Friend Friday

I first got acquainted with Dan Richards at the Los Angeles SCBWI conference,  a year ago. We hit it right off and that had nothing to do with the fact he was wearing a superhero costume, complete with foam muscles. It didn’t take me long to figure out that Dan had worked hard learning his craft and the business. I was out of town for the book launch of his first book, The Problem With Not Being Scared of Monsters, but his post below put me right in the scene. Take it away, Dan!

Dan Richards, who is NOT afraid of book launches

My debut picture book THE PROBLEM WITH NOT BEING SCARED OF MONSTERS released recently. Like most authors, I scheduled a book launch party at my favorite local bookstore (Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington). Here’s an inside look at the day of my party.  

7am – After tossing and turning all night, concluded further effort at sleep was pointless and crawled out of bed. Assured myself that sleep is necessary to daily living but absolutely unnecessary before a book launch party. 

9am – Wondered to myself how two hours had passed and I had yet to eat, walk the dog, or shower. 

11am – Nervously checked with my volunteers to see that no one had taken ill during the night or, worse yet, forgotten about my party altogether.

Noon – Attempted a frontal assault on my lunch. Tried to ignore the swirling vortex that was my stomach. Assured myself food is also unnecessary before a book launch party. 

2:45pm – Checked the clock once again only to discover there were still three hours before I needed to leave the house. Which was five minutes less than the last time I checked.

4pm – Took a nap. What else was there to do?

5pm – Woke to discover I had actually taken a nap. Frantically raced about with a million things to do and no time left to do them. 

6pm – Arrived at the bookstore. Huddled up with the butterflies in my stomach. Asked for solidarity in the effort to keep the day’s food down despite the requests from my stomach to the contrary.

6:10pm – Stared at the book display of MY BOOK that was dominating the entrance to the store. Paused to give thanks for independent bookstores and all that is sacred in the world of children’s literature.

6:30pm – Discovered the first guest had arrived. Secretly wished he would leave and let me cower in peace in the back of the store.  Secretly also wished he’d brought a tribe of friends with him or it might be a very sad book launch party.

6:50pm –  Mingled with the guests that continued to filter into the store and who seemed to be there for the sole purpose of celebrating with me. 

7:15pm – Stepped up to the podium. Stared into a sea of smiling faces who seemed intent on making me feel welcome at my own event.

7:20pm – Gave a humorous talk outlining my life as a writer leading up to the publication of my first book. Secretly thanked the butterflies in my stomach for having gone mostly dormant.

7:25pm – Concluded a reading of my book. Discovered the crowd had increased to a size just short of spectacular. Butterflies gone. Feeling downright chipper now.

7:30pm – Signed my first book. Surreal moment. No way to describe the mixture of humility and adrenaline coursing through my veins. 

7:45pm – Looked up to discover a serpentine line weaving its way around the store with books in hand, patiently waiting their turn. Appreciated the years of obscurity that led to this moment. And then got back to work. A lot of books left to sign.

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8:30pm – Looked up to discover a line still waiting. Appreciated the moment, again. Signed the next book. 

9pm – Said goodbye to the last guest. Gave the last hug. Gave thanks it was over. Secretly wished it had lasted longer, maybe all night.

11pm – Posted photos on Facebook and replied to the many well wishers. 

1am – Slumped into bed, exhausted but aware this was a day I’d treasure forever. 

Dan Richards has been interested in monsters since he was old enough to check under his bed. He’s been checking ever since and has found many of his closest friends that way. The Problem With Not Being Scared Of Monsters is his first picture book. He lives with his family in Bothell, WA. Visit him online here