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.
BOOK GIVEAWAY! Enter by March 21st!
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!
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.
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 BigIQkids.com and she was happy to help me out with my site. Thanks Mom!!!!