I experienced my first ever book launch a few weeks ago for Rob Sanders' debut picture book, Cowboy Christmas. The setting was perfect, Inkwood Books, housed in an old Tampa bungalow. I didn't know what to expect. For me, book signings called up visions of dire affairs where writers suffer feelings of abandonment when no one shows up or just the opposite, face long lines of chatterers with stories to tell. So, I was pleasantly surprised to learn new books are introduced with their very own party. And Rob Sanders knows how to throw a party!
The Crabgrass Cowboys, Hapi and Patty greeted folks at the front door with lively tunes.
Cowboy cookies and lemonade lured guests to a table adorned with a Cowboy Christmas tree and door prizes.
Rob settled on the floor to read to his hushed crowd. He drew chuckles from young and old.
Young readers responded.
No surprise, his books sold out fifteen minutes after the event's official start. And he did sign copies but instead of the glum chore I imagined, it was one more opportunity for admirers to congratulate this much loved author.
I learned many things at Rob's book launch. It didn't happen without careful planning, including inviting people you know will show up. The support of fellow authors is vital to a writer's success. Some of those attending were authors Rob has bolstered by coming to their signings, buying their books and helping to promote them. And the very cool thing, the thing that warmed my heart, was the sense that the writers at Rob's event weren't just fulfilling an obligation. They were happy to share this moment with him.
One of the blessings I'm counting today are writing friends, their support of my attempt to write good books and the opportunity to reciprocate. Five years ago this coming spring, I stepped into the writing community when I joined my first critique group. That led to a web of connections through different groups, conferences and workshops. Now, I have a network stretching beyond Florida to New York, New Mexico and India. Standing in the crowd at Inkwood Books, I felt like an integral part of a writing community who were not only celebrating Rob but playing a role in his journey.
I hope you have blessings to count today, including a tasty meal with loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving.
I write middle grade and young adult books with a magical twist, and I'm represented by the fabulous Leslie Zampetti at Open Book Literary.
Lorin Oberweger - Freelance Editor