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After over a year in development, I am super-excited to finally announce that the first Zen Pencils book collection is available to pre-order. Yay! The book has over 170 pages of your favourite comics and includes an exclusive pull-out poster you won’t be able to get anywhere else. It will be available next month on November 11 2014, in time for the holiday season.

I received some advance copies last week and the quality of the book is fantastic. My publisher Andrews McMeel have been printing comic collections for over 30 years, including all the Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side, Cul de Sac and Oatmeal books, so they know what they’re doing. I’m so happy with the final product and I’m positive you will be too.

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Comics included in the book:

Always Be Prepared – Shaolin Monk
Find a Job You Love – Confucius
The Man in the Arena – Theodore Roosevelt
No Regrets – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
In Spite of Everything – Vincent Van Gogh
A Question to the Buddhist
There Are No Limits – Bruce Lee
Never Give Up – Calvin Coolidge
The Most Astounding Fact – Neil deGrasse Tyson
Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman
Welcome to Science – Phil Plait
Who’s the Crazier Man? – Henry Rollins
Our Deepest Fear – Marianne Williamson
On Kindness – Roger Ebert
Make Gifts for People – John Green
Nature Loves Courage – Terence McKenna
Ask Yourself – Howard Thurman
Ultimate Self-Help Book – Stephen Fry
Advice for Beginners – Ira Glass
11 Ways to Be Average – Chris Guillebeau
Around the Corner – Charles Hanson Towne
The Two Wolves
What If Money Was No Object? – Alan Watts
What Teachers Make – Taylor Mali
You Aren’t Like Them – Timothy Leary
To Love at All – C.S. Lewis
An Astronaut’s Advice – Chris Hadfield
Life Is Not Easy – Marie Curie
The Fire Within – Sophie Scholl
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others – Jiddu Krishnamurti
The Woman in the Arena – Brené Brown
I Would Rather Be Ashes than Dust – Jack London
Ithaka – Constantine P. Cavafy
Invictus – A Tribute to Nelson Mandela
Graduation Speech – Erica Goldson
On Happiness – Henry David Thoreau

I had to get permission to use most of the quotes in the book. Unfortunately, some of the most popular authors did not agree to be included. This includes the Bill Watterson and Carl Sagan quotes. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit disappointed, but I’m still very happy with the selection and overall content of the book. The book collects the best of the first two years of Zen Pencils. Any comics posted after February this year will be included in the next collection (fingers crossed there will be a ‘next collection’).

Oh, and did I mention you get this exclusive pull-out poster?

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You know, to be honest, even though I signed the book deal awhile ago and have been working with my publisher on it for months, I never quite believed that it would happen. Only when I held that advance copy in my hands did it actually hit me that the book was real. My whole life I have been buying and reading comics, including many published by Andrews McMeel, never really thinking that my own comic collection would be on shelves for people to buy. Who knows, a kid might pick it up, just like I had years ago, and become hooked on comics and start to draw the characters from the book, just like I had done, and begin their own lifelong obsession with art and drawing. That makes me smile.

When I started this website, I had no grand ambitions to publish a book, I was just hoping to get enough attention so companies might want to hire me for freelance cartooning work. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have the luxury to turn down all freelance work because I was too busy with the website, and that the website was able to sustain me financially. Never in my wildest dreams did I think a publisher would want to collect my comics into a book and that someone halfway around the world might gift that book to a friend or family member this Christmas. Yes, it’s been a crazy two and half years since I started this site, and this book is the culmination of everything I’ve done in that time.

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How pre-orders help

Although not out for a few weeks, you can pre-order it now, which does help a lot. Pre-orders lets the publisher know what kind of interest the book is generating and gives them enough time before the official launch to print more copies if needed. The last thing I want is there not be enough books to go around and you having to wait to get one. So if you’re thinking about buying a copy, I encourage (ok, I’m begging!) you to pre-order to make sure you don’t miss out. You can order from the links below:

AMAZON.COM
BARNES & NOBLE
INDIEBOUND
AMAZON CANADA
AMAZON UK

The book will be available worldwide. International readers, if you don’t want to order it online your local bookstore will be able to order it in for you. Just give them the book’s ISBN number: 9781449457952

You can also visit the official book page.

A lot of you have been asking for a book collection since the early days of the website. It’s finally here, and I hope it meets your expectations. Without all your support and encouragement, this book would not have happened. Seriously, publisher’s look at how engaged an audience is when deciding to sign a new author. So a big, giant THANK YOU to the best readers in the world – I’m sure together we can make the book a success 🙂

– Gav