Archive for February, 2015

Savages is fully launched and out upon the world! ebook is released; paperback is released. And finally, I threw a launch party and book signing to commemorate it.

Rather than maintain a professional veneer of a polished, public author, I am going to be more raw in my account of my release. More personal and honest. As Savages is my debut book, I have obviously never hosed a book launch party before. I also have never attended one before. Add to that the fact that I am supposed to do something creative and different, I truly had no idea what I was doing.

I stressed about this event for months. I dreaded it. I am not the typical socially reclusive, shy, or awkward writer. I love to host parties; I enjoy attention. However, hosting something of this scale and having it all centered around a deep piece of my own brain made manifest in paper was intimidating. What if no one showed? What if nothing sold? What if people thought it was all stupid?

I just was not sure what I wanted to do, what suited my book, what best represented me, and what would attract and appease my guests. Once I abandoned my apprehension, however, it all came together.

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Ultimately, much like it was the backdrop for the story itself, I let the apocalypse be my theme. A friend suggested a taproom in an old church for the venue. Though the place was more polished and less professional than I would have preferred, it fit the theme perfectly, and I simply built from there. I set up a table at the venue. I sold and signed copies of my book. I did a raffle for book-related and survival swag. I did it open house style to keep it casual. And finally, under duress, I did a reading from my book.

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Sari NeoChaos of ChaosStudios also sold prints of the savages she drew from the pages of Savages, including a selection of prints in the raffle as well.

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Admittedly, even with a plan, I remained nervous. It was fear of the unknown. It was fear of exposure and vulnerability. It was fear of failure. However, all the planning did eventually coalesce. Though I dealt with venue issues and swag issues, in the end, none of those problems were visible.

People not only showed up; they arrived early to ensure they could purchase a copy of my book.

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And they kept coming. All told, more than 75 people showed up for the event. People from every branch of my social network made an appearance. I saw friends, family, coworkers present and past, people from high school. I would have guessed at least 25 of my people would show up; it was overwhelming to see triple that number arrive.

It was also overwhelming to interface with all of these people. It took me well over an hour to move around the room, greeting and talking to people. Though it would be a lie to say I was not basking in the attention, praise, and support. It is a rare thing in life to physically see how much you are supported, to have a gathering of people just to wish you well. I did not let such a moment pass me by unnoticed or unappreciated.

I was woefully under stocked for the turn out. I had wrestled with how many copies of my book to purchase, how much swag to make. Unsure of the amount of guests, I did not want to come home with a stack of my own books, but I also did not want so many to leave empty handed. The copies of my book I did have sold out in the first 20 minutes of the event. I had to keep them covered until the event actually started.

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Having your book sell out in minutes is not a bad problem to have. Having people upset that there were not enough copies is also not a bad problem to have. I would have preferred to have been better prepared, but I am not unhappy to have created demand or the need for additional signings.

And I donated half of the money. Not the money I made but all of the money. I donated it to Wounded Warrior Project where it belonged.

It was a surreal feeling to sign my own books as well. Asking people how to spell their names felt foreign. I had to force myself not to concentrate on my own signature, lest I foul it up. The entire experience was just deeply weird for as much as I always wanted it.

I was immersed in being social, but I later found out that the bar was providing very substandard service. Numerous people left due to being served painfully slowly or not at all. This would later explain why so few people lasted until the raffle. The place was packed; I filled it up for about the first hour or so. Then they gradually all disappeared.

We raffled, nonetheless.

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We doled out the Savages keychains, the last signed copy in the house, the prints from ChaosStudios, and the stocked bug out bag. I would have been content to happily conclude the night there as a success. However, the public demanded a reading.

I did not want to read. I was sick and losing my voice. I did not want to hear myself in that microphone or read from my book. It should be the easiest thing ever, to read my own words. I read the full book to my husband twice while I was drafting it. Yet, somehow, I was intimidated once again. Yet the audience would not be dissuaded.

I had selected a passage for such a contingency; however, with the sellout, I had to borrow a copy of my own book to read from. I stood behind the microphone and shakily read my own words to the crowd that remained. Quickly at first, the words leaping off my tongue to make room for the next, sprinting toward the end. Then I slowed myself, allowed myself to fall back into the story I lived in for months writing it. I let my eyes flit up from the words to see them smiling at me, pointing their phones up at me.

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As I read my own words in my own published book in front of crowd that came to see and support me, it all felt real again.

Thank you to all who celebrated with me, in person or in spirit; I deeply appreciate you.

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