Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Out to Launch

A great view from Veronica's in Kenai

Oh, the trials and tribulations of being an indie author! At least that’s the excuse I’m offering up for not getting a post out in two weeks. It has, in fact, been busy, albeit not highly productive. I launched the hard copy version of Somewhere West of Roads with two signings in the past couple of weeks.

I’m sure every reader who has ever seen the movie “Bridget Jones’ Diary” has some idea of what a book launch is supposed to look like. To great fanfare, and replete with big name literary attendees, a book is toasted with fine quality champagne and set before the eager public as they munch upon gourmet appetizers. Praise is heaped upon the author by internationally recognized book critics while adoring fans press in to get an autographed copy of the book. 

Okay, that image may fly in New York City, London and Hollywood, but things are a little different in Kenai, Alaska, and particularly so for an indie author. The launches for Somewhere West of Roads took place in local coffee shops.

Look at the size of the cup, and it's empty... again.
Instead of champagne, the espresso and coffee flowed freely. In fact, the wisdom of choosing coffee shops for a launch might be called into question. I haven’t slept for the better part of the past two weeks. With the way I’m twitching, I’m not entirely sure there isn’t some sort of caffeine-induced neuropathy involved.

“Mr. Poynor, would you like some more coffee?” 

“OHHELLYES! Make it a quad-shot… No! Wait! Just sprinkle some of your high-octane grounds on a croissant covered with peanut butter. Can I get a water with that?”

As far as the literati in attendance goes, another author (one published by recognized houses) took the time to stop by and sneer.   

In spite of what some might perceive as flaws...

There were no throngs of admiring fans, but I had something better: friends stopping by to show their support. Although, when they sat down at the table and ordered up food, things got a little testy.

“What the…? You’re gonna have to buy that one.” 

“No way I’m going to buy your book. You gave me a copy, remember?”

“Maybe so, but you just slopped your avocado salad all over this one.” 

The only time crowd control was necessary is when an overzealous waiter kept trying to take my coffee cup away.

I can’t believe it actually happened, but at one point it appeared I couldn’t even give the book away. Seriously. Keeping with the gold mining aspect of the story, we set up a gold pan for people to put their names into for a drawing to win a free book. Drawings were held every half-hour.  Before every drawing I went around with entry cards and the gold pan to make sure everyone had a chance to enter. At the first drawing, this is what I ran into. 

Me, approaching a young man sporting enough hardware sticking out of his face to receive shortwave transmissions from Manchuria: “Would you like to enter your name for the drawing?”

Antenna man to me: “What’s the drawing for?” 

“It’s for a free copy of my novel.”

“I don’t think so, dude. I don’t read books.” 

Note to self: put lots of pictures of naked women in next edition.

In the final analysis, one might think there was a failure to launch, but I don’t see it that way. Sure, there weren’t any long lines at the table and neither event was newsworthy, but friends showed up, we had good food, good coffee and great conversation. It was fun. And ultimately, that’s what being an indie author is all about.


  1. That STILL deserves a HUGE congratulations...Indie or not...wired on coffee or not. That's a big accomplishment Alan! U ROCK!