Jonathan Auxier's Blog

April 9, 2015

Hello friends! It’s been a while since my last update, and that’s because I’ve been busily finishing my next book! It’s a companion to my first novel, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes. Here’s the amazing cover, drawn by Gilbert Ford:


Print


The book comes out January 2016. It is without question the most monster-filled story I have ever written. Here’s the summary from the catalog:


It’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far in wide in search of adventure. Now Peter and Sir Tode have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: find a 12-year-old bookmender named Sophie Quire. 

Sophie knows little beyond the four walls of her father’s bookshop, where she repairs old books and dreams of escaping the confines of her dull life. But when a strange boy and his talking cat/horse companion show up with a rare and mysterious book, she finds herself pulled into an adventure beyond anything she has ever read.
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I am so unbelievably excited to share this story with the world. I’ll keep you posted with illustrations and updates as we near publication. Tally-ho!
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Published on April 09, 2015 19:08 • 29 views

June 22, 2014

Whenever I start a new book, I try to put together a soundtrack that makes me feel the way I want the story to make me feel. It’s a valuable tool, because at some point I become sick of my own book, and the songs help remind me what I’m aiming for. Screenwriter John August puts it well: “A good playlist helps you get started. A great playlist helps you finish.” 


I thought I’d share some of the songs that helped me finish The Night Gardener. According to iTunes, I listened to these and a few other tracks more than 300 times …


 





















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Published on June 22, 2014 16:43 • 135 views

May 22, 2014

As many of you know, last week was “Children’s Book Week.” Authors were asked to submit 1 min videos talking about books they love. I knew that wasn’t enough time, so I instead made my video into a sort of flashcard challenge:



I got a number of emails from people wanting to know all the book titles, so here’s the master list:


The Little Prince -  Alice in Wonderland -  The Golden Compass -  A Little Princess -  Darth Paper -  Pinocchio -  Rutabaga Stories -  Mary Poppins -  Bud, not Buddy -  The Chocolate War -  The White Mountains -  The Witch of Blackbird Pond -  The One and Only Ivan -  Matilda -  The High king -  Holes -  The Higher Power of Lucky -  The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles -  Five Children and It -  The Mysterious Journey of Edward Tulane -  Book of the Dun Cow -  Howl’s Moving Castle -  Peter and Wendy -  The Twenty-One Balloons -  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle -  A Wrinkle in Time -  Little Women -  The Princess Academy -  The Graveyard Book -  Charlotte’s Web -  Dominic -  Diary of a Wimpy Kid -  The Phantom Tollbooth -  My Father’s Dragon -  The Neddiad -  Anne of Green Gables -  Redwall -  The Man in the Ceiling -  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz -  Winnie the Pooh -  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 

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Published on May 22, 2014 08:03 • 29 views

May 20, 2014

NightGardener - 3d Cover


After nine long years, The Night Gardener is finally out in the world. I am overjoyed with the support that this book has already found among both readers and reviewers.


If you are so inclined, here are some super easy things to do that will go a long way toward spreading the word:



Buy the Book! Either for yourself or for a young reader in your life. Early sales go a long way toward helping a new book break out from the pack! If you’ve read and enjoyed the book, loan it to a friend—the more people that know about The Night Gardener the better!


Come to an event! I’ll be having a launch party at the CC Mellor Library in Pittsburgh on Sat, May 31 from 2-4pm–children are welcome! Also, if you’re a bookstore, library, or school in the Pittsburgh area, feel free to contact me about setting up an event!


Write a Review! If you read and enjoyed the book, please, please, please take a few minutes to write a review on Amazon and Goodreads—that kind of feedback goes a long way to help get the word out!


Ask Your Local Bookseller for the Book With so many books out this spring, a lot of smaller bookstores won’t necessarily have a copy in stock—and that’s why it is SO IMPORTANT to let stores know that you want to see The Night Gardener on the shelf! Don’t know where your nearest bookstore is? Click here!


Request  The Night Gardener  at your Library. Same as above, libraries won’t carry a book unless they know that people will check it out. This has the added advantage of letting you read the book for free! And who doesn’t like free?


Spread the word online!  Post a link to the book on your Facebook page or blog. Or you can tweet this announcement.
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Published on May 20, 2014 08:09 • 26 views

May 14, 2014

NG Promotional Banner 3


Reviews are rolling in for The Night Gardener, and things are looking good! Permit me to cheer for Molly and Kip: 


First the book was a Junior Library Guild selection!


Then it was named a Editor’s Pick Best Book for April by Amazon!


Then it was named a “top ten” pick for the American Bookseller’s Association 2014 summer Indie Next list!


And that’s not all. Here are just a few reviews for the book so far:


“Lots of creepiness, memorable characters, a worthy message … make this cautionary tale one readers will not soon forget.” - Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW


“Auxier gives readers a spooky story with depth and dimension.” - School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW


“an Excellent ghost story for middle grade readers.” - VOYA, “perfect ten” review


“Historical fiction and horror intertwine in this absolutely gripping story … The Night Gardener is the stuff of nightmares.” - Shelf Employed


“Auxier delivers the goods with his precise descriptions of the gothic setting and teasing hints of mystery and suspense” - Horn Book Review


“Auxier achieves an ideal mix of adventure and horror, offering all of it in elegant, atmospheric language that forces the reader to slow down a bit and revel in both the high-quality plot and the storytelling itself.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


“The eerie setting, the pacing of the plot and the cast of characters … makes this an ideal family read-aloud and a vacation pleasure.” - Shelf-Awareness


And finally, a review from Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 blog with perhaps my favorite line ever:


“It is almost as if Mr. Auxier took his whimsy, pulled out a long sharp stick, and stabbed it repeatedly in the heart and left it to die in the snow so as to give us a sublimely horrific little novel.”


Woo-hoo! Order your copy today! Or better yet, pick it up from your local bookstore!


 


 

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Published on May 14, 2014 09:43 • 19 views

April 29, 2014

 


Click image for details:


Night Gardener Launch Invite


I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be having a Night Gardener launch party on Saturday, May 31 from 2-4pm. The event will be hosted by the historic CC Mellor Library in Regent Square. There will be snacks and activities for children of all ages–so bring the whole family! The folk from Mystery Lovers Bookshop will be on hand to sell copies of both Peter Nimble and The Night Gardener for signing. Please help spread the word by clicking this link–I’d love to see as many people there as possible!

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Published on April 29, 2014 13:24 • 33 views

April 20, 2014

Banner


The Internet is full of great advice about how to sell a book, but what about after the sale? When my first book came out, I found it was surprisingly hard to find answers to some basic questions. Like most authors, I learned most of the answers through trial and error. And so in anticipation of the launch of my new novel, The Night Gardener, I’ve decided to write down everything I learned so I don’t make the same mistakes twice!

AFTER THE BOOK DEAL is a month-long blog series detailing the twenty things I wish someone had told me before entering the exciting world of children’s publishing. Each weekday from now until MAY 20, I will be posting an article on a different blog. Many of these sites will also be doing Night Gardener giveaways, so please follow along and spread the word!


THE SCHEDULE: 


WEEK ONE: Before Your Book Comes Out 

April 21 – “Finding Your Tribe” @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe

April 22 – “Do I Really Need a Headshot?” @ Novel Novice

April 23 – “I Hate Networking” @ Charlotte’s Library

April 24 – “A Night at the Movies” @ The Lost Entwife

April 25 –  “Giveaways!” @ Smack Dab in the Middle


WEEK TWO: Your Book Launch

April 28 – “Can I have Your Autograph?” @ Haunted Orchid

April 29 –  “Cinderella at the Ball” @ The O.W.L.

April 30 – “Being Heard in the Crowd” @ Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids

May 1 - “The Loneliest Writer in the World” @ The Misbehavin’ Librarian

May 2 – “Shutting Out the Voices” @ Shelf Employed


WEEK THREE: The Business of Being an Author

May 5 – “Back to the Grindstone” @ Word Spelunking

May 6 – “The Root of All Evil” @ The Compulsive Reader

May 7 – “Care and Feeding of Your Muse” @ Buried in Books

May 8 – “The Green-Eyed Monster” @ The Book Monsters

May 9 – “Death by 1000 Cuts” @ Waking Brain Cells


WEEK FOUR: Keeping Your Book Alive

May 12 – “A Cheering Squad of One” @ So I’m Fifty

May 13 – “This Part is Awkward” @ TBA

May 14 – “School Days” @ There’s a Book

May 15 – “Crowd Control” @ Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

May 16 – “Keeping the Magic Alive” @ Tif Talks Books


 

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Published on April 20, 2014 18:32 • 65 views

March 22, 2014

My wife and I recently had a new baby, which means I have momentarily become terrible at organizing my schedule.  Case in point, a few weeks ago, I had a Skype visit planned with the great Eric Carlson (@buffaloteacher), a Minnesota teacher who has read Peter Nimble to his class for the last three years.  I love Skyping, especially for teachers as awesome as Mr. C!  Here’s a picture I drew of him last year as a zombie: 


Mr Carlson 2


So this year we had our annual Skype visit lined up, and Mr. C had his class all excited.  Witness some awesome pictures they drew in preparation: 


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But on the day we were set to Skype … I FORGOT ABOUT IT ENTIRELY!1


Mr Carlson’s class was very forgiving, but I felt like I had to make it up to them.  


So when we had our visit the following week, I added a little “punishment” for myself.  I spread out a whole bunch of food from my fridge along with a bowl and spoon 2. After each kid asked a question, I let them instruct me to put one ingredient into the bowl and promised to eat it at the end.  Here’s what it looked like:


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I had promised to eat the entire bowl, but when push-came-to-shove, I could barely get down a single (heaping) spoonful … I may have even thrown up in my mouth a little bit while saying goodbye.  


All in all, I’d say it was an AWESOME Skype visit! 





see previous point about the newborn
Ingredients: Crispix, milk, maple syrup, soy sauce, catsup, mustard, ranch dressing, chocolate chips, croutons, banana peppers (and juice!), chocolate frosting, parmesan cheese.
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Published on March 22, 2014 08:13 • 58 views

March 12, 2014

kirkus


Well, early reviews are rolling in on The Night Gardener, and things are looking good! Permit me to cheer for Molly and Kip: 


First the book was a Junior Library Guild selection!


Then it got a STARRED REVIEW from Kirkus who said: 


“Lots of creepiness, memorable characters, a worthy message … make this cautionary tale one readers will not soon forget.”


Then it was named a Big Spring Children’s Book by Amazon! 


From a review at Shelf Employed


“Historical fiction and horror intertwine in this absolutely gripping story … The Night Gardener is the stuff of nightmares.”


And finally, a review from Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 blog with perhaps my favorite line ever: 


“It is almost as if Mr. Auxier took his whimsy, pulled out a long sharp stick, and stabbed it repeatedly in the heart and left it to die in the snow so as to give us a sublimely horrific little novel.”


Woo-hoo! Pre-order your copy today! 


NightGardener_cover_final


 

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Published on March 12, 2014 09:43 • 52 views

March 2, 2014

Pic - Buried


I often get emails from people looking to break into children’s publishing. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some general advice I find myself giving again and again. Below are three steps, in order of importance, that I think writers should focus on:


1) Write a Really Good Book
First time writers don’t sell books based on partial drafts or outlines. They sell finished manuscripts. And there are a lot of finished manuscripts in the world. That means the first step is completing a book and revising it until it is airtight. Don’t expect an agent or editor to look at a sloppy manuscript and see the potential–that same agent or manager has hundreds (not an exaggeration) of other manuscripts to consider, and they’ll take the one that demonstrates the greatest professionalism and craft. Taking an example from my first book, Peter Nimble, I did about 15 complete re-writes before showing it to an agent … and then did another 3 drafts before the book went to an editor. I have yet to talk to a professional author who didn’t go through the same level of revision before finding a publisher.


2) Join SCBWI
The “Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators” (SCBWI) is a national organization with local chapters all over the country. This group is a fantastic place for both professional and aspiring writers and illustrators to gather and discuss craft and business of children’s publishing. The annual conferences are often attended by agents and editors who are looking for new books. I have a number of author friends whose careers were launched when they met an editor at an SCBWI event who requested to see their really good manuscripts (see above point).


3) Query Agents
If a lot of industries, the “it’s who you know” rule applies. Not so in publishing! Book agents read and consider manuscript submissions from unknown writers all the time–that’s their job. Nearly every writer I’ve ever met was pulled out of the “slush pile” from an agent who discovered them. Your job is to query agents who will best understand your work and be in a position to sell it. This means doing a bit of homework, by reading the Writer’s Market and finding agents who are looking for material like your book. The internet is awash with resources about how to approach agents. A good place to start might be Kidlit.com, a website run by children’s book agent Mary Kole. She answers questions about the dos and don’ts of querying better than anyone!


The above steps aren’t a guarantee of any success, but they are a good place to start! Also, I might as well link to this brief but eloquent video of Neil Gaiman talking about step one (which is really the only step that matters):


 

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Published on March 02, 2014 09:23 • 38 views