My last book launch event was held at Lole 17th ave on Thursday December 14 in the evening. It was a wonderful conclusion to what I am considering to be phase one of my book launch. What do the following phases look like? I am not 100% sure yet, but I am excited to spend the next couple of weeks over Christmas in planning mode for 2018.
What a wild ride this past month has been! In just over five weeks I have sold over 200 copies; collectively online through the lulu.com website, on location at Wild & Raw and Liv yoga + wellness, and in person at events and delivering myself. I wanted to take a few moments here to thank everyone who has been a part of this book launch in big and small ways, and to share what I view as the highlights of this experience thus far.
First, THANK YOU!!! HustleCo workspace, yyc cycle, Liv yoga + wellness, Wild & Raw, Saje Natural Wellness, and Lole 17th. These businesses were huge supports and I had so much fun hosting in your space. Jenn Moonflower, Katie Fisher, Fiasco Gelato, David's Tea, and Heather Bowen - you all donated your time and treats to my events and certainly helped class everything up! I couldn't have pulled off such diverse and nourishing events if it weren't for you.
Now, highlights. It has been interesting to reflect as this process has unfolded and one of the consistent questions I have received is something along the lines of "what is the most inspiring message you have received so far from a reader?" Where do I even begin???
Here are the series of events/highlights that stand out as they gave me more confidence and motivation to continue on this path despite momentary resistance and self-doubt.
1. While I was in the final stages of editing and designing the format of the book, I had a few people in my life who expressed interest in reading my book and offering feedback. One person in particular blew my mind in this process. My friend Andrew Elford read the book over the summer and reached out after asking to meet for coffee to talk about it. To my pleasant surprise, Andrew came to that coffee date with several pages of notes he had taken from the book. He went through each point, sharing what he loved about the book, what it sparked inside of him, and how he has never experienced a book with such a well-rounded story and offering of personal development tools. Seeing the impact that my book had on him, made me feel like my goal had been achieved. I had said throughout the making of this book that if I could have a positive impact on ONE person because of my story, then I have succeeded. To have that boost of confidence from Andrew before the book had even been published was exactly what I needed to trust and release the project into the world. Thank you Andrew!
2. I had six book launch events planned. I wanted to share as many different themes from the book as possible, and make each event unique so that someone could come to all six and get something special from each one. The biggest one was set to be the first one, at HustleCo on November 12. I walked into that event so excited and grateful. Nervousness was barely on my radar. For the first time ever, I publicly shared (by reading aloud) a part of my life that I had been so ashamed and upset by when it had occurred years ago. I was apprehensive to read the preface of my book in front of all of these people I know and love, but because of that resistance, I knew it was exactly what I needed to do. I gave everyone context into the thought process behind landing on this excerpt to read for them and gave them warning that it won't be easy to hear. I didn't realize how hard it would be to actually read it out loud. But I did. Through tears and the occasional need to stop and reground myself, I read about my experience with self harm during one of the toughest parts of my life. What came from that experience was a connection in that room with each person. Several other people in the room then shared what they had felt and thanked me for my courage. That was my first lived experience of feeling the healing effects and intimate heartfelt connection that comes from being raw and vulnerable in an attempt to empower and encourage others in a group format. I will never forget that moment.
3. Because of that experience at the first event, I then had the courage I needed to read that excerpt again at the second event, at yyc cycle Avenida. This event may have been my favorite. it was such a unique experience on the spin bike that I am excited to recreate in the new year. We traveled through the Hero's Journey as the playlist I made had a song to match each integral step. It was like a personal development and guided meditation ride. When I read from my book after, it was hard to tell where the sweat ended and the tears began. So many sweaty hugs and deep connections made in that room. Because of that event, and the event at Wild & Raw where we talked through the Hero's Journey and began re-writing and reframing your life's story, I have realized the power and beauty in creating experiences around the Hero's journey. There will be more coming in 2018 for sure!
4. Each event I could feel myself getting more open and ready to share more of what used to make me terribly uncomfortable and embarrassed. I began receiving amazing messages from friends and strangers alike. Messages that read, "Because of what you shared, I found the courage to share more of myself with my loved ones," and "I keep your book with me everywhere I go and it makes me feel less alone," and "Hearing your words about your darkest moments has given me the courage and trust that I also can overcome and thrive." These messages have lit me up more than anything. To hear that my story has become an anchor of support and courage for others is something I am immensely grateful for.
So what now? I have been sending copies of my book to big hitters in the mental health and personal development community. Doing what I can to spread my reach and create more opportunities for speaking engagements and offers of support where it is really needed. I would love to be able to speak at schools, support groups, wellness retreats, and be in collaboration with like-minded people.
If you have any questions, ideas, or connections for me, please reach out. This project is about creating conversation. I would love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org xoxoxox