Today, May 18, 2020, is the tenth anniversary of Belly Up’s publication.

Ten years ago today, I became a published author. Belly Up was released by Simon & Schuster.  If you go back to my very first blog post (which was also published about ten years ago) you will see that it was a very momentous week fo me.  On May 14, I had watched my friend, astronaut Garrett Reisman, blast off into space, and then my family spent the next few days having fun in Florida.  Somewhere around may 18, Garrett took this incredible photo of my first copy of Belly Up (which was an Advanced Reader Copy) on the space shuttle.

At the time that Belly Up was published, I thought that maybe, this might be the only book I would ever write. But thanks to the support of some of the finest people I have ever worked with, such as my agent Jennifer Joel, my publisher, Justin Chanda, editors like Courtney Bongiolatti (who really left publishing to become an FBI agent), Kristin Ostby Hoyle, Liz Kossnar and Krista Vitola, and my cover artist Lucy Cummins (who may have created the finest cover ever for this book), I have now published twenty books and am scheduled for another six over the next two and a half years.  (Plus, there might be some exciting new projects to mention in a few months.)

My career in publishing has been an incredible journey. When I started, I had no idea that I would get to engage with my young readers so often via school visits and blog post comments, or that my own children would eventually get involved in the editing process, or that I would be participating at book festivals and meeting fellows authors. As it happens, many of those authors have become some of my closest friends.  Authors like James Ponti, Sarah Mlynowski, Christina Soontornvat, Karina Yan Glaser, Max Brallier, Gordon Korman, Ally Carter and many, many, many more.

So thank you to everyone who has supported my career, bought one of my books, come to a reading of mine, sat in on a panel, written me fan mail, given me a positive review, or simply enjoyed the book. Thanks to all the hard-working bookstore employees and librarians out there who have recommended my books to young readers.

And of course, thanks to all of you, my readers.  This wouldn’t have happened without you.


166 thoughts on “Today, May 18, 2020, is the tenth anniversary of Belly Up’s publication.

  1. Oreo –

    I am not sure when I will be able to announce the other projects. It may be a while.

    And yes, I could only start Charlie Thorne because I had finished MBA. I can’t possibly do four series at the same time.

  2. Hiya Stu!

    I have a feeling I’m gonna be super bored this summer, so I was thinking about working on writing. I was wondering if you have any tips or resources to help me out? Thanks a bunch!

  3. Ok Stu, I figured that was bad of them, so I won’t share your children’s ages either

  4. Stu-
    Have you ever read the land of stories series, I read them like 2 and a half years ago and loved them.Also have you read the hunger games, the new prequel about the 10th hunger games came out within the last week.

  5. Dear whoever first mentioned the Scythe series,
    I know that your comment wasn’t directed towards me but, thanks for mentioning The book because I read some stuff about it and it sounds interesting, I also needed something to read after I finish the four boooks I am planning to read (I think I am planning to far ahead, with scythe I am planning the next 7 books I’m gonna read… weird)

  6. bookeater37

    I have to admit, I am not the best person to go to for resources in this area. I assume there are lots of sites with writing prompts out there. But I wouldn’t know what to recommend. Sorry.

    I’d say, if you really want to write, then write whatever stories you want to write.

  7. Stu-

    I know you don’t have complete control over this, but since you are writing the screenplay for the spy school movie, I would really ask you to try to keep the movie as faithful to the book as possible. I hate movies that stray from the book because even if the movie is good, I always look at it as what it could have been. Again, you have little control over this. But if you happen to agree with me (as you are the author to spy school, I have a feeling you do)… well, it is a request, not one you have to or even should grant. But I’m throwing it out there, for you not to do anything that would ruin the movie by not making it faithful to the book.


  8. Stu

    Happy Book-a-versiry! ( Was that spelled right? Is it even a word?) I see now that in spy school 5, secret service, you made the presidents personal guard Courtney, I’m guessing as a gesture to Courtney Bongiolatti because she went into law enforcement. You do that a lot, don’t you? But I think it is cool to be a published author, so happy days for you. I am getting a poem published in an anthology, which I’m really exited about. I wish they’d tell me the name of the book, though.

    Erica Hale

  9. Stu-
    Will you ever write a book with a female POV. Maybe and Erica or Summer novel/novella? Or something new?

  10. Orion –

    As the author of the book, I am doing everything i can to keep the screenplay as close to the book as possible.

    But… a movie is not a book. Things have to change. For example, there is an entire chapter in the book that is a conversation in a dark room. That would make for a terrible movie scene.

    Plus, if I had every scene from the book in the movie, it would be over three hours long. No studio is going to approve that. It would be really expensive and way too long.

    So I am doing my best to write a movie that is as true to my book as possible.

  11. Erica –

    Yes, I do drop friend’s names into books on occasion.

    Congratulations on getting your poem published.

  12. Orrin –

    I would love if Charlie became a movie. All I have to do is convince a movie studio to spend tens of millions of dollars to film it in the middle of a massive economic crisis.

  13. Livie –

    I don’t know if I will ever write anything from a female POV. It’s somewhat tricky to do that as a man.

  14. Stu-

    Thank you for that reaffirmation. Of course, I was not asking for you to keep every scene from the book, scenes aren’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about when films omit characters or important plot beats in order to squeeze other things in. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince did this, they sacrificed a whole lot of Voldemort flashback scenes for more time to build Ron and Lavender’s relationship. Like what? But I feel confident that the Spy School movie will be decent at worst because a faithful movie is a good movie.


    PS: I accidentally signed my name Orion. That is my name, but not the name I would like to use. So sorry about that.

  15. Stu-

    Which of these is most likely to be turned into a movie:

    A) a sequel to the Spy School Movie (I would assume titled Spy Camp)
    B) a FunJungle movie
    C) a Charlie Thorne movie

    Personally, I think Spy School is your series best suited to film, followed by Charlie Thorne. I love FunJungle, but I think a lot of what makes the book special would be lost in the film. But I’m no expert.


  16. Oreo –

    In theory, a Spy Camp movie would be the most likely, but I would be happy to be surprised by a FunJungle or Charlie Thorne movie getting made.

  17. Stu-

    Is there a series of yours that you would prefer to be made into a movie next? Or if not, which is more likely to be made into a movie– Charlie Thorne or FunJungle?


  18. In my opinion, I don’t think a spy camp movie would be that great because I think that the movie would be boring during the part that Erica, Ben, and Alexander, and you would have to have very good actors to make the relationship between Erica and Alexander believable. I would much prefer a Funjungle movie or maybe the movie producers could skip spy camp and go to evil spy school.

  19. Aidan-

    I don’t understand your comment. Could you clarify? I personally think Spy Camp would be just as good of a movie as any of the Spy School movies, but your comment could have merit. I just don’t understand it. “The part where Erica Ben Alexander” doesn’t make a lot of sense. And of course you would have to be good actors to make that relationship work! But there are so many actors I am sure can do it, so I really just don’t understand your comment.

  20. Oreo –

    Honestly, I don’t have any preferences. If anyone wants to make a movie of one of my books (and let me have some creative control) I would be very happy.

  21. Aidan –

    You do realize that we have some control over how exciting the movie is, right? That’s exactly why, in a movie, you don’t have every single scene or piece of dialogue there is in the book. In fact, we can amp up the action sequences in a movie to make parts possibly more exciting than they were in the book.

    Meanwhile, jumping right to Spy Camp or Evil Spy School would really only work for people who had read the books.

  22. Bob and Teddy –

    I will release more information about CT2 when I feel that it is time. (And I have a cover image.)

  23. Zan –

    I feel that the Teddy/Summer relationship was very different than the Ben/Erica or Ben/Zoe relationship. As Erica says, over and over and over in Spy School, relationships complicate the spy business. That is not really the case in the FJ series.

  24. -Oreo,
    to clarify is that I think a spy camp movie would be boring in the part in-between the 2 main action sequences, which is like a third of the book or supposed movie. Also what I said was that Erica and alexander’s interaction after they jump of would be hard to pull of without good actors to make it believable.

  25. Or maybe I’m just being to critical on this, since I have never been involved with the making of a movie aand don’t know how all works, so maybe my points arent really justified

  26. Aidan –

    Well, when you say that you would need really good actors to make things believable… That’s the whole point of hiring actors. No one says ‘Let’s hire crummy actors who don’t make this believable at all.’

  27. I don’t know who Sidan is, but if i knew him I think he would say that some movies don’t have good casting directors and they can’t get good actors. But Sidan probably forgot that this movie was being made by Disney, which most of their movies have great actors

  28. Stu-
    Congratulations on ten years. I’m going to be honest, the first Gibbs book I read was Spy School and I didn’t like it.


    But then, a few months later I read Spy Camp (for some reason I thought they were two different books. I thought you stole the guy who wrote Spy Camp’s idea. This is why it’s important to read the author bio in the back of books hahahahah.)

    And yes, I loved Spy Camp. I read all the Spy School books up to that point in like, two weeks. They were awesome, all of em, even Spy School. I really like your books because it’s very obvious you put a lot of time in them to make them very good. So, when a kid like me sits down and reads one, we can always be confident we’ll get another awesome one.

    Also, you’re always coming up with new and exciting ways to make things interesting. History for example: I know lots of kids who don’t like history, even though I do. But, I feel like CT, took Einstein and mad him interesting because kids are now reading a whole lot about him to find out how smart he really was.

    And science too, which is a main theme throughout your books. It makes it very cool and we all appreciate how much research you put into your books.

    Thank you!

    Also, you know what your publisher should do next year? Reslease SS10 on the day SS1 was published. Then run a big add that says, “Did the dork finally make it through spy school? Maybe not . . . but you can find out in the hilarious 10th book in the series, full of awesome action, gut-busting humor, and special notes by the author on writing his first bestseller ten years later.” or something like that.

    It might turn out to be a good marketing thing. Or a least it’ll be cool.

  29. Hey Stu,
    Have you thought about writing a book about how they made the Spy School Movie if it comes out?

  30. Hi Stu, a lot of people been debating if Zoe and Ben or Ben and Erica are better. So I’m going to ask you, do you like playing with our hearts when you write the relationship parts of your books?

  31. Dear Stu, This one is a little lengthy, sorry

    I have read your spy school books
    Each one taking us in knowledge yonder
    And every time I read or re read more
    I just grow that much fonder

    In spy school one with the breaking news
    Of ben being used as bait
    And spyder gets introduced
    Your best villains, I’d debate

    Then spy camp, with
    missiles and woodchuck
    And poor joshua,
    what a rotten stroke of luck

    Evil spy school, what a sight!
    And nefarious and murray
    Would lose to ashley in a second,
    You couldn’t call it a fight

    Now operation snow bunny,
    Such a plot twist
    With ben leading erica instead,
    To thwart evil Goldfist

    Then into the white house
    To expose yet another mole
    Oops it gets blown up
    You’re in trouble now ben,
    there’s a gaping hole!

    Now spy school
    goes south into mexico
    With the worst guide, murray hill,
    To get them to and fro

    Latest one yet, into europe!
    (just england and france, but still…)
    This amazing international knowledge
    To me espionage is happily filled

    And then, revolution,
    Where we can only just guess
    I’m guessing it’ll be fun,
    Seeing as ben’ll save erica,
    It’s usually erica getting
    everyone out of the mess

    So this is your present
    I made in boredom, from me to you
    Let’s hope this’ll all work out and Covid will end soon
    That’d be many peoples wish come true

    (Yes, I’m the same Erica getting her poetry published, I think there are more than one Erica on here)

  32. Stu-

    In one of your comments you said you had a cover page for Charlie Thorne and the Lost City. I can’t find that anywhere. Have you posted it yet?

  33. -Erica
    That was an awesome poem! You really seem to like spy school. Hopefully you have success in publishing your poems, unlike Joshua in the last line of Stanza 3

  34. Big Fan –

    I’m going to let you in on a secret about the film business: Making movies is generally really, really boring. During filming, you spend a staggering amount of time sitting around, waiting. So unless the movie production turns out to be unusually interesting, I will probably focus on writing more fiction books.

  35. FJFanatic –

    I’m not doing this to play with everyone’s hearts. I’m just trying to write interesting stories.

  36. -Stu, Maybe you could try A book about the movie. Jeff kinney did that for his first 3 movies and they turned out interesting. He somehow even made a book about one of the worst movies ever, Diary of a wimpy kid long haul, and that book was interesting.

  37. Bassy –

    It took me many attempts to get published, so yes, I wrote many books that never were printed.

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