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Today, in Iran. A blogger’s quest for his brother.
Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
1887, New York.
Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Planet: Earth. Year: 2010. Dimension: who knows?
Every weekday.
Librarians: the Crusaders for Literature.
Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

April 17, 2012

First Second at TLA

Where in the world is First Second?

We're currently in Houston, setting up for the Texas Library Association show


It's my first time at TLA, so I'm very excited to be there, having heard nothing but good things about it.  Now I shall see for myself!

For all you attending TLA, we're bringing author Ben Hatke -- who wrote and illustrated Zita the Spacegirl, and its sequel Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, which (if the gods-of-mailing smile upon us) we shall have a limited number of advance copies of at the show.  Ben is excellent, and he may even do flips upon request!  Also he draws things.

Ben will be speaking at the Friday 8am Texas Maverick program, signing in the autographing area at 10am, and then talking to Texas teenagers after that!

Zita the Spacegirl is a candidate for the very prestigious Texas Bluebonnet Award this year.

We hope to see you in Texas!  We're at booth 1700, exhibiting with our parent company Macmillan. 

April 16, 2012

Give-Away: Mastering Comics


We've just gotten copies in the office of Mastering Comics, the companion book to Jessica Abel and Matt Madden's seminal comics textbook Drawing Words and Writing Pictures.  It looks great!  We're very excited about it.  And so should everyone else be who wants to learn more about making comics!

We're doing a give-away on GoodReads to celebrate.  You should go check it out!

April 13, 2012

Olympic Limericks


There once was a god who had all the power
Before him, his wife and children did cower.
Then one day he learned
Play mean you'll get burned
He was no longer the god of the hour.

This book is the first of George O'Connor's Olympians books: they start out good and only get better! 

April 11, 2012


A fantastic new book for young readers is now in stores everywhere: we are extremely proud to present GIANTS BEWARE by Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre. This is the first of an enchanting, extraordinary series. Don't deprive any young reader: order yours today!

And as a bonus which is already delighting young readers and budding cartoonists nationwide, here is a downloadable free GIANTS BEWARE ACTIVITY KIT! Please think of those young adventurers and print them a copy right away—they will thank you for it one day, when they publish their award-winning comics.

Download Activity Kit 3-21-12REV_Emailable

Seriously, young or old, here is pure reading pleasure between two covers.

"Fast, fun, and joyous to look at!" says Jeff Smith, author of Bone.

Fall 2012: It's That Time Again

Our Fall 2012 books are now up on NetGalley so that teachers, librarians, retailers, and media can download early pdfs for review. 

We're very proud of this fall season -- how could we NOT be proud of a season that has both giant cats and sumo wrestling, seriously? -- and we hope you enjoy our books! 

(as usual, any questions, send me e-mail: [email protected])

April 09, 2012

Self-publishing vs publishing with a traditional print publisher

There's a much longer post here, but I may never have the several hours it needs in order to be written well. But since this is something that comes up pretty frequently, I thought it might be sort of interesting/useful to put out some quick and dirty comparisons between self-publishing and publishing with a traditional print publisher from the point of view of the creator. 

(NB: I'm a publishing professional, so I'm not exactly the most disinterested party here. But I've tried to be as objective as I can. I'd be interested to hear if anyone spots me blithely revealing any egregious prejudices...)



Someone pays you (a royalty advance) right away, before you even sell a single book!

Services! You have people whose job it is to... edit, copyedit, proofread, project manage, budget and account for, design, print, warehouse, sell, distribute, market, and publicize your book.

Expertise! See above list. No matter how much of a go-getter/subject-matter-expert/hard worker you are, it's unlikely that you know as much about doing all of that stuff as the fifty people at your publisher who are working on your book. They're specialists, you have no choice but to be a generalist.

Moral support! You're not doing this alone. You are now the business partner of a company who has a strong incentive to want your book to succeed. This is a business advantage, but it also is pretty nice to know you're not alone in this crazy mixed-up business of giving birth to a book.

Shared risk! Guess what! If your publisher pays you an advance and then fails to sell more than 500 copies of your book, leaving 9,500 in the warehouse, who eats that loss? Your publisher! The only financial toll it takes on you is the fact that you will never earn a cent in royalties over the amount of your advance (already paid) and the fact that you may find it harder getting a second book deal. This is not an inconsiderable risk, however, which leads us to:



Your profits are your own! No more piddling royalties for you - you keep all the money earned by your book.

Business independence! You have ideas about where and how your book should be sold. You have ideas about how much it should cost and whether it should be in hardcover or paperback. Guess what: these choices are all entirely in your hands! Nobody is going to tell you what to do.

Creative independence! You have ideas about what your book should look like and how the plot should go. Without a publisher, the creative life of your book is entirely in your hands. You can retain the services of an outside editor, sure, but you definitely don't have to do what they say. Ditto design and art issues.

Self-reliance and community support! You don't need to worry about your project competing for attention with the 25 - 1000 other books that a publishing house is pumping out. You can baby your book all you want - after all, you're a publishing house with a publication list of one. Plus! If you succeed with your self-publishing venture it will be in large part because you (and you alone) have found and built an audience that has chosen to support you personally. That's pretty powerful.

Contained risk! If this venture goes belly-up and you're stuck with a financial disaster on your hands, the good news is, you've burned no bridges. You have soured no future deals. The loss is yours and yours alone, and will not change your chances (for the better or worse) of getting a future deal with a print publisher, if you decide to try that. It's also probably only going to improve your chances of succeeding in future self-publishing efforts, presuming you can learn from your mistakes.

April 08, 2012

Near and dear to :01...

Congratulations to First Second designer par excellence Colleen AF Venable and her partner in crime Stephanie Yue for their Eisner nomination for The Ferret's A Foot, the third book in the Guinea, PI series! We love these critters.


April 06, 2012

Revolution Limericks


Once in Iran there was a revolution
But it didn't agree with some's constitution
The people in power
Stayed in their tower
And no one yet has found a good solution.

(This book is really something unique -- a revolutionary book about revolution, set in Iran.  You should read it!)

April 05, 2012

First Second 2012 Eisner Nominees


Congratulations to all of our 2012 Eisner Nominees!

Best Publication for Early Readers -- Nursery Rhyme Comics
Best Publication for Kids -- Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke
Best Publication for Teens -- Anya's Ghost, by Vera Brosgol
Best Publication for Teens -- Level Up, by Gene Luen Yang and Thien Pham
Best Anthology -- Nursery Rhyme Comics
Best Graphic Album/Reprint -- Zahra's Paradise, by Amir and Khalil

Go vote, everyone!

April 04, 2012

Around the :01 Offices: Bookshelves

I've got a lot of books in my office.

It's not as many as I expected to have when I was a small child thinking about working in publishing -- that envisioning had books carpeting the walls (and possibly even the ceiling).  There are actually a few editors in our Macmillan-owned building who have offices like that -- books and books and books everywhere.  But it turns out for marketing, I don't need to have a whole lot of books that aren't published by First Second on hand, so I keep those at home where I have time to read them.


This is my active bookshelf -- the one that I pull books from on a daily basis, for mailings, review copy requests, to send to our sales department.  Most of the books on this shelf have come out in the past year -- we have another whole bookcase where we keep other titles from the more distant past.

This shelf is also the place where I keep the limited advance copies of books that aren't out -- those are mostly the stacks you see: Marathon, Baby's in Black, and because I sometimes work on graphic novel-y books from our sister companies, The Year of the Beasts and Take What You Can Carry.  And yes, the exciting stack all the way at the top is Diamond's Previews catalog. 


Also I have this bookshelf that spins!  It is mostly for display, though -- and the problem with spinning bookshelves is that the books tend to fall out with the exciting spinning action. 


My desk also has shelves that are immediately above my desk area.  On this one, I try to keep a copy of all the books that we publish, so I can have them for reference.  (This is mostly not successful, because people tend to request them for review, and I cannot resist sending books to them even if I only have a single copy.)  Also I keep stuff there that Cal at Strange Adventures sends me -- that would be the water glasses and the mug.


I also have this other shelf above my desk where I mostly keep labels, coffee cups, and our extremely sporadic promotional materials.  And I probably can get rid of that SDCC binder from 2009, right?  But I also keep the fiction and non-fiction I read that's going to get donated to charity (that's the large stack you see on top) and miscellaneous reference books -- always useful. And disorganized -- it turns out that my need for Harrap's Shorter French and English Dictionary (the blue volume on the far left) is extremely sporadic. 

And that's all the bookshelves I've got for today.  Hope you enjoyed the tour!

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FIRST SECOND is an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, which owns some of America's most prestigious publishers, known for great integrity and literary quality. These include Henry Holt, FSG, St Martin's Press, Tor and Picador, all of which have garnered the most coveted prizes in publishing.
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