Hoax for Hire

Are you ready for a cover reveal?

I’m not sure if I am. To be honest, I was planning on sitting on this one for a while since its release date got bumped back to August instead of the usual May release my other three books have enjoyed.

Why the bump?  Because in the world of books, I’m not Beyoncé.  Beyoncé got the May slot. How do I fix that?  I work harder to become Beyonce…so to speak.

So I was going to wait until a little closer to the release date to officially reveal the cover to the public, but then I got this idea about creating an ad that I could run on Instagram and Facebook. Something that highlighted my books as great gateway books for kids that don’t like reading yet. When I used to teach I called them gamechanger books.

No one really advertises books this way, at least not that I’ve seen, but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.  So, I turned to the internet. Which made it pretty clear that while I could learn how to put together a high quality professional looking video…it was going to take some time. And equipment I didn’t own.  And so, I did some bothering of people until I found the contact for the guy at our church who put together the videos, and I sent an email.

I have no idea if this will work. Or if this is a terrible idea.  But I’ve learned that sometimes you just need to follow your gut.

If you want to watch the video, CLICK HERE.

If you want to share that video onto your own social media platform, be my guest!   I have no idea if it will sell books, but we shall see!  And if you think I am asking you to help me move books because I want to make money…let me assure you that’s not the case. I make exactly zero dollars for every book sold at the moment.  (I’d love to have that change someday…but remember… working towards Beyonce over here!). So until I do, I’m just trying to move books because unless you sell books…no one asks you to write any more. And guys, I have so many more books I want to write for you!!!

But back to Hoax. As you saw, Hoax for Hire makes an appearance on the clip.  A brief one, but still an appearance, so I wanted to beat it to the punch.

First a few things about  Hoax for Hire…

This is the first book I wrote after having kids.

To unpack that a little bit.  I wrote The Ark Plan, which would later be split into two books- The Ark Plan and Code Name Flood, before having kids. In fact, I got the call that I’d landed my dream agent three days after my daughter was born.  I was in shock.  So the editing for that book and the creation of Code Name Flood happened when I had kids, but I wasn’t starting from nothing.

FLOAT was completely finished before I had kids as well, so all I had to do was polish it and edit it a bit.

Hoax for Hire was started from scratch during a very exhausting season of my life. It was a book written on very little sleep, too much coffee, and entirely while my kids were sleeping. And to be honest,  that terrified me.

I had the distinct feeling that I’d caught a very bad case of “DUMB” ever since I’d had kids.  Maybe it was because I went from analyzing texts and critical thinking to saying things like “where did your pants go?”, but I was worried that I’d lost “it” somehow.  Lost whatever magical thing had allowed me to write three books. Like it had been drained out of me by the relentless rush of being a mom to three tiny humans.

But just because something is hard, doesn’t mean you should do it anyways. So despite the fact that I had three kids three and under, I sat down to write Hoax for Hire.  An idea that I’d actually written down years ago.

Hoax for Hire came from being forced to teach a curriculum I didn’t exactly like.  It was the Plugged into Non-Fiction program by Janet Allen, and I was given a nifty bookcase with seven copies of all these non-fiction books to teach to my classes of 30 plus kids.

Sounded about right.  But the problem wasn’t the lack of books, it was that we weren’t supposed to actually “read” most of these. We were supposed to pick them apart and dissect them like frogs in order to teach non-fiction strategies.

For the record, this is not how you get kids to love reading.  However, no one asked my opinion, so I did my best with what I had. The books I was given weren’t terrible, but there was one that stuck out from the pack. It was this one.

I was supposed to spend about thirty minutes on it, but you should have seen the way my students lit up when I mentioned the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot. It was like someone had flipped a switch, and they were all in.  It was a teachable moment, and I grabbed it.  So, I shut my classroom door, and we spent about four days deep diving into the book. We debated whether or not Bigfoot was real using textual evidence, we watched youtube clips about sea monsters, we read eye witness accounts and discussed what made an eyewitness credible.

In short, we devoured that book.   And at some point during all of this, I walked over to my desk and opened my lesson planner. And in the margins I wrote down “What if ONE family was responsible for all of it?” And Hoax for Hire was born.

So now that know a little background on HOW Hoax for Hire came to be, here is a little bit about what it is about!

Usually I have a great long post with lots of pictures showing the various drafts the cover goes through before we reach the final product. (Translation: I’m apparently picky and my wonderful editor and illustrator enable that pickiness by letting me have some say.)  But I don’t this time.  For the first time ever I was sent a cover sketch, and I stared at it for a few minutes and then sent an email back to my editor that basically said IT’S PERFECT!  CHANGE NOTHING!

Here is the original sketch I was sent by the amazing Kevin Keele. 

You can see a few minor changes, for example I told them what cryptid names to put on the crates, and we added a rather nifty tagline I’m rather proud of, but besides that we kept things the same!  And I LOVE it.

Remember, this beauty doesn’t come out until August.  I know. I’m sad too.

But if you want to pre-order and earn my eternal gratitude, CLICK HERE!

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