For those of you who weren’t at the launch party—I was inspiring. At least that’s what one attendee told me. I laughed, but he corrected me insisting he was serious. So I’m choosing to remember it that way.
As it turned out more than five people showed. We didn’t take a head count, but best guess stands at more than fifty, less than a hundred, somewhere in there. It was a chilly but dry night in northern Virginia as people gathered in the little bookstore that everyone agreed was charming. My publisher, Orbit Books, graciously paid for wine to be served, which lent a degree of Sotheby’s style sophistication to the event. What we did not drink, we made into door prizes. My wife also created little gift bags, and we gave away some Riyria t-shirts.
We owned the store. I don’t think anyone was there who hadn’t come for the event. Robin and I mingled for the first fifteen minutes, then with a clinking of a glass, Eileen called the launch to order. I was properly introduced and proceeded to talk for about forty-five minutes.
In the pre-speaking mingling, I accessed the crowd and discovered quite a few had questions about the books and myself and how I managed to get published, and had I published six or three books? I hadn’t prepared anything in advance not knowing what kind of group I’d be facing. As enough people were in the dark about me and my books in general I just explained the basics of both and then took questions, mindful of the clock. Initially, two years ago, I struggled a bit with presenting in front of an audience, unsure what to say. Now it’s more a matter of making sure I stop talking. This just comes from interviews and answering questions. You get asked the same things over and over. These act like drills, or exercises so it’s rare to get stumped by a question, or to not know what to say. You just hope those in the audience haven’t heard the stories too many times.
Someone asked about publishing, and Robin got to speak for a bit, and she called Robert Bidinotto, author of Hunter up to the front. Robert is a thriller author who came to a few of Robin’s free self-publishing seminars and who we helped with some advice. That night his book had hit number 8 on all of Amazon Kindle beating out the recent releases of King, Patterson, and Evanovich, so it was nice to see him there, to see him smiling.
Then I sat down to sign books.
One More Page had both copies of Theft of Sword and Rise of Empire on hand. People I knew, people who had purchased the first copies of The Crown Conspiracy two years before, commented upon reaching the table, “This is the first time I’ve ever had to stand in line to get you to sign you book!” I have to admit, that was nice. Most everyone bought both novels, and some went through the line twice buying seconds for gifts.
I knew several people who were there. Some were from writers groups and some from book clubs, but a fair number I didn’t know. One fella was in from Vermont, where they already have snow—he was buying books for his wife. There was a woman and her husband who had bought Crown from me in Manassas at one of my first book signings and still had the newspaper clipping announcing it. There was also a young couple I didn’t know who came with a full stack of my original, self-published books. They approached the table a bit sheepish and quietly, self-consciously asked if it was okay—if I would sign them. I felt a bit like George Bailey during the run on the bank when Mrs. Davis asks him for seventeen-fifty. I could have kissed them.
I just want to say thank you to everyone who came. To those who filled the folding chairs and to those who stood behind them, who listened politely as I tried to be charming. And to Eileen, Katie and Lelia who hosted the event, served wine, and made certain everyone felt welcome.
I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it was worth coming. I hope I was inspiring.
I know having all of you there was.