February 28, 2008

Politics Around the Country

Politics and Prose is an independent bookstore in D.C. I can’t wait to visit them next time we’re at the nation’s capital. And it’s nice to know they're carrying my book, which involves politics, prose and well, um, a really negligent Boob Fairy.

As the primary race heats up in Texas, the editors at DallasChild Blog mentioned some interesting political tidbits for kids, including a short review of AS IF BEING 12 ¾ . . .

"Head to your local library to peruse children's books about the election process. There are tons to choose from — one title we like in particular is As if Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother is Running For President! by Donna Gephart. This book (for ages 9-12) is written from the perspective of a preteen girl who's mom is, well, running for president — and ruining her life! Girls will love this enjoyable tie-in to current events."

And right here in chilly South Florida (it’s 66 lovely degrees as I write this), the Palm Beach Post is offering a presidential puzzle a day. But hurry; it’s only during the month of February.

If you miss the Post’s puzzles, click over to my Web site and check out the Presidential Pet Matchup and the Political Words Seek-n-Find.

Hope you’re enjoying this most interesting (and historic) political race. I know am.

Best regards,


February 26, 2008

Book Give-a-way and Bountiful Blog

Don't walk. Run to Shrinking Violets, a fantastic blog billed as "Marketing for Introverts."

There, you'll find lots of great ideas for promotion from the talented and generous Mary Hershey and Robin LaFevers. And, if you act now . . . you'll also have a chance to win a copy of my book (set of ginsu knives not included).

Operators are standing by,

February 21, 2008


If you’d like your book to sell to more people than friends, family and your 10th grade English teacher, you must get out from behind your computer and promote it.

If you’re lucky, your publisher will put some resources into promoting your book, but that’s not enough.

I know my publicist at Random House works hard on my behalf. How do I know? I’ve gotten several nice reviews from trade journals. Print, radio and TV interview requests have rolled in. And there are these great promotional buttons . . .

(cat not included)

. . . that will be distributed through direct marketing and in a couple major shopping malls.

But mine isn’t the only book my publicist is trying to sell. And even though my book has a great hook with the election tie-in, I’m still a new author with no following.

So . . . it was a happy coincidence yesterday when I took our oldest so to the library and noticed this gem on the shelf:

It’s a few years old, but brimming with information about how to be prepared for interviews, develop a marketing strategy, make vital contacts, sign stock in bookstores and more. The back section is loaded with Internet resources, helpful organizations, etc. And there’s even a section about how to get on Oprah – an author’s golden ticket.


The book so inspired me that I stayed up till one in the morning, scribbling pages of ideas about promoting my novel. I can offer writing workshops in schools . . . connect via the Internet with networking sites and message boards . . . get in touch with those involved in spelling bees and Scrabble tournaments, because those things play a part in my character’s life . . . write magazine articles offering writing tips for adults or election information for kids.

The list goes on, but the short version of my plan is this:

1) Let people know my book exists

2) by offering them something of value

3) and have loads of fun doing it.

Do you have any great book promotion tips? School presentation ideas that inspire students? Thoughts on finding time to promote, while still working on the next novel?

No matter where we are on the publishing spectrum, it's never too soon . . . or too late to think about book promotion.

And, by the way, who saw that fabulous eclipse last night?

Not that one! This one . . .


February 15, 2008


“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” -- Alice Walker

Despite the whirlwind of interviews, e-mails and activities that surrounded my novel’s launch this week, I took time to appreciate this purple tulip from my friend, Riley Roam. And the red tulips from Sylvia. And the red, white and blue balloons from Linda. And . . .

1) This week, I had my first radio interview. I’m sure I sounded like a dork, but I had a blast doing it. The host was great and made me feel comfortable. (I’ll let you know when it’s available for Internet streaming.)

2) My dear friends and hubby celebrated with me at a book launch lunch. The only thing better than something wonderful happening is being able to share that something with those you care about.

3) My sister, Ellen, got my first autographed copy of my book. “Hey, Ellen, did I do anything stupid, like misspell my own name?”

4) This crazy crew – part of my fantabulous critique group (Sylvia, Dan, Me, Linda and Riley) – went to our local Barnes and Noble the day my book was released.

We were told three of the four books they had in stock sold within two hours. (Thanks, Carilynn, for purchasing 50% of their stock!)

5) Then I signed Sylvia’s copy of AS IF BEING . . . that she had brought with her from a different bookstore. (It doesn’t seem that long ago that Sylvia signed a copy of her picture book -- Rattlebone Rock – for me.)

6) I cajoled an unsuspecting shopper into snapping our photo. “Thank you, unsuspecting shopper.”

Then my writing buddies said things to her like, “She wrote a book” and “It’s funny” and “It’s topical.” So, under extreme duress, this woman read the flap copy and said, “I think my eleven-year-old daughter would like this.”

So I signed her book right there in the store – my first autograph to a non-family member or friend – and there went the last copy of my book from the shelves of our local Barnes and Noble.

7) I understood how our local bookstore sold out quickly, but two Barnes and Noble stores just outside New Orleans did also. I don’t know anyone in New Orleans except our dear friend Sharon and her family. Sharon called to report that each store she visited had sold out of its four copies the first day. “Thank you, New Orleans book-buyers! And thank you Sharon for ordering four copies to send to your unsuspecting friends."

8) My first fan mail for AS IF BEING . . . came through my Website (www.donnagephart.com) from a friend’s daughter. When you read this excerpt from her letter, you’ll see why I spent the rest of the day smiling:

I loved your book: the day my mom got it (yesterday) I read it through twice. It's that good!

Thank you, Amelia! I’d have included the rest of your lovely e-mail, but there were serious spoilers in it about . . . well, you know.

9) Please check out Alice Pope’s blog today. She featured a certain very excited/slightly overwhelmed/definitely delighted scribbler as her Debut Author of the Month.

10) And finally, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has given me a shout out on her blog, via e-mail, by phone or in person and made my book launch week such a grand and memorable experience!


February 12, 2008


Today is my book’s birthday. Come on in and join the virtual party.

How did I begin this very special day?

I was woken at six (after staying up very late last night reading) by a clicking sound coming from our living room.

Did the dog get into the pantry again? Is she finishing off my last two double fudge brownies? Is someone breaking into the house? Should I grab the phone and have the 9 and the 1 dialed before I investigate?

While hubby slept, I dragged myself out of bed to find our oldest son inches from the computer screen, which was casting a ghostly glow on his face.

“What? Are? You? Doing?”

“I woke at 5:30," he says, "to put music on my Ipod. I tried to be quiet.”

I couldn’t stay angry too long because I turned around to this sight:

Flowers and a card

When I returned to the bedroom, hubby was awake and getting ready for work.

“When did you sneak those flowers in?” I asked.

“Last night.”


He smirked and said, “Some of the flowers are purple.”

He was referring to my main character, Vanessa’s (and my) love of purple. Even the card, full of nice sentiments from hubby, our boys and even our dog and cat, was purple!

This reminded me of April of 2006 when I first sold my novel and Linda, a dear friend and excellent writer, set up a party to celebrate at our critique group meeting. The plates, the cups, the napkins – everything was purple.

Linda smiled. “Of course everything’s purple,” she said. “We’re celebrating Vanessa.”

And that we are! Here’s to you, Vanessa Rothrock. Thanks for showing up in my imagination one day and for sticking with me as I made a million mistakes trying to get you onto the page. So glad you’re finally here!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this day happen. And thanks for making the day so special.

Warmest regards,


February 11, 2008


For someone who loves words so much, today I’m fresh out of them.

After a year spent researching, writing and revising . . . after nearly two years proofreading, preparing and “patiently” waiting . . . after two decades of writing and wishing . . . MY BOOK GOES ON SALE TOMORROW!!!

Here’s a brief interview. (Note: the on-sale date is not Sunday, it’s, um, TOMORROW!) And here's a very nice review from Publisher's Weekly. (Scroll down.)

Thanks so much for your good wishes and support!



February 10, 2008


Vanessa Rothrock here – straight from the pages of AS IF BEING 12 ¾ ISN’T BAD ENOUGH, MY MOTHER IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT!

I can’t believe in only two days you’ll be able to read about my most embarrassing moments -- on stage during the school spelling bee, in P.E. class in front of the love of my pathetic life and at the Democratic National Convention, when the unthinkable happens and I . . . oh, nevermind. You’ll read about it soon enough!

I thought that while you’re waiting, you might like to do something fun. As you know, I’m a Scrabble aficionado (Aficionado. A-F-I-C-I-O-N-A-D-O. Aficionado.). Mom and I play whenever we can, and she always wins. But I’m secretly practicing. And you can, too.

Here are two games from the Scrabble Web site: Scrabble and Scrabble Express. Have fun!

I’m heading back to the campaign trail now for Mom . . .

Embarrassingly yours,


February 9, 2008


Donna’s busy preparing for the release of her new novel, so she asked me to be her guest blogger today. (I’m not sure what that means, but I hope there’s a dog biscuit in it for me.)

Donna’s not the only one who’s been busy lately. I’ve had to bark at the postman. Twice!

The other day, he had the audacity to bring three boxes to our door. I let him know he wasn’t welcome, so he left, but the boxes remained. When Donna opened one of the boxes, she got all teary-eyed. I don’t know why. It’s not like the box was loaded with dried chicken strips or anything. Just these things . . .

I tried to read one of the books, but it put me to sleep – not one dog character in the whole novel!

Then I had to get up and bark at the postman again because he dropped off a large package. Once again, nothing for me. But the cat seemed to like what was inside.

I think it must have been coated in catnip or something. Lucky cat!

Donna muttered something about how thousands of “Mom for President” buttons were printed for a big marketing campaign, but of course all I really heard was, “Blah. Blah. Blah. Aren’t you a pretty dog, Lady? Blah. Blah. Blah.”

So, as you can see, nothing exciting is going on around here, except . . . What’s that jingling I hear? Is it my leash? “Here I come!”

I'm outta here!
Lady Gephart

February 8, 2008


It’s a Web site!

Thanks to designer Lisa Firke at Hit Those Keys, I’m the proud new parent of a bouncin’ baby Web site.

On the site, you’ll find embarrassing photos, puzzles, book info, more embarrassing photos, lots ‘o links and “betcha didn’t know” trivia.

Best of all, my new Web site doesn’t need to be changed too often and never wakes me in the middle of the night.

Please stop by and make silly faces at it.

February 7, 2008


The countdown begins!

Each day until the on-sale date for AS IF BEING 12 ¾ ISN’T BAD ENOUGH, MY MOTHER IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT (February 12th), I’ll post a book-related tidbit.

Today’s tidbit is a review from the Kansas City Star. Thank you, Kim Ossi!

Pre-teen politics

Politics! Election! Vote! That's all that's on TV these days. If you're tired of seeing the Democrats and Republicans at each others' respective throats, escape to a book. A topical book, mind you, to give you some perspective.

"As if being 12 3/4 isn't bad enough, my mother is running for president!" pretty much says it all. But the book by Donna Gephart (Delacorte Press, $15.99) is an insightful read - maybe not so much on being 12 3/4, but definitely on the experience of being in the public's eye.

We follow Vanessa Rothrock who, most unfortunately, is at that clumsy stage, where she's tripping over her feet, crushing on boys and needing her mother - who is otherwise occupied, with that whole presidential campaign thing. Did we mention she has a Secret Service shadow at all times to protect her? So besides all the normal teenage mayhem, Vanessa starts getting scary, threatening letters. The drama is pitched and all we can do is sit on the edge of our chair as we frantically read along!

Look for the book in stores starting Feb. 12.

Kim Ossi writes for McClatchy-Tribune News Service. You can write to her at kossi@mctinfoservices.com.