ignore me >< } I can see Cataylst having a sequel. ^_^ Good luck with the WIP.

  17. congratulations

    First off, congratulations on your book ‘Speak.’ I happened to pick it up at the library and thought it was a wonderful book. Very well written and it has made me curious to read your other books as well. I enjoyed it so much that I had to buy it.
    I must say I never gave it much thought of writing until my eighth grade Language teacher mentioned at a meeting with my mom and I that I had talent to be a good writer. At first I was like, “Are you serious?” After her comment, it gave me confidence and I began writting stories left and right. I too was wondering how I could get them published, but what if thier not good enough? What if it became this big thing or if it didn’t become anything? What if this career choice doesnt work for me and I don’t make enough money? Do I pick the price of my book if i get it published? Do I even get to pick out the design for my own book? I’m sorry, I don’t expect you to answer all these questions, but that does bring me back to ‘Speak.’ Why a tree? For her class she had to draw a tree all year round. Any particular reasoning behind this? If you can find the time to write back, that would be great! Either way, thank you.

  18. congratulations

    First off, congratulations on your book ‘Speak.’ I happened to pick it up at the library and thought it was a wonderful book. Very well written and it has made me curious to read your other books as well. I enjoyed it so much that I had to buy it.
    I must say I never gave it much thought of writing until my eighth grade Language teacher mentioned at a meeting with my mom and I that I had talent to be a good writer. At first I was like, “Are you serious?” After her comment, it gave me confidence and I began writting stories left and right. I too was wondering how I could get them published, but what if thier not good enough? What if it became this big thing or if it didn’t become anything? What if this career choice doesnt work for me and I don’t make enough money? Do I pick the price of my book if i get it published? Do I even get to pick out the design for my own book? I’m sorry, I don’t expect you to answer all these questions, but that does bring me back to ‘Speak.’ Why a tree? For her class she had to draw a tree all year round. Any particular reasoning behind this? If you can find the time to write back, that would be great! Either way, thank you.

    1. Re: congratulations

      A couple months ago, LHA was asked similar questions about the tree in this post. Here is what she wrote:

      How did you get the idea to use trees as a tool to symbolize Melinda’s change and growth?
      A tree showed up in the first draft and I ran with it.

      Exactly how did you want the reader to interperate the trees throughout the book?
      Readers need to interpret books for themselves. If you don’t find meaning in the trees, there is nothing wrong with that. For me, the trees reflect Melinda’s growth and maturation.

      Also, i’m pretty sure LHA has said that she does not get to pick out the cover designs for her books.
      Hope this helps, and best of luck with your writing!!

  19. congratulations

    First off, congratulations on your book ‘Speak.’ I happened to pick it up at the library and thought it was a wonderful book. Very well written and it has made me curious to read your other books as well. I enjoyed it so much that I had to buy it.
    I must say I never gave it much thought of writing until my eighth grade Language teacher mentioned at a meeting with my mom and I that I had talent to be a good writer. At first I was like, “Are you serious?” After her comment, it gave me confidence and I began writting stories left and right. I too was wondering how I could get them published, but what if thier not good enough? What if it became this big thing or if it didn’t become anything? What if this career choice doesnt work for me and I don’t make enough money? Do I pick the price of my book if i get it published? Do I even get to pick out the design for my own book? I’m sorry, I don’t expect you to answer all these questions, but that does bring me back to ‘Speak.’ Why a tree? For her class she had to draw a tree all year round. Any particular reasoning behind this? If you can find the time to write back, that would be great! Either way, thank you.

  20. Re: congratulations

    A couple months ago, LHA was asked similar questions about the tree in this post. Here is what she wrote:

    How did you get the idea to use trees as a tool to symbolize Melinda’s change and growth?
    A tree showed up in the first draft and I ran with it.

    Exactly how did you want the reader to interperate the trees throughout the book?
    Readers need to interpret books for themselves. If you don’t find meaning in the trees, there is nothing wrong with that. For me, the trees reflect Melinda’s growth and maturation.

    Also, i’m pretty sure LHA has said that she does not get to pick out the cover designs for her books.
    Hope this helps, and best of luck with your writing!!

  21. Re: congratulations

    A couple months ago, LHA was asked similar questions about the tree in this post. Here is what she wrote:

    How did you get the idea to use trees as a tool to symbolize Melinda’s change and growth?
    A tree showed up in the first draft and I ran with it.

    Exactly how did you want the reader to interperate the trees throughout the book?
    Readers need to interpret books for themselves. If you don’t find meaning in the trees, there is nothing wrong with that. For me, the trees reflect Melinda’s growth and maturation.

    Also, i’m pretty sure LHA has said that she does not get to pick out the cover designs for her books.
    Hope this helps, and best of luck with your writing!!

  22. your book Speak

    Speak is definitely my favorite book. I’m actually using it for a book we have to read in English class at my school. It’s a very intense book that just makes you want to keep reading it. I’m definitely going to have to start reading your other books now. Keep up your great writing!!!!

  23. your book Speak

    Speak is definitely my favorite book. I’m actually using it for a book we have to read in English class at my school. It’s a very intense book that just makes you want to keep reading it. I’m definitely going to have to start reading your other books now. Keep up your great writing!!!!

  24. your book Speak

    Speak is definitely my favorite book. I’m actually using it for a book we have to read in English class at my school. It’s a very intense book that just makes you want to keep reading it. I’m definitely going to have to start reading your other books now. Keep up your great writing!!!!

  25. Revolution…

    I just got done with the pre-revolution part of school. Are you seriously reading it for fun- because it’s that interesting? I’m absolutely dreading the revolution. If you run across any books about it that make it more interesting (but still keeping to the facts, of course) let me know. My teacher’s choices aren’t exactly appealing at this point.

    I wish you luck with your next book… I can’t wait to go pick up Catalyst and PROM… But I’ll have to wait until next paycheck, as always.

    One question, are you fond of John Grisham novels? An adult friend of mine has suggested one, and I’m not sure if I should try to read it or not…

    GB

    Julia

  26. Revolution…

    I just got done with the pre-revolution part of school. Are you seriously reading it for fun- because it’s that interesting? I’m absolutely dreading the revolution. If you run across any books about it that make it more interesting (but still keeping to the facts, of course) let me know. My teacher’s choices aren’t exactly appealing at this point.

    I wish you luck with your next book… I can’t wait to go pick up Catalyst and PROM… But I’ll have to wait until next paycheck, as always.

    One question, are you fond of John Grisham novels? An adult friend of mine has suggested one, and I’m not sure if I should try to read it or not…

    GB

    Julia

    1. Re: Revolution…

      Yeah, I ADORE the American Revolution – it is unbelievably cool and fascinating…. however a lot of textbooks drain the life out of it. Maybe my book will make a difference. I sure hope so.

      And yes, I like Grisham. He is a good storyteller.

  27. Revolution…

    I just got done with the pre-revolution part of school. Are you seriously reading it for fun- because it’s that interesting? I’m absolutely dreading the revolution. If you run across any books about it that make it more interesting (but still keeping to the facts, of course) let me know. My teacher’s choices aren’t exactly appealing at this point.

    I wish you luck with your next book… I can’t wait to go pick up Catalyst and PROM… But I’ll have to wait until next paycheck, as always.

    One question, are you fond of John Grisham novels? An adult friend of mine has suggested one, and I’m not sure if I should try to read it or not…

    GB

    Julia

  28. Re: Revolution…

    Yeah, I ADORE the American Revolution – it is unbelievably cool and fascinating…. however a lot of textbooks drain the life out of it. Maybe my book will make a difference. I sure hope so.

    And yes, I like Grisham. He is a good storyteller.

  29. Re: Revolution…

    Yeah, I ADORE the American Revolution – it is unbelievably cool and fascinating…. however a lot of textbooks drain the life out of it. Maybe my book will make a difference. I sure hope so.

    And yes, I like Grisham. He is a good storyteller.

  30. OMG It’s me!

    Wow. When I read that question from Leah, I was like, “Holy crap! That’s me! Someone is pretending ot be me!” I mean, first off – same name. I want to be a writer, I’ve started a book, I have your books, you’re like my idol. The only thing is that I’ll be sixteen next month, and I’m a sophmore. I so have a twin.
    Anyways, um,…yeah, I started a book, and I was wondering if I could run the idea by ya, and see what you think?
    And I’m absolutley dying to know when you think your WIP might be out. I’m already joking to my friends about sitting outside BooksAMillion the day it goes on sale. They all know I’m a big fan of yours.

  31. OMG It’s me!

    Wow. When I read that question from Leah, I was like, “Holy crap! That’s me! Someone is pretending ot be me!” I mean, first off – same name. I want to be a writer, I’ve started a book, I have your books, you’re like my idol. The only thing is that I’ll be sixteen next month, and I’m a sophmore. I so have a twin.
    Anyways, um,…yeah, I started a book, and I was wondering if I could run the idea by ya, and see what you think?
    And I’m absolutley dying to know when you think your WIP might be out. I’m already joking to my friends about sitting outside BooksAMillion the day it goes on sale. They all know I’m a big fan of yours.

    1. Re: OMG It’s me!

      Most ideas for books are good – it’s all in how you write it that makes the difference.

      I think the new WIP will be out in the spring of 2007, but I am not sure yet. Stay tuned. It would completely make my whole year if you guys camped out!

      1. Re: OMG It’s me!

        Oh, we so will. Tents, Starbucks, and everything!
        Thanks!
        I hope you cheer up soon, too. I have an aunt that I’m really close to, and I don’t know what I would do if something happened to her. Stay strong!

  32. OMG It’s me!

    Wow. When I read that question from Leah, I was like, “Holy crap! That’s me! Someone is pretending ot be me!” I mean, first off – same name. I want to be a writer, I’ve started a book, I have your books, you’re like my idol. The only thing is that I’ll be sixteen next month, and I’m a sophmore. I so have a twin.
    Anyways, um,…yeah, I started a book, and I was wondering if I could run the idea by ya, and see what you think?
    And I’m absolutley dying to know when you think your WIP might be out. I’m already joking to my friends about sitting outside BooksAMillion the day it goes on sale. They all know I’m a big fan of yours.

  33. Re: OMG It’s me!

    Most ideas for books are good – it’s all in how you write it that makes the difference.

    I think the new WIP will be out in the spring of 2007, but I am not sure yet. Stay tuned. It would completely make my whole year if you guys camped out!

  34. Re: OMG It’s me!

    Most ideas for books are good – it’s all in how you write it that makes the difference.

    I think the new WIP will be out in the spring of 2007, but I am not sure yet. Stay tuned. It would completely make my whole year if you guys camped out!

  35. Re: OMG It’s me!

    Oh, we so will. Tents, Starbucks, and everything!
    Thanks!
    I hope you cheer up soon, too. I have an aunt that I’m really close to, and I don’t know what I would do if something happened to her. Stay strong!

  36. Re: OMG It’s me!

    Oh, we so will. Tents, Starbucks, and everything!
    Thanks!
    I hope you cheer up soon, too. I have an aunt that I’m really close to, and I don’t know what I would do if something happened to her. Stay strong!

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