Sunday, December 18, 2011

Class of 2k11 - One Year Later

I can't believe the year is almost over! I spent a lot of time talking about the Class of 2k11 this year so I had to go back and ask them to share a memory of their debut year. I feel very lucky to have found Class of 2k11 because each author and book is special to me. {Go buy Class of 2k11 books}

I've been thinking about my release day ever since I sold my book. And I imagined a lot of things--mostly involving finding the book on the shelf at a bookstore and squealing repeatedly until they threw me out--but I didn't picture what actually happened. I woke up the morning of my release to find that a bunch of my fellow 2k11ers and some awesome book bloggers had zombified themselves all over the internet. They were creepy and silly and ridiculous, and one had a plunger stuck to her head. I don't think I've ever felt more like a rock star (or maybe zombie queen is more appropriate). And out of all of the things that happened that day, it's what sticks in my mind the most--that some of my favorite people in the world did something ridiculous to help celebrate my little book of ridiculousness. I get the giggles just thinking about it. - Carrie Harris

Most surreal: The box of “author’s” hardcover books arriving, and my sons just staring; walking into the Strand bookstore in NYC to see my book up on the famous, dusty shelves; signing books at my launch for a line 100+ deep; and the first group panel readings I did with my Class of 2K11 cohorts.

Most fun/ridiculous: Ah, the Ford Crown Victoria. Need I say more? interview with Cari Soto with bee antennae on my head; 90-second sampler reading at the Dolphin Bookshop on Long Island

Most rewarding: the readers who say they love the book, but especially the teen male readers who tell me that they hate to read, but “had” to, then couldn’t put my book down. Man, I love those dudes. ;) - Gae Polisner

For me, a favorite moment with the Class of 2k11 came in the midst of every author's nightmare. It was BEA 2011 and I’d come to New York for a week of events with other Class of 2k11 authors. On this particular night, we’d taken the train to a small town for a book signing event. And no one showed up. As it turned out, the town had a parade that night. We did finally get one attendee—a wonderful girl who could only stay a little while—she was marching in the parade band. But I can tell you that it’s a horrible, lonely feeling waiting for people who never come. Still, I wasn’t lonely. More importantly, I wasn’t alone. I had my 2k11 buddies with me. And it really struck me in that moment that I would manage whatever came my way because I had this group of people to share it with. - Amy Fellner Dominy

Identity crisis – that’s how we started. We ranged in age from late twenties to late sixties and lived from the Pacific NW to New York; our prospective readers ranged from nine to eighteen and up; our approaches to marketing ranged from guerilla to gentile; our books were funny and serious, realistic contemporary, sci-fi, and historical fiction. How could we define such a diverse group? For the first few months, we traded up to fifty emails a day (most of them nice, some not so) prompting six members to give up and leave. Sometime in May, 2010, like iron filings in the presence of a magnet, we recognized what we had in common instead of how we were different and coalesced into the Class of 2k11. From that time on, we were all for one and one for all, ready to share our wide-ranging expertise and divide the workload, share tips, toss glitter, throw brickbats, or offer soothing wisdom as the situation demanded. Some of us have still never met in person, but count each other as best friends forever. - Carole Estby Dagg

I had no idea when Amy Holder sent me an email about something called the Class of 2K11, how important it would prove to be. Joining this diverse group of talented writers was one of the best decisions I ever made. The shared expertise and energy was a big help in marketing my debut novel and helped us to gain the attentions of librarians, teachers and wonderful book bloggers like you. However, I think the best part of the Class of 2K11 is how wonderful it has been to have a support network to cheer on each other's successes and provide words of encouragement when things are not going the way we want them to. I would have been lost without my classmates, and consider the members of the Class of 2K11, some of whom I've never met, friends for life. - Alissa Grosso

My favorite part of this amazing year was holding my first book in my hand. It was a life team dream come true! I also loved going to New York City for Book Expo America in May. I had never been to NYC, so that was very exciting, but it was great to meet my Class of 2k11 classmates, and also to go to the office of my publisher and finally meet face-to-face all of the people who had worked so hard on The Sweetest Thing.

The biggest surprise of the year has been how much I have enjoyed doing events where I get to meet my readers. As a kid, all I wanted to do was write, but I never had a chance to meet a real author. It is important to me to show kids that writers are regular people who work really hard to make their work the best it can be. These kids are so special, smart and unique -- I feel so fortunate to get to know them.

As for what's next -- I look forward to seeing what the future holds. I've been working hard on my next book, and hope to have some good news to share about it soon! - Christina Mandelski

The best part of being a member of the Class of 2K11 has been knowing everyone involved! Although I'm pretty quiet & don't email a lot, these fabulous people have always been around to support and commiserate or cheer the ups and downs. I couldn't have done this nearly as sanely without my 2K11 buds! - Julia Karr

I cannot imagine anything nicer than publishing in the company of friends--fellow writers across the country who share the journey, who offer advice and support, who genuinely wish the best for one another. I traveled miles with my fellow 2k11 writers--and when I was tired they carried me, and when I was lost they pointed me toward the light. How can such a thing be possible with in such a solitary vocation? My great joy was meeting them in New York, my true joy will be knowing them for a long long time, book after book, and happily cheering them on. - Sheila O'Connor

Being a debut author is such an amazing time! It’s much more emotional than one would ever dream. But I’ve been so very fortunate for all the kindness people have shown me. As a member of the Class of 2k11, a group of authors whose first books have debuted this year, I not only found other authors who I could ride the rollercoaster of getting your first book published – sharing the good and the bad - but I’ve found authors who I will count as friends for the rest of my life. Additionally, I’ve met so many wonderful bloggers and readers in this community who have supported me, rooted for me and shared the excitement of watching my story become a book – that the whole process has truly been a dream come true. I will forever be grateful for all the kind, wonderful people out there who made this such a special year! Thank you! - Kiki Hamilton

One of my favorite moments with the Class of 2k11 was actually meeting everyone (almost) in New York during BEA week. The Books of Wonder event, in particular, was, well, wonderful, and after wards Bettina, Chris, Sheila, and I had a lovely dinner outdoors at the Bryant Park Cafe. - Angie Smibert

10. Receiving wonderful emails from my classmates when ‘crisis du jour’ happened.
9. Slumber party at Gae’s house.
8. The Crown Victoria photo opp.
7. Walking into Books of Wonder to see a full house and our books on the shelf.
6. Throwing virtual rocks for my classmates
5. SCBWI Carolinas
4. Understanding how much work a debut is – and that some things work and some things don’t. But, I had a supportive team that I could teach and learn from.
3. Celebrating each small moment with people who UNDERSTOOD the agony of reviews (good and bad), Goodreads, empty and full signings, lack of ARCS, B&N, Amazon math, etc.
2. Meeting and connecting with so many wonderful book people.
1. Best part of the year – knowing that this doesn’t have to end. I have friends and I have words. Whether I ever publish again is yet to be know, but friends and great stories won’t ever change.
-Bettina Restrepo

Gae, Amy D., Christina, Carrie, Geoff, Alissa, Amy H., Carol, Julia, Tara, Trinity, Angie, Kiki, Bettina, Tess, and Sheila you are all welcome on my blog anytime!

One of a kind artwork by Gae Poliser exclusively found on Cari's Book Blog


  1. What a great way to wrap up 2k11! Thanks Cari for introducing me to this great group of authors and their books!

  2. Thank you again for all the support, Cari! You are awesome. Gae's artwork was an unexpected surprise at the end of this post!

  3. Tipping my hat to the wonderful class of 2k11. <3

  4. LOVE IT! Cari you are so awesome. :)

    And Congrats again to all the Class of 2K11!

  5. ah, and I was worried I'd never see that drawing again. . . *coughs*

    We LOVE you, Cari. Thanks for all the love and support to you and all the bloggers who keep our titles out there in the Universe.

  6. Awesome, awesome post. I really loved reading everyone's post about the moment things became real for them, or about the successes or stumbling blocks, but most of all how everyone was there for each other.

    I'll be part of the debut Class of 2K12, and I hope to meet a group of authors as tight as this one is.


  7. This is SUCH a great post! Thank you! ;-)

  8. This is SUCH a great post! Thank you! ;-)