October 17, 2006

The Loser of the 2006 Quill Award for Best YA Novel

So I didn't win that Quill Award. Thanks to everyone who voted for King Dork, of course, but the result was never really in doubt. As expected, a millions-selling dragon book got more votes than a thousands-selling dork book. And the award for Best Book in the Universe went to this.

I had a nice time at the awards ceremony dinner, though. I had never been to something like that before. It was in the whale room of the natural history museum. There were a few dozen large, round tables set up underneath the whale, a stage set at one end, and a control center in the middle of the room with two large teleprompter screens. I was mesmerized by the teleprompter, and spent most of the event staring back at it. Whenever the presenters would deviate from the script, the teleprompter guy would give them a short grace period, after which he would express his disappointment by flashing the text, or making it really huge. That would have made me feel pretty guilty, but it didn't seem to faze the presenters much. Donald Trump, it was said, hadn't liked his table so he refused to read any of his lines. He just stood there and made the other guy (co-author Robert Kiyosaki) read both parts of the teleprompter's snappy dialog. Entertainment was provided by American idol and babymama expert Fantasia. Anderson Cooper is far smaller and more sprite-like than he looks on TV. Harry Connick Jr.'s hair is almost preternaturally floppy. That Paolini kid was very friendly, and a good conversationalist. I congratulated him for winning by flashing him the Live Long and Prosper sign across the table, and he returned the salute without missing a beat and without a trace of irony. Which I really enjoyed.

The best part, though, was that Judy Blume was seated at my table. If fame is reckoned by numbers of people who are aware of and affected by a person's work, she was certainly the most famous person there. She is a very nice, sweet, unpretentious lady and we had a terrific conversation about books and Holden Caulfield. The person who introduced her to me in the elevator on the way down to the whale room mentioned that I had been very eager to meet her (which is true - I couldn't shut up about it since I learned she was going to be at our table.) "So," she said, "are you going to produce something out of your underwear for me to sign?" In fact, I just happened to have a copy of Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret with me, though I assured her it had never in fact been anywhere near my underwear. Here's what she wrote:


How cool is that? I mean, really.

Posted by Dr. Frank at October 17, 2006 10:36 PM | TrackBack

That's awesome. Pat didn't realize JB was a real person.

Posted by: crumbly at October 18, 2006 01:04 AM

Oh, but not awesome that you didn't win. :( stupid dragons.

Posted by: crumbly at October 18, 2006 01:05 AM

Congrats, Frank. That's way cooler than having to deface the next KD edition's cover with some gaudy logo, anyway.

Posted by: Wesley at October 18, 2006 01:53 AM

Almost as cool as comparing the Shaggs to Wittgenstein.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Posted by: Hulka at October 18, 2006 03:25 AM

Franks, Judes-kids! Holden is a fictional character! Fugettaboutit.

Posted by: milk at October 18, 2006 06:57 AM

You may have been the loser, Frank, but you're the lovable loser that everybody pulls for and one day wins/will win the big one. You've seen enough movies and read enough novels to know the stereotypical character. Interesting tidbit of Judy though, I didn't think authors had "groupies" ;)

Posted by: Zaphod at October 18, 2006 02:33 PM

Edit to the groupie comment, Anne Rice is the exception perhaps.

Posted by: Zaphod at October 18, 2006 02:35 PM

Man, I need to start carrying a copy of that book with me everywhere I go.

Posted by: Stephen at October 18, 2006 02:51 PM

Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earings? Okay, thanks for the advice.

I haven't read that book, but I saw a good portion of Diary of a Mad Black Woman on HBO. Yuck.

Posted by: josh at October 18, 2006 05:33 PM

yikes,i'm sure your book was definately better than the book of the year. i have to admit though,some people happen to like stupid dragons,and i might be one that has to look into that book or books. its actually the sequel to one that was just before it.

some of us prefer fantasy over reality i guess,
or perhaps what truth is in it if that makes any sense. probably not, orry for the rambling.

Posted by: just me at October 18, 2006 07:16 PM

did you tell her you wrote a song about the book?

Posted by: aaron at October 18, 2006 11:42 PM

That's awesome. I absolutely loved "Tales of a Fourth Grade nothing" when I was in Elementary school. Congratulations on meeting Judy Blume!

Posted by: Rich at October 19, 2006 12:52 AM

this is AMAZING! ms. blume has very teenagery handwriting. guess it helps out since she has her finger on the pulse of teenage life and all. very happy for you! xo alicia

Posted by: alicia p. at October 19, 2006 11:00 PM

Lay off the dragon books people. What the hell do you have against dragons anyway? Those things could kick henderfag's ass if they wanted to.

Anyway it's pretty cool when a grown man gets giddy at the idea of meeting judy blume. Much like I would lose it if I had a chance to meet that dude that sang "heartbeat, it's a lovebeat".

Anyway I can tell you firsthand not to make a black woman take off her earings. I did it once. she turned into a dragon and kicked my ass.

Posted by: MArk at October 20, 2006 10:38 AM

If that Madea piece of crap was the Best Book of the Year, I wouldn't want a Quill Award. Kinda like the old Groucho Marx line about not wanting to join any club that'd have somebody like me as a member, y'know?

You'll get 'em next time.

Posted by: Jim Testa at October 20, 2006 04:10 PM

Madea? Seriously. Madea.


I just checked, and nothing I voted for won. However, in a world where the five-hundredth "If You Give a Pig another damn thing even though you should know better by now..." book wins out over a Lane Smith book, and a fake sassy grandma's continuing commentaries wins out over pretty much the greatest and most relatable introverted-dork-kid book ever, I guess I just have to be proud that I have infinitely better taste than the esteemed judges. It's fabulous enough that you caught their eye.

The story about meeting Judy Blume is fantastic, too. Now I feel less chumpy about my copy of King Dork. It's good to know that admiration is the kind of thing you don't have to grow out of.

Posted by: Sasha at October 20, 2006 11:40 PM

Dragon books are something I don't even try to read but I'm sure it wasn't a patch on King Dork...your book abides, prize or no prize. And who votes? Sometimes it's kids who like dragon books...go figure, as you say over there.

Posted by: adele geras at October 22, 2006 08:00 PM

Check out my self-published book at the link below. It's not nearly as good as King Dork, or most Dragon Books for that matter:


Posted by: Jordan at October 23, 2006 02:23 AM

hey like mark said lay off the dragon books!
we love all your witty humors,but some us who aren't kids think dragon books are perfectly valid and not excessive at all.

in fact true confessions:

when i saw Dragonheart the movie it almost made me cry at the end and i was not a kid.

Posted by: just me at October 23, 2006 06:51 PM

Since Dr. Frank and King Dork have hit the big time, I've convinced myself that I need to write a novel. It'll be a huge hit. Without the royalties of a famous punk rock band to help me through the lean times, I need to get on the fast track. Luckily, I came across this course, which promises to help me write a novel in 40 days. It'll be ready just in time for Christmas.


Posted by: kaos at October 23, 2006 07:57 PM

I just finished my fist Novel too! it's called "as I lay dying". it was pretty good. cant wait to get started on another one.

Posted by: MArk at October 25, 2006 10:56 AM

Idea for a book: Chicken Soup for the Quill Award Loser's Soul. Just throwing it out there. If anyone turns this around and makes a million on it, cut me in...wouldya?

I never would've guessed that Judy Blume still had that big, curlicued preadolsecent girl handwriting. It sort of figures.

Posted by: sheckie at October 25, 2006 08:52 PM

I'm really made up you got nominated for something! Only just found out as ive been abit behind recently.

Posted by: Ste Eyre at November 6, 2006 04:03 AM