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WOTD: 2k9trovercy

Today's word of the day is: 2k9trovercy

I didn't want to be writing a blog entry today.  I wanted to spend the day with my wife on what is perhaps our last weekend together before our baby is born.  But there is a Class of 2k9 controversy a-brewin' and I'm in the eye of it. 

A couple years back I came up with an idea for an author group called the Class of 2k7 as a way for 2007 debut authors of children's and young adult novels to share information, pool resources, and get the word out more effectively as a group than any one of us could ever do alone.  It was all about helping each other, and we amazed a lot of people by the things we were able to accomplish.  We formed strong friendships and proved that authors aren't the egomaniacal prima donas that some people make us out to be.  We even gave talks and workshops to other authors to let them know how they could form groups of their own, and many of them have.

It seemed natural for me to continue on as a mentor for a Class of 2k8, Class of 2k9, and beyond.  Since we're into 2008 now, the Class of 2k8 is in full swing and continually blowing me away with their creativity and professionalism.  And the Class of 2k9 is just starting to organize itself and put out a call for members.  Still at the start of the cycle, with first publishing contracts in hand, they have a steep learning curve ahead of them--and therein lies the problem.

Recently another group of debut children's and young adult authors started a 2k9 blog of their own, which is a flattering tribute to what we've done and a cooperative spirit that I support very much.  However, the Class of 2k9 organizers were concerned that the other group's name and URL were too similar to theirs, and was likely to confuse people.  In the tiny world of children's book publishing, lots of people have heard of the Class of 2k7 and the Class of 2k8, and might reasonably think that a 2k9 blog of 2009 debut children's and YA novelists might have something to do with us.

In hindsight, I should have engaged myself fully in the ensuing discussions between the two groups.  I should have offered my services as a voice of reason and experience between these two very fine groups of authors.  I should have, at the very least, better explained to the 2k9ers that our entire philosophy has always revolved around helping each other and supporting other groups who do the same--but instead I was very much occupied with my wife and I having our baby, so I delegated the matter and must accept full responsibility for the results.

Things weren't handled quite the way I would have handled them.  Okay, that's an understatement.  Things were handled very, very badly.  Emails were exchanged in a tone that came off as condescending and threatening, totally unlike the friendly, conciliatory, and supportive feelings we've always put out to other groups. 

Then the worst selections from the worst of these emails was posted online and all hell broke loose.  The acting 2k9 co-president who sent this email assures me that it wasn't intended as a threat. That she feels horrible and is going to refrain from putting her foot in her mouth again. And I believe her, because I've only known her to be a kind and lovely person, but damned if she hasn't burned through two entire years worth of goodwill that the two preceding classes have worked so hard to build.

Members of all three 2k Classes are scrambling to distance themselves from this email, one of them even dropping out of the group, which is perhaps the worst fallout of all.  And here I am, dishing out emails and blog comments at a breakneck pace, taking full responsibility for everybody's hurt feelings even as things continue to spiral on and on out of control.  I can't express how badly I feel for not taking ten minutes out of my day to draft a polite email that could have avoided this whole mess.  And now I must go off and apologize again to my patient-as-a-saint wife for ruining our entire day.

The 2009 Debutantes, as they are now called, have the full support of the Classes of 2k7, 2k8, and 2k9, offered by me as the founder and president of the Class of 2k7 and mentor of the Classes of 2k8 and 2k9.  Our friendship and assistance are at your disposal.


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:02 am (UTC)
whew! Makes me happy I've spent most of the day sick in bed and/or researching home schooling.
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this post. As a member of the now-Debut2009 community I was very disturbed by that email, and I really appreciate your attempts to clear the air and the fact that you've made this statement about it. I hope that all of the writers who have books coming out in 2009 (and any other year!) can move on from this and support each other, as it should be.
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
Amen! Children's book authors are some of the nicest people I've ever known, without exception. Rosanne also is a nice and wonderful person who just happened to make an unfortunate mistake. It comes with being human.
Feb. 11th, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
Indeed it does! Thank you again, and best wishes to your family and its newest addition!
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)
Glad that you were able to reach a nice soft place. That kind of controversy gives me a headache!

Good luck with the baby!!! HOW EXCITING!!!!!!!!!
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:30 am (UTC)
Just wanted to congratulate you and your wife. Focus on your family. I don't think this reflects on you in any way.
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)
Greg, you've handled everything extremely well, and I'm sorry you were dragged into this at such an unfortunate time.

As usual, you've managed to stay above the fray, while also bringing a sense of rationality to things. And that says a lot about your character.

- Jay Asher

P.S. I remember seeing your child's ultrasound last summer...blasted onto a huge white screen while preparing the Powerpoint at the national SCBWI conference. Amazing! Get ready for some big changes, Daddy!!!
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:56 am (UTC)
Ultrasound Powerpoint was a highlight of the entire conference. Talk about larger than life!
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
Beautifully said, Greg. I am heart sick that this has happened and that I'm only just finding out about it, but I am also VERY VERY excited about the fact that the beautiful forehead in that ultrasound is about to be out in the world, getting a lot of love.

You guys are going to be amazing parents.

I'm going to post about the 2k9/debutante thing in my blog tomorrow as well.
Feb. 11th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
How come everyone knows about this??


See my comment to Greg. =)
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
Greg, you are awesome. In my opinion, you shouldn't have to handhold for everyone. You should be able at some point (esp. at the point you're at w/wife and impending babe) to delegate. Again, I say--this is not your fault. You aren't responsible. But as Jay notes, wow--way to show some character with these posts. Thank you. You're an amazing president. Now go off and spend some time w/your family! :)
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry these events had to take you away from your family; thank you for your numerous postings and work to smooth this over. I myself have only gained in my appreciation and respect for the classes of 2k7 and 2k8 during this affair, and I have every hope that 2k9 and debut2009 can both now move forward from this and prosper.
Feb. 11th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
Hi Greg. I think it's really, really great that you acknowledged this. I'm a happy member of the Debutantes group and know from the beginning that Jackson only used the 2k9 slogan to attract authors whose book came out that same year; she never intended to compete with the real 2k9 group and when she created the group, let everyone know that. We're just a fun, chatty group that discusses the usual stuff: editorial letters, future projects etc., until this terrible thing with the co-president's disturbing email.

I would love to be a member of both groups, and have admired 2k7 and now 2k8--my friends have loved being involved. Thanks for stepping in and offering your kind words. Let's hope this clears up soon and the excitement and supportive fun will continue. And congrats on the baby!

Feb. 11th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
Thanks, Heidi. I'm looking forward to getting to know the members of your group and learning all about your books!
Feb. 11th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
Thanks, Greg. All the best for a smooth delivery. The best baby book I read: The Baby Whisperer (Secrets of, maybe?) It has great tips. In fact, i have to reread before our second babe is born in May.

All best to your family
Feb. 11th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
Thanks for clearing things up, Greg! You are awesome.

Now go spend some time with your wife. You guys are going to be very busy soon! Enjoy that new baby, Dad!!

Feb. 11th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
Greg, I'm not going to blog about this but I'll post your link because people are only getting bits and pieces of this mess. Hang in there! This should be the happiest time of your life, so forget this for now and go BE A HAPPY NEW DADDY! And thanks again for 2k7. :) Jeannine
Feb. 11th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
Think about that baby! He/she is WAY more important than all this drama. And you'll have plenty of drama to deal with in about 13 years, anyway.
And btw, I think that today was the day I picked for the baby's birthday, so tell your wife to get movin', Ok?
Feb. 11th, 2008 03:34 am (UTC)
Greg, thanks so much for posting this and making it clear that the Class of 2k7 fully supports all debut authors and doesn't condone any form of meanspiritedness. (Heck, until this afternoon, I didn't even know there was a Class of 2k9!) Your eloquence and grace-under-pressure are very much appreciated, now as always. Now go become a daddy and stop worrying about this!
Feb. 11th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)
Greg, thanks for all your work on this. "This too shall pass" will soon become your favorite saying as a parent. Lucky you, you get to practice using it a little early. :) Best wishes to you and your wife!!!
Feb. 11th, 2008 05:34 am (UTC)
Oh, wow. So sorry this all had to happen Greg! And what a sucky time for it as well.

But let it go and just enjoy this time with your wife and your wee one (when it shows up!).

Good luck! I'm sure you'll be a fabulous daddy!
(And remember to tell your wife how proud you are of her and how thankful you are that she went through all of that to bring your sweet one into the world!) :)
Feb. 11th, 2008 07:34 am (UTC)

You are going to be a dad!

How fabulous. I wish you and your wife and your baby all the best in all the world. :)

And I think you thought of a great idea of writers helping writers, and it is obvious your sunny philosophy shines through even now, even through a muddy day. Thank you for being a writer who is a friend to other writers!

Hope to see you again in LA
Meg :)
Feb. 11th, 2008 08:47 am (UTC)
"My Heart will go on and on...."
I think I am glad I have no idea what is going on, what was going on, and what will go on without me. Quick. Someone get Celine Dion's people on the phone. I think I have a new song for her.

Here's praying for a healthy, happy delivery of Baby Fishbone. I am awaiting the arrival on er... er...... tenterhooks (or was that "tenterbooks)? I can't remember my own Genius at Work. ;>
(See Word of the Day, sometime back in 2007.) {{{{}}}

Don't forget the red bow for the baby's crib and carriage. {}

-Pamela, Future Class Secretary of K3015 at the rate I am writing ;>

Edited at 2008-02-11 09:53 am (UTC)
Feb. 11th, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC)
Re: "My Heart will go on and on...."
Thanks, Pam!
Feb. 11th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
Re: "My Heart will go on and on...."

Oh my g-d. Time flies when you're on TENTERBOOKS.
I was the WORD OF THE DAY in MARCH 2006!
That felt like... yesterday.
I am living on my past laurels. My Glory Days...
YOURS, Greg, are just around the corner.

Maybe you'll have a new sweetheart to love this week-- like a Valentine's baby. {{{{}}}

"Near, far, wherever you are, I believe that the heart does go onnnnnnnnnn,"
and p.s. for the record: I read some of the LJ entries and comments last night regarding this 2009 class and I will say you are the ultimate gentleman in every word, every act. Good for you, Future Papa.
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:43 pm (UTC)
Greg, I'm another 2009 Debutante who is very impressed and grateful for the effort you've put into smoothing this over -- but I also want you to know that it would never have occurred to me to blame you for any of it, or even to think of it as something associated with the "Class of 2k" name in general -- just one person (though unfortunately, a person in a position of power) jumping to the wrong conclusions and making a bad decision about how to respond.

I think the Class of 2k idea is wonderful and I'm so glad you came up with it -- and I definitely think the good far outweighs the bad that has happened here.

My very best wishes to you and your wife for a safe delivery of your little one, and much joy (in spite of sleepless nights!) to come.
Feb. 11th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
I appreciate the sentiment but it's a bit unfair to put the blame on just one person. Rosanne, in addition to being a talented writer, also has a big heart and the desire to help other people. That's why she joined the 2k9 collective and volunteered to take on a leadership role.

Since the group is still forming and getting its legs under it, Rosanne and the others are bound to make mistakes. Normally it wouldn't be such a big deal for the brand new leader of a brand new group to mess up a little (or even a lot), but the Class of 2k9 is building on a legacy of two classes that have come before. Everyone expects them to be instantly professional and experienced, forgetting that they're just at the start of a very steep learning curve.

Rosanne and the others looked to me for guidance and, distracted as I was, I let them down. So I will accept responsibility for their mistakes. The buck stops with me.

Edited at 2008-02-11 01:36 pm (UTC)
Feb. 11th, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)

Good luck with the new little one! And thanks for taking on diplomacy duties. Phew! What a mess!

Feb. 11th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
First off, congratulations on the new family member! I hope now that you've posted this things will settle down and you can enjoy the final countdown!

I was not on LJ most of the weekend so when I caught up with my flist I was reading a lot of posts and links trying to figure out what in the world happened. Thank you for outlining the situation so thoroughly that I learned more reading your post in 20 minutes than catching up with numerous posts over an evening.

You've formed a wonderful group, one that I support fully both in spite of and because of not being eligible myself for a few reasons (don't worry, I understood why, I was just sorry I couldn't be a part of it!). Everything else aside, it is a testament to what you and the others built that it caused this strong a reaction in the writing community. Above all, you shouldn't feel guilty that you weren't around for this. You delegated, some people screwed up, unfortunate, but it did happen and you should not feel personally responsible.

I hope you can take a break from this now. Thank you again for posting this and handling things so gracefully.
Feb. 11th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
As someone who used to run a school, I can so relate to the huge headache you're feeling right now! In fact, such headaches are why I ended the school before having kids -- I'm very impressed with how well you're handling both sides while waiting for the huge Change and Joy in your life ;)

I definitely agree with the entire tone of your post -- we're in all this together. Let's support and help each other through the troubling parts as best we can!
Feb. 11th, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)
Hard as this business is already, it's amazing what rises to make it more difficult.Your efforts are appreciated. Hope things go differently for future groups...
Feb. 11th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, and on a completely different note--
Speedy Delivery!
How exciting... post pics!
Feb. 11th, 2008 11:23 pm (UTC)
An Open Letter from the Class of 2k8
The children's writing community is known for its supportiveness and friendliness. Recently, misunderstandings about the "Class of 2K" label have caused rifts in part of our community.

We, the Class of 2k8, are troubled by these misunderstandings. What threatens one writer threatens us all, and we should have voiced our concerns about these issues earlier. We regret that we did not. As first-time children's novelists, we are learning as we go. However, we wish to be clear now: We fully support Jackson Pearce, the 2009 Debutantes, and all other authors with books debuting in 2008, 2009, and beyond.

We are not only members of the Class of 2k8; we are also part of the larger children's writing community, and we value and respect that community and its members. We look forward, especially, to sharing the thrill of becoming first-time children’s novelists with other debut authors.

The Class of 2k8
Marissa Doyle, Jody Feldman, Lisa Schroeder, Jenny Meyerhoff, Nina Nelson, Sarah Prineas, Barrie Summy, Laurel Snyder, Debbie Reed Fischer, Nancy Viau, Kristin Tubb, PJ Hoover, Elizabeth Bunce, Jen Bradbury, Courtney Sheinmel, Regina Scott, Daphne Grab, Ellen Booraem, Donna Freitas, Terri Clark, Liz Gallagher, Teri Brown, Michele Barker, Brooke Taylor

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )