Monday, July 30, 2012

The Crazy and Amazing Otherkin Book Launch and Signing

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. I had my first book launch and signing at Vroman's Bookstore with fellow authors Brigid Kemmerer and Marni Bates.

It went well. To put it mildly.

(That's Brigid on the left, then Marni, then me - holding our books at the signing!)

It went so well that the day after I was completely drained and overwhelmed with all the love and support I felt yesterday. And I was a little scared. More on that later.

About 50 people showed up, and the store sold out of my book, as well as selling a lot of Marni and Brigid's books. A good number of people there were my amazing friends (this is my home town and Brigid and Marni both live elsewhere and kindly came to the signing while they were at the RWA convention in nearby Anaheim), so that's why more of my book sold. But Brigid and Marni had fans there too.

In particular I remember a boy who looked like he was about 14 coming up to get Brigid's signature on her book. He tried to apologize to me and Marni for not buying our books. What a nice young man. We both assured him he'd made a great choice in buying Brigid's book, because that's the truth!

I didn't get a lot of sleep the night before. I tend to be a bit of an insomniac as it is. So the night before a big event like this I inevitably have a tough time sleeping. So I was very tired and guzzling coffee that morning while I ran through all the things I still had to do - pick up the cupcakes, buy ice, put the drinks on ice in the cooler, bring the temporary tiger tattoos, pens, sheets of paper for the giveaways, not to mention the camera I was giving away. Sheesh. Thank goodness I hadn't left it all to the last minute. And thank goodness I had some amazing friends around who'd agreed to help me out.

So thanks to those friends, everything went extra smoothly, and we got to the lovely Vroman's Bookstore in plenty of time. Brigid and Marni arrived shortly thereafter, with Brigid's mom in tow.

The lovely rep for Vroman's came out to give me a bouquet of flowers sent by my parents and an amazing card from friends in the UK. It was all so sweet that I nearly burst into tears. (I get a little misty just thinking about it now.) I had to pretend those things hadn't happened so as not to get too emotional. Keep it together, Nina. At least until you give your little speech.

It's a bit of a blur after that. Amazing friend and writer Jen Klein gave me a congratulatory bottle of wine, two other friends gave me those most adorable little vase with orchids in it... oh man. Friend after friend arrived, and the chairs filled up, and I saw a lot of wonderful, familiar faces, and there were even folks standing in the back.

Brigid, who has done this before, spoke first and quite eloquently about her journey to getting published. Then Marni got up and made us all laugh and think. Then it was my turn.


I'd practiced my little speech, which was about where I'd gotten some of the ideas that are part of Otherkin, and how they came together. (Hint: It's a book about a teenage girl who wears a back brace who learns she can shapeshift into a tiger. And it's based on my own experience. No. Really! ;)  And the practice I'd put in beforehand paid off because I didn't have to look at my little cheat sheet very often.

I started off strong, heard a few laughs, got some nods from Brigid and Marni. Then about halfway through I felt this weird quavering in the back of my throat, and I thought any moment my nose might start to run. That would not be good. At all. No tissues!

I cleared my throat and kept talking. My voice sounded okay, but it didn't feel okay, if that makes any sense. But I just kept swimming.

When in doubt, ignore your own nervousness and pretend like hell you're confident. It seemed to work, because I got a few more laughs and wound up my speech without snot running down my face (ew!) or my voice going all hoarse or squeaky.


After that we answered some interesting questions and spent about 45 minutes signing books. My handwriting was even worse than usual thanks to my slightly shaky hands. I was still recovering from that blast of nerves.

It didn't take long to sell out of my book (!)  That's how amazing my friends and the folks at Vroman's are. The Vroman's rep told us that they never get this many people coming to a Saturday signing. Folks even took Vroman's up on their offer to ship them the book for no extra charge if they ordered it, and I signed a bunch of book plates those folks could then paste into the books when they arrived.

Fricking amazing.

The cupcakes I got from from Porto's didn't hurt, sucking in a few curious passersby. But I still have three bottles of cold prosecco sitting in my fridge, awaiting the next celebration.

Despite my utter exhaustion, I didn't sleep well that night. Too much had happened! I'd been on the receiving end of too much that was fabulous! I kept going over it in my head in disbelief. The next day I lay around in a stupor.

Then I was seized by fear. Weird, right? I think it was because: 1. I was so tired, emotionally and physically and; 2. because I'd exposed myself to the public for really the first time since I did theater in high school. I'm really good at hiding away, and now I'd been SEEN. I'd talked about some personal stuff in my little speech and people had actually listened to it.

That flipped me out for a while.

But then nothing happened. In a good way. Like - the earth didn't swallow me up, and no one pointed a finger at me and laughed, and life kept on going just as it always did.

Which, duh, I knew it would. But sometimes you need the evidence to smack you over the head or slap you in the face to believe it.

I got a good night's sleep last night. Back to reality. And right now reality's pretty awesome.

Many thanks to everyone who came to my signing, or who tweeted about it, or who sent me good wishes in any form, even if you just thought about it. It's a very humbling thing to receive all that good will and kindness.

And tomorrow the book is officially released!


Brigid Kemmerer said...

Nina, you were amazing!! I thought Saturday was AWESOME!

Nina Berry said...

Thanks, Brigid! Right back at you, you fabulous woman!