About 20 minutes before it officially started, I asked my Dad if we could go for a quick walk around the block. I was getting nervous and couldn't stand around anymore. As we walked I explained to him my anxiety - all day I'd been getting e-mails and phone messages from friends and colleagues letting me know that they weren't going to be able to make it to the party. Work issues, lack of money, out of town, other engagements... it really had me in the dumps. Cold rain was pouring down on the city and everything looked miserable. I didn't even want to guess how many people would show up.
But then the whole thing actually went amazingly well. A horde of people came - family, friends, co-workers, students and strangers who had read about the party online. The upper floor of the Victory Cafe was seriously packed with well-wishers. Every time I turned around I was shaking someone's hand, giving someone a hug or chatting with someone about the book. At around 8 I did a short presentation about my inspirations and the process I went through getting the book ready for print. I don't really think about my public speaking skills because I'm so used to lecturing at the college, but it really does come in handy. With pretty much no prep I blabbed on a stage and it came off quite cohesive and natural, which felt great.
Then, I signed books and sketched for about an hour and a half, chatting away with people as they came up. The time flew by and it wasn't a chore at all - the whole thing was really quite surreal. Everyone was so incredibly nice, I honestly can't thank people enough for coming and showing their support. According to Chris they sold a swack of the books and everyone he spoke to told him they had a great time.
- Stepping up to the mic and having a crazy amount of cheering and clapping ensue. Instead of paralyzing me with fear, it actually pushed me to speak even better.
- The first person in line to get an autograph and sketch was Dave Sim, creator of Cerebus. He was there getting the Ragmop book also launching that night and he bought mine as well. He was incredibly nice and I was so taken aback I didn't have a chance to tell him how inspirational his 'Guide to Self Publishing' was for me.
- People gushing about how good the printing on the book turned out.
- My parents meeting both my bosses (from Udon and Seneca) on the same night.
- Balancing a pint of beer perfectly on peoples' heads.
- Dave Pyke bringing me crayons to do his sketch with.
- A bunch of my students yelling "Zubby!" every time I came by.
Afterwards a bout of intense drinking and karaoke, though admittedly by this point I was already pretty drunk. Dan and Chris kept an eye on me as the night wrapped up, with Dan bringing me back to my apartment at the very end and making sure I survived.
It was a very special night that I'll never forget.
Thank you, everyone. I'm seriously stunned.
Today I signed and sketched more of the pre-order books. Almost all of them are shipped out now. If you ordered a book this week I'll try to get yours out on Monday to ensure it arrives before Christmas. As books arrive I hope people show their friends and more orders trickle in.
This weekend - a well earned break, methinks.