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. -Stu
    I see that some people somehow miss at the top right of every website has when new books are coming out, but to today I was fooling around with my computer settings and noticed if you change the taskbar, defaulted to the bottom of the screen to the right of the screen, I visited this website and the release dates of books weren’t at the top right. It shows the homepage and then you have to scroll down under it to find the release dates and blog posts. So maybe the 50 percent of people who don’t see might have different settings. Just maybe

  2. Okay. I just thought because Jeff Kinney did one you might as well. Also quick question how do you decide how long a chapter should be? I’m writing a book I hope to try to get published so, I really need to know.

  3. Big Fan –

    Don’t get hung up on how long a chapter should be. You just write the chapter, and wherever it ends, it ends. Sometimes chapters are long. Sometimes they’re short. You can’t get hung up on things like that.

  4. Erica Hale –

    I wanted you to know that I passed your poetry on to my editor and publisher and they loved it.

  5. Aiden-

    Not all movies have to have constant action sequences. Sometimes slowing down for emotion is what the movie needs. A good example of this is Avengers: Endgame. Nobody would say that there isn’t enough action in it, but so much of the movie is personal moments with great dialogue. I think that is what Spy Camp, and for certain Spy School, could be like. And this is Disney we are talking about. They won’t hire terrible actors for and adaptation of one of the most popular middle-grade books of the decade. And like Stu said, the people who make the movie have control over how exciting something is. They won’t do exactly what the book did, they might do something slightly different that keeps the audience more engaged. Even if they didn’t do that, the part in between action scenes in Spy Camp is still very entertaining. I’m sure it would be in the movie as well.


  6. Stu-

    What is your favorite animated movie? Kind of a non sequitur to this blog post, but I’ve been asking people it a lot lately, and was wondering what yours was.

  7. Oreo –

    I like the original Aladdin, the first Incredibles, and the first three Toy Story movies.

  8. Stu if you had released Belly Up 3 days later then the tenth anniversary of the release would be the same day as the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back which was yesterday

  9. Stu-
    If you could have one super power what would it be (I would do super speed as my first choice and invisibility as my second)?

  10. Ape –
    I think you should change the sentence where you say did the dork make it out of Spy School, because Ben is more of a nerd, less a dork.

  11. Bassy –

    It was the 30th anniversary of the Mt St Helens eruption. So that’s something.

  12. Is”Belly Up” on audio and if not will it be? I enjoying reading and listening to all your books but haven’t been able to get “Belly Up” on audio. Thanks, Joe

  13. Stu-
    Quick question, why at the top of the website page is there a dinosaur in the background?

  14. Bassy –

    The dinosaur might have something to do with the fact that my newest book is Tyrannosaurus Wrecks.

  15. Stu-

    I will choose not to debate about the 4th Toy Story film, and instead ask you something unrelated. Is there a book in the Spy School series that you prefer, or one you dislike slightly more than the others? Personally, as a lover of ranking things, I would do them like this:

    7. Spy Camp
    6. Ski Spy School
    5. British Invasion
    4. Secret Service
    3. Goes South
    2. Evil Spy School
    1. Spy School

    But they are all of course absolutely fantastic.


    PS: If anyone else wants to rank the spy school books, that seems like it might be an entertaining discussion.

  16. Oreo –
    My ranking is this:
    1.Spy Ski School
    2.Spy Camp
    3.Spy School Goes South
    4.Spy School
    5.Spy School British invasion
    6.Spy School Secret Service
    7.Evil Spy School
    Um……well SSS has a lot of funny dialogue and there were complicated relationships, Mike’s appearance, [SPOILERS] a nuke (yeah this is next level), a LOT of characters (to me, the more, the better), and of course, Berica lol (I also love skiing)

    For SC, I really like the part of M16 agents. I also like where Alexander unlocks his “True potential” in the end of the book. Also, the SPYDER + Mission= Bomb pattern started to show in here. There were also a lot of surprising twists, especially Joshua Hallal.

    For SSGS, I thought the concept was really cool. For a Berica fan, this book is still surprisingly good. Mike had a rather major role, and the SPYDER plot in here was INSANE.

    For SS, you might be wondering why I put this one so low. Every time, people say:”yo this is the book that started it all blah blah blah it is the best.”
    Well, no
    I mean book 1 doesn’t get special treatment for being book 1. I rank it the way I like it, and how good the plot is, so it is gonna be biased. This was a cool book, and had a bajillion twists. I don’t think I need to cover them all.

    SSBI was good. Cathrine was delightful (ho ho), and Erica thaws out (my favorite part), Freakin’ ORION appears!!! (YAY), and of course, I really like the part where Erica think Claridge’s is too expensive. They also took SPYDER down, and that was great.

    SSSS (so many S’s) is pretty good. It really keeps you clinging on the story. I thought Cathrine’s appearance was VERY well written. I also LOVED that Ben’s parents FINALLY appears, and of course Jason “peed” his pants triple lol

    ESS was…..not my favorite. Sorry Stu, but I just personally didn’t like this book that much. To me, what makes Spy School fun is the characters (especially Ben’s friends). I did like Ashley and Nefarious, but I wish that there were more characters. I really need Ben’s friends to appear more. So if Ben’s friends don’t exist, SS would be far from good. All I’m saying is, ESS could have had more students.

    And……thatssssss it. This is my um…..biased ranking, and if you made it to the end, thanks for reading.

  17. Oreo –

    I don’t rank the books. Since i worked so hard on all of them, I don’t have one that I like (or dislike) more than any other.

  18. Oh and if the link is invalid, the invite link is still the same. You can always search it up

  19. My spy school ranking would be:
    7.Spy camp
    6.Evil spy School
    5.Spy school Secret Service
    4.Spy School
    3.Spy School Goes South
    2.Spy School British Invasion
    1.Spy Ski School

    I love all of the books though and they are all great but some are still better than others. It’s like ranking your favorite movie series (which should be Star Wars, Indiana Jones or Harry Potter, in my opinion), all of them are great but some are better than others.

    (SPOILERS AHEAD) Also I choose Spy Ski School as #1 because Mike is in it a lot more and his story about how he got inducted into Spy School is really cool. Also it is nice how the plot is changed some with a completely different villain instead of SPYDER (even though some people from SPYDER are in it). The entire book being undercover is also pretty lit.

    Finally to Oreo and Stu, I think that all the toy story movies are pretty good and would say that I would be fine with watching any of them, but if I had the choice between all of them, I would put Toy story 1 first then the second one second then the fourth one third and the third one in last (The way I wrote this part of this comment probably sounded super weird and even if you read it like fifty times you would never get the point that I’m actually trying to say which is that I really don’t like toy story 3 that much)

  20. Oreo-

    My favorite has been the same for 5 years. And it still is.
    1. Evil Spy School. (Lets admit it. Undercover is the best genre in a spy book. I don’t need to argue no further.)
    2. Spy School Secret Service. ( I really like the first 3 or the classics but this one is an exception. The framed bit is amazing.)
    3. Spy School. (The humor and the reality is amazing and it is an amazing book.)
    4. Spy Camp. (The relation between Alex and Erica really stands out. Also I love survival and nature books, so this fits the number 4 spot.)
    5. Spy Ski School. (I don’t like this one because of the kiss Ben and Erica shared. I guess I like it because its another one of those undercover themes. And since I loVe ESS, I guess this one I love as well.
    6. Spy School: British Invasion: I loved the British and the french, and since no STuart Gibbs book needs critisism I think that’s all I have to say for that one.
    7. Spy School: Goes South: This one I liked a bit as well because of the nature sequences but it wasn’t as good as the other ones. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great book, but it’s just not as amazing as the past.)

    (If there was a sense critisism, trust me, there wasn’t.

  21. Wow Oreo was right it was very entertaining to write and read people’s (by that I mean 2 people excluding me) spy school rankings

  22. Ooo as I wrote that last comment someone else did a ranking and as I’m writing this someone else is probably writing something so the order that the comments will appear in will make no sense

  23. BAN, Bassy, and MeAgain-

    Wow, I didn’t expect I would start a whole trend. I like all of your lists. Personally (something Bassy said) my favorite movie franchise is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But the three you said are great too. Looking back I would put spy ski school at 4 and make my old 5 and 4 into 6 and 5. Feel free to keep ranking everyone!


    PS: Do you guys like Berica or Zen (not sure of their ship name lol) better? I definitely prefer Zen, Erica just seems like she isn’t a good person to have a romantic relationship with.

  24. Dear Mr. Gibbs,

    I have started reading the spy school series and it is SO good, they are some of the best books I have ever read. I am on spy ski school. I think you are an amazing writer and after I finish most of the books in the spy school series I am planning on reading your other series. I feel like if I was a character in your book I would be Zoe.

    I hope you are doing well! Thank you!!

  25. Personally, I think that Evil Spy School was the best and Spy School was the least best. (Not that it was bad.) Here is my ranking.
    7. Spy School
    6. Spy Ski School
    5. Spy Camp
    4. Spy School Goes South
    3. Spy School Secret Service
    2. Spy School British Invasion
    1. Evil Spy School
    I liked ESS so much because the evil part of it was interesting and I liked it. I don’t know why but Nefarious was cool as well. Anyway, I didn’t like SS as much as the others because it had a lot less story and spying in it. (At least that’s what I thought.)
    -That one guy

  26. BAN, Bassy, MeAgain, and That One Guy-

    Two things. First, I wanted to update my list about the Spy School books.

    7. Spy Camp
    6. Spy School
    5. British Invasion
    4. Secret Service
    3. Spy Ski School
    2. Goes South
    1. Evil Spy School

    Then, I compiled the average scores from each of our rankings and made it into a group list:

    1. Evil Spy School (tied)
    1. Ski Spy School (tied)
    3. Goes South
    4. British Invasion (tied)
    4. Secret Service (tied)
    6. Spy School
    7. Spy Camp

    I’ll update this list as more people do rankings, because this conversation is really fun.

    Also, a note to Bob-
    Yes, but Zoe is still nicer and has always been nice to Ben. Go Zen!


  27. I’m a hundred and one percent a Zen fan. I don’t know what I think about Berica though Erica has made it pretty clear she never ever wants to be in a relationship. Though I hope Ben never has to choose one I feel like he’ll hurt someones feelings if he chooses either of them.

  28. I’m 100% Beria. I think Zoe and Mike should be together, so either Moe or Zike……………I guess.

  29. My ranking of the books:

    2.) ESS
    4.) SC
    5.) SSBI

    Oreo –

    I think Zoe has gotten more annoying as the books have gone on, but that’s just me.

  30. BAN, Bassy, MeAgain, That One Guy, and Bob-

    An updated group list, since Bob posted a new one-

    1. Spy Ski School
    2. Evil Spy School
    3. Goes South
    3. British Invasion
    5. Spy School
    5. Secret Service
    7. Spy Camp


    PS: Bob, I don’t know if it is just you, but personally, Zoe seems perfectly not annoying to me. I don’t ship Mike with anyone, as proven in Spy School Goes South, he is a bit disloyal with the girls he likes.

  31. I just was scrolling through comments and realized that I have Spy School Secret Service and Evil Spy School in the wrong order, Spy School Secret Service should be in the 6th spot and Evil Spy School should be in the 5th spot, so my updated list is
    7.Spy camp
    6.Spy school Secret Service
    5.Evil Spy School
    4.Spy School
    3.Spy School Goes South
    2.Spy School British Invasion
    1.Spy Ski SchooL

    Oreo- idk if this changes the group average list

  32. Bassy-

    Probably, but I’m not gonna update it until a new ranking comes out. I definitely agree with your Zoe opinion, are you rooting for Zen or Berica?


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