Vancouver Mary Rawles of the British Columbia Government Employees Union (BCGEU) had responded with grace when I asked several weeks ago, “Hey, I’ve got Citizen Wealth coming out, could we do something at the union?” What did either of us know about what we were doing? I didn’t know enough to really understand what a book launch was in my first “go” at it, and Mary is too hardy a soul and good a friend to have the good judgment to say NO. Luckily for me that turns out to be true of lots of my friends, so I need to hold onto them dearly!
Berrett-Koehler ships a box of 25 books to Canada. Who knows? Mary invites folks from her union and the neighboring BC Federation of Labor and others. Josh Stuart with ACORN Canada in Toronto figures out how to send out to Vancouver names on Facebook. I send out a couple of notes, and away we go. First, we hear that middle of the day is a terrible time. Hmmm? Could be? We’re deep in the water by then, so have no choice but to sail. The poster plastered around the union building isn’t large, thank goodness, but in the new style of hip graphics, the picture seems huge! Behind the scenes no more…
Anyway, it was painless and actually fun in a weird way, because it offered the opportunity for a short minute to proselytize about the work. Judy Duncan and John Anderson helped work the book table and collect money. They estimated that 30 folks came into the BCGEU board meeting room before it was all said and done. The questions were friendly and serious about organizing. This was a room hungry for stories and nuts and bolts about the work we do. Hard to believe there was a better or more receptive potential crowd, so perhaps this was less of a shakeout cruise than a voyage to Fantasy Island.
BK had told me to guess that 25% of any crowd would actually buy a book, so what did we know. The books “flew off the shelves,” in an expression an organizer taught me years ago. We sold every book in the box and ended up scrounging another couple out of my pack to the more polite friends who waited in line. We had probably done closer to 75%, and darned, if we didn’t wish we had more books since we had a lot of business left in Vancouver this trip.
Almost as fun was getting a call from Orell Fitzsimmons in Houston and having Emma Graves-Fitzsimmons yell on the phone that the book was pretty! An email from Chris Newman in Los Angeles confirmed delivery in Los Angeles from Amazon as well with a note about yesterday’s immigration summit. Luckily for me, my readers are judging the book by the cover and on that score it’s a hit! Secky Fascione dropped a line from Seattle saying Amazon got hers there, too. I guess I just learned something about Seattle-based Amazon: they must deliver to the west first, since there were no reports east of the Mississippi River yet.
Secky is standing up for my second voyage in Seattle on Sunday at her house. She asked me what to expect. I told her, I still had no idea whatsoever, but had the box arrived from the publisher. She checked outside and sure enough. On to the next adventure on the long bend of the learning curve river in book land. Welcome aboard!