Book Launch and Other Things

(Originally published Apr. 25, 2007).

Last week was nerve-wracking and wonderful.

On Wednesday, I addressed a Fiction Writing class at Canterbury High School. I was so scared, I wanted to puke. To put this into perspective, during my former career as a management consultant, I delivered countless presentations to senior management, Steering Committees, and Assistant Deputy Minister — all without batting an eyelash, all part of a routine day’s work. But facing a roomful of teenagers? Now, that was a different story.

All week, I practiced positive affirmations.

My fears proved to be groundless.

The session was a resounding success. When I delivered my prepared speech, the class listened attentively. When I read an excerpt from THE JAGUAR LEGACY, they laughed in all the right places. During question and answer session, several students asked some really insightful questions about the craft, which (thankfully) I was able to answer. Even the teacher was happy, because I made some points that reinforced the lessons he was trying to impart to the class.

Several students walked away with my business card to read an excerpt on my website, and I walked away with a thank you card, a Canterbury mug, and lots more self-confidence.

Until Saturday.

Saturday marked the date of my book launch. Nervous doesn’t come close to describing how I felt. What if no one comes? I asked myself. That would be so humiliating, and I hate humiliation. But that only begins to describe my conflicting emotions. The fear which surprised me most of all was: What if EVERYBODY comes? Somehow, that seemed even scarier.

All week, I practiced positive affirmations.

Once again, my fears proved to be groundless.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny. The entire Ottawa community emerged from winter hibernation, pasty white, sluggish, and squinting in the unexpected brightness. Many celebrated the change in season by going shopping.

Almost everyone I invited turned out to help me celebrate, and it was wonderful. The bookstore hummed with activity. I was awed and humbled by the number of friends who cheerfully gave up the first glorious spring afternoon in April to drive miles out of their way to purchase a book.

The event was a great success. That afternoon, 35 copies of THE JAGUAR LEGACY flew off the shelves, with more to follow. I connected with friends.

After Saturday, I’m well on my way to my target of 400,000 copies — my goal after reading ‘The Secret’.