First interesting fact: If you get a starred Kirkus review, they send the sales staff back out to the booksellers, waving copies of the review and saying things like "Are you sure we can't interest you in another hundred copies?" I did not know this. Apparently the Dread Name Kirkus carries a LOT of weight.
Second, your agent is worth their weight in gold. Being an artist who within the last decade had a net income of around nine grand for the WHOLE YEAR, I would probably have said "Oh god, thank you so much for even thinking of publishing my inferior work, thank you, thank you, can I come into the office and do any odd jobs for you?" it's good to have somebody mercenary on my side demanding that they go up to the next round number on those book deals.
Thirdly, when the publisher does merchandising, the author isn't necessarily drowning in samples...they're giving away Dragonbreath breath-mints in custom tins at BookExpo America, and I covet one desperately. My editor is trying to track down a couple for me. I don't even have my author's copies of the book yet. (I am possibly more excited about the breath mints than the book...I mean, I've READ the book.)
Breath mints are not as left-field as you'd think--at one point in the book, in order to breathe underwater, Danny's cousin gives them "breath mints" (now in Wintergreen!) --and the marketing department thought it was a great idea to have personalized Dragonbreath tins.
Also, speaking of, there's a release party for Dragonbreath at Chapel Hill Comics on Saturday, June 27th. I'll plug it a few more times before then, but come out! Get a copy! Get it signed! Watch me hyperventilate! It'll be fun!