Monday, March 16, 2015

The Great "Just Jake" Book Giveaway + Interview

Jake Marcionette, the NYT bestselling author who wrote his first book, Just Jake, at age 12 emailed me to see if I would be interested in interviewing him and sharing a giveaway of his new book on Edtechworkshop. Of course, I emailed him back to say that no, I would not interview him, but my 5th grade students would love to interview him! Jake, now 14 years old, is excited for the publication of his second book, Just Jake #2 Dog Eat Dog, which will be released on March 31st.

Jake Marcionette
#2 Available March 31st

BOOK GIVEAWAY! Enter by March 21st! 

I am thrilled to be hosting a giveaway of Just Jake #1.
If you would like to enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post before the end of the day on March 21st saying why you would like to have a copy of this book. Make sure to enter your email correctly because that is how I will contact you if you win. I will choose a winner on Sunday, March 22nd. Whether you are a kid looking for a funny read or a middle-grades teacher looking for a great book for your classroom library, you will want to have this book!

My class loved talking with Jake via Skype. He was so full of energy, telling us how he became a published author and talking to each student, individually, about his or her passions. The class also wrote interview questions for him, and here are his answers.

Where do you live now? What school do you go to?
I live in Saint Augustine and attend St. Johns County virtual school. It’s easier for me because I travel a lot speaking to schools and promoting my books.

You were only 12 years old when you wrote your first book. How did you get to be such a quality writer at such a young age?
Practice...Practice...Practice. Lucky for me, my mom “encouraged” me to write when I was younger - couldn’t go outside until I did. And from there it has definitely grown into my passion. Also, I had a great deal to write about. I went to five different schools in six years so during that time I met a ton of interesting kids and experienced a variety of classroom cultures.

Did you ever get frustrated when you were writing your book?
Sure. I think anyone who writes a lot experiences a certain level of frustration. Especially for me since I focus on writing humor/comedy. I want every joke to kill so I often go back and rework/edit until I’m happy with the end result.

Were you ever worried or nervous about the book and how it would turn out?
No, not really because in the end I was happy with the final manuscript. It felt right and I thought I delivered on my goal to write a piece of middle grade fiction for kids from a kid’s perspective.

How long did it take you to write your two books, Just Jake and Just Jake 2?
Each book took about 6 months to write, edit and submit a final copy. That might seem long but I’m also in school full time which tends to demand a lot of my time as well. Right now I’m super excited that Just Jake #2 Dog Eat Dog is being published March 31st so look for it on Amazon and in book stores.

Do you have any advice for a young writer?
Write about what you know. I look at what my sister used to read and I know I could never be successful writing about vampires, gossiping mean kids or mythical creatures because I don’t know anything about those things. I love to laugh and really love being a kid. So, Just Jake is about a bunch of 6th grade friends doing funny stuff in and around school. I was confident I could deliver on that front.

Do you have any advice for other kids who want to get their writing published?
Be persistent and get ready for rejection but don’t let rejection derail your dreams. Never give up.

Were there any authors that inspired you? Were you inspired by any of your friends or teachers?
You bet. I’ve been really lucky in having great teachers who answered all my questions (and there were lots) and took the time to help nurture me as a writer. Jeff Kinney is without question one of my major influences. I love the fact he is so real and doesn’t try to sugar coat it like some authors who write for kids.

What was your family's response when they found out your book made the New York Times Bestseller List?
They were so angry! Kidding! Actually, we couldn’t believe it. Everyone was shocked and for me it was a dream come true.

How many literary agents did you call until one agreed? How do literary agents work?
I called ten agents and got offers of representation from two of them and eventually decided that Dan Lazar from Writers House in New York City was the perfect fit. Agents are responsible for introducing their client’s manuscripts to publishing houses and negotiating publishing deals.

We watched a video of you on your blog. It was the one where you were on the news. You were talking about you trying to get a literary agent, and one person yelled at you. What did you feel then?
Yeah, that was so funny. One of the agents I called started screaming at me, saying “I was doing it all wrong...” and how “I need to know the rules”. She wasn’t happy. I was surprised by her reaction but it certainly didn’t prevent me from picking up the phone and calling others. Remember, you need to be fearless and determined.

How did writing these books affect your life? In a good or bad way?
I’m happy to report I’m still the same kid and all-in-all this experience has been nothing but positive. Writing is my passion so I love what I do. But it also provides me with a platform that affords me the opportunity to get out there and try to motivate other kids. I’m no different from any of you. I firmly believe that any kid is capable of achieving great things no matter what their age. You just need passion, a plan and relentless determination.

We are very impressed with the quality of your website. Did you build it yourself or did you pay someone else to build it?
Thank you! No, I didn’t have to pay anyone. My mom is a multimedia technologist. She is the founder of and she was happy to help me out with my site. Thanks Mom!!!! 


Unknown said...

Dear Mrs. Hernandez, I would like to read this book and be entered into this contest to fulfill my enjoyment. From your old student, Parker

Abigail F. said...

Hi Mrs. H!
I would like to get this book because it's outside of my comfort zone! I like fantasy and magic but not really humor. I would like to try and see if I actually will enjoy it. If I just generally looked at the book I would probably place it in a category with Diary of a Wimpy Kid (which I didn't really like). But this book was made for kids written by a kid, so I would like to try it.

Your 5th Grade Student

Ava said...

Dear Mrs.Herandez,

I would really like to get the book Just Jake because you showed us a video about the book and it looks like some type Diary and a Wimpy Kid book and I enjoy those books. Also because it is a little out of my comfort zone but I think I will still enjoy it. The last thing I want to say is that this book should be really cool because a kid wrote this book so it should be good.
Ava from your 4th grade class

Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs. H,
I really want this book because I want to try out a new book, and I want to read this book because I love books the have a lot of cartoons in the book, and that's why I would like to read this book.

Your fouth grade student,

Anna said...

Dear Mrs. Hernandez,
Thank you for giving this giveaway. I would LOVE to have this book and read it because I really enjoy comics and I would like for my shelf to have a new awesome book! I like that a kid wrote this book so he has a sense what kids Like. Even if they are younger than him because he knows how it feels to be a fourth grader. I love the series Diary Of A Wimpy Kid so, I will probably like it. If I don't I will donate it to the school library or give it to one of my classmates. I can't wait to read one or more of his books once they come out. I am glad I got a chance to participate in this contest. I am so exited! SO HAPPY!!!!!! I like the idea that if you leave a quality comment, you get a spot in the drawing. I can not wail until Monday when you announce the winner.
Anna from your fourth grade class

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Hernandez,
I would LOVE to have the Just Jake book. First of all, I like books like that. You said that is is sort of like a diary, like a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. I love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. In fact, I read one last night! I also want this book because it is written from a kid's point of view. Literally, a twelve-year-old wrote it!
I hope that you'll choose to give the book to me!

Allie B said...

Dear Mrs H,

I would love to have Just Jake because noing that the author is a 14 year old and skyping with him persuade me into wanting to read the book. It should be really intresting.

Andrea said...

Congratulations to Parker, the winner of the book giveaway! I look forward to hearing how you like the book, Parker.

To my students- we have copies of both Just Jake books for you borrow from our classroom library.

To everyone else- Buy the Just Jake books, and support this great young author!