I’ve written daily in a journal since my teens and have destroyed all my diaries from that period of my life—literally burned them. I recall what instigated the bonfire. I was leaving Montreal for Toronto—moving to a new city for university, and I had convinced myself I didn’t want to carry my diaries with me—seven small books that wouldn’t have taken up much space in my luggage.
Only years later, did I realize it was the fear of discovery that made me destroy them, the fear that someone, for whatever reason, could steal, of all things, my journals. I must’ve had delusions of grandeur. No one would’ve been interested in the crap I wrote as a teenager: daily angst-ridden reflections involving crushes on male teachers; musings on my directionless career goals; and of course, sexual fantasies that spanned the normal to the “deviant,” or at least, what I considered deviant back then.
This may read like an odd introduction to an article about my book launch, but bear with me. In the past month, likely in concert with lack of sleep, (I’ve not had more than five hours of continuous sleep since early January), I’ve neglected writing daily in my journal. Some days, I’ve had to catch up on almost a week’s worth of events. I’d rack my brain to try and remember what I did, often looking to Ramone to fill in the blanks.
Lack of sleep and fear of discovery—a deadly combination for me. It’s great to publish a book, but now, I had to sell it. Though promotion wasn’t something I enjoyed doing, the end result was if I did it well, my book would get into the hands of readers, and that’s what I wanted, right? Of course it was, but that meant they could read my innermost thoughts, my deviant sexual fantasies. Somehow that adolescent angst came rushing back, at least for a brief time.
I’m not a teenager anymore, and I no longer burn books. When I decided to become a writer, I knew I didn’t want to keep my thoughts to myself anymore. Considering I sold out at my very first book launch, I’d say I’m cautiously optimistic about my future as an author.
Below are highlights of the event:
- A strange looking “bag lady” wanders the store shortly after we arrive to set up. She’s mysteriously shrouded in an oversized, black coat. Ramone is concerned she’s there to steal the booze.
- She turns out to be one of my best friends who has taken the bus in from Montreal to surprise me! Janet H’s arrival sets the tone for the evening, as my biggest fear all along has been that no one will show up. In the end, my RSVPs were accurate — I had attendance of just under 100 people.
- An impromptu book signing for a few early birds escalates to a line-up of people who seem to show up all at once.
- I sign books for about an hour before taking a break.
- Ben introduces me, and his dry wit is peppered with comedic timing. He has the crowd roaring with laughter.
- My speech is tame compared to Ben’s, its goal to provide thanks to those who have helped me. As I asked for the indulgence of my guests that night, I ask it of you here as well:
– To Ben McNally Books – specifically to Ben for creating a beautiful bookstore, and having the generosity of spirit to take a chance on a first-time author.
– To John P – PR man extraordinaire and mentor who helped to “brand” me, and to his lovely wife, Alex, who attended in his absence to be my crutch.
– To Alexa Clark – social entrepreneur, author, and creator of the CheapEats Restaurant Guide Series. Her ability to connect me to the right people was immensely helpful, but even more important was the confidence she instilled in me to market myself properly.
– To Betty Dworatschek – legal professional by day, and owner of Metal Queen Management by night. Her connections in the music industry are boundless, and she taught me how to use her promotional techniques for planning my own event.
– To Mike Strobel – because he gave me some major press through his article in the Toronto Sun, and though he may not think I’m a bad girl, he certainly knows they sell.
– To Mae L – because she’s my oldest friend and has been there through all the ups and downs and is still around after all these years.
– To Janet H – because she took a 6-hour bus ride to attend my 2-hour event, leaving behind her husband, 3 kids, and a dog only to have to return later that night.
– To Jimmy Y – because he’s my brother, and he’s always given me unconditional support no matter what I’ve done.
– To all who were in attendance or had someone purchase a book on their behalf – because of your constant support, my accomplishments do not seem hollow.
– And finally, to my husband, Ramone – not only does he make it possible for me to write, he makes it meaningful and worthwhile.
I’d also like to acknowledge the generous donations from:
The food was amazing and the service—stellar.
Compri has been catering to corporate and social clients in and around the Toronto area since 1989. Whether it’s a group of ten, or ten thousand, consider Compri for your next affair.
Vibrators, free porn, and massage oil were just a few of the gifts donated by Good for Her, a Toronto erotic boutique that carries high quality sex toys, books, and DVDs. They also conduct educational workshops for men, women, and couples.
It was a lovely book launch, and I’m thrilled to have shared it with so many people. The photos and videos are now posted, and they tell the rest of the evening’s events.
I’m a firm believer that you cannot say “Thank you,” too many times, so I’ll say it again. Thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy days to come and see me, buy a book or two, and provide such encouraging words. You’ve made this one of the most memorable times of my life.
For those who were not able to buy a book—Ben now has more books in stock. If you were unable to get your book signed, I would be more than happy to do it. Send me an e-mail and we can arrange to meet for a coffee.
I really do need to get out of the house more often!