Now, can I just tell you how I truly feel about Release Parties?
Imagine you've been dared to belly flop off the high dive. You're gonna do it. You've been dared. And you've probably got an idea of how to do it so you don't end up with your innards in your armpits, but you're a little unsure of what the outcome will be. You're excited, probably a little bit because of the pressure. Will it be a rush? I'm sure. Will you feel pain? I mean, come on. It's a belly flop. Saying it out loud hurts my belly and I've got a healthy one... robust. Will people cheer? Ye...ah. But aren't they really just making fun of you? Or applauding and doing that whole... covering their mouth and speaking in a high-pitched sympathetic voice, because they think you'll hear them better through the pain. And what if you lose your trunks? That's a definite fear. Or you slip on the diving board and you plummet sideways with your neck exposed. Water can feel like rock from that high up. That's no joke. What if no one watches? And you wake up in the middle of receiving some CPR from a lifeguard (male or female, it doesn't matter at this point. Okay, it does matter, but, you catch my drift.)
Book Release Parties are kinda like that. Now, before there's an uproar, let me doctor this post up a bit. I had a lot of supportive friends and family and fans (yes, I may have a few) show up and hang out at this party. It was great to see everybody. Some of you I haven't seen in a while. It was more than I could have hoped for. I felt loved. Appreciated. Even, dare I say, respected. It was great. I went home last night and thought, man, I have some amazing friends. We sold books. There was excitement. I didn't feel like a loser and by most standards, it was a huge success.
But still. Belly Flop. I'm talking about the preparation you have to go through. The wondering if this will be the event where NO ONE shows up. Or what if someone shows up who hates my books and thinks I'm a worthless author. And what if that person has a voice capable of convincing others and instead of buying books, people are tossing them in my face? Extreme? Okay. A little. But as an author, and let me correct that. As a rookie author, which I am, you wonder these things. Because you're not just selling books, (CORN WARNING) you're selling a part of your soul. Hey, you were warned. You really have to sell yourself. I am by no means looking for pity, but I'm not an easy sell. I have gout, people. As in Looney Toons hit with a hammer on your big toe and now it's the size of a plum, gout. I have skyscraper-like cholesterol. I have bad hair. I sleep-terrorize. I get weird hairs growing out of the tops of my ears. The tops! Like... I don't know how to put this... the top. Everyone gets hair on the inside of their ears, but do you get it on the top? I don't know how to leave messages on phones. At all. I can't write a check. Banks scare me.
What am I talking about?
Anyways. The point is, if I have one, it is hard selling yourself to prospective readers. It's a full-time job. Constantly posting, and tweeting, and blogging about yourself and your books. I think I'm a pretty decent writer. I think my stories can definitely entertain and I feel if readers give them a chance, they'll more often than not enjoy reading them. And I love my readers. I love talking to them about books and answering questions. I love making them laugh. I love doing school visits and hearing the cheers and seeing the kids just light up because there's an adult dancing around in front of them like an idiot and letting them know it's okay to be goofy and be different. (I don't only do that, I also teach.) My readers are my friends. For sure. That's one of the greatest perks of being a writer is meeting the readers. But trying to find new readers boots me out of my comfort zone. Way out. Like in belly flop zone. Sometimes you feel like you have to almost beg people to stop at your table and then you wonder... did they just buy my book because I begged? And the answer is almost always yes.
Book signings are tough. And a Book Release Party is like the ultimate book signing. There was a moment last night, right before I wandered into the store to sit at the table and greet my friends, where I almost puked. For those that know me, know I'm pretty comfortable in social atmospheres. I like being around people and having conversation. I actually don't mind being the center of attention from time to time. But this is different. This is putting it all out there and hoping people have the time to humor you for an hour or two. So, again, I am so glad everyone came out and shared the love, but I am so glad it's over.
There. I said it. I hope no one feels I'm ungrateful, because that's not the case. Will I do another Release Party? Yep. I have to. Will I expect you to come. Yep. You bet. Will I almost puke before the next one? Uh... do belly flops every stop hurting?
Now, here are a couple of pics from last night's release party.
|The Set-Up. Holy Cow! Pretty amazing! I felt like a rock star|
|You can't see it in this picture. But I have gout.|
|We had a little bit of a line. Not too shabby.|