After months of planning, re-writing, updating a new book trailer, creating promotional materials, designing new business cards, etc., the time finally arrived.
And just like that, it was done. While it seemed like a blur, there were thankfully many pictures taken of the event and those pictures helped me remember everything that happened. So let's start at the beginning...
We pulled into the parking lot of the All on the Same Page Bookstore in Creve Coeur, which is the home base of Rocking Horse Publishing. I was thrilled to see the storefront window, since this was the first time my name had been on a poster like this. Talk about a dream come true!
As soon as we walked inside, Robin handed me a copy of the new-and-improved "Excelsior" and then my mother, my aunt, my wife and I helped out with getting everything ready for the launch party. But before the party could begin, I was given a very unexpected gift: someone coming in to buy their copy of the book. And this wasn't just any person, but one of the students I had spoken to a few weeks before via Skype. This student - Nicolas - was going to get the first signed copy and he wasn't the last of the students from the Q&A that showed up that day.
Once the launch party was officially underway, there was a constant stream of friends, family members, fellow authors from the area and other students getting their books signed. But that wasn't the only thing they got. I made sure to give everyone a copy of the "Bonus Materials" booklet I made and I drew a sketch of "Excelsior" - circa 1992 - and signed that for them as well. It was really fun drawing the picture in front of people - the same design that I spent time drawing in high school - and it was flattering to get some compliments about how the character looked, despite the fact that my artistic skills are next to nothing.
At about 1:45, I read an excerpt from the book. I decided not to read the very beginning, instead focusing on getting people who haven't yet read the book to know Matthew Peters. The part I read was from Chapter 4, when Matthew got his final grade from Mrs. Webb's English class. It was a lot of fun to read and it was even more fun when I heard a slight gasp from among the group when I told them how this scene was inspired by something that really happened to me.
The rest of the event went by in a blur. Books were signed, pictures were sketched and signed, and around 2:40pm, Robin came over to me and asked me how many copies I had at my table. I pointed to the one copy that I had meant to take with me once the party was over. Once she saw that, then she told me that was the only copy left in the store.
We had sold out, and my launch was the first in RHP history to do so! It was an amazing feeling and I look forward to this being the start of something big and not the start and finish of something big. I can't thank everyone involved enough for helping with this event, especially my mother and aunt for making the trip and getting a bunch of goodies for people to enjoy as they hung around and kept the bookstore packed. And of course, many thanks to Robin at RHP for taking a chance on me and "Excelsior," to my wife Cheryl for putting up with me for all these years and to all of you for your support and encouragement.
Can't wait for the next signing! Wherever it winds up being, well, that's up to you!