The last weekend of October was an explosion of bookishness in my life as I attended two book launches in one weekend. It’s probably no big deal for big name authors who tour the world signing books, but for a little indie author in the Philippines, it’s insane nutso bonkers. Heck, I couldn’t even imagine having to do one launch, but two? IN A FREAKING ROW?
Saturday: #StrangeLit Book Launch at Recession Coffee
I went to the #StrangeLit launch with a toddler dressed as Alexandra Trese, a red poodle dressed as a bat, and a classic palengke bayong in tow. The bayong held packages holding 3-in-1 coffee, biskwit (choose from SkyFlakes, Marie, and Prima), and candies—your classic Pinoy wake fixtures. I labeled them Lamay Survival Kit as a nod to my story The Last Night of Her Wake. Saw what I did there, didn’t you?
The cheekiness of my giveaway, a contrast to the general melancholy of the story it comes with, mirrored much of the launch. The ebook covers may have been dark and scary, but the general tone of the launch was anything but. It was exhilarating, fun, and overflowing with a sense of accomplishment. We finished, gaddermnit! Look and read!
We did quick readings from our stories, joked around, took lots of photos, fretted over how much to pay for the “Pay What You Want” coffee (from Digital Walker’s Recession Coffee), oohed and aahed over the giveaways, and had a great time. It was awesome.
Sunday: Spark Books Launch at National Bookstore Glorietta 1
And then, there was the Spark Books launch at National Bookstore the next day. Now this one had me all jittery because while the #StrangeLit launch was all casual and party-like, the Spark launch was all formal. HECK, there was a HOLDING AREA for the authors. We were in this small secret room at NBS which even had its own restroom. We couldn’t help but wonder who else had stayed in the room. Good for the store that they didn’t hand us Sharpies yet, because Kate Evangelista wanted to start doing graffiti on the walls. “We were here!” (Maybe I shouldn’t have said that—OHAI KATE!)
The launch, hosted by writer and mentor Mina V. Esguerra, started with us reading excerpts from our books. To say that I was nervous was an understatement—especially when Mina pointed out that I was going first. MEEP! But I lived to tell the tale so all is well.
After the excerpt readings, we did a short Q&A that was recapped better by these wonderful book bloggers. It wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be. It helped a lot that there was four of us there, so we were actually able to react on each other’s thoughts. Besides, it always helps to be part of a team, so yay, go Spark Books Authors!
The best part came last: the actual signing! I’ve always been self-conscious about signing copies of my books because of my handwriting, but this time, it was actually enjoyable because we had more room to talk, joke, and get selfies! Plus, it was really cool to meet readers who aren’t my immediate family / writing support group. It felt so legit! I even got to use my hand-carved bacon stamp! (It also helped that Lorraine from Anvil plied me with a lot of coffee, so CAFFEINE.)
The afternoon was nerve-wracking, exciting, stressful, and the best goddamned thing ever. Lessons learned:
• Guys read romance. For reals.
• Pinoys love to read. And enjoy meeting writers!
• The best support a writer can get is from other writers. (Shoutout to #romanceclass!)
• Wear heels next time, especially if you’re beside Agay Llanera. (OHAI, Agáy!)
• The Milo Cookies are a winner. (Not really a writing-related lesson, but the people nomming DURING the event loved it.)
• Readers are an awesome bunch. (But then, we all knew that already.)
• I need to write faster because being read is the best feeling in the world.
So, there. Two days of book-related goodness. It’s making me look forward to the next bookish event: FilReadercon 2015. Hope to see everyone again!